I was talking with a group of friends recently . Upon hearing of my intention to enter a monastery, one of them asked, "What so wrong?" In utter bewilderment I responded, "Nothing!"
At present I live a very comfortable life. Owing to a fair-sized inheritance I was able to resign from a very stressful career, and sort out what I want to do with my life. I have been able to pay my bills and mortgage, buy a car, even do a fair bit of travel. I view all of this as solely God's grace. I do not believe that I earned it, am owed it,or deserve it. But because of my current circumstances, I asked my friend how could he think anything was wrong.
As I reflected on the question posed to me, I asked him, "Do think a monastery is a place where a group of miserable men live out a miserable existence?" I do not think anything could be further from the truth.
The monasteries I have visited have been populated with men dedicated to God, living a peaceful and joyful life. If this were not the case, I would not waste my time looking at the monastery. Not that there are not challenges in the life of a monk, but then there are challenges in every walk of life: married or single, whether you are a parent or not.
I think the challenges we face shape our lives. They give us the opportunity to look at aspects of our life and ask, "Is it worth it?" A lot of people think that I am giving up to much by entering a monastery, but to me it is worth it.
For me sussing out my particular vocation was the tough part. My vocation happens to be that of a monk. If it were not my vocation, I think life in a monastery would be hell. In 19th Century France there was a young man who wanted to be a priest, but his superiors did not think he had a vocation because he knew no Latin. He left and married a woman who had wanted to be a nun but had to leave due to ill health. He was Blessed Louis Martin. His wife was Blessed Marie-Azelie. They had five daughters who became nuns, the best known one being St. Therese of Lisieux. I firmly believe that if we live out our vocation, whatever that vocation may be, we are living on the door-step of Heaven.
St John Ogilvie A Reading about
2 years ago