In religious life it becomes critical to notice and remind ourselves of the spiritual gifts and privileges our daily life. I have found that I must be careful to rekindle my own appreciation and gratitude for these graces, lest I take them lightly and my spiritual life become insipid.
For example, these lines from The Seven Storey Mountain have struck me ever since I first read them:
"If I could not wear the religious habit, I would at least join a Third Order and would try my best to get a job teaching at some Catholic College where I could live under the same roof as the Blessed Sacrament."
To live under the same roof as the Blessed Sacrament. I remember thinking about that as I went to sleep after my first day of religious life. What a privilege it was! The Lord in his mysterious Presence was no longer Someone I had to go visit. He was right downstairs, waiting for me who was now happily without excuse for any failure to visit.
After ten years of sharing a home with the Blessed Sacrament, however, it's easy to take it all for granted. Here's the tabernacle, which we have just like we have a microwave or a TV. I know that it's shocking, but it's easy to slip into such an insensitivity. I remember the first time I saw a religious pass in front of the Blessed Sacrament without making any reverence, either the genuflection we make in the Roman rite, or the bow that seems to be substituted for it (by what justification, I don't know) in religious life. I was totally shocked. After these years, I don't even pay attention to such things. Sometimes I don't even reproach myself appropriately when, in my own distraction, I do it myself.
This is why I have found it vitally important for my own religious life to constantly remind myself of the great spiritual supports and privileges of this life. They hold me up. There was one of the old friars who used to ask me how I was each day. I would say, "Thanks to your prayers, Father, I'm still slightly above spiritual ruin." Silly, for sure, but there's some truth to it. In religious life, whether you feel like it or whether it seems to mean anything to you that day, you still go to chapel and recite the Divine Office with the brothers. As much of an unrecollected mess I might be on some days, I still have the privilege of living under the same roof as the Blessed Sacrament, and I can't pretend that his Presence doesn't hold me up. These are deep gifts and spiritual privileges, and like it is with so many things in the spiritual life, my task is to stay grateful and not take them for granted.