Thursday, November 3, 2011

the chapel

One night I found myself alone in a chapel during a thunderstorm.  Except for flashes of lightning coming through a stained glass window, only the glow of a sanctuary light provided illumination.  Yet how secure I felt!  How secure I was.  In the midst of the storm, I was in the Presence of Christ and I was safe. 

In the midst of personal storms, where do I find security?  When adversity strikes, when fear bares its fangs, where do I go for safety?   In the chapel, a sanctuary light told me: “Christ is here.”  Golden Tabernacle - glowing light - “Christ is here.”  I saw no visions, felt nothing out of the ordinary.  But my faith assured me: “Christ is here.” 

The first place a potential nun or monk is likely to go upon entering a monastery is the chapel.  It is here that we find the center of monasticism, because Jesus is the Center of cloistered life.  To miss this truth is to miss the point of the cloistered heart.  

Jesus is with me.  I must simply cultivate ways to remind myself throughout the day that:  “Christ is here.” 

"Faith tells us that our heart is a Sanctuary, because it is the Temple of God, the dwelling-place of the Holy Trinity.  Let us often visit this Sanctuary, and see that the lamps are alight - that is to say, Faith, Hope and Charity - and frequently stir up our faith when we are studying, working, or eating, when we go to bed, and when we rise, and make aspirations to God.” (St. Paul of the Cross)

“We are, each of us, a Living Cathedral.  Each is his own chapel.  And provided we are in a state of grace, God lives and dwells within us… we must live and act as if we were dwelling in a church in the presence of the Tabernacle.” (The Living Pyx of Jesus, Pellegrini & Co., Australia,  1941)

(photo in this post was taken by “RG” in chapel of Toledo Visitation Monastery, Ohio, 1992)