Monday, January 25, 2016

Caught, the Bright Courage

Looking around my house, I see a number of things placed 'just for decoration.' Mirrors, pictures, vases of dried flowers, bowls filled with shells.

The decor in monasteries is not like that.

'There are interesting pictures on the walls.... There is a large painting over the mantelpiece of the Blessed Virgin meeting St. Elizabeth (and).. sturdy portraits of the saints, and the beaming representations of angels.' (A Story of Courage)

In a monastery, every item has a practical purpose. Each thing in every room is meant to help the nuns or monks live on this earth (to eat, sleep, bathe), or to lift their hearts to the heavenly realm. Paintings hung on walls do not usually focus attention on this world, which to some extent can be seen by looking out a window, but they're meant to direct minds toward God - and to His saints surrounding us. 

'Within the clear monochrome of these pictures is caught the bright courage of religious zeal and sublime law. Their firm glances, their steady poise of head, express the only genuine satisfaction and happiness; namely, those which last through eternity. They remind us of the sort of people we trust. They remind us of those faces which, throughout our own lives, have given us the most solid comfort and the deepest refreshment....'

Do I ever think about my companions the saints? Do I read their writings and seek their intercession?

Are there particular saints who have inspired me with their wisdom and courage? 

If I were furnishing my home as one furnishes a monastery, whose pictures would I hang on my walls?

'We must always have before our eyes the virtues and examples of the saints, in order to pattern and form all our actions on them.'  (St. Francis de Sales)

This post is part of our series 'A Story of Courage.' To continue in chronological order, click this line.

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