During these days of packing and moving, my life has felt like a cubist painting, full of odd angles and overlapping blocks of color and disjointed joints that somehow manage to form a coherent whole. One minute I am hanging shower curtains with Sr. Ursula and then I am hauling boxes with Sr. Michelle and then helping Sr. Emilie pack and then helping Sr. Margaret Mary unpack and then climbing ladders to dust upper cabinets and then ironing sacristy linens and then serving breakfast to a retreat group and on and on and on. These seemingly random blocks of activity with varying combinations of Sisters make the day resemble something only Picasso could concoct. But then again, maybe it’s more like the pointillism of Seurat or Pissarro with innumerable, individual dots of color coalescing to somehow form a recognizable, coherent image.
As I sat in prayer this morning, breathing the deep silence that lies within and beyond activity and form, I realized that these days are neither cubist nor pointillist nor any other description of color and image. Rather, the various fragments of my day are like bread that is broken, wine that is poured, my life fractured into innumerable, individual acts of work and prayer that are somehow gathered into a single image: a Benedictine Sister seeking to serve God and her community with a full and grateful heart.
In one sense, my labor and activity, my stillness and rest, are an experience and expression of brokenness. Yet the fragments lead me to the fullness and wholeness of life in Christ as my fractured, fragmented life is gathered up as an offering to Him who was broken for us. My work thus becomes for me a kind of icon, an image that leads me beyond the image itself to the One who dwells not in color or form, but in inexpressible light, “the image of the invisible God.” (Col. 1:15)