Thursday, January 21, 2010

"A Right to Be Merry", by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C

This is a book review I wrote today for the review column in The Latin Mass (the one on the last page).

Overflowing with joy, "A Right to Be Merry" gives us an insider’s view of life in a cloistered Poor Clare convent. In the joyful and beauty-loving spirit of the founders, St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, the author relates humorous incidents, such as the nun who had to practice screaming to rehearse for a play on the life of St. Clare (a vow of silence renders you out of practice when it comes to screaming!), and the humble beauties of an enclosed life: for instance, the way the liturgical year is intimately woven through every aspect of the day, right down to the food they eat.

But most of all, she relates to us the beauties of Lady Poverty and the joy that comes from traveling through this world with no material possessions; the wonder and beauty of belonging entirely to God and serving Him alone; the epic grandeur of the Divine Office; the sweet and wondrous freedom that comes from the vow of holy obedience; and the joy and inspiration the Poor Clares receive as a legacy from their holy founders. Their life of silence and prayer, bound by vows, framed with the Divine Office, and given meaning and purpose by the Holy Mass, is one of joy. The beauty of the contemplative vocation lies in the fact that they are able to serve God with the full attention of their minds and souls, and to bring Him the world, with all its pain and suffering, that He might cover it with His Love.

In this beautiful and inspiring book, we see that the contemplatives are necessary for the life of every person. These spouses of Christ are mothers to the whole world, and with the poet, they cry, “O world, I cannot hold you close enough!”. And because of this, they are called to leave everything that they may gain everything for themselves and everyone whom their prayers and sacrifices touch. To quote Mother Mary Francis, “Hidden away from the glare noise of worldly living, we are enclosed in the womb of holy Church. I walk down the cloisters, and my heart moves to a single tune: Lord, it is good, so good to be here!”

I love this book - it's very inspiring, and I've read it probably half-a-dozen times since the day I discovered it at our old church's library when I was 9 years old.

Let me warn you - if you read it, you're probably going to want very badly to join a convent as soon as possible! :)

No comments: