By Fr. Bjorn, OES
A young woman once asked me what monks do all day. Over the years, I have heard the question numerous times, which leads me to believe that many people operate under the assumption that the daily lives of monks are carefree and without many of the boring daily tasks that "normal" people are required to carry out.
The truth is that nothing could be further from the way that things actually are for monks and nuns. We do laundry, dishes, dusting, cooking, yard work and all the other chores that people who are not vowed monastics do. We also share in the same worries, joys, and hardships.
I say this because when I was a novice, I too thought that there was some great hidden secret that would unlock a life free of the day to day tasks of the secular world, and that my superior brothers would teach it to me over time.
As it turns out, I never did learn of such a secret.
Instead, I learned a far more valuable lesson, which is that one can not separate their contemplative practice from their chores and worries. One's practice must also be carried out in these times, just as in times of prayer, reflection, and study.
In this way, I suppose that the above statement is the secret I was looking for in my novice days, but I was so busy trying to avoid the things that I thought were only for the secular life that I missed the signs that would have taught me this lesson far less harshly altogether.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.