In her book, The Cloister Walk, Protestant author Kathleen Norris writes about the ways that the Catholic monastic tradition provides a rhythm and depth for spirituality that many Protestants have never explored. When she says that the life of prayer works “the earth of the heart,” she means that prayer is like the act of cultivation. In order to work the soil, we must break up the hardened dirt clods, water the ground, free it from weeds and then plant a crop. Prayer is the way to “loosen up” the heart. During the natural course of our lives the “earth of our hearts” becomes parched, weed-infested and hard as stone. Unless we take care to break it up, to run our fingers again through the rich soil that we know is there, our lives become as dry and sparse as a desert.
Desert sparseness is the place we can open ourselves to God in very special ways. We not only breakup the hardened soil of our soul, but we discover true insight into our essence. God created us for good. He created us to love and serve, and we find our spiritual nature as we turn away from the busyness of life to nourishment of the spirit. By living the monastic rhythm we find time to tend our souls.
- Prayerful Contemplation (lifereference.wordpress.com)