Friday, June 26, 2020

With Us

Candidates often ask our vocation director if the monks ever get bored in the monastery. We suppose they want to be assured that the rhythm of the monastic day is all a great river of unremitting grace. This is true enough in general, but as one of our seniors admits, "The most difficult part of the life is seeing clearly over and over again the sad, boring truth of who I am. The truth is: I bore myself with my sinfulness and stubbornness." 

Surely the truest grace is having seen and known this painful, neuralgic reality all too well over and over again, and then and there to allow God in Christ to gaze on us with love and exquisite tenderness. It may seem utter madness to allow ourselves to be the object of Christ’s love and attention precisely in our sinfulness. But where else can we go? Jesus desires to meet us in our reality. 

Our senior monk continues, "Maybe it is the great reversal, the sublime trick of a monastic vocation - I thought I was coming to the monastery to gaze on Christ, but it is Christ Jesus himself who wants to gaze on me in my lowliness and poverty."

Jesus is completely Other and yet more intimate to us than our innermost being. It is he who says to us over and over again, "I understand." Truly in our sinfulness, in our joys and sorrows, in our achievements and greatest disappointments, Jesus says, “I am with you always; I understand."

Photograph by Brother Brian.