Monday, January 7, 2013

The Essence

Over twenty years ago, I was advised by Father Michael Scanlan TOR to study Orders of consecrated life.  This would help me discern, said Father, what the then-budding idea of the cloistered heart was and was not.

It wasn't long before I knew that the concept of the cloistered heart was nothing if not monastic.  That might seem obvious from the very phrase, but in the early years I wasn't so sure.  For one thing, I had to learn what monastic life, at its core, truly was.  I had to discover what one nun later described to me as the "essence of monasticism," so I might see what parts of it applied to life out here in the world.

Over these next weeks, I would like to share with you some basics of what I discovered.  There are elements of monasticism, and (mostly) reasons FOR monasticism, that can be fully, authentically, absolutely lived by those of us in the very midst of the world.  Have we looked at this sort of thing here before?  Of course.  But this is a blog, and people pop in and out of it.  And anyway:  by now you know I like "series!"

One point I'd like to make very plain is that the Cloistered Heart is not a watered down, wishy-washy version of monasticism.  May it never be so.

The Cloistered Heart is meant to be life lived totally, not mostly, for God.  It is life in the midst of the world within the revealed will of God.  It is an embrace of the Truth revealed in Scripture and Church teaching (as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church) with no exceptions.  No ifs, no ands, no buts.

If this is the kind of life you strive for, and if you're encouraged by knowing there are others who are struggling to live this as well, then I invite you to stick with us.  Tomorrow I hope to look at one of the reasons for the earliest monasticism.  See you then?

"The monk sees all things in the light of God."  (Wilfrid Tunink OSB; Vision of Peace;  Farrar, Straus and Co, NY, 1963, p. 256)


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