Happy New Year, dear ones! We are trying a little experiment, and I think it may work very well.
Actually, we are trying a HUGE experiment, and it is working beautifully, by fits and starts … we’ll get back to that … but for 2015, our New Year’s fast will begin on January 6, instead of TODAY!
It makes sense doesn’t it? If we always begin our fasting on a day when parties and get-togethers are still in full swing, we put ourselves at a disadvantage. Of course, each of us is at liberty to make a start, and some have already begun, the surfeit of Christmas cookies having taken their toll. We are Cor Unum Abbey. One heart … endless varieties of conversion! Remember, for us a fast can be as small as the decision to forego some television or a second cup of coffee or any sip of self-pity!
Now to our new perspective. January 6 is the traditional Feast of the Epiphany. What in the world is that?
Well, it’s complicated, but not so for us. It is, liturgically, the celebration of Christ revealed to the Magi, and so to the Gentiles of the world, whom they are said to represent. It also is the church calendar date of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordon by John, and so, again, it is the “epiphany” event of revelation … “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Here is what it can mean to us. Our goal is ever that Christ will be revealed in us, and that is our prayer for those we love. We will continue our examination of conscience, our Twelve Days of Christmas, while the festivities continue. Today is the eighth day.
Eight maids a’milking. These are said to represent the fullness of creation, the six days, the seventh day of rest, and then, the NEW BEGINNING. That’s convenient on this first day of the year. This year we will begin by making sure that we will continue in the faith and love of our Lord. There will be renewed “Conversatio,” of course. There will be hours and hours of Quiet Delight ahead of us, our silent Adoration. There will be thanksgiving woven in and out of every day, and Spiritual Proclamation that does what the Word of God can do and undoes what no one else can manage! Oh, so many wonderful hours and miraculous proceeding await us! If you are new inside these cyber walls, all will be reviewed and all will begin to take effect. We haven’t all the time in the world, but we take time to make sure we do not fall away from our purpose.
We are not in any kind of hurry. We are a monastic people! We are not allowed (for we don’t permit ourselves) to make grandiose resolutions with no resolve to back them up! Rather, we continue to make tiny changes that are permanent, instituting the smallest of new challenges in which we will not fail and from which we will not turn away. Again, if you are new here … this is our huge experiment, and it is working, for by grace and patience and persistent love, we don’t leave room for failure! Welcome to this cloister! In this place, monasticism is the acknowledgement that each of us must live and work out our own salvation, that no one else can live before God on our behalf, and so we are learning to close ourselves in with Him wherever we are, toward that end.
We are a monastic people! We’re not fooling around! We cannot afford ourselves the luxury, if it can be called that, of starting and never finishing. The goal, for us, every day of every year, is Christ.
I love today’s photo … not especially New Year-ish, but it speaks volumes to us. Eight maidens, one cow. We are all after the milk and honey that is ours in our Lord, here in this monastery of the heart.
photo credit, FrodoBabbs