Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mr. Scrooge, Revisited

Wasn’t yesterday a great day??  Wasn’t it great to have only one thing to do, when we weren’t doing something else? 

This is monasticism!  This is the cloistered life for those of us who cannot live enclosed.  Here in Cor Unum, although we do not live behind a “grille” (the lattice-work that separates the Sisters from visitors that come to call,) we can live within the veil.

In the most traditional houses, professed nuns will wear a veil within the cloister if there are carpenters or plumbers or doctors on the premises.  Enclosed within the cloister!  Our veil, if we choose it, can be the Practice of the Presence of God.  It is a “practice,” and it takes a bit of practice, of course, but we can learn it.  Brother Lawrence did, and he recommended it to those who asked him about the glow of love and peace that kept company with his heart. 

Just as we did yesterday, we make ours a monastic program, forever.  We we will always bring our hearts back to God, whether distractions come with joy or fear or grief.  We will always give thanks for all things in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 5:20.)  One thing have we desired of Him, and it is the one thing we seek, that we may dwell with Him forever, seeing His beauty and asking of Him – questions, petitions, and reality checks!  (Psalm 27:4)  That is veil and habit, cloister and worship, all in one!  We will make of ourselves an offering to God, and worship will never cease (Romans 12:1 and 2.)

Oh, my beloved Sisters!  What a happy house this is! 

We spoke of Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge yesterday.  His name was on every tongue on that glorious Christmas morning.  But … now it’s January!  Few of our best resolutions last beyond the first weekend of the year!  What kept him from remembering his grievances and rehearsing his loneliness and making a cloister of his counting house once again, when the first joys of love and liberty began to subside?  The thing that helped him will help us, too.

   “Spirit” he cried, tight clutching at its robe, “hear me! I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?”   For the first time the hand appeared to shake.
   “Good Spirit,” he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: “Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life?”   The kind hand trembled.
We are not the people we were, my dear friends!  As awful as was the parsimony and the bitterness of our hearts, our spiritual neglect of God and man, we have made our lives monastic, merry, and meaningful!  Ebenezer Scrooge did change; Mr. Dickens saw to it!  His conversion has warmed hearts for more than a century!  His is a universal story of redemption, of life within the veil of a second chance.
Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they 
should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
  Call it monasticism, call it newness of life in Christ Jesus, call it worship in spirit and in truth, it is ours, and we want it, here in Cor Unum, the merry monastery of the heart!

Mr. Scrooge and Bob Marley
public domain

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