>Some of you may be thinking, Oh Lord, don’t tell me he’s doing it. Well, I am. I am in the middle of putting together section two, of a five section formation program, that will take two years to complete as an inquirer. Each section will take roughly three months (or three meetings) to get through, and five of those makes 25. Each section is based on one of the section of the Rule of Life that the LCG lives by.
The very first thing to establish is that we will not be using monastic terminology to describe ourselves. Why? I’m glad you asked, because we are not monks or nuns. Inquirer will fill the void left by novice. Committed will fill the void left by professed. If we are to be a community ourselves, then we need to be a community with our own identity beyond that of our monastic brothers and sisters. We will never be part of their community, nor should we want to be, because that is an entirely different part of the charism. Our charism is to carry the Cistercian values and spirituality into the world. Yes, we can be part of the family, but not part of the individual communities, at least and certainly, not at the Abbey of Gethsemani.
At Mississippi Abbey I understand the nuns and Lay Cistercians all have a picnic together, well that’s not the way things are at Gethsemani, and I am happy with that. Sure, I’d like to know some of the community better, but in Br. Cassian’s words, “almost everything is none of my business.”
So today I devote myself to finishing the section on Prayer, which has been very hard to do. At first I thought it would be like a hot knife through butter, but when you are tasked to lead people through an understanding of prayer, the task gets a wee bit more daunting. Still, it is a joy for me to do this. I love being a Lay Cistercian more than I loved all the bad habits which I cast off in order to be more truly the Christian I professed to be. Therefore, although unworthy of the task, I accept it knowing that God will provide that which I lack.
And now for poetry.
HOLY SONNETS. (yes I skipped one, because I don’t like anything disparaging Jews)
Why are we by all creatures waited on ?
Why do the prodigal elements supply
Life and food to me, being more pure than I,
Simpler and further from corruption ?
Why brook’st thou, ignorant horse, subjection ?
Why dost thou, bull and boar, so sillily
Dissemble weakness, and by one man’s stroke die,
Whose whole kind you might swallow and feed upon ?
Weaker I am, woe’s me, and worse than you ;
You have not sinn’d, nor need be timorous.
But wonder at a greater, for to us
Created nature doth these things subdue ;
But their Creator, whom sin, nor nature tied,
For us, His creatures, and His foes, hath died.