"My blood is alive with many voices
telling me I am made of longing."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
People today search for identity, meaning and purpose wherever they can find them: in family life, in a career, in the arts, in dedication to a cause, in various forms of meditation, in drugs and alcohol, in violence. "I want to know who I am, where I belong and what I'm meant to be doing, so that I can give myself wholeheartedly and be fully engaged, fully alive."
Some people find what they are looking for in a monastery.
Christian and monastic tradition emphasizes that the human being is a desiring being. What do we desire? Food, sex, stability, comfort, power, companionship, intimacy... But these natural desires are only on the surface. Looking deeper we find within ourselves immense caverns of desire which cannot even begin to be filled by material and social pleasures. This desire is spiritual, transcendent. Whether we know it or not, the deepest and most defining desire of the human heart is for God.
But pursuing one's deepest desire costs. This is not an easy way through life, which allows one to avoid difficulty, responsibility, struggle and pain. Rather it involves stepping out onto a limb...with God. And this happens not just once, but many times in the course of the great adventure of life. Monastic life is a lifelong process of becoming the person God created me to be - uniquely beautiful, free and loving - at the cost of anything and everything that stands in the way.
"If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, then come, follow me."
- Matthew 19:21