21 June 2015

Chosen, Custody of the Eyes

There have been times I and other diocesan hermits have been criticized by readers for having blogs, for making our public professions at parish Masses instead of in smaller unattended venues, for allowing others to see pictures of us or our hermitages, for identifying ourselves with titles or post-nomial initials, and so forth. The criticisms have sometimes been leveled that we are not sufficiently humble or respectful of the Catechism description of our lives as hidden. I have argued that this is a public vocation with public rights and obligations, among which are witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our solitary hiddenness. In so doing I have pointed out the tension that thus exists in living an essentially hidden life which is contemplative, rooted in stricter separation from the world, and also has a significant public (in the canonical sense of the word) and prophetic dimension.

There is a new film being made about the Poor Clare Colletines of Corpus Christi Monastery in Rockford, Illinois. The film,  comprised of a series of video reflections made by a novice discerning the life, is entitled, Chosen, Custody of the Eyes and though I recommend folks consider checking out and contributing to the project (more about that below) it was the short clip included below from Mother Abbess which most struck me. Here Mother explains why the Poor Clare Colletines agreed to participate in this project. She speaks very precisely of living a public vocation in the Church though in a hidden life! Although Mother does not explicitly say this is one of the ways the Holy spirit is at work in the Church which requires witness in the midst of one's hiddenness. I believe it is implicit in the whole of this brief clip.

Similarly, I very much appreciated the distinction Mother draws between a project which is "about us" (and thus, prohibited) and one which is about their life itself, the life they live in the name of the Church. The distinction is not absolute --- one needs to be seen and heard to some extent in order to point beyond oneself to the life itself --- but this is indeed the aim, viz, to be known and heard only for the sake of the vocation, the life itself, and especially for the sake of the God who is glorified in our lives. That is true of this film and it is similarly true of this blog. Thus, I am gratified on a number of levels that Mother consented to the making of this film  and most especially to speaking directly about the "whys" of this decision.

Folks interested in funding this film should check out the following link: Chosen, Custody of the Eyes. There are some great perks being offered as incentives for very reasonable contributions indeed (I am going to contribute myself)!