Friday, September 16, 2005

Just wanna give a shout out to all those friends and non-friends out there in Discerning Land. Not that I wouldn't want to be your friends, but since if I don't know you, I'd hate to presume that you'd want me to be your friend. Of course, now that I've gone and insulted you like that by saying that you're not my friends, then you probably wouldn't want to be my friend anyway. So maybe I should just stop before I get in more trouble!

ANYway .....

I particularly want to send some warm-fuzzy-sock wishes to Susan Rose, who has a major step in her application process this weekend. (The warm-fuzzy-sock greetings are what I came up with for another friend who was having some cold feet issues.) And thus, on this momentous occasion, I decided to share what will be, I hope, a few words of inspiration and encouragement from The Rule of Our Holy Father Benedict.

From Chapter 58, The Procedure for Receiving Brothers (yeah, I know --- adapt pronouns as necessary):
Do not grant newcomers to the monastic life an easy entry, but, as the Apostle says, Test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1). Therefore, if someone comes and keeps knocking at the door, and if at the end of four or five days he has shown himself patient in bearing his harsh treatment and difficulty of entry, and has persisted in his request, then e should be allowed to enter and stay in the guest quarters for a few days. After that, he should live in the novitiate, where the novices study, eat and sleep. .... The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God and whether he shows eagerness for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials. The novice should be clearly told all the hardships and difficulties that will lead him to God.

OK, so maybe that was kind of mean (or at least not-so-nice-and-encouraging) .... although I remember when we were practicing for the Entrance to Novitiate ceremony, and the prioress at the time kept making a big deal over how her favorite line was the one where we (the soon-to-be novices) said that: "I am willing to be tested." Needless to say, that wasn't our favorite line!

But, fast-forward sixteen months or so. I've just made my first monastic profession, and at the reception I thank one of the sisters who has walked with me along this whole journey -- during the discernment process, the application freak-out moments, the postulancy-nunnery-transitional crises, all the little things that drove me batty, and everything else -- a woman I feel truly honored to call my friend. From my journal of the next day: I hugged her again (for the gazillionth time) and thanked her for everything the past three years. She thanked me for sticking with it, for staying in the struggle. As the hug broke, I said that I assume the struggle's not over. She kind of chuckled and said that it's a lifelong journey, then teared up a little: "But it's worth it."

And that's the thing. It's what I said while explaining the title of my blog. I thank this woman for her wisdom and guidance and encouragement to stick out the struggles .... and I thank Benedict for letting us know up front that it will have its tough moments.

Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.

I'm no expert, but in my short experience .... there have definitely been some narrow points.

But, at the same time ..... it's definitely been worth it.


Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...


What a gift, my friend. In addition to the warm fuzzy socks I now find on my feet.


9/16/2005 8:47 AM  

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