The measure of enough

Sometimes, people have asked us if the monastery is “enough” for us. The question seems to come from a place where the questioner sees the monastic life in its entirety as a comparative lack.

Yet what is it about the lives of some people as they now know them, that is “not enough”—so that they are, perhaps even inchoately, investigating forms of religious life as a possibility? What about people like our own St Julian, about St Bernard, St Francis, St Bruno and others, for whom religious life was not only enough, but bottomless, and their glory?

Like anywhere else, a monastery—a residential Christian community where people live and work together under a rule and a superior—is a place one can get comfortable. Or it is a place where one can aspire to keep growing, and become people who are not only fully alive but can impart life to others.

The process of growth in community may confront one with the question of “enough” not in terms of material goods, experiences, or encounters, but in the more universal, perhaps less obvious “enough” of how much one is willing to commit oneself, how much to be open to learning, how much to discover, how much to be challenged. No matter where we are, the question is always before us: what do we seek? what is it we really want? what is all this in aid of? What are we planting in our daily lives, what beauty, what food for the Church and the world has it been given to us to grow and share? In a life where the greatest thing one can become is transparent to God and radiant with his life, how much growth is “enough”?


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