Just before I took my vows, my aunt asked me if I thought I would feel different; and the short answer is “yes, absolutely!” Then, of course, the following question is, “how?” Out of all the questions asked of me concerning my vocation, this is probably the most difficult.
The Abbot has had me give a couple of talks on my vocation addressing this question. Family, friends, and guests passing through often ask me the question; and I get frustrated as I search for the right words; “Happy?” Joyful?” “Excited?” No, these don’t even come close! I don’t think it even is a question of feeling.
There are times when the life is challenging; and yet, there is something that I am experiencing that makes even the more difficult times worth it! I can’t think of any other way of explaining it, other than to say that I am experiencing God in a way that I never did before my life at the Abbey. I experience Him in my work, in my brothers, in holy reading, and in the Liturgy! I experience Him in living the monastic life; and when I took my vows, I experienced Him, and continue to experience Him, in a way that I did not before my vows!
When Abbot Xavier read the talk I prepared for the vocation fair in Coventry, RI, he said, “It would seem that the exclamation point is your favorite punctuation.” Perhaps that is because the exclamation point comes closer than any word in describing who it is that I am experiencing!!! However, even the exclamation point falls short; if you really want to understand, you will just have to come experience Him for yourself.