February 1 – Once again, as we begin our second month in Cor Unum’s 2013 year, we survey our monastic purpose:
· The summing up of all things in Christ
· The hope that we may see those around us delivered from destruction
· The glory and privilege of life in Christ Jesus our Lord
· The essential part that diligence plays, our Opus Dei
· The practice of “Conversatio,” the commitment to Christlikeness
· The “Lectio Divina” study of the Word of God, with God
· The effects of good nutrition and proper rest of our endeavor
· The exercise of spiritual and voluntary reverence
· . . . and the preeminence of the love of God in our hearts and for others
That is a schedule that won’t be accomplished before the pool opens! As befits our life in Christ, only the fullness of our days is time enough to finish this course!
We, however, are those who have set our faces toward the New Jerusalem! Our strategy is two-fold: first, we incorporate the instructions we can glean from the Word of God. Most of them hang ripe and ready of the Tree of Life. “Study to show yourselves approved.” “Give thanks in everything.” “Rejoice in the Lord, always.” “Love as brothers.”
Second, we are here in Cor Unum, consciously dwelling in secret with our Lord in the inner man, to make use of every opportunity toward Christlikeness. Those that sue for our tunic, go home with our cloak as well. When someone slaps our right cheek, we turn to him the other, also. Or . . . perhaps sometimes we don’t, but we do not surrender the goal of the unoffendable life, of giving our last two mites, of bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfilling the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) Of loving our enemies, blessing those that curse us, doing good to those that hate us (Matthew 5:44) … for us, the monastics of Cor Unum Abbey, if our success isn’t absolute, our stability is. If we do not yet fully produce the fruit of righteousness, we will keep growing until we do.
We are living the sermons that have been preached in every land during every century since our Lord rose from the dead. Our monastery is secluded; it is the heart’s cloister. Separate as we are, we dwell together, for our common purpose is the nature of the Lord and mutual encouragement and the assurance that the one who “strives for masteries” (2 Timothy 2:5) according to the rules, may win the victor’s crown.
Shortly after those words to Timothy, Paul wrote these: “It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. “ (2 Timothy2:11-13.) We rejoice that though if we find ourselves faithless here or there, He is faithful, and we have not denied Him! He is given to our sanctification (John 17:19,) and we are here to have all that He has won for us, even to the bearing of His image in this life. This is our thanksgiving here this day in Cor Unum Abbey, monastery of the heart.
Abbey of Montserrat
Richard Schneider, by permission