'The chapel looked narrow, high, sacred, mellow with mingled colors, and lovely in its vague richness and calm. An ancient picture, browned by time, represents Martha and Mary in a composition of much dignity, and hangs directly over the altar... (A Story of Courage, p. 36)
The first place a person is likely to visit in a monastery is the chapel, for in the chapel is found the center of monasticism.
This is because Jesus is the Absolute Center of cloistered life. To miss this truth is to miss the point of monasticism, and it's to miss the whole point of having a 'cloistered heart.'
How can a man or woman leave home, possessions, career, entertainment - and so many things the world considers important - in order to take up residence behind enclosure walls? For what reason would a person even consider such a thing?
The Reason is a Person. Without this Person, cloistered life would be pointless and empty and fruitless and vague.
If we know and remember nothing else about monasteries or various aspects of consecrated life, we must remember this:
Jesus is the Reason for it all.
'The Christian life is nothing else but Christ; the monastic life is nothing else but Christ. The requirements for the Christian and for the monk are in substance the same… whether it is union with Him in the world or in the cloister, it is union that is the soul’s purpose. Nothing else matters but this.” (Dom Hubert Van Zeller, THE YOKE OF DIVINE LOVE, Templegate, Springfield IL, 1957, p. 182)
"We are, each of us, a Living Cathedral. Each is his own chapel. And provided we are in a state of grace, God lives and dwells within us… (so) we must live and act as if we were dwelling in a church in the presence of the Tabernacle.” (The Living Pyx of Jesus, Pellegrini & Co., Australia, 1941)
(This post is primarily a combination of wrtings from our archives)