Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Revisiting That Narrow Path

Having never entered religious life, I haven't experienced a potential nun's journey toward a cloistered world.

But oh, I have daydreamed it.  Not in the sense of dreaming with desire, and not exactly daydreaming with dread, but with a sense of wondering.  How would it feel, I've asked myself, to make a serious, determined decision to leave the world and enter a life where I live totally for Christ.  Not just partly, not mostly, but totally.  Fully embracing His will with no compromise, no watering down what He asks of me; "yes" with no ifs, no ands, no buts.  Entering the world of His will, and turning my back on all that tries to lure me away from Him.

"Most people cannot leave the world in a bodily sense, but every follower of Christ who is serious about genuine growth must leave the spirit of the world."  (Thomas Dubay SM, Fire Within, Ignatius Press, 1989, p. 81)

Am I serious about genuine growth?  I ask it of myself.  Immediately, I know my answer.  The desire to move beyond ho-hum Christianity is what inspires my life as a cloistered heart.

The desire to "move beyond" drives me onward, yet a large part of me wants to dig in my heels and stay right where I am.  I'm not so bad, I tell myself.  I pray and receive the Sacraments and try to be nice.

Thankfully, there is more to a Godly life than that.

"One cannot give Christ a limited place in one's life," writes Louis Bouyer of the Oratory (The Meaning of the Monastic Life, PJ Kenedy and Sons, NY, 1950,  p. x).  And that is the crux of it, for me.  I am not content to be a "just in case" Christian.  I don't want to simply follow the rules and try to avoid mortal sin just in case God is real (by His grace, I'm convinced that He is).  I'm not satisfied to throw some prayers in His direction now and then and call that a life of faith.

The truth is:  I'm engaged in much more than an imaginary exercise.

I AM serious about genuine growth.  I AM on a real, vital, narrow path to union with God. "The main business of the beginner, therefore, is to make a determined turnabout from preoccupation with this worldly world to a life centered in the Trinity."  (Dubay, p. 82)

The world beckons. I live in it, and I can be joyful as I do so, for this is where God calls me to serve Him.  But preoccupation with the world?  It is from this that I must turn.

I don't turn, however, for the mere sake of turning.  I do not leave the "worldly world" and march forward in pursuit of nothing.  I go along that narrow path - "to a life centered in the Trinity."

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit wait for me.

This is a repost from our archives. It is linked to Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for 'It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday.'

Painting: Caspar David Friedrich (detail, digitally altered)

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