There is change in the air as a storm approaches. The wind picks up, clouds gather, there may be a distant clap of thunder. As lightning flashes around us, we race for shelter.
Monastery grounds and walls are as subject to storms as those of any other building. They get slapped with rain, pelted with sleet, covered in snow. Inhabitants of the cloister might find themselves standing at a window looking out, maybe with a touch of concern. What are those chunks of hail doing to the roof? Are the windows secure against the wind?
The monastery of my life is vulnerable, too. I face storms, at times, of great magnitude. Sickness, sudden disaster, an unnerving news report. It helps me then to remember that I’m in the strongest cloister possible – the cloister of God’s loving embrace. Everything that touches me must first come through His hands, through His “permissive will.” I can do as St. Francis de Sales advised, and say amid my contradictions: “this is the very road to heaven. I see the door, and I am certain the storms cannot prevent us from getting there.”
"The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the just man runs to it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
“Happy is the soul established in God ... The winds of the storm are powerless to shake her.” (St. Jane de Chantal)
"We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his decree." (Romans 8:28)
"I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)
"God keeps his promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
"You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ appears." (1 Peter 1:6-7)
"When you hear about wars and threats of war, do not yield to panic. Such things are bound to happen, but this is not the end. Nation will rise against nation, one kingdom against another. There will be earthquakes in various places and there will be famine. This is but the onset of labor. Be constantly on your guard.... because of My Name, you will be hated by everyone. Nonetheless, the man who holds out till the end is the one who will come through safe." (Mark 13:5-13)
"O Jesus, I am locking myself in Your most merciful heart as in a fortress, impregnable against the missiles of my enemies.” (St. Faustina Kowalska, Diary, #1535)
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