Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Holy Dis-Ease

There is a large gulf of difference lying between contentment with the here and now and the recognition of it. Both contentment and recognition involve degrees of acceptance, however different their respective fruit.

Recognition, and its developing fruit, pierces the lie inherent at the heart of so much of the insanity that fills the world. It also strikes a hard, punishing blow at the world inside my interior dimensions where my own corrupting imperfections originate.[1] It’s only as I begin recognizing and grappling with the workings within this personal dimension that I am able to more clearly distinguish their effects in the world outside of and around me.

Commenting on “the desire of advancing to eternal life urgeth them,” Father Sause wrote,

“For the monk, as for the ordinary follower of Christ, there is no progress that does not tend toward an everlasting union with Christ. The whole plan of monasticism is as simple as that, for it is the perfection of the formation of solid and true Christians.

It is only at death, of course, that the monk’s supernatural life, life in Christ, is to receive its perfection. But in his sojourn on earth it is already part of his very being. To be true to his calling he lives for Christ. He constantly seeks to express that union by works of love, performed out of a desire for an increasing intensity of union. Zeal, motives, action all bespeak a spiritual restlessness.

The monk who is content with the here and now is a contradiction in terms. He has failed to grasp St. Benedict’s plan.”[2]

It seems rather obvious that the world outside the monk, or garnering the comforts, luxuries, and gratifications of the world, is not the monk’s driving life-motivation. The way of the world, at least in principle, is left behind, traded for the higher calling represented in the monastic vows. The monk’s desire becomes a lifelong daily adventure in furthering an ever deepening union with Christ, a course in life that, when conscientiously persued, is never completed inside or, more especially, outside the monastic enclosure.

[1] Matthew 15:19
[2] Rev. Bernard A. Sause, O.S.B., The School of the Lord’s Service, p. 160