In the Rule of Saint Benedict (545 A.D.), the guidebook for the monastic life, he writes in Chapter 67 … “Brothers sent on a journey will ask the abbot and community to pray for them. All absent brothers should always be remembered at the closing of prayer of the Work of God.”
Tomorrow my two week sojourn here at Saint Gregory Palamas will come to its conclusion. And when I depart this Orthodox monastery, I will share in one more ritual … the act of Crossing the Threshold. The abbot will slowly open the exterior door of the monastery and the light will flood in through the door. The Brothers will form two lines, one on the right and one on the left. They will bow in prayer and the Abbot will a blessing for my journey. As I then slowly walk through the line placing my hand on each monk’s head, each monk will whisper, “As the Lord goes with you, so do my prayers.” And as I cross the threshold, the Brothers return to their labors, the Abbot will close the door, and I will journey on … but before I walk away, I will leave at the door, a personal something from life for them to care for on my behalf (I have chosen to leave behind my fountain pen) until that day when I do return. And when I return, once again, I will Cross the Threshold.
Crossing the Threshold … it is a willingness that souls must do if they are to mature in Christ and if they are to fulfill their life’s mission. It takes courage. It takes faith. It takes the risk of loss and the grieving that comes with loss. It takes a profound confidence that the Lord is waiting for you … beyond the threshold. But … we are often reluctant to cross that threshold, that threshold that separates the world we’ve come to know and the world we’ve yet to know – though by way of God’s wise Providence, a world we still need to know.
Crossing the Threshold … we leave the comfort of mother’s womb and cross over crying into the world that, at first, seems not quite so safe and warm. Crossing the Threshold … we venture out through front door into big, wide world of wonderful discoveries but also one of painful scrapes and hurtful thorns. Crossing the Threshold … we walk through the schoolhouse door and an apprenticeship in human endeavor begins, five days a week, nine months a year, thirteen years and more, we make a pilgrimage into knowledge. Crossing the Threshold … first dates, first break-ups, first victories, first defeats, first time we ride off in the car … Crossing the Threshold … first day at boot camp, first day at college, first day on the job, first day of the honeymoon … Crossing the Threshold … first child is born, first home is purchased, the old job is left and the new job is taken… Crossing the Threshold … first commitment to Christ, old life left behind, new life taken on, old ways cast off, new ways embraced, confessions made, changes accomplished, a lifetime of being re-born in so many ways … Crossing the Threshold … empty nest, retirement, one more venture, maybe two, and then … we journey on, Crossing the Threshold one more time.
— For the latest installment of the ongoing story, The Mystic Realms of Shadow Fox, just click … https://greyfriarsabbey.wordpress.com/the-mystic-reams-of-shadow-fox/ … The installments are separated by ********* with the latest being at the end (obviously).