Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Murky Waters

As I read through some of my past entries, I'm conscious that I keep repeating how I felt a sense of rightness and a certainty that God was calling me to monastic life. This is true. What is not true is that I have a hotline to God which means that I know, rationally and beyond doubt, what my next move is. I do not.

It is a common assumption that if a person says 'I believe', they are affirming that they know certain things about God and the divine, in the same way that they know that water is wet, blood red, etc. In reality, to say 'I believe' is to assent to the fact that I do not know, but that I accept that my experience, the essence of my being, tells me that there is something more, something beyond anything that I can comprehend. This is the basis of faith and because it is about what our minds can't comprehend,  we have necessarily launched ourselves into the dark, sailing in very murky waters.

I don't have an infallible answer about how to navigate the murky waters. Apologies. What I want to make clear is that there is nothing different about me; I don't have any kind of exclusive communication with God. Sometimes I can open myself suffciently to an awareness that gifts me with flashes of insight into something greater, but most of the time there is silence. I have faith, but I also doubt. If I didn't doubt, I couldn't have faith because faith is about trusting beyond my limits, beyond my own capacity for anything. When I was first letting in the idea of a religious vocation, the visual image that came to me was of myself standing on the edge of a cliff. I felt as if I was being asked to jump off that cliff into absolute darkness. I could not know what was in the darkness, where or whether I would land. If I chose to leap, I did so blindly, simply trusting that Something would be there in the darkness. There is.

Stylistically, it is tempting to leave ,"There is" as the final statement on this blog, and I could do so because my experience tells me it is so. It might, however, suggest that the water is no longer murky, that the endeavor is complete. Well, truth is the water is still murky, and I know I have a long way to go.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sister Karen.

    Thank you so much for writing about your journey of thoughts and discernment. I have received the newsletter from your monastery for some time, but have just now discovered this blog.

    I have had the thought about a possible religious vocation for quite a long time, but at the same time that I am deeply attracted to the monastic way of life, I am also quite sure that this is not God's will for my life.

    I have all odds against me... age, a poor health and have only a year ago become a Catholic. Very recently I chose to be made redundant from my job, as it had become too physically demanding for my health and since then I haven't stopped thinking about it... without ever mentioning a word about it to anybody.
    Then only a week ago I was asked by a good friend (a Carthusian monk), if I had ever thought about that I might be suited for a religious vocation!!

    In November last year I made final Oblation as a Benedictine Oblate of a small community of monks, and I dearly love my monk-family and their beautiful home.

    This is my way of living out the monastic values in the world, and I will forever be thankful for having been given such a wonderful gift.

    I wish you all the best on your continued journey.

    Karen Elise.