Monday, May 3, 2010


Did you ever see a woman in a stylish dress or a man in a nice suit and tie or tuxedo and say, "Wow you look terrific!"? They look terrific because they have learned how to fit into their clothes. I don't mean fit in terms of size. I mean fit in terms of being comfortable in the outfit. When I look at someone who gets married right out of college, the bride/bridesmaids don't really look like they "fit" into their dresses, and the guys look more than awkward in their tuxedos. Nobody seems to move very well in their clothes. In college people simply wear jeans and tee shirts, and jogging shoes.

I think that learning to wear clothes is just part of the growing up process. When I was ordained a priest, I did not feel comfortable in my priest vestments or black suit. Suddenly, I am ordained, but it takes time to grow into the "priesthood" and clothes are a metaphor for that. When I worked in the business world, I never felt comfortable in a suit and tie. My Dad did. He belonged in the business world. He was comfortable there. I was not.

Some people simply do not see themselves in the world of glamour or dress up or business wear. They tend toward clothes in which they feel comfortable. Our comfort clothes will tell us something about who we are and who we are not. To "dress up" for me would be to get out of my comfort zone. I do it when it is appropriate for the occasion, but I feel like I am an actor in a play. When my Dad "dressed up", he was at home in his clothes.

I think that prayer comes in various styles. Some people are at home in "getting all dressed up" and we call this high liturgy. It has lots of pomp and circumstance. In those settings I feel like an actor in a play. I am more comfortable in my monastery where we wear jeans and flannel shirts most of the day, and our liturgies are very simple. I prefer prayer settings of silence and solitude. I don't need to so much to stare at the tabernacle, as to close my eyes and look at no image at all. In this prayer setting we even use terminology such as, "Strip yourself of ego," and "Become naked before God." When you are glamorous, everybody notices you. In contemplative prayer you become anonymous. You disappear into the Divine. It is my style.

1 comment:

  1. This is a lovely post. I also like the simplicity of the monastery masses, probably because it fits my image of Jesus as a simple man, with a simple message: love one another.