Monday, February 4, 2013

Really Good Habits!

Nuns need REALLY good habits!

Sturdy fabric, yes, but we are considering the fabric of daily life.  The warp that anchors and the woof that moves life along.

Oddly enough, we often get our threads crossed!  The lengthwise cords often become our changing emotions and preferences.  They remain on the loom, as broad as the span of our interests and outreach. Through those stays, which are only as fixed as our old nature is unchanged, daily life weaves in and out.    

Monastic life is a little different.  The lengthwise threads are these, or something like:

we have one preference: life in Christ;
we will bring Him our worship, no matter how we feel . . . every day;
in every way, we will care about the things He cares about;
if we do anything, it is done by His grace, to His glory;
the goal of our lives is to bear His likeness.

This is Master weaving; we well know it.  We can’t do it.  We need His hands upon our own, guiding, guiding, all the way.  See how very monastic we are, separately, together in Cor Unum!

Monastic souls can’t fasten their lives to the loom the way others do, based upon their personalities and waffling aspirations. Jesus is Himself the goal of life, loom and spindle.  Monastics, including those like us of the marketplace variety, may of course be extroverted or introverted, contemplative or active by nature, but each has a common purpose: Christlikeness.  In the cloister, each has to spend almost exactly the same hours in silence, meditation, “recreation” (conversation,) work, solitude, and community.  This has the unusual effect of bringing out the highlights of God-ordained personality and value.  After all, He “knit us together” in our mothers’ wombs!

We have come to Cor Unum, not to regulate our worship and form a club, but to make sure it happens.  Which of us would wish to order our lives without “Lectio Divina,” the anchoring twill of the Word of God, able to save our souls?  Or without the Divine Office of worship in spirit, on the inside, and in truth, on the outside?  Or without our own “Opus Dei,” our personal strategy to order our lives in hope and prayer and the practice of His Nearness?  To each, his own ... unique lives of faith and surrender, but all for the hope of the glory . . . which is Christ in us!

Sometimes with our Bibles open, on our knees, sometimes by dim light in morning quiet at the kitchen table … sometimes in the face of insult and offense, in the crush of failure or the assault of fear, always living out the authenticity of God’s promises.  For us, the life of Christ shuttles in and out, in and out through the cords of our fixed purpose.  Visibly and invisibly, in preparation and in practice, He lives in us.  If the “warp” threads represent purpose and the “woof” threads represent the daily activities that weave in and out through our fixed intentions, it will matter what those anchoring threads are to be, and it will make a difference if we weave with skill.  What’s more, of the inferior material that life delivers, we are given to spin with golden filament, ashes into beauty, mourning into joy, curses into blessing . . . until we wear a garment of praise!

Armand Gautier, public domain

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