re-discovered letters from friends, I found the following treasure. It was written by a woman who'd read the original The Cloistered Heart article when it was published in 1993, and now (twenty years later) was reflecting upon her own embrace of its ideals.
"...I was drawn to the idea of a cloister in my heart. I longed for a place to retreat from the world, to be alone with Jesus. I not only longed for a place where I could escape the noise of life around me, but I also dreamed of providing a place in my heart where Jesus could find respite from this world.
Visits to church or Eucharistic adoration were not an option for me at that time. The image of a cloister in my heart, a place for me and Jesus, was exactly what I needed. I could enter the cloister of my heart at any time or in any place. It might sound foolish, even selfish, but at that time I lived such a busy, demanding and crowded life that I needed the hideaway. As time went on, it made perfect sense to me to adopt the image of the 'grille' to enclose my cloister and to protect it from the world.
Is God 'saying' something to me about this now? I do believe He is. I think God is calling me back to my cloister. God has not abandoned me and I have not abandoned God. I am praying, but it feels so disorganized. I like organization in my home and in my life. I want my spiritual life to be organized too.
So what am I doing to revitalize my cloistered heart? I am reading a prayer guide for active people, a back-to-basics kind of book. I am re-entering the cloister of my heart through the Eucharist and through prayer.
I say my life is busy. It is, yet I am home alone quite a bit these days. So what is my excuse? I do this and I do that, but I am also guilty of squandering my time. A whole morning will get away from me before I realize I have done virtually nothing.
I pray very well before I get out of bed in the morning. It is good prayer. It is spontaneous prayer. The same thing at night. I find it easy to 'talk' to Our Lord when all the world around me is dark and silent. I feel Jesus drawing me into His Sacred Heart. These are my best prayer times...
When things happen around here, I want to get back to prayer as my FIRST recourse instead of prayer being an afterthought."