Today is Ash Wednesday. That means that Lent is here. The fact that it is Lent means that I get to go to a local monastery to pray almost every day. I love monasteries. They are peaceful and wonderful. You don’t need to be at all religious to appreciate the great beauty of silence and the holy rhythm of community life.
While I love monasteries, I don’t typically have much time for religious ecstasy or meditation when visiting. I am too busy thinking about things like choir stalls and how much I hate them.
I would not hesitate to sign up as a monk were it not for three things: I am a woman, I am married, and choir stalls make me contemplate hyperventilation rather than God. Seriously, have you really looked at those things? Something about the little walls on the sides of each stall makes me feel claustrophobic, and I don’t even get claustrophobic unless I’m hiding in a coat closet with at least six siblings squished in on top of me.
Tell the truth: what part of monastic life keeps you from signing up? And what are you really thinking about in situations where others might imagine that you’re being very holy or intellectual, or otherwise superior?
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