January 18, 2011

We are back to ordinary time. It is in the ordinary that we can experience the extraordinary. We had a dialogue on our practice of enclosure last week. Our enclosure limits our exits from the monastery to what is necessary, for example going out to the doctor or grocery shopping. Enclosure also limits what comes inside our enclosure — namely the media. I have found that when the senses are not overstimulated, overburdened with a lot of noise and visual distractions, what is naturally around us comes more alive, more extraordinary. At this time of year I become acutely aware of the lengthening days. It is subtle but you can see it and feel it as January progresses. With that comes a growing sense of hope for new life, for growth. Several years ago I went home for my mother's funeral. During this time and the years preceding I rarely went out of the monastery. I had gone into a grocery store with my brother to buy food for supper and found all the sights and sounds of the store overwhelming. I basically said to my brother "get me out of here!" I found it all too much. I guess the old adage less is more is operable here. Limiting allows what is there to be noticed more, appreciated more. Enclosure limits but it also frees.

Sister Maggie