Gather Round a Treasure: ‘Go to your cell and your cell will teach you everything’ – Part Two

Third: we embrace a commitment to read scripture. The Rule says the Scriptures are our memory‐book and they remind us of God’s dealings with his world. We are called to do this ‐ even when we don’t understand what we’re reading, and even if we don’t like reading!

Fourth: we learn from the wisdom of the people of God, passed down through the generations. For Northumbria Community, this has been the Johannine tradition, expressed through:

  • The Desert Fathers
  • Irish monasticism
  • The Celtic Saints
  • The New Monastic movement, of which we are a part.
    We draw from these traditions in our liturgies and prayers, which help us to remember and express our particular vocation.

Fifth: we need to be determined to discern what for us brings blessing and turns our heart toward God – and what does not. Then we need to choose these things. “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” Deut 30:19‐20

Sixth: we need to find companions for the journey.
The landscape of the heart is not always easy to navigate. So it can be helpful to find others who can help us to steer our way through it.

We can find such companions in the way of soulfriends, or spiritual directors. Maybe for us we find companionship in particular authors – Merton, Nouwen, John of the Cross. The Desert Fathers, and the Irish monasteries which grew out of them, made much of this, because they understood the nature of distorted passions – logosmoi – our ‘monsters’ which would derail us, were they not recognised and checked. The life of Jesus is peppered with references to this rhythm of retreat and engagement, solitude and action, ebb and flow.

He knew that solitude – the cell – was the place where he could be and become who he truly was, as he spent time with the Father.

How much more so for us… ‘Go to your cell, and your cell will teach you everything’

This article first appeared in Caim 45, in Summer 2008

Find Part One of this article HERE

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