I was a rather pathetic child, kind of a loner. I hung out with a nun during recess; fondling her jumbo rosary, and turning the thick white belt of her robe, thinking how clever of her to wear a jump rope. Looking back, I remember an expression of silent irritation on her part, and a constant coaxing, “go play with the other children”.
I don’t really know what the attraction was, but I think I enjoyed being near someone identifiably holy. Even then, I knew what I wasn’t. Saddling up to a nun in habit was like being chums with The Blessed Mother herself. A good connection to have for a kid like me.
In the ’60’s things changed. Nuns rebelled and threw off their nasty habits, replacing them with- of all things!- normal clothes. Well, almost normal. Normal like polygamist attire normal: plain skirts, tights, button up blouses with Peter-Pan collars. Anyway, that was it for me. What would be the benefit of hanging out with the “sort-of” holy?
That was then, culturally and personally. Nowadays it’s hard to tell who’s holy and who’s not. Actually, the word holy means “separate” as in separating the egg yolk from the white. I’ve made a lot of meringue in my life and one thing I know for sure: egg whites won’t whip up if even a smidgeon of yolk is present. I can beat and beat, but in the end, what results is only fit for the cat.
The nuns were separated from the rest of society by their habit, but not necessarily by their habits- their behavior. I had some spiritually holy nuns as teachers, but others I knew were nun such thing. Now, they blend in with society and unless they are truly holy (separate) in the spiritual sense, they have nothing over me. Sister Mary James Augustine looks like a regular Joe (sometimes complete with mustache).
Maybe I’m Sister Clandestine- having a thin layer of faith, well hidden under bad habits. Can anyone tell that I have been separated out for the Lord- set apart for Him, or am I egg white with a bit of yolk- of little use to anyone but the cat?
I’m the town idiot when it comes to self-awareness. It’s hard to know just how much of the world is in me. My husband or kids are more likely authorities on where I’m at on the curve. But God does not grade on the curve, thankfully. That’s why I have to wake up every day and say, “Search me oh God, and know my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me…” Otherwise, I’ll be “yolked” with unbelievers.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? …As God has said, I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. So come out from among them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Do not touch their filthy things and I will welcome you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”.
2 Corinthians 6:14,16,17-18