Friday, August 26, 2016
I attended my first "Solemn Vows" ceremony of a Monk. These are the vows the monk takes when he is going to become a full member of the monastery, like a marriage. Up until then, it is the engagement time. The monk generally lives with a particular monastic community for eight to ten years before the community and the monk agree to bond. Why does it take so long? Well, it has nothing much to do with the lifestyle. Things are the same from one day to the next. After a couple of years the monk realizes this and knows if he likes this way of daily living. The extended time beyond these first couple of years, is so that the monk can look at his insides, his shortcomings, bad habits and attitudes that might make for a struggle to grow in the spiritual life. He has to be well on his way to dealing with these, so that he can see the lifestyle of the monastery and his trying to grow as a person, to be in sync. The Community of monks needs to see this too, as they vote on whether or not to allow him to make his final, solemn vows. In your own life, if you are in a relationship, does it help you to grow or maybe not? Your career, your job, your lifestyle? The monastery does not look for the perfect monk. It looks for a good fit.