Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Through the Wardrobe Door

So, this afternoon, I took a step.

At about three pm, I stood in the bay window of my sitting room, with the late afternoon sunshine breaking out from under the clouds and pouring in, and sang the Office of None, partly in English (psalmody + Ants) and partly in Latin (everything else). And it was wonderful. A pause during which time stood still and the heavens opened and everything else in the universe (most particularly my little struggles) was rendered trivial. It lasted 20 minutes.

At about 6pm I intend to do it again with Vespers, though, since I hear the birds already singing good night, it will be dark by then.

The notation inside the front cover of my Anglican Breviary (not what it sounds like) reminded me that I had bought it and started using it in 2004. That was the same year I stopped working in the Campaign Life Coalition office in Toronto, and started working from home for LifeSite, while continuing to look after John Muggeridge in what was to be his last year of life in this world.

That was also the year I decided that there was no place to go to fulfill a religious vocation.

I was mistaken about that, but didn't know it at the time, and probably would have failed to hear or understand it had someone told me. After that, I settled for thinking that it was too late and I was too old, and too cranky and that the Church was too corrupt to make it worth the search.

After that my mother died, and I lost all interest, for a time, in the Faith and left Canada for England vowing (no, not really Vowing) to let the window close and all of that old desire to fall into the past like things left behind on the shore of a fast-moving river.

Then some other things happened, and some more things, and I had thought that it was all gone. Then cancer happened, and I spent two years wondering if this was Time's-Up. It turned out not to be, but All That grated away a good deal of the crust that had accumulated on me and was threatening to harden into an impenetrable shell. And the upshot now is that I learned that it is impossible to walk away.

How can one "walk away" from The Real? It is ever ready to barge in again. Like a Lion into a tiny house, at the least hint of an invitation, He will get His nose into any crack or window, and will shove until His shoulders are through, and then will pick the whole thing up and shake it apart until it is nothing but matchwood.

So, being now 47 and a recovering cancer patient with that sword of Damocles hanging over me (maybe it will fall, maybe it won't... who knows?) I began to ask again, How can I draw closer to You?

On Saturday afternoon, I composed a letter of inquiry to the Oblate Master at the monastery at Norcia. I have been assured, several times and by several different people, that they are not just tres, tres PLU, they are, in fact, us. And they have oblates. So... So today I sent the letter.

"I believe firmly in what I have come to call the ‘rat-in-a-maze’ school of vocational discernment: you can smell the cheese and you know it’s in here somewhere, so you just keep trying doors until you find one that opens. I have described my whole life as a long search. When I was a young child, raised on the Narnia stories, I remember quite consciously searching tirelessly for a door to a magical world.

The desire to find that Door has never left me, and I think I may now understand better what its real form is, and how not only to find it but to go through. As it has been pointed out to me, God does not want me to have “options”; He wants me to find the one thing I need to do and do it steadfastly."

I dunno. Maybe something new will happen now.



Anonymous said...

You're right about finding the one thing you need to do and sticking with it. Flitting from one thing to the next, which is my weakness, destroys the spiritual life.

Good on you. The monastery at Norcia is a good one.


Hermit Crab said...

Did John Muggeridge ever mention Hugh Kingsmill ? He was Malcolm Muggeridge's great friend, and a remarkable writer.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I knew that Kingsmill had been a friend of John's dad, but he didn't get talked about by the family.

Teresa B. said...

Happy to hear that you sent a letter to them!
Will pray for your intentions.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you, Hilary.

Louise L