Saturday, January 11, 2014

Farewell to the Follies

I knock at the door.  My hand trembles.  I am afraid no one will answer.

I am afraid someone will.

The walk toward the monastery was longer than I'd expected.  I would love to be welcomed with a cup of tea and a gold-edged plate of chocolates.  I feel entitled to a bit of pampering, a little reward for making it this far.  But here, it will not be that way.  

An extern Sister opens the door and ushers me into the foyer.  It is a small room, its floorboards gleaming with a warm patina.  I feel embraced by the hush of it.  Just ahead of me is another door, a tall, unadorned one made of brown wood.  I know that this is the door to the enclosure.

Sister points toward it and asks me, "are you ready?" 

"It may turn out that this change in your way of life will cause you many problems.  You have bid a great, general farewell to the world's follies and vanities, and this may bring on a feeling of sadness and discouragement.  If this should be the case, have a little patience, I beg of you, for it will come to nothing.  Things will seem a little strange because they are new, but when such feelings pass you will receive countless blessings."  (St. Francis de Sales)

"Ah, my Lord!  Your help is necessary here; without it, one can do nothing.  In Your mercy do not consent this soul to suffer deception and give up what it has begun."  (St. Teresa of Avila)

Sister smiles at me.  Her face shows no urgency.   She is simply asking.  "Are you ready?"

I do not know. 


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Painting:  Alfred Stevens, Hesitation, detail