The vow of Stability

I read about the Benedictine monastic vow of stability this week. Yes, the ones who vow this are committed to one piece of geography for the rest of their lives – but the vow is really about internal spiritual space which leads to stability of heart. Nouwen writes of how he wishes he would live: “Wherever I am, in a hotel, in a train, plane, or airport, I would not feel irritated, restless, and desirous of being somewhere else or doing something else. I would know that here and now is what counts and is important because it is God himself who wants me at this time in this place” (Genessee diary). Then this quote by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “…if you do not find Him here it is useless to go and search for Him elsewhere because it is not Him who is absent from us, it is we who are absent from Him…” (Seeing God, 65)

In meditating on this I have found it useful to accept this new phase of life with a dog – it sounds so silly and simple when I speak of it – but my “time” with Jesus in abiding looks and feels different now – I sometimes long for the leisure of uninterrupted time, but it is often interrupted. I am receiving this as neither good nor bad and believing that God is present in this newness as I adjust to it. He seems to be giving me more grace than I give myself – which is not uncommon!

There is an essence of "stability" that our entire nation is longing for - even with mantras for "change" it is change so that we can become more stable. In this election I fear much, and yet this vow of stability idea reminds me that regardless of whether (to quote my pastor) "an elephant or donkey is in a house that is white" I must believe that God is everywhere and still God. He is my stability.

Paula GambleComment