Editor’s Note:  Sr. Meg Earsley, a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration and Overseas Missioner in formation, reflects on what it means to see the world as her cloister.


 “…with a gesture, [the brothers] showed [Lady Poverty] the extent of the horizon and said to her: ‘Lady, this is our cloister.’” (Boff, Francis of Assisi, Page 90)

When Victor included this in his prayer one morning during our Overseas Lay Mission formation, I envisioned being at the top-most point in Bolivia and seeing the expansive forest of trees, saying “This is my cloister.” What interesting imagery! It was as if I was viewing all of the world, everywhere, as my cloister. Is all the world really my cloister? The idea can be a bit overwhelming!

But my heart understands that it is true. My heart recognizes God’s deep, deep love for all that has been created. Jesus proclaimed this love on the cross for the saving of all the world (Luke 3:6). Jesus’ love for me turned my heart into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). And so, although I am such a small part of all of creation, I can be big enough to understand that the whole world is loved by God. I seek to know God by seeing the world as God does. All the world is loved by God, the creator, and I wish to make a home there in the midst of God’s love. 

A cloister is a home. Yes, the whole world is my home. An itinerant is not someone with NO home, rather she is someone to which everywhere is a home. Whether I am in a big city or walking through a jungle, I am still home.

A cloister is also a place of worship and prayer. So, my worship and prayer do not belong only in the church building or in the chapel, but in the whole world – everywhere and in each place. I bring my prayer in my wonder of all, and I worship in my loving embrace of all.

 

A cloister is also a place of community. Yes, that too! And so, the whole world is my community. Everyone, everywhere is a member of my community. All people and all of God’s created things. We are family.

As I prepare for my time in Bolivia, I do not go away alone. I come home to my community, to my family, to my “cloister.”

Wow! What a gift to see the world as my cloister. I understand and feel a sense of ‘fratelli’ (siblinghood) with those early Franciscans. I am always home. I am always near God. I am always with my family, my community. And of course, this makes total sense because we all, every created thing, are loved by God and belong to God. 

Reflection: Today, try to envision the world as your own “cloister.”