There is simply nothing more holy than being who you are where you are! 2nd Sunday Lent 2014

2nd Sunday Lent 16 MAR 2014

 

Isn’t that interesting:  “Do not tell anyone about this…”

 

In the spring of 1981, I had the distinct honor to spend a weekend in Bardstown, KY….

 

I know…folks might be saying….oh wow…I have always wanted to spend a weekend in BardstownKY….  its been on my bucket list for years…..

 

Actually…it might be….because it is the home of Gethsemane Monastery and Abbey, the home of one of the most influential monastic writers of the 20th Century…Thomas Merton.

 

On retreat at that sacred spot, walking the grounds where he walked…speaking briefly with a few of the monks who actually knew him was truly remarkable….

 

One afternoon, I was strolling the grounds, just walking and praying…I was struggling internally with how God was calling me…and to what…I was in the seminary…I thought I was being called to serve as a Priest, but the whole issue of being in an intimate relationship with some other person, the tug of family and friends…I was just torn up, hurting, puzzled, perplexed, angry at God that one would seemingly have to give up everything just to serve…it did not make sense…

 

Gethsemane is a cloistered monastery….silence is the rule, speaking is extremely limited to Spiritual Direction and Prayer. 

 

There was small bench….just about 10 yards from Thomas Merton’s hermitage…I sat down…

 

After a few minutes….a single monk…dressed in his blue jeans and blue work shirt…evidently coming in from one of the fields or little work stations scattered throughout the property…I knodded in silence acknowledging him and smiling…fully expecting him to walk past back down to the monestary….when all of a sudden he sat down next to me on the  bench…for several minutes we sat…saying nothing and just looking at the ground and Mertons hermitage…I thought he was just resting…and he put his hand on my shoulder and I immediately looked at him….with the kindest smile and warmest heart he said:

 

There is simply nothing more holy than being who you are where you are!

 

He then stood up, knodded and walked away….I don’t know his name…on the other side of eternity I hope to meet him again…but for me it was a transfiguration experience…

 

There is simply nothing more holy than being who you are where you are!

 

No wonder Jesus told them not to tell anyone…..he knew we would screw it up!

Being transfigured for most of us has nothing to do with flashing light and white garments, thunderous voices or even mountian tops….

 

For most of us transfigurative experiences look alot more like a simple but profound smile, a hug, a card, a tear or a moment of silence. 

 

You see I believe Jesus knew that as humans we’d spend our lives searching for and running after experiences that were duplicate of his….

 

But in our searching for those types of encounters we end up potentially missing the ones that happen all the time….

 

Had I not written the words of that nameless monk down in a journal…I may have well forgotten them…and it was only the other day in a frantic search for another book that I opened it and saw them again….how foolish I was to have missed the profundity of it all.

 

My friends if you think of nothing else this week, I’d like to invite you to contemplate the gift that each and every one of us is for the world…..and remember…

 

There is simply nothing more holy than being who you are where you are!

  

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