I spent a month with the Monastic Community of Jerusalem in Montreal. I spent time with the sisters talking, praying, cooking, washing, walking, eating, singing, and even two desert days swimming or being by some beautiful lakes in Quebec. I even got a change to have a hermitage, a small cabin with just a desk and a bed.
There were days when I was tired, challenged, impatient, but did not regret being there. I was at peace. It’s a different kind of peace, where everything is just still or just peace in its natural glory.
Language is still a barrier, because there were times when I would fall asleep during the sermon in French.
The prioress told me not to rush things, so I have to go back for a longer stay and also learn French. I have made plans to relocate in July, to learn French and then spend time with the community. I did find a reasonably priced placed to stay when I learn French.
I was also told to visit other monastic/contemplative communities so this way I know what other communities are like too. I do not want to, but I am open to God’s will.
I have also been asked to attend an inner healing retreat, so I can move ahead leaving my burdens behind to embark on a new life with Jesus.
I have also spent time processing my experience after my visit, and I realize that I am embracing consecrated life for the same reason why some Catholics and others think it should change.
I am not picking a job, or a new career, I have fallen in love and love does not count the cost. I want this to be my existence 24/7.
On the outside it looks like a pathetic choice to make: poverty (no owning anything, and sharing whatever you earn and have), chastity (no marriage, sex and having my own kids), and obedience to the rule and rhythm of my community. It’s not so much about the letter of law, but it makes sense that there would be harmony in a community, if everybody keeps the spirit of the law or rhythm, more like a waltz, that moves together.
People in Jesus’ day must have looked at him and said, “This is the son of God, what a pathetic life.”
It’s no surprise that people do the same today. As the scriptures say,”My ways are not your ways, and my plans are not your plans.”