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.