Monday, July 23, 2012

Protection in Which we Can Dwell

Of the many books in my library, there's one small booklet that has endured more wear and tear than most.  That's because this slim volume speaks... no, it sings...  to my life of "enclosure in the will of God."

Because I'm recommending this booklet here, I hope the Sisters offering it will smile upon my liberal use of quotes.  What I'd like to do is propose a little "exercise."  I do this every now and then, with this very booklet, to keep my perspective ...  well, cloistered.

In the analogy of the cloistered heart, the will of God is our enclosure, the "place" where we are called to live.  This is, as we have said many times here, God's call to every human being.  He knows what is best for us.  Thus, he wants us to live within His will when we want to and when we do not.  He asks us to live in His will when we understand it, and when we do not.

We don't have to guess the most elementary boundaries of God's will.  He has clearly mapped out the very basics in Scripture and the teachings of the Church.

What I propose is that we substitute the words "Scripture" and / or "Church teaching" every time we see the words "enclosure" or "cloister" in the quotes below.  After all, the life of one who makes the against-the-grain-choice to live "in the will of God" can be pretty baffling to the world of this age.... 

"Enclosure baffles so many persons.  Even those who love and admire the contemplative life think that the importance of enclosure is exaggerated.  That is why it must be understood, from the beginning.  Love of God alone motivates a girl to remain in the cloister..."

"O most blessed enclosure!  O precious and safe cloister!"

"Whereas some think that we are limited behind walls, we know the walls as simply a beautiful expression of our immersion in Christ our Lord."

"The liberating gift of enclosure leads those who receive it over that threshold which opens upon a life of profound union with God."

"By your solemn vow of enclosure you stand as a stumbling block against all false freedoms."

"Enclosure rings out that God is enough; and that where He is, there is infinite space.  And where He is not, all the space of the world is constraining and restraining and withering and wizening.  In your own life, love must not flicker out for a moment.  By day and by night it must proclaim "Jesus is here.'  The church bell must keep ringing out from your life: 'Blessings on all men!  God is enough! God is enough!  And everything else is not enough...."

The above quotes are from the booklet "Walls Around the World" by Mother Mary Francis PCC.  It is available for $2.50 from Poor Clares of Roswell NM, and you can get to the book page on their website by clicking on this line.  You will see a few pages of text before you actually reach the listing of books, in which you will find this treasure.  There are many other gems there as well.

"O most blessed enclosure scripture! O precious and safe cloister church teaching!"

May we be thankful for the protection in which God invites us to dwell.