I have been on retreat, several times, in monasteries. I loved being in my tiny cell, alone with God yet aware of the silent presence of others. I was with God, others were with God - and we were all connected. A wide hall linked us together.
As one who wants to live for God in the cell of my heart, I am grateful for every one who is doing likewise. I may not know each person in every other “cell,” but I can stop and remind myself that they… that you… are there.
Ours is the hallway of the Church. Ours is the hallway of the Body of Christ. My heart cell is part of a multitude of “cells,” part of the vast and ageless Communion of Saints.
Our hallway is not limited by geographical location. It is wide and vast and stretches beyond the ages, connecting us to all in the Communion of Saints in ways we can scarcely grasp.
How do I, in everyday life, enter the hallway? Certainly I do so by my participation in the Sacraments. Am I also involved in the life of my parish, my diocese? Am I part of a prayer group or Bible study? Do I volunteer my time to help the poor, the aged, the pre-born? Maybe I share faith through the Internet. Perhaps I homeschool, or teach CCD. Hopefully I share God's love freely with my family and friends. Even if I can't get out and about (perhaps due to physical limitations), I can "enter the hallway" by praying for others, maybe offering trials and sufferings as prayer.
There is a door into the hallway for everyone.
I pray that each of us will find, and turn, the knob.
"If St. Paul exhorts us to pray for one another, and we gladly think it right to ask every poor man to pray for us, should we think it evil to ask the holy saints in heaven to do the same?" (St. Thomas More)
"If the bond of your communion is love, devotion, and Christian perfection, then your friendship will be precious indeed: precious because it has its origin in God, because it is maintained in God, and because it will endure forever in Him." (St. Francis de Sales)
"I shall be able to do much more for you in heaven than I can now while I am on earth." (St. Padre Pio)
"Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.... Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up, and see no longer me, but only Jesus! ... Let me preach You without preaching, not by my words, but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears for You." (John Henry Cardinal Newman)
"Do not think of the poor as only those with no money. Look at each person's needs. Perhaps you are well off in something when someone else is in need of just that." (St. Augustine)
Top painting (monks in hallway): Otto Knille
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