We might publish a Cor Unum pamphlet describing all the great benefits of a monastic vocation, “without leaving home!” – but you wouldn’t believe us. Scarcely can we believe how far we’ve come on a shoestring, not of money but of time. We must all have had parents who read to us the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare, because we have stayed around long enough to see that “slow and steady” does, indeed, win the race.
Nevertheless, one of us does refer to the trek up this path (with handrails) as “trudging,” and she is spot on, but for those hours when the Lord Himself shows up and keeps us company along the way. Some of us are beginning to see through the mist that He is at hand always, but He is so inexplicably unobtrusive! Still, there is a touching of the hem of His sleeve that makes Him turn and smile and stay near.
Here is our first abbatial practice. That is one of those whimsical terms that are so precise for us. Our hearts are the Lord’s cloister, the Abbey where we dwell with Him, according to His invitation and promises, and in this place we make plans and settle upon choices that will accomplish the settling of our souls into His nearness. As we often say, for those who have found another way, a more expedient way, we wish we knew it, but for us, we have given over waiting for life or death or tragedy or brilliant inspiration to take us where we need to go. Instead, we trudge.
In the morning, when first you open your eyes, give this a try. Begin to say in your heart, and aloud if your circumstances permit, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Yes, say it! Proclaim, “Heaven and earth are filled with Your glory!” Say it on the inside and say it on the outside, if you can. Say it, and keep repeating it as you walk down the hall and start the coffee-maker or put water on for your tea. Say it as you step outside to bring in the newspaper or step into the shower. I won’t suggest you say it as you power up your computer, because we make every attempt in Cor Unum to replace that first love with Another! Summon all the love you have for the Lord, and leave your computer cold and lifeless for those first, precious minutes of the day. Chances are it will spring into action much more readily than do our souls.
Say it, say it, and as best you can, don’t say anything else, even with your mind. All the impulses of the day will begin to howl, but put a nice big log on the fire of your devotion and give glory to God before you allow yourself all the self importance of the day. It will get its own, as we know so well, but first, we will minister to the Lord. Keep the glory of God rolling in your heart until you sit down with your Bible, and we will say for the first and not the last time, your life will begin to change.
You may, of course, choose another phrase (remember, each is the Superior of her own monastery,) but this one is special to us because these are the very words that are being spoken – shouted! – continually at the throne of God (Rev 4:8) These words usher in the atmosphere of heaven. I’ll tell you a story about them tomorrow. Cor Unum is a most practical cloister, so we will learn to write ourselves a little note in the evening if there is something we must do the next day, an early dental appointment or baked goods promised to a friend. With that, we won’t have to engage our Day-Runner brains; we can bring ourselves first and early to the Throne of Grace, where we belong, bringing our praises with us.
Try it, and let us hear your thoughts. We are a cyber cloister, and we love to hear about the wonders wrought in one another’s lives.
Julius Schorzman, wikipedia