Saturday, July 17, 2010
St. Margaret's Day/Have you understood all this?
We have had a wonderful day here at the convent celebrating our patronal festival. Around 115 of us enjoyed worshipping together and listening to a funny and thought-provoking sermon from the Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton (of Geranium Farm E-Mo fame). The gospel for the day is Matthew 13:44-52. She focused her comments around a couple of lines that have always struck me: "‘Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’" And then she looked at us... "Yes?" Ri-i-i-i-i-ght... sure they/you/we/I do!
Perhaps I should not be so amused - but as she said, you never quite know what you are saying yes to at first! Think of marriage vows. How can you really know what it will be like? You can't. Nor with the religious life. Nor with anything else like that.
She also pointed out that you can't make happiness. It's a by-product. Like joy. Joy, she said, is a by-product of meaning. I have heard it said that joy is an infallible sign of the presence of God. This fits, of course. She talked about real sacrifice and real martyrdom as being possible only when you really do love life. God calls you to a place where there is the deepest meaning in what you are doing. And that is why the martyrs could sing.
Thinking, too, of Frederick Buechner here - that this place/activity/being to which God is calling you, that place of joy, is otherwise known as vocation.