August 15th was a big day at the monastery. We had two guests from out of town visiting; one who came to officiate at my Solemn Life Profession and Priestly Vows, and one who came to celebrate these two things with us.
I'll be honest with you, I was right on the edge of panic that day. Life Vows is such a large commitment. Was I ready? Was I worthy? What if the monastery got struck by lightning and then a tornado hit it?
Despite all of these fears, questions and doubts, the liturgy was celebrated and shared by a small group of close friends with joyful hearts. When the time came for me to actively consent to what the Divine has in store for me, I felt surprisingly at peace. For a moment, I could not recall what doubt or fear felt like, and I was overcome with a deep and profound sense of joy and peace.
Now, nearly two weeks later, there are clear signs that I'm settling in. I am deeply surprised to observe these things in myself; there was a time in my life where I was without a home or a support system of any kind. It has been an uphill struggle, however through the generosity and blessings that have been given to me, I am now doing the one thing I have most longed for throughout my life, which is to live a life a gratitude and charity.
One of these signs that strikes me particularly deepIy is that I thoroughly enjoy getting up before everyone else and enjoying the high level on environmental quietness that the monastery offers to me as a gift each morning.
This is usually the time when I am able to gather my thoughts and (attempt to) plan the course of my day; the chores that need doing, what care the animals need and what today's meals will be.
This time of the morning reminds me that despite not owning the land or the house that serves as our monastic enclosure, despite not being large in number as a community, that we have been greatly blessed beyond our wildest imagination.
For all of this I give thanks, most especially for the joy that this realization has brought to my heart.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.