Sunday, July 19, 2009

Conversification

It’s one thing to profess that I am something. It’s altogether another thing to become and to be that something that I profess to be.

I admit a certain infatuation that bloomed when I first began to explore monastic expressions of the Christian faith. There was an attraction, a drawing of sorts, something that made a lot of sense to me. Monastic spirituality offered, and still offers, a stable spiritual climate in a world filled with all the changing currents and turbulence generated by centuries of divisive denominational development.

Exploration tends to be a romantic thing, an inviting thing. It is also a very purposeful thing whose invitational challenge is often too great a hurdle to surmount for most people in our modern age of preferential ease and convenience. As vast and varied as this exploration’s field may be, its focal point is very small and refined. It’s not somewhere “out there at some point in time.” It’s always “right here and right now,” another shiny facet of its challenging multi-dimension.

It’s easy for infatuation to fade away like yesterday’s sunset. Unless efforts at self-abandonment are taken to deepen infatuation into maturing love, the immediate thrills of infatuation will soon become like memories of other romances and endeavors that didn’t work out. Though I have sure and worthy guides, I am largely responsible for my own “labor of obedience.”[1]

My own conversion, something that develops in my own interior regions before it surfaces in exterior realms, must be given priority and right of way lest it become sidelined, or worse, altogether derailed.

“More than mere sentiment urges the preservation of the terminology converse brothers, the more happily chosen term of a former age, in preference to today’s use of the more prosaic lay brothers. Conversi described those who had turned to God. Every Benedictine worthy of the name has done so.”[2]

[1] RB Prologue 2
[2] Bernard Sause, OSB, The School Of The Lord’s Service, p. 116, 1947