Joy is Not Made to be a Crumb

Yes, we are in quarantine here at the monastery, with positive cases. (You can read the statement from our prioress on the front page of our website.)
Many are pitching in to keep things going (and keep stomachs filled). Needless to say, this is a unique time for us. Certainly it is a unique time for someone discerning a commitment to this life and this community. In my lesser moments, I get down and anxious, but in my better moments, I recall the parts of the Rule of Benedict that should underlie our behavior and actions during such a vulnerable time.
Good Zeal (Chapter 72) is essential always, but in a new light, right now.

Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life. This, then, is the good zeal which members must foster with fervent love: “They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Romans 12:10),” supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another. No one is to pursue what she judges better for herself, but instead, what she judges better for someone else. Among themselves they show the pure love of sisters; to God, reverent love; to their prioress, unfeigned and humble love. Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life.

For me to try to live with good zeal, I try to focus on joy and gratitude. Spotting a rose in winter helped me this morning as I went for my walk.

And there’s always Mary Oliver’s poetry. (Titled Don’t Hesitate)

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,

don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.
And this funny meme that my friend sent me, gives me a good laugh—laughter being another “essential” during this time. (Source unknown)
I hope it gives you a smile, too.
Let us walk in the holy presence.