After returning last week from shooting part of a documentary on the Trappist monks at New Melleray Abbey outside of Dubuque, Iowa, I have been thinking (and meditating) on the notion of freedom and liberation. In the silence and solitude of the monk’s life of prayer and work, it seems they have found and live out what it means to be free – really and truly free!
The truth is that it can be difficult to make sense of how they live and why they live that way. Most of the world (me, too!) often seems to be seeking power and fame, wealth and material possessions. But, for some – a very select few, like the monks at New Melleray Abbey – their quest and their search is all about seeking and finding God.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew to “seek first the Kingdom.” The Trappists are all about that and in their journey of faith are finding all they need and all the want. One young Trappist said to me last week that “this really is a good life.” And, he noted that he is much happier now than he was in the chaotic chase for what the world seemed to offer him when he lived in southern California.
Turning away from any search for fleeting fame and fortune, the Trappists have discovered freedom, liberation, and happiness. In their efforts to “seek first the Kingdom” they have met God face to face and discovered the “better part.” The Trappists know clearly that God is the source of all truth – the truth that lasts and is eternal.
A great lesson and challenge for all of us! Amen +++