These are excerpts of reflections by the 2014 Novitiate class. They profess their first vows today at 4 p.m., please keep them and our entire community in your prayers.
Br. Placidus Lee
I always thought I knew myself well. But in my experience, my interactions in community life are like a mirror in which my truest self is reflected back at me. When I pause at the end of the day and recollect how my day went, sometimes I do not like what I see: I lacked charity here; I was short there. At first I was scandalized by what I was learning about myself, but slowly I grew in understanding that knowing one’s self in radical honesty is the first step in really growing spiritually. This self-knowledge leads to true humility, knowing not only where one is weak but also where one is strong.
As I round out my time as a novice, I am immensely appreciative of what this community has given me and look forward to what is in store for me here in the future.
Br. Benedict Geist
I have been privileged to witness many great examples of how to live the life of a monk in my confreres and have learned how to be more properly part of a community centered on Christ. I often find Christ startlingly present in them, sometimes when I least expect it. I take courage and heart from their examples, their fellowship, and their prayers. They are a living witness for me: “Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?” (Sirach 2:10). Even in my novice Brothers, I have found friends who will walk this path with me until the end of our lives. I look forward to seeing them grow older and holier as we progress down this road together.
Fr. Jay Kythe
The world is a busy place, and I lived in it. I found it “crazy-making.” People often resign themselves to the fact that this is the way things are. But this never made sense to me. If God is unchanging, and we are to share in his divine life, somehow shouldn’t the stability of God be reflected in our lives on earth? Monastic life does exactly that, with its daily rhythm of ora et labora, and it encourages us to take that back into the world for the purpose of bringing some order and stability in the chaos of daily life. Monastic life challenges us to realize that we are often responsible for a lot of our own “crazy-making” busyness, and perhaps we need to cast aside sin and deepen our life with Christ to bring order and stability into our lives.
Br. Karel Soukup
As novices, we take no vows; we are free to leave at any time and can be dismissed from the community at any time. Nonetheless, it has been precisely this freedom to leave which, for me, has been most educative in the vow of stability which I am preparing to profess. The past eight years, both my time in and out of the monastery, have taught me that my joy does not come from the material circumstances in which I find myself, nor my happiness from achieving self-imposed goals. Rather, I see every day that my life is given meaning: Christ who sustains me and works through me and in me, no matter where I am.