What do a 17th century poet and the Super Bowl have to do with one another? Each served as a leisure activity here at the monastery last night, the night of the big game. Several Sisters had an interest in the game – especially those from Louisiana – and we gathered over sandwiches and chips to cheer on the Saints. After a couple of quarters, I retired to do a bit of reading before bed – namely, some of John Donne’s poetry. Other Sisters were off doing other things – reading, crocheting, or perhaps taking an evening walk.
We are a diverse group. Some of us like football, some literature, some both. Some prefer to walk outdoors, and some prefer the treadmill. Some fawn over our monastery cat, and some are allergic. We have diverse interests, temperaments, and personalities. We live so closely together that the differences can sometimes seem heightened. Yet somehow the graces of monastic life cause our hearts to expand outward in love, embracing the other Sister in all her uniqueness.
No matter how we each spent our leisure time last night – whether cheering on the Saints, or reading “An Hymne to the Saints…” we each woke up this morning, took our places in the monastic choir, and chanted in unison our first words of the day: “O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.” Our singleness of heart in the search for God calls us to a deep unity of purpose that both transcends and embraces our individual differences.
(By the way, I think we were of one voice last night in saying “Geaux Saints!” Or as John Donne would say, “Goe Saints!”)