Tuesday in the Octave of Easter at Mississippi Abbey
Hearing that Jesus was “Lord and Christ”, the Jewish people listening to Peter were “Cut to the heart.” They were baptized as followers of Jesus Christ. They changed what they believed and how they behaved, but most of all, being “cut to he heart”, they changed what they cared about. What one cares about guides how they live. That changed everything. What is it like being ‘cut to the heart”?
Each of us came to the monastery not because it was a neat idea, but because we felt called and the call was to our freedom…so it nagged at us and it somehow “cut to the heart.” No other way of living appealed to us; no other way was credible. Everything else –that had meant so much the day before- paled in comparison to a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.
So being cut to the heart meant a change in our sense of importance. What is most important to anyone is their end in life. Jesus was our end in life. With Him as our end, our One Thing, everything else got its importance from being ordered (or not) to Him. The issues we confronted in self were not moral issues; they were about preference. And because our ideas about our world and where we fit into it were subtle and settled, the power to change our sense of importance became an issue.
Jesus of Nazareth, as our end, was also our power. We didn’t accomplish our conversion of importance; we let it happen. We came here and did the monastic spiritual exercises: we did lectio, we chanted the Office, we wore the habit, and we carried out assignments.
At times something (or someone) about monastic life upset us. We knew we were free to leave. But then we realized it upset us because of what we cared about. We put up with certain things because we cared about our relationship to Jesus of Nazareth and the way we lived it and with whom we lived it. We found it made a difference; a BIG difference.
That’s what it’s like when a person gets “cut to the heart.”