Friday, July 18, 2014

By Deed of Gift

The thing that draws me most about monasticism is its absolute totality.  The person entering such a life gives ALL. 

As I've written before, a potential postulant does not stick her head inside the enclosure and leave her arms and legs dangling outside.  It just won't work.

Yet how often do I give God "only so much," holding little corners of my life in reserve for myself?

Absolute totality is a process.  It's a process even for those in the physical monastery, for while they've pulled their bodies inside, surely parts of their hearts linger for awhile outside the walls. 

"Choose this day whom you will serve."  (Joshua 24:15)

How I have wished I could just step over a threshold, dividing world from cloister, and be done with complacency and compromise forever.  I am not so naïve as to think it’s that simple, certainly. 

But I would like to make, in one moment of time, at least a concrete beginning.  A consecration of self to God.  And so I pray: 

'O God.... I ask You to forgive my carelessness, my irreverence, my infidelity.  Gladly I accept this great vocation, this high honour, this immeasurable dignity, to be Your temple, Your altar, Your house, Your home. Joyfully I consecrate to You my body, with all its members and all its senses, my hands and feet, my eyes and ears and tongue, its powers of seeing and hearing and speaking, my impulses and instincts, and appetite and desires.  I make them over to You, by deed of gift; to be absolutely and forever Yours, to be employed always in Your service, never to be used against Your will.  O God, take this body of mine, consecrate it, let it never be defiled by sin.   Let it never be employed in the service of Your enemy, the devil!  Let it never become the abode of evil, nor be used against the best interests of any of Your children!'  (from "Listening to the Indwelling Presence," compiled by a Religious, Pellegrini, Australia, 1940, pp. 24-26)

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