A coffin-maker, a child of divorce, an international and award winning actress, a national spokesperson, a cloistered nun, the head of an educational deanery…
How has God incorporated, integrated, all of these roles -some of them seemingly unrelated -into one person? In Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows by Mother Dolores Hart,OSB and Richard DeNeut, Mother Dolores shows how God, who is love, took each part of her life -each and every person and each and every event…and integrated them into one life – one person – Mother Dolores Hart.
Integration is God (love) making sense of one’s life. Mother Dolores explains: “True love is completely open and free of self. It has only to give, even if the price is pain. How does one express the desire to give? I think that one gives completely when he can totally accept all that another person is, by basking in the incredible uniqueness of God’s love expressed in His creation of another human being. We just have to accept Him and be grateful for the love He plants deep within our hearts. Accept it, live on its fruits, and share it.”
As we share it- God’s love- we open ourselves to God’s design for our life no matter what our “calling”, no matter who makes up our particular “community” and no matter what events “happen” in our life. It is the focus on the people, the community- rather than the circumstances- that lead us to an integrated life. This book reveals this unfolding in the life of Mother Dolores. “One of the things that we all learn in the day-by-day life of a religious community is how essential it is to be in relationship with others in order to discover our own true natures and to help us recognize what God is asking of us at each moment.”
“Religious life is often painted as something entirely different from what it is.” Right now Mother Dolores happens to be a cloistered nun in an abbey, but what she says of the abbey has also been true of the other facets of her life. “Our daily schedule is never interrupted. Work has to be done. Animals have to be fed. We have to stay here and pray and believe that we can help by doing so. It requires discipline and clarity about what your mission is and where your body needs to be, where it can do the most good.”
Through her book, Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows, Mother Dolores Hart taught me to listen with the ear of my heart. She showed me, through her example, how to look at my life and see how all along God has been integrating all of the seemingly unrelated parts of my life into one thoroughly integrated life -she helped me to make sense out of parts of my life that seemed sense-less. This book can do the same for you.