Where are you from? How did you first hear of Saint Meinrad? What did you do professionally before joining the monastery?
Mt. Carmel, IL. I first heard of Saint Meinrad back in 2005 from some Lutheran friends of mine who had heard of the place. We drove over on a Sunday in Advent and stayed for Vespers. The chant, this place in the snow – I thought it was about the most beautiful place I’d ever been.
What drew you to monastic life?
Ever since I was a little boy I was interested in the idea of monks and monasticism – even though I wasn’t Catholic! I always loved God and going to Church, and I thought a life devoted to those would be a great thing. As I got older and learned that becoming a monk was a real possibility, I was drawn also by the communal life, the liturgical prayer, and the variety of work available to the monks.
Since joining the monastery, in what ways have you grown in your relationship with yourself? With God?
I hope I have grown in both of those areas.
Myself? I suppose that I am continuously learning to love. Monastic life gives you abundant opportunities to practice patience and charity (or not, if you’re not careful). This changes you. And so, my relationship with myself changes as I am continuously changing – hopefully, for the better.
With God? He doesn’t change. But again, I do. I think this also affects my relationship with Him. The longer I live and the more I learn about God, the more I find I don’t know about Him. And so, at the very least, I hope that as I grow, I stop making an idol out of my own ideas about God and let God be God and experience Him in the ways that He lets me.
If, as I go, I experience God more and more as mystery, then I hope I’ll still trust and love Him and believe He loves me as well. I think it helps to take time to look back on where you’ve come from – how the events of your life have unfolded, how you’ve grown and changed – and look for the hand of God in it all. This helps you to keep believing that God will bring you where you need to go.
Why did you become a monk of Saint Meinrad and not a monk of another house? What about this place and this mission called you to spend your life in service to it?
I became a monk here because this is the place I met first and fell in love with. Also, I was a seminarian here before I entered the monastery, and so I got to know the monks and their way of life better. The more I learned, the more appealing being a monk of Saint Meinrad became.
Why does the Rule of St. Benedict still matter? What does it have to offer to a secular, post-modern world?
The Rule of St. Benedict still matters because people are still plumbing its depths for wisdom and practical advice for living a Christian life in community. It offers the secular, post-modern world a way of moderation and of balance. It encourages us to slow down and to live life carefully and thoughtfully. This is something that I think could benefit the modern world.