Homesick All My Life for God and Monastic Community

Greetings and Pax Christi,

I’m not sure why I’m writing this except that tonight I feel the sharp pang of not having been able to become a monk owing to chronic kidney disease all my life. I feel like I have failed somehow. I pray and meditate but I almost daily feel the pain of not living among brother monks engaged in the simple work of our hearts and hands. I ask myself, What did I do wrong?

The Abbot of the last monastery that refused to accept me said that maybe my calling is that of Benedict Labre, to wander in the world, sick and seeking. He seriously meant it. And I have never forgotten his words. Maybe that is my calling, to wander and thirst for a spiritual home I never find, but it is not an easy one to follow. My eyes tear up as I write this. I am without family and friends near me right now. I cling as best I can with faith in God. I tell myself, “More will be revealed.”

There is a poem by a Sufi poet by the name of Hafiz that I like that I recite to myself at times like this. I could have been written by a Christian. Here it is:

Do not surrender your longing too quickly.
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you in ways few human or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my heart so tender, my need for God so absolutely clear.

Perhaps others of you also feel that you are monks / nuns/ or hermits “in exile.” Perhaps chronic illness is the reason? I I would love to talk with you and exchange messages. I cannot walk this path on my own. There is no spiritual desert as harsh as the world in which we live. I need your help and the help of others contemplatives like Benedict Labre who sometimes feel like they are on a perpetual pilgrimage toward a vocation that never materializes. I would love to know there are others out there like me and provide in return whatever support for you I can.

In Christ…B. L.

Look into Third Orders, working at Catholic Charities, or serving in some capacity at your local parish. Monastics are everywhere. You don’t have to wear white robes, eat legumes, or join an order to be a highly spiritual being. Join virtual groups, host a blog or message board, write and publish a series of booklets on your journey, or pursue a degree in Theology. And as you pray, move your feet.

I do feel your pain about often feeling like I am not where I want to be. It’s actually a temptation to wish to be somewhere that one is not. For example, it’s a temptation for a married woman to dream wistfully of living in a convent just as it is a priest envying the life of a married father.

I’m currently reading “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. The main point of the book is that God gives each of the grace for holiniess and sanctification right here, right now, in the moment that you are currently in, as long as your will is resigned to be united with His. It’s been a bit hard to read at points, as the translation I have is a bit literal and “wordy” at points, but I really have been taking it to heart and trying to find the grace in each moment. Another shorter but fantastic read is “Uniformity with God’s Will” by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

I highly recommend praying to God to help you find His message to you at this moment in your life, how you can take your sufferings and find the grace He is giving you. Here’s a couple of great sermons from Audio Sancto about the subject, from one of my favorite priests featured on the site:

*]The Dispositions Necessary for Prayer
*]Our Place in God’s Plan For Grace in the World
*]How To Be Happy At All Times

Another thing that might help your yearning for monastic life is to find a Rule of Life, perhaps with the assistance of a spiritual director, that can give you more structure to your spirituality. Whether it be the Rule of St. Benedict, adapted for lay persons, or the Rule of St. Albert and the rules lived by OCD Seculars (or, if you want to go even deeper, the pre-1962 rule for Third Order Discalced Carmelites), a discipline might give you the structure that you need to feel spiritually fulfilled.

Then again, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection believed that the practice of the presence of God was the habit that would draw a person faster to God than anything else. He said that holiness was doing for God what was once done for youreself. He had no other practices of devotion outside of what was required by the rules of his Order, and after a dark night, he rose very quickly to great sanctity.

Yes, the practice of the presence of God is very important. The ego will do a real number on you unless you pray, focus on God, and have the discipline to follow a systematic daily routine religiously.


**Hebrews 13
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

Matthew 28
20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’**

-A greeting, Benedic. .

O Benedic, Peter called to the Lord ,‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ ; still when he walking on the water he noticed the strong wind and frightented and begin to sink. I thought the life in this world is a short time, but eternal life and happiness is forever and ever. No matter where we are, we keep our eyes on our Lord, not the strong wind or storm. See all the difficults and sufferings in this world is like the strong wind , if put eyes on this then will sink, but no matter what put eyes on our Lord, He will watch over us till eternal happiness.

May God bless dear Benedic and all dear brothers sisters, it is in Christ all will be well, therefore we must put our eyes on our Lord not on the strong wind- in this world.

**Matthew 14

28 Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’29He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came towards Jesus.30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.33And those in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

To all my beloved responders!!!

I wanted to thank all of you who took the time to consider me and think about the question of vocation I am sitting and prayer with at this time. Thank you, mh2007, roselily, and HonoraDominum! All of you have helped to strengthen and embolden my faith.

I am thankful for hearing of the need to “walk while I pray!” Thanks, mh2007, And Honora, you provided many resources for me to pursue, which I have. I have found a few rules of life and will choose one that I may integrate more deeply into my daily life and perhaps seek secular ordination. There is also the possibility of someday becoming a canonical hermit under a bishop. I might very well pursue that option. In this case, the aspirant must write up a personal rule of life and submit it to the bishop for approval.

I am needing structure, as Honora suggested. The lay Trappist rule seems most in synch with my inner calling at this time.

Thanks also roselily (and others) for the meaningful Biblical passages. I am reminded one Christian writer who says that God’s spirit is naturally buoyant. When Peter became frightened, he began to sink but when he let go and relaxed with faith, the spirit–represented by the waters–naturally kept him afloat. This is a good reminder that I and all of us can let go into God’s waters. And not becoming distressed by the winds of the world, I needed to hear that to.

So thank you, all of you, for your thoughts and inspiration. Happy to return the same if I can.

In Christ, Benedict L.

May God bless dear Benedic and all dear brothers sisters, it is that Peter said to our Lord ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.’; hence we in Christ shall have eternal life and happiness. You are very strong, and Believe! For no matter what happened all will be well.

Believe this, Benedic!

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