When the young postulant enters Regina Laudis Abbey, she may be anxious about all the rules and regulations, but not as we might expect. She only hopes she will learn to love them, and without delay.
We will remind ourselves continually here in our own monastery that the parameters (the rules) we set for ourselves are our own critical choices, the handrails along the path on which we have set out in pursuit of our Lord. Chances are, we will have to bring that fact to the fore again and again.
Notice how the very use of the word “rules” has been rendered legalistic and thus, evil. There are many words to choose from, but we must discipline our lives in order to enjoy them.
One of the most persistent deceptions coming from the prince of the power of air is that we aren’t really here in the first place, here in this place of worship, in this battle, in training. We aren’t really fasting today. Maybe we will start tomorrow, even though we started yesterday. We don’t really need to do according to the desires of our hearts, because we don’t really desire them, we only thought we did. We call to mind the mental persuasions of Obi-Wan Kenobi in that first Star Wars movie. “You don’t need to see his identification” (“We don’t need to see his identification.”) “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” (“These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”) “He can go about his business.” (“You can go on about your business.”) “Move along.” (“Move along … move along.”)
No one has forced us into a more devoted devotional life; in fact, many of our acquaintance might think it’s all a little unnecessary. This is our own choice, and each will fashion her own pursuit, but we will be ready when temptation comes, when sorrow falls, when promotion arrives, when obedience is required. We might agree that the buffeting of our flesh would be superfluous, if only our sinful, selfish, slouchy flesh would take a nap. Our flesh says, “What’s in all this for me?” and it has a point … there’s nothing in it for our lusts and greed.
But here in Cor Unum Abbey, even a sleeping flesh wouldn’t stop us from making this upward climb. First of all, we are actively crucifying our flesh; it’s a sleeping dog (distempered) that we won’t let lie. Its enmity to the Spirit does not get to say, to prevail, or to live. Secondly, and over-archingly, Jesus Christ is worth and more than worth and gloriously worth the pursuit of love. We love Him … and we will have Him … because He first loved us. To have Him is to be conformed into His image, because He said so, and because He says we may. So we will.
Imagine a man of power and princely life offering his heart and hand to a maiden who responded by taking only the castle and the cask of jewels. Or don’t imagine that; it’s unimaginable for us. (“Perhaps it was, yesterday … or maybe you were dreaming. Move along … move along.”)
The great thing about trudging is that one foot keeps falling in front of the other. We don’t stand well on one foot, and the other does swing forward and fall a few inches closer to our destination. We greet our Lord in the morning, before we greet our day, our frustrations, our fears, our fantasies of how things should look. We worship Him, we seek Him in His own Word, we pray according to the issues of His own heart. We face our day for the sake of His kingdom and His will on earth and in us. It works, one footfall at a time.
With our apologies to Obi-Wan, these ARE the droids we’re looking for.
Star Wars Droid Mailbox