THE MONASTERY OF THE HEART

THE MONASTERY OF THE HEART

Having enough, finding peace

The Monastery of The Heart – An Invitation to a Meaningful Life.  Once again Joan Chittister has written a book that must touch all who read it in some good way.  You can open it to any page and an ‘aHa’ moment pops out!

She says, “At some time, we suddenly recognize the fact that we have been feverishly expending energy — like walkers on a treadmill — going nowhere at all.  Or just as bad, we become aware that we have been living good lives morally, mentally, materially, but that in the center of ourselves we can see nothing of value to show for it.”

So what does that mean?  After we have lived a while maybe we have gotten in a rut of doing the same things over and over, or we are in such a routine, it just seems right to always ‘do it the way we’ve always done it.’  Or buying  just one more water color to paint the perfect picture.  Or one more Christmas gift to make that child (who already has a pile of presents) happy.

Chittister explains that in a Monastic life nuns live either in a monastery or in the regular world, but always with God and his teachings in their hearts.  In today’s world of all kinds of technology and political options it’s sometimes very hard to comprehend what is right.  The ancient Rules of Benedictine for living our daily lives well are features of the book.

Some of the clues to finding this peace are the 12 steps to humility.  One is to not value yourself so highly that you find yourself judging others.  What a relief to find out we can stop shopping for everything that might make us happy, stop judging others, stop putting ourselves on such a pedestal we can never be good enough.  We can look around at our beautiful world and interesting people etc. and feel we have enough.  This book is not a story or rules or boring ancient Biblical truisms.  It is NOW and YEA and a relief!

 

Reviewed by Rosemary Petersen

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