Visitors or newcomers often ask if monks get bored. I suppose I do - not bored by our rhythm of liturgy, work, and prayer, but bored by me. It is perhaps the most difficult part of our ascesis - to see clearly over and over again the sad, boring truth of who I am. The truth is - I bore myself constantly with my sinfulness and stubbornness. Having seen and understood that painful, neuralgic reality all too well, over and over again, the challenge is there and then to allow God in Christ in that very moment to gaze on me with love and exquisite tenderness. It seems utter madness to allow myself to be the object of Christ’s love and attention and mercy precisely in that moment. This is the wonderful trick of the monastic vocation - I thought I was coming to the monastery to gaze upon Christ, but it is Christ Jesus the Lord himself who wants to gaze upon me in my lowliness and poverty.
Photograph by Brother Brian. Reflection by one of the monks.