Thursday, March 22, 2007

Enclosure at Lent

There's a most moving post at Clare - Light on the Mountain, the blog of the Abbess of the Bethlehem Monastery of the Poor Clares at Barhamsville, Virginia.

What she has to say about blogging (or not, as the case may be) as an enclosed nun adds up, in fact, to a wonderfully concise summary of what enclosure is all about. Do go and read her last post while you can - it will only remain up for around 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, for those of you who miss the whole post (it would not be right to reproduce it in full here, since the Sister Abbess has decided it should only be up on her own blog for a while) here is the core of what she says about enclosure. It should find its way into a dictionary of spirituality somewhere, in my opinion...

Over the years, I have valued our enclosure as a means of eliminating the distractions that keep us from fulfilling our vocation to focus on serving God in worship and prayer for his people. I also value it for the message it gives to the world, saying that God has exclusive rights over the human being, that we have here no lasting city but are traveling to our true home in heaven, that we are more profoundly united to those we love in the heart of Christ than if we were physically close to them, and that grace is the true driving force of good, not external activism. But I was forgetting something important.

Enclosure is also our way of following Christ in his self-emptying. It is saying to the world in the words of the psalmist, “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give the glory”. We deny our selves, our ego, our desire to be seen, heard, admired in favor of a life “hidden with Christ in God”.

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