Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Pearl of Great Price

From What the Religious Life Is and Is Not, by Sr. Heléna Marie of The Community of the Holy Spirit:
It is the ultimate form of surrender. One brings all that one is and all that one has to God in a gesture of complete giving.

It is a way of “coming to the desert”. Like the desert mothers and fathers of the early Christian era, joining a convent is a countercultural move away from mainstream culture and mores, to a radical lifestyle that flies in the face of societal values.

It is a way of saying that your life is now devoted to the One Thing (however you would define this; Jesus called it “the pearl of great price”).

It is a life centered in prayer; this basic orientation is one of the ways in which we are countercultural.

It is community, with all that that means: difficult people, the nitty-gritty of daily relationships, having to change when the impulse is not to change, and also the joys of relationships and corporate life.

It is a way of life designed to help one transcend the ego. Since the ego does not willingly go, it involved intense struggle. The religious life is itself a vehicle of radical transformation.

It is a form of service to God and the world. Through worship and our different forms of ministry, we seek to serve.

It is a combination of the ancient and the modern.

It is an evolving organism. In the fifty-plus years of our history, we have been constantly evolving. The Community of the Holy Spirit will always be changing, and one is best served knowing this before entering.

It is a place wherein one grows in the ability to love, and this is really the heart of the religious life.

It is a prophetic voice within the Church, calling the Church out of complacency and adherence to conventional wisdom and practice, and into a more challenging and radical living out of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

"The ego does not willingly go." I like that part.