Thursday, December 4, 2008

Letter to Dom Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB

3 December 2008

Fr. Philip,

Thank you for writing back. I do not know why Fr. Orthmann's has not written. I actually called Holy Cross and left a message for him but never heard back. I would like to speak with Fr. Genovesi again and take some more time with this issue of entering monastic life. I think he saw my last request as somewhat impulsive though of course as I mentioned to you before, I have been considering this call for some time.

I remember years ago when I graduated college, not knowing what to do with my life, I applied to Teach For America. I thought I would teach, that this was what I was called to do. I received a letter of rejection and was devastated, though I know now that when God closes one door He opens another. At the time, though, it was very dark. This is how I feel now

I trust in the obedience Benedict espoused, and i also trust in your judgment, and in the judgment of Fr. Genovesi. As I said, I would like to speak to him more, flush this out a little. I would also like to take you up on your invitation to visit next spring, to speak with you in person. So much is lost via email. I would hope that in meeting you would be able to help me discern whether this calling to monastic life is a real calling or not. I do know my desire is genuine. I want to do great things for God as HE wants me to do them. My career goal is to be a saint, a faceless one, known only to Him.

Living a monastic life is very hard on one's own. I feel like despite whatever difficulties might arise for me in community, the need for guidance and support of a community is strong. I have very few Christian friends and live out my life for Christ very much alone. I don't know if this is my calling or not, but to be surrounded and supported by Christian fathers and brothers...who knows what things I could do for God in community that I could not do by my weak self?

I wonder if you could share a little what it is about bi polar disorder that would bar someone like myself from so many communities, and maybe a little about this man who left the monastery, and how his illness affected the community. I know I cannot change the fact that I have bi polar disorder, but I would just hope that whatever it is that would preclude me from community life would be valid and accurate, not based on preconcpttions. It would also help me understand more how my illness affects my spiritual life and the difficulties it would present in living in community. If anything, my medications have been doing a good job of keeping mania and depression from occurring. The downside of this neutralization, this "lack" of moods, is that I feel empty, a little less than human. My emotions suppressed by this, I have been forced to relate to God in emptiness.

I have started reading the secret writings of Mother Teresa. They have been very good for me to read. Since I have just started most of the writing is about the beginning of her mission and her locutions and her unbelievable fire and desire to please God. When I read her I feel ashamed at my lukewarmness and all the "no"s that I answer God with. But all this is in a good way. It pushes me. I have started fasting recently, only in the sense of eating in between meals, and my weakness is astounding. i feel like the little drummer boy having nothing to bring God but my weakness and sins. But I know this is a source of grace itself.

Please write. I hope to hear from you, since your direction and support helps me in this time where there are not many lights leading my way.

In Xto,


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