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July 21, 2013

A Young Man's Monastic Journey

This passage is taken from the Epilogue of Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation, by Martin Laird.  It is a beautiful example of radical openness to God from the depths of our hearts. http://www.amazon.com/Into-Silent-Land-Christian-Contemplation/dp/0195307607

Part 1 of 3

The young man settled into the novitiate with relative ease.  He found he liked all his fellow novices and pretty much all the monks he came across.  It wasn't long before he felt certain he wanted to stay here for the rest of his days.  So he went to the novice master and said, “I believe I’m ready to make my profession.”  The novice master said, “Well, the abbot will have to see you about this.”

In due course an appointment with the abbot was arranged, and the young man sad down to speak with the abbot about his vocation.  The abbot asked him why he felt he was ready to make his profession.  The young man said, “Well, I've come to like it here very much.  Everyone is nice to me, and I like all the monks.”

The abbot said, “Well, that is very encouraging to hear, and I’d have to say that we are very happy to have you and we hope that you stay.  But just the same, I think you should go back to the novitiate for a while longer.  It’ll do you no harm.”

The young man left in great distress.  Why didn't the abbot want him to make his profession?  Did he say something wrong?  Was he deluded about his vocation?  Not a little disappointed, the young man returned to his life as a novice.  The abbot’s gentle rebuff ended up teaching the young man a great deal about his own faults and failings and presumption.  He began to grow in self-knowledge and applied himself with great dedication to the study of the monastery’s long history, its traditions, and various customs.  He soon mastered all of this.

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O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness