How has monastic life changed me?

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Monastic Life 1 Comment

As we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand, and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love. ~ Prologue to the Rule of Benedict

Sister Lynne SmithWomen exploring community are often curious to know, after 10 or 20 or 50 years, how monastic life has changed us. In the video we made a few months after my first profession in 2000, I mentioned that one of my reasons for coming to community was to grow. Then with a big smile and great emphasis, I declared: “I didn’t know how much I would grow!” This has become a joke in our community. Two years after arriving, my sisters and I knew how much growth monastic life was already asking of me.

So how have I grown and changed since coming to the monastery? The primary way I have changed is in awareness. The Christian life, and therefore the monastic life, is about coming to a deeper knowledge of oneself and of God. That knowledge begins with awareness.

I am aware more often of how much I try to depend on my own efforts to “make myself better.” At the same time I have become more aware of how much everything actually depends upon God’s grace. What I can say with certainty is: “God is faithful.”  I have come to trust that God will provide growth when I keep my heart open to my sisters, to God and to those around me. Benedictine spirituality is a spirituality of the heart. I’ve lived much of my life from my head. Monastic life is helping me move from my head to my heart.

(See also: Listening with the Heart and Seeds of Change, Musings on 50 Years of Monastic Profession)

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