Those living behind cloister walls love God enough to give their lives for Him. We who live in the world recognize this. What we sometimes fail to recognize is the call we have to give our lives as well.
"But," we may object. "I can go where I want, when I want, go on vacation, have a spouse, buy what I want. I don't live according to a particular 'rule of life.'"
Ah, but the thing is: if I truly love God, and want to live fully for Him, I DO have a rule of life. It is Scripture. If I am Catholic, my rule of life is defined for me quite nicely in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Yes, I can do what I want. But if I desire to love and please God, will this affect my wants? Will it affect the choices I make? Of course it will.
God loves me with an everlasting love, whether or not I live in a physical cloister. The vocation He has given me is an invitation to love Him by offering my life to Him in a particular way. I can choose to make every act of my day an act of love for God; I can serve Him by serving those around me. I can do all things out of love for the One who first loved me, the One who loves me into loving.
"Monastic life is nothing else, no more and no less, than a Christian life whose Christianity has penetrated very part of it." (Louis Bouyer of the Oratory, The Meaning of the Monastic Life, PJ Kenedy and Sons, NY 1950, p. 13)
"If he is a true monk, what he is seeking cannot be some THING. It is some ONE." (Bouyer, p. 7)
"The monk is the man for whom God is a Person: a Person whom he can meet, whom he longs to meet.... Monastic life, without such an incentive, would be nothing more than a soulless code of behaviour." (Bouyer, pp. 61-62)
For Prayer and Reflection:
- Do I feel I know God as a Person? How can I get to know Him better?
- If I substitute my name for the words 'the monk' (or 'monastic') in the quotes above, do I find that these sentences can apply to me?
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