August 1, 2011


It was one year ago today that I moved back here to Boston. There have been many graces, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been a challenging adjustment. Being a full-time doctoral student is a very different life than the parish priesthood.

Today, a year later, I find myself moving again, if only to a new room in the house. It's an effect of being named guardian of the fraternity; I get a new and improved room.

Sometimes in religious life it seems like as soon as you get adjusted to your circumstances, things change and you have to start over again. It's easy to fall into the attitude of always waiting for things to 'calm down' or 'get back to normal' so you can live a peaceful religious life. At this point I'm starting to realize that it is the adjusting, the demand to let go occasioned by change, that is the life itself. As the friar who preached the other day at the Mass of religious profession for our novices said in his homily, our vows are only a means to embracing the fullness of a life of letting go in gospel poverty.

It's so easy to say that we'll get to something once we get settled or 'things get back to normal.' That's when I'll get my prayer life back together, or reconcile with someone who has something against me, repent of some pet sin, go on a diet, etc. All of that is an excuse to live in the unreality of an imaginary future. In the spiritual life there is only now. This isn't just some cheap spiritual saying, but derives from the eternity of God himself, for Whom there is no before or after, but only Now.


Robin said...

"Sometimes in religious life it seems like as soon as you get adjusted to your circumstances, things change and you have to start over again."

This is exactly how parents of young children consistently describe their lives. It turns out that it's also true of parents of adult children.

Ha! Maybe it's true of everyone!

Thom, SFO said...

I needed this. Thanks.

Bro. Arlen said...

As always Brother, thank you for your reflections. Though speaking in a slightly different context, you reminded me of the thoughts of Joseph Ratzinger toward the end of his 'The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure': "But despite the difference between these two great Christian theologians, still there is a basic unity; both Augustine and Bonaventure know that the Church which hopes for peace in the future is, nonetheless, obliged to love in the present; and they both realize that the kingdom of eternal peace is growing in the hearts of those who fulfill Christ's law of love in their own particular age. Both see themselves subject to the word of the Apostle: 'So there remain faith, hope and love, these three. But the greatest of these is love' (1 Cor. 13, 13)."

Brother Charles said...

Thanks, Brother A.! Let's pray for each other on our 9th anniversary of religious profession on Thursday!