Yesterday was my profession day, the day on which I promised a lifetime of obedience, stability to the community, and fidelity to the monastic way of life. There was a festive Mass, resounding song, and a cloud of witnesses as I made my vows to God.
Today, the strains of the organ have ceased and the dressy suit has been put away. In the quiet of this tranquil afternoon I donned a wide-brimmed hat and work gloves and strode into the woods to spend an hour or so in solitude, in simple manual labor, and in communion with God. The sky was restful and still. Yellow daisies brightened the banks of Eight Mile Creek. My boots quietly parted the tall grass. My arms welcomed the strain of my work.
Yesterday was appropriately festive, but today is why I am here, and is the source of a joy deeper than any ceremony: seeking God through the ordinary ora et labora – prayer and work – of life in this monastic community, welcoming both the beauty and the strain with a spirit of gratitude and quiet joy.
Our archivist will record the date of August 4 as my profession day, but for the rest of my life every day will be profession day as I faithfully live the promises I professed. On some days I will bring out the dressy suit. On others I’ll don my work boots and gloves. But no matter what I’m wearing, I pray that on every day I will be clad in a habit of thankfulness and praise.