Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ecce eris tacens: Behold, thou shalt be silent.

SSM 2v

Dear Thomas,

I hope you are beginning to see the invitations that surround you like dust that appears in sunlight as it beams into a room. As you stood on that corner in Louisville, you recalled "..how strange it was to see people walking around as if they had something important to do, running after buses, reading the newspapers, lighting cigarettes." And then "How futile all their haste and anxiety seemed."

Then you say your "heart sank within me" and recognized that you too had been pretending to do something important all of your life.

What is it that you are discovering there? What have you gotten a glimpse of there? Do you really need further guidance about vocation?

I understand your fear about asking for advice, one 'last time' about a vocation as a monk. It is usually true that once one has been told that they are not called to ordained ministry, it is not likely that they will hear a different answer later on. Not a hard and fast rule, but the discernment process is reliable when it is done correctly AND when the desire is not so limited as to rule out other options.
In your case, your fear that you will be rejected one last time and the dream will be over has frozen you into inaction, despite the fact that you are clearly experiencing the pull to some sort of monastic life.

Have you considered that a 'no' to monastic life with the Franciscans is not a 'no' to the Trappists, or Carthusians?

And so, you ask my thoughts on your experience (Augustinian as you point out) in opening the Bible and randomly pointing to scripture to designate the answer to your question of what you should do. Is this hocus pocus? Is this the Holy Spirit?
"I looked, and the answer practically floored me. The words were 'Ecce eris tacens'. Behold, thou shalt be silent.'
Not silent about your question, as if God would direct you to stop bothering him.
Silent as in the opposite of haste and anxiety.
Silent as in the space between musical notes that make up a wind quartet.

Follow your heart Thomas. Ask the question again, but this time open the question up a bit. Recall the first principle of Ignatius. Is it really about which order to join because you are looking to escape from the anxiety and haste? Or is it about the community that will hold you and lighten the path to serve and reverence and praise this God who is poking you with silence, this tacens.

Do not tarry.

1 comment:

  1. Good advice. I read how many saints were rejected or shunned in their attempts to join the religious community they thought they should join, only to find their dwelling with God in a different one. The garden of religious communities in the Catholic church grows in spiritual profusion. There are ancient communities, new communities, big communities, solitaries, urban, rural, and a grand display of living styles and patterns. They exist all over the globe in nearly every country. The abbey where my wife and I are Benedictine oblates has several different nationalities of monks.