Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wearing the Habit

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside, CA

Habit of a Mission Padre, Founder's Room of Mission Museum

I've been pondering the concept of habits lately, especially after our field trip to the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia on Friday where we viewed the wool habit above, worn in the California desert heat, and as I help our youngest to write his required Mission Report for his California History class at our co-op.

With the arrival of the new year, many of us weigh the habits of our lives and attempt to rid ourselves of poor and/or unhealthy habits and add new, healthy habits to take their place. Some of our new habits may last a few weeks, perhaps a few months, into the new year; others, we pray, will become lifetime habits, habits that we wear always.

The wise Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience posted an incredibly thought-provoking challenge today. I encourage you to read it and ponder it in your hearts today, if you haven't seen it already: The Habits That Make All Others Possible.

I have joined Ann in memorizing Colossians this year. Scripture memorizing is definitely not a strength of mine. My poor brain, dazed and hazy with the pain medications I take each day in order to function, is incredibly sieve-like: words especially slip through my grasp, and I grope through the recesses of my mind, trying to find a certain word or phrase in the dark, stumbling and stuttering over the wrong ones often. Too often. It's embarrassing.

In my own lacking brain power, I know full well that I cannot possibly memorize this short book of Scripture in a year. So, I trust and I pray, whispering under my breath the promise from Philippians, "I can all things through Christ who strengthens me." He can help to etch His Word into my beleaguered brain, even my poor brain with synapses misfiring, balance awry, and limbs refusing their usual functions.

So this morning as I picked up stray items before starting our home school day, I clutched my little Week One card, printed on thin copy paper (yes, I'm starting a week late and hope to do Weeks One and Two this week) and tried to absorb Word into brain:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To God's holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
And I felt His Word beginning to settle into brain cells as He makes Himself at home my mind. And in my heart. And in my soul....

Perhaps this habit, which Ann refers to as a "one-piece life," will nestle in and inhabit me. I pray it does. (And if you haven't followed this link, do so--I nearly wept with the profundity and truth it reveals....)

I want to be a seer of the Holy in my life, not be a mere picker and eater of blackberries. (If this makes no sense, then you have to read Ann's blog post today to understand.) I desire to worship Christ in the simple, every day occurrences.

And sometimes the best way to see the sacred in the mundane is through the lens of a camera, hence my other habit for this year: a return to The 365 Project, blogging a photo a day with other kindred spirits.

Today I jotted three quotations from Ann's post into my Quotation Journal, filled with nearly a decade of collected gems of thought. But the one that sent chills spilling down my neck and caused breath to catch and holiness to glimmer is this quotation from one of my favorite Christian writers:

"Our sanctification does not depend as much on changing our activities as it does on doing them for God rather than for ourselves."
--Brother Lawrence
In a way, this quote brings me back to the Collect for this week from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, one that I copied onto a 3x5 card and taped to my desk lamp Sunday evening after reading Father Acker's sermon:

"...Grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same...."
As Ann so often reminds us, there is no sacred and secular: there is only the sacred, if we perceive and know it as such. Everything calls us to worship: phoning a friend, sending an e-mail, feeding the dog, holding a child, hauling in firewood, calling kids in to dinner, plumping a pillow.

All is holy if we but slow down, ponder, and perceive it as such.

And that's a habit I pray to develop further this coming year as well.

Wearing the habit alongside you,

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin