February 7, 2011

Winter is a very good time for study in the monastery. You don't have the pull of the outside as you do in the other seasons. When a blizzard is going on you don't feel like going out for a long walk and you can't garden. You do feel like keeping warm and sitting with a good book or with scripture. We normally schedule a class for February because of this. This week we will have a class on the parables of Jesus given by a New Testament scripture scholar. We are all looking forward to it as we have a very good teacher for it. One might ask what more could one learn about the parables that would take a whole week of classes. Well there might not be anything "new" but scripture is always new full of new insights of ways to guiding my life to follow the Lord more closely.

I was teaching a novitiate class a few days ago. The class is on nepsis, a quieting of the heart. We focus on the afflicted thoughts and how to deal with them so that they don't become passions. That day we were talking about anger. I've given this class several times before. Each time I give the class it renews my fervor for guarding my heart and watching my thoughts. I tell the novices that they will hear this material many, many times over the course of their monastic life. The amazing thing is that it will always feel new, true and motivating. Novitiate classes are called "repetitions" and rightly so. We need the truth repeated over and over again to help us "get it" and not just for the novices. It is constant contact with the Word and with truth that enables us to live our vow of conversion of life. The more we hear the more we desire to grow in holiness and to learn how to become more like Christ.

Sister Maggie