I was watching a youtube video of novice monks making their profession, to be a part of a community of brothers who wish to do nothing other than come into company and pray, not only with their silent observance, but of their combined work, as well. There were four novices, new to the monastic world, kneeling before God. And I heard the most beautiful words asked of the other monks. “Will you accept them into our community?”
And the monks replied, “We accept them. We love them. Thanks be to God.” And suddenly, a roar of applause from their new brothers. You could feel that wave of love wash over everyone. No severity, only brevity. Quick and sudden. This is the first step in being a monk: accepting love before you can give it. You cannot give love to others if you won’t allow yourself to be loved first.
I caught myself crying while watching that video because I felt I was never going to experience this moment of taking vows, this same inclusion into a community of love and connection. Then the little voice said, “Gregory, have you taken notice of yourself? For you have taken vows. You have already experienced this….You DO live in a community of people who love you, as do I.”
You are beloved, Gregory!