The person entering physically cloistered life does not stick her head in today and leave her arms and legs dangling outside to be cloistered at a later date. She is either in or she’s not. And yet we can give ourselves mostly to God and leave parts of our lives dangling outside that surrender. At least, that’s how it is for me.
Making the decision to embrace the will of God is not a once-for-all-time-thing, of course. We re-decide, circumstance by circumstance. But there is something about at least making a decision. One specific step. I have found that grace comes with making this decision. I tell God I want to live according to His will… and then in circumstance after circumstance, I find that His grace abounds.
Sometimes I imagine myself standing before an enclosure door. I consider. I vacillate. I feel afraid. I want a print-out of all that will be asked of me before I give my “yes.” I’m trembling, second-guessing, halting, looking back, shuffling, straining. Then, timidly, I stick one toe forward…
…and it’s as if He suddenly, tenderly, picks me up and carries the rest of me inside. Even those flailing arms and legs.
“Jesus, I give You my whole heart and my whole will. They once rebelled against You, but now I dedicate them completely to you…Receive me, and make me faithful until death.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori).
“I am the Gate. Whoever enters through Me WILL BE SAFE.” (Jesus, quoted in John 10:9)