Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Monastery

As someone desiring to live as a "cloistered heart," I look at my life as a monastery.  After all, a monastery is a place consecrated to God, a place of prayer, a place where God is loved and served.  I can certainly be all of these things.  I can be a place for God.  

This is more than a nice daydream.  It is simply truth.   

"Even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity.  'If a man loves Me,' says the Lord, 'he will keep My word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.' (John 14:23)"  (Catechism of the Catholic Church #260)

"O my God.... grant my soul peace.  Make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling, and Your place of rest.  May I never abandon You there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to Your creative action."  (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, quoted in Catechism of the Catholic Church # 260)

Looking for a picture to put with this post, I was stopped in my tracks by the one I wound up choosing.  It was not my favorite from among the possibilities, but I could not ignore the Scripture that immediately sprang to mind....

"Anyone who hears My words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock.  When the rainy season set in, the torrents came and the winds blew and buffeted his house.  It did not collapse; it has been solidly set on rock."  (Matthew 7:24-25) 

I look at the painting and envision floodwaters surging all around, washing away vegetation and turning soil into oozing brown rivulets.  I think of waters rising, rising, carrying within them all sorts of trash and polution... yet the house stands firm, for it is built upon a massive rock.

"He alone is my Rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all."  (Psalm 62:2-3)

I pray that we may stand firm and strong upon Our Lord Himself.  As imperfect as we are, He actually desires to live within us.  


"Humility and charity are the two main parts of the spiritual edifice.  One is the lowest and the other the highest, and all the others depend on them.  Hence, we must keep ourselves well founded in these two, because the preservation of the entire edifice depends on the foundation and the roof."  (St. Francis de Sales)

(Andrea Mantegna painting, public domain)