When I talk about my vocation with monks or nuns who have been in vows longer than I have, I often hear the phrase "God never said it would be easy, only that it would be worth it". I'm sure many other people on many other paths have heard the same thing, however the choice of living out a monastic vocation (if it really is a choice) is an especially difficult way to live.
One of the key differences between a monastic life and a secular life us that the monastic is called to begin every action out of a place of love. I do not mean the kind of love that spurs romantic interest, but the kind of love that overcomes hate, lifts the broken and comforts the afflicted.
In light of the recent tragedy in Charlottesville, OES held a collective candlelight vigil for the victims of the violence that took place there, but our vigil was about more than just the victims; it was also in hope that love might overcome the hatred that caused the attack in the first place.
As Dr. ML King said, "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that".
Let us then strive to cultivate love within ourselves. Each small act of love will eventually add up to large acts of love which can drive out hatred and darkness.
(This post was also published on Fr. Bjorn's personal blog, The Tiniest Hermit.)
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.