Saturday, November 24, 2012

That Romantic Phrase

As I wrote here a week ago, I have answered the call.  Since the amazing day when I knew that Christ Himself was real and very Present, I have - by His sheer grace - been striving to live for Him.

In the mid 1980s, a new way of looking at my personal call began to form.  At first it was a wispy, vaporous, vague idea - no more than a phrase, really, that sent thoughts of incense scented hermitages fluttering through my mind.  I told no one about it, because I thought the very phrase sounded like the title of a romantic novel.  I said this once to the nun who'd had the "little dream" about me years before (by the 1980s we'd become good friends).  Sister looked at me solemnly and said "that's not off the mark."  God's call to us, and our response, she explained, is the greatest romance the world has ever known.  

While it took me several years to speak of the "romantic phrase" to anyone, I did refer to it in personal writings for my eyes alone.  "Most people do not title their journals," I wrote on February 26, 1985, "yet I want to name the record of my life from this moment forward.  May the Lord grant that I might live up to the name - therefore titling my life, as this book, 'The Cloistered Heart.'"

I thank God for that "romantic phrase," which grew into a monastic analogy complete with grillwork and enclosure and boundaries and all the facets with which we've now become familiar.  It is a phrase that grew from a longing, and the longing grew from a clash of "cultures," and the clash was one I felt for the first time in a noisy restaurant.  Tomorrow, God willing, I will share more about that clash.

In the meantime, I'm thankful that I am - and you are - called to be part of the greatest romance the world has ever known.