An Orthodox member of the North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation sent us these reflections written by a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who after graduation spent a year in a woman’s monastery in Greece. The gems of wisdom often reminded me of the sayings of the Desert Fathers. Just a few of them:

"The monastery is a spiritual hospital. And as you can see, some of the patients are chronic." (JAK: Substitute “Church” for “monastery”...)

Community life is like the rough rocks in the river that knock and grind together until they are made smooth.

The person you love is a gift from God, and the person you cannot stand is an even greater gift from God.

The nuns said we fall down a hundred times a day. Saints also fall down, but they get up again and it's a new moment.

The nuns made the distinction between forgiveness and being sorry. Forgiveness finishes everything. If you are sorry, you are still in the sin. You are still dwelling in the drama, the hurt, the situation. You feel bad. With forgiveness, every moment is a new moment. The past is past.

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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