A month or so ago I went out to a monastery in Massachusetts to spend the day. I’ll often take a day away like that a few times a month. I can get away from all the distractions – no computer, no email, no cell phone. I also put down all the labor I am doing for the Lord, laboring for souls, for the Church. There is no work, no ministries, no church projects, no responsibilities. Just being with the Lord and recollecting. Total silence.
So anyway, when I got there, I entered the lobby and pushed the button to ring the guestmaster, Fr. Richard. When he came, we exchanged greetings and caught up on what was going on with each other. When we were done, he asked, “So, you need a room?” “Yeah, if you have one, just for the day – I’ll leave this evening.” “Yeah, sure, let’s see … I can put you in room 5.” “Great.”
So, I turned away to take something out of my backpack, and when I turned back around, I saw him fishing through a drawer. He pulled out a pile of name cards, you know, the type you can slide into a holder on an office door. He sifted through a little bit and pulled out one with my name on it: “Jerome”
I thought, “They actually have my name written down. They have a place for me.” I was so happy because my name is written in the place I go to be alone with God.
See, with all the activities going on in the Church, the tending to hearts and the projects and the great things that the Lord is doing, I can get caught up in the works, in what is – or isn’t – happening. I can start to think that I have a home in the activity, and forget what is really important. But there’s only one place where my name is written and hidden away.
It’s in the special place where I go to put everything down and be alone with the Lord.
When the Lord sent out seventy disciples to preach and prepare the way for Him, they came back excited about all the things they saw and experienced, and especially that they had authority over evil and were able to do great works. They were so excited. But the Lord recognized that they could get caught up in the excitement and forget the most important thing:
“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10:20)
Our joy, our reward is not in the works we can do when we are with God in our vocation. It is that we are His. That we have an intimate and private and unique place with Him away from everything else.
That our names are written in heaven.