Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nothing Else But Christ

At some time during the day, nuns or monks are likely to have a time of study.  Certainly this is true for postulants and novices, but classes are often conducted for the long-professed as well.  After all, there is much to learn about the God they have come here to serve.  There is also a lot to learn about any given order, about its charisms and reasons for being.  

As a "heart-monastic," what is MY reason for being?  For being HERE ... in a monastery of the heart?

More than twenty years ago, Father Michael Scanlan T.O.R. placed the Cloistered Heart on a sure path with one solid nugget of advice. "Study Orders of Consecrated life," Father said to me. I have been doing this ever since. 

For our "study time" today, I'd like to share some of the gems I've uncovered. These speak to the most basic core of monasticism, and thus - in ways we might each reflect upon if we listen to the Holy Spirit of God - they can speak to us.

"The fundamental question: ' does he really seek God.'  Let us state the fact without beating about the bush:  a monastic institute which ceased to put this question to its postulants, or which inserted some different question in its place, would cease ipso facto to have any right to the name monastic.  The search, the true search, in which the whole of one's being is engaged, not for some thing but for some One:  is the search for God.  That is the beginning and end of monasticism.  If it is to be truly God which we seek, we have to seek him as a Person."  (The Meaning of the Monastic Life, Lois Bouyer of the Oratory, PJ Kenedy and Sons, NY, 1950,p. 8)

"The Christian life is nothing else but Christ; the monastic life is nothing else but Christ.  The requirements for the Christian and for the monk are in substance the same....  whether it is union with Him in the world or in the cloister, it is union that is the soul's purpose.  Nothing else matters but this."  (The Yoke of Divine Love, Dom Hubert Van Zeller, Templegate, Springfield IL, 1960, p. 182)

"In every Christian vocation lies the germ of a monastic vocation."   (Bouyer, The Meaning of the Monastic Life, from preface)

"Monastic life is nothing else, no more and no less, than a Christian life whose Christianity has penetrated every part of it."  (Bouyer, The Meaning of the Monastic Life, p. 13)

Can Christianity penetrate every part of MY life, out here in the midst of the world?

Do I see the germ of a monastic vocation in myself?
If so, how can I nurture it and help it grow?

Do I really want to seek the living Person of God?

To continue reading "Our Monastic Day," click this line