08 June 2009

The Joy of the Ordinary

May 25th

Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable. The idea of getting up at 3:15 am used to be ludicrous to me. It seems so natural after just a week. Vigils last around an hour, but it feels like minutes as we chant the psalms and listen to the readings. As Vigils comes to an end the birds begin to chirp. The votive Mass of Our Lady is so simple and beautiful. The exact same readings are used for the community Mass, but the atmosphere at this one is quite intimate. At breakfast I had a bowl of porridge with a big mug of tea. After I finished eating, I was sipping away thinking, “Ah, tea with the Lord.” When I was in seminary I used to hate meals in silence (on days of recollection); now I get it.

Manual Labour continues to be a learning experience. Have you ever been to Ireland or England and seen those stone walls around farm fields? Have you ever wondered how they were put together without any mortar? I no longer have to wonder. If it was not for the tutelage of the two postulants, I think I would still be out there trying to fit the stones together.

May 26th

Nothing out of the ordinary happened today, and that is a very good thing! In my opinion one of the goals of monastic life is to get rid of the peaks and valleys so often associated with modern life. No fantastic heights, no terrifying declines. There are emotional highs and disappointments (some times even deeper) in every life. That is unavoidable. But I think our emotions should be like our blood sugar. Avoid spikes. Avoid crashes.

I came across a little book here called The Monk's Mirror. I have just begun to peruse it. I can across where there was the advice of dealing with temptation manfully and not by complaining. Now I hate to reveal so much about my darker side, but whether the temptation is a lurid thought or chocolate cake, I have the tendency of crying out to \God, “Why me?” I think the advice of dealing with temptation “manfully” or “head on” (to be more inclusive) is some of the best advice I think I have ever heard.

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