The life of a cloistered nun or a monk represents Totality. Risking everything. All one’s eggs in one basket. No ifs, ands or buts. Or, as Mother Mary Francis PCC so perfectly put it, “God is enough! God is enough! And everything else is not enough..”
It is the Totality that so draws me. How I have wished I could just step over a threshold, dividing world from cloister, and be done with complacency and compromise forever. I am not so naïve as to think it’s that simple, certainly. But “out here,” where there are no bells to remind me to pray, where Mass is not offered daily in my own home, where the entire structure of life doesn’t revolve around God, I forget and slip and get distracted and grow very, very lazy.
Is there help for me? (yes, there is) Am I the only person who has ever longed to live totally for God in the midst of the world (no, I’m not) Can I, in my busyness, find a way to look at life as God wishes me to – not as the world is constantly pushing me toward? (absolutely I can). He Who calls also graces. He does not ask of us what we cannot give.
“Go and bless the Lord for the favorable inspiration He has given you to withdraw yourself from this great and wide road that those of your age and profession are accustomed to follow…”(St. Francis de Sales)
“You have, as it were, a poustinia (poustinia is a Russian word for hermitage) within you. It is as if within you there was this little log cabin in which you and Christ were very close…within yourself you have made a room, a log cabin, a secluded place. You have built it by prayer…. You live in the marketplace and carry the poustinia within you. That is your vocation… The Lord is calling us to stand still before him while walking with men.” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Poustinia, Ave Maria Press, 1975)
In days just ahead, I hope to look more thoroughly into this cloister of the heart. I hope to live more fully in each “room” of it than I ever have before. “God is enough! God is enough! And everything else is not enough.” The words ring through me this night like a bell. I know them to be true.
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