...The way I envision it, it is a monastic paradise free from the evils of the secular world. At the same time, my longing to join the monastery only makes me depressed that I am not there. When I go to school, I am deperessed. When I am at home, I am depressed. The only place where I do not feel this depression is at church. And if I go there, I'd be in church in every moment of my life. ....
First off all I apologize for the personal sound of my response to your postings.
When I read your posts I think that I am reading my diary.
I am now 41 years old. When I was 17 years old I used to live the life you are experiencing now. I also believed the things that you think about monastic life, and I also used to think that joining a monastery would be the outlet that I sought for.
I am surprised by the violence that you have been treated with, by some brothers from this forum.
I understand that you are being honest and genuine in the way that you feel, in the way that you believe, in the way that you respond to the deadlock that you are facing in your life.
I admire your courage to directly confront your unworthy present you live into.
I have to tell you many things about you beliefs, which some of them are wrong, and about Christian faith, which you misunderstand in some respects. I choose not to do so. I‘ll rather tell you something about my life. This would be more useful for you.
As I told you already, I once used to think the way you think: “I am sorry but family life is not for me. I have no interest in that kind of life. I would rather be a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom.”
Today I am married with a woman that is a real angel. I was married 6 years ago. My wife is a person through whom every day God reveals Himself to me. And I literally mean every day. I am not just “happy married”. I am married in Christ. My wife was never a churchy person. We both live a -non monastic- life, we go to work, we go to movies, we do the thins that everyone else does, we have a more or less secular life. We also try to live as members of the Church. We are not special in any way. There is no incompatibility between secular life and Church life. Secular life is actually sanctified by Church life.
Through my marriage, I mean through the honest and true and loving personal relationship with my wife, I unexpectedly found out that evil is not in the way that the secular world is by itself, but evil is in the non personal, non-loving, non-honest ways of life that we may live our lives into the secular world. The “evil” secular world is transformed into heaven the time we relate ourselves with someone with personal, honest love.
The “evil secular world” of non personal, non-loving, non-honest way of living can also be into a monastic life, because nobody and nothing can force you to live your life the way they want to. Neither the canons of the monastic life nor the fathers and brothers of the monastery have the power to make someone an “angel in heaven”. In the same context nobody and nothing can prevent you from living a “heavenly monastic life” of personal, loving, honest way of living into a non-monastic life.
We may as well be in heaven and then we may still feel that we are in hell. Because what makes the difference between heaven and hell is us, not the place nor “the others”. You know that Lord said: “The Reign of Heaven is inside you”. Well in that respect it deserves to spend all your life in the quest of that “you”
Christ refers to, because the moment you realize this “you” then you are starting to experience “The Reign of Heaven”.I hope that I succeeded in providing my testimony that there are many ways to live a Christian blessed life, other than monastic life. (I myself think that Monastic life is the most blessed one, but I also know from my experience that it is not the way for the many but only for few).
Brother Matthew, let me ask you for two personal favors: Do not loose your innocence/purity and never stop being honest with your self, as you are today. Do not worry much about true and false faith, be worried in being honestly faithful and the God will be with you. (That was the case with Apostle Paul who was saved not by being faithful in a true belief, but by being honestly faithful in a personal false belief and for this God was with him)I pray that God provides that you may keep experience His blessed absence in your depressed life, so you seek for His blessed presence. I wish for you, this quest may never come to an end.