Friday, April 4, 2014

A Cloister Revisited

Because we continue to welcome new visitors here (welcome! welcome!), it seems good to have an occasional re-cap of the basics of Cloistered Heart analogy.  Besides, I need a refresher now and then.   You too?

The Cloistered Heart we speak of is basically an analogy in which our lives can be seen as 'monasteries.'   After all, what is a monastery if not a place where God is loved and lived for and served? 

We can be in the world but not of the world.  This is not a new or different idea; rather, it is an emphasizing, a kind of 'underlining,' of every Christian's call.  The uniqueness of this emphasis is in its monastic imagery. 

The word 'cloister' speaks of total consecration.  Those who enter a traditional physical cloister make a tangible break from the world.  Compromise does not fit well in a cloister, nor does lukewarmness, nor does complacency.  The cloistered life is absolute. 

Christians living in the midst of the world are also called to live for God.  For us, however, the break is not so clean.  The world is persistent in its tugs on the heart trying to live as God wills.  This is where the idea of having a cloistered heart can be of help. 

Our cloister is not made of bricks and stones, but of God's holy will in which we can choose to live.  This is not a 'will' we make up for ourselves, but one whose boundaries have already been set in place for us.  Its primary perimeters are not hard to find.  They are revealed in Scripture and clearly outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Because God loves us, He has set these boundaries in place for our security, and He has generously revealed them to us.  

In the analogy of the Cloistered Heart, God's will forms for us a 'cloister grille,' through which we may view and respond to all people and all circumstances around us. 

There is much more to this basic analogy, and you are invited to have a look at it.  Click individual titles along the top of this screen for more information about various subjects. 

Thank you for joining in this adventure, for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord!

'The heart is the dwelling place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place ‘to which I withdraw.’  The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully.  The heart is the place of decision..'  (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2563) 

'You are the temple of the living God.' (2 Corinthians 6:16)