The students see the monks as “hardcore,” not just believing the Gospel but living it. True, the students quickly add that the Gospel can be fully lived in the “regular” world, but they concede that monks take the Gospel to “another level.” Hence “hardcore.” When I tell my students about Brother at the monastery in Iowa they listen. They nod their heads in affirmation. “That’s real,” says one.This is my experience of religious life today. The key draw of religious life for me to day, and the key thing I want to share with others is an experience of living the gospel in an authentic, "hardcore" way. It gives me the opportunity to share life with others who make this radical choice of evangelical simplicity, celibate chastity and community discernment. We do many things during the day, we pray together. We share meals. We share tasks around the house and we go out for ministry. In some ways we are much like every other committed Christian. But we have the opportunity to share this adventure with others who make the same radical commitment, for a life time.
We have been celebrating a Year of Consecrated Life. For me this has been a year of thanksgiving and of re-commitment. I have the opportunity of participating in the closing of this special year in Rome at the end of January, and into February. There, I will join with hundreds of religious from around the globe to say Amen! Alleluia!