These last four chapters provided a map for nurturing and stretching our interior life (I invite you to go back to my last post and continue to reflect on a summary of those four chapters as you are interested and able) -- once again, shaping for us a picture of the ideal for which we long and toward which we are ever moving with faith, with intentionality and with the realization that each and every one of us must be gentle and patient, with ourselves first of all and with all those who join us on the journey.
An interior life that is ever changing, ever creative, ever deepening creates the essential foundation for the monastic way of life -- nurturning us to create community where we are and in all the ways our own gifts allow. So, as we continue to unfold the monastic way, a possible map for this journey to God, remember that we will, each of us, “fall down and get up again” every day. Yet, in the process of moving together, we may just possibly find our way into the presence of God in our own heart and in the hearts of others who are on the way with us. This Monastery of the Heart, then, has the potential to make life fuller and richer and more meaningful if we allow it to happen.
So, this morning, we continue our journey into the next section, Our Community, by beginning Chapter 8: Mutuality.
Again, I invite you to begin reading the chapter through yourself at your own pace. Just a reminder that I have found there is some benefit to reading the chapter out loud -- you may want to try to do the same. It actually registers at a different level for me if I hear what I am reading -- helps me listen with the ear of my heart more fully.
When you stop to read parts of the chapter or to reflect upon it or to post an idea here for all of us, you may want to begin by standing quietly for three to five minutes, as you recall all the individuals with whom you have and are creating community. Silently gather them in your mind and heart and bow deeply in reverence for each individual you are recalling.
To begin our conversation about Chapter 8, let me ask you this:
What is your first reaction to this chapter? What words, images, and ideas were meaningful to you? Did it raise any questions? Did anything surprise you? Excite you? Concern you? Explain.
How does a Monastery of the Heart community differ from a more traditional form of community or from your own definition of community? How is it the same?
On the way with you -- and ever grateful for your loving hearts and care for one another -- Mary Ellen