Thoughts from the Vocation Director
Awareness of God comes as we allow ourselves to be surprised by the interdependence of everything around us, including us in that larger portrait, and follow that back asking from where did this all come. How does this exist? This false sense of autonomy gives way to the consciousness that we don’t bring ourselves into existence and we don’t have life to the full, we don’t thrive, unless there is the interplay that really is interdependence. Every spiritual tradition recognizes these truths and extends to those who are seeking an invitation to ponder our existence and interrelatedness, knowing that Jesus teaches, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Embracing truth brings us into a direct relationship with Jesus. Embracing life, living life to any depth, brings us into a direct relationship with Jesus. Embracing the movement of going forward, taking up the way, brings us unto a direct relationship with Jesus. And monastic living steeps us in that encounter with Jesus day to day, affording us time, a place, good companions, a rhythm of prayer and work and study to foster the deepening of one’s consciousness and heightening that awareness.
Pope Francis included in his historic ‘Urbi et Orbi’ address, as the world is confronted with this pandemic, a recognition that those called to contemplative monastic life are fulfilling a service to our sisters and brothers as we remain faithful to our call to pray with and for all humanity and the broader church. In this time of trial we are resolved to keep in our prayers everyone in the world, especially praying for those infected with this disease, those caring for the sick, all those considered to be particularly vulnerable to this disease, as well as pray for the eternal peace of those who have died. May the Lord draw close to us all with healing and grace.
Mepkin rejoices to have welcomed four new postulants into our community. God has blessed us with the wonderful gift of six new men responding to God’s call to come apart and be in prayer. As Michael Downey writes in “The Depth of God’s Reach,” Contemplation is more properly understood as a whole way of being, a fundamental disposition of receptivity, the non-pragmatic regard for, or look toward, God, the other, others, and all creation. Contemplation, or better, contemplative living, is a way of seeing by love and loving by seeing…. This entails the lifelong discipline of learning how to see – how to read – the presence of God in human life, history, the wider world, the church.”
We are living in a time that causes us to pause and reflect. The illusion that we are in control is being weaned away from us. The illusion that we have all the answers gives way to a deeper truth – we need one another and we need God, all this producing a thoughtful experience in praying that brings us back to ask God. “What are you asking of me?” May the Spirit lead us into a prayerful reflecting which helps us carefully choose how we navigate this time before God and with one another.
The coronavirus imposes limitations our experience like: fewer distractions and more time to reflect on questions like what to do emege. Prayer is a fruitful way to spend time. It lifts our minds and hearts, can make us more compassionate, connects us to other and to God, reminds us of our dignity and calls us to be of service in the simple ways we can. Prayers of praise, prayers of gratitude, prayers of intercession are interwoven in these days that can too easily be all worry or fear. May we all welcome the loving God who chooses to be with us in our need.