Regarding my most recent escapades, I must say that I have never before seen such luscious green landscapes as those that cover this island. Slightly amusing, that admission is for me to utter. This island seemed familiar to me from afar. Having spent a week’s time scouting this beautiful island with Bréanninn and the brothers, I can conclude that that plausibility is simultaneously a reality and a fantasy. Perhaps the time I have spent both in allowing myself to be further immersed in the presence of the Lord Christ Jesus and in being encompassed by the physical beauty of the island has tempted me to lose myself completely. Bah, but a mere monk - a humble servant of the Lord - ought not to think as such. After all, the vows I am bound by perpetually remind myself of what unnecessary, yet admirable, lengths I have chosen to undertake to serve He who lovingly created me.
[Windsor, VT. Credit: Darcy Ireland.]
As I have indicated, our divinely-orchestrated visit to this island has satisfied my heart and soul. Exploring this lively island has enchanted my spirit. Through enjoying the natural beauty that encompasses this island, the Lord has found an avenue by which to minister to me. Over the past handful of days, the brothers and I have seen such sights as maple trees, jays, and nestled barns. The serenity and warmth the island has provided to us certainly has edified my soul, if not any one of the other brothers. More realistically, my earthly family has spent the past week visiting my sorry self, this petty author. We have been been sightseeing on a vacation. Sights such as Colby College (Waterville, ME), Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME), Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH), and Cape Cod (MA) have caught a majority of my total attention this past week. It has been a delight not only to enjoy the company that is my family, but also to use the gift of astute navigation the Lord granted me to show them about my favourite region of the United States of America that is New England. Playing tour guide and traveling about the great region with my family was a great chance for my pious Irish persona to see how much the Lord loves an earthly family he has created. But my character, through his still brief voyage with Bréanninn and the brothers, is beginning to realize for himself, with the Lord’s aid and strength, what true love is. After all, the Holy Scriptures has this to say regarding His love: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (I John 4.8). Also, is the Christian not to “Honor [his] father and [his] mother, that [his] days may be long upon the land which the LORD [his] God...” grants to him? (Exodus 20.12). Finally, it is written that a Christian loves “because He first loved us” (I John 4.19). As surely as I was reminded of the great spiritual warmth the Holy Spirit provided to me and continued to kindle due to the chaste love I expressed (and still do) to my family, my Irish monastic archetype is truly beginning to thrive in a spiritual love of his own for his fellow Christian brothers.
[Hanover, NH. Credit: Darcy Ireland.]
Although the sights of the green island have been nostalgically wonderful to me, one particular feature raises special attention in my mind. Coláiste Dartmouth, that is Dartmouth College, is a place I had once previously longed to visit, if not attend for a duration of time with the purpose of earning a certain degree of higher learning, such as a doctoral degree. Well, certain circumstances have played out in my life that have prevented me from fulfilling that bid (I refer not to earning such an advanced degree, but to attending Coláiste Dartmouth particularly). Perhaps the Lord means to tell me that the possibility of my attending that certain prestigious institution is not part of His will for my life. If so, then I choose to be content with my having seen the place with my own eyes and nothing more. It seems that it is not meant to be, that is my enrolling as a postgraduate student at this school. To me, Coláiste Dartmouth represents an unattainable fantasy that will likely not be realized and is likely not of the Lord’s Will, as I have already indicated and supposed. Still, to have the chance to be familiar with such a sight as Dartmouth leaves the author content.
Of all the islands the brothers and I could possibly have landed upon, I am particularly thankful that we are here, on An Oileán na Sléibhte Glas. The Lord certainly willed us to be here, that we may be a spiritually-edifying type of blessing to the monastic community here, and vice versa. The abbot of the community has been quite hospitable and caring to me and my merry band of soldiers (as Bréanninn likes to refer to the lot). Our brother Bréanninn did convince us to believe that this nautical voyage is ordained by the Lord as one that is righteous and good. This week has been beneficial not only for me but also for Bréanninn. This visit has been a great opportunity to live out the word of the Lord through the apostle Paul: “[Pray] always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6.18).
[Wellfleet, MA. Credit: Darcy Ireland.]
Bréanninn and the abbot both seem to agree that the Lord would desire to see the former, the brothers and myself set sail for whatever he may have for us on the seas by the end of the day that is third from today. From what Bréanninn has told me, the Lord foreknows the outcomes of many more maelstroms and waves of trials the brothers and I have yet to encounter. Already from this time on this lush, prosperous island, I have envisioned and asked the Lord about the upcoming tribulations I must face. I am not afraid to face such trials, for I know that the Lord was, is, and always shall be with me. He cares for nothing less than the best for me. After all, it is written that as a Christian, I must “[cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for [me]” (I Peter 5.7). Additionally, I need to “trust in the LORD with all [my] heart, and lean not on [my] own understanding” (Proverbs 3.5). He and I both know that by honestly confiding in Him, I shall not falter, but will spiritually thrive. My prayer is that the song that would fall from the lips of everyone is that which I hope to sing even should I fail in my bid to make it through all these maelstroms fully intact (cf. I Chronicles 29.11):
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
“The power and the glory,
“The victory and the majesty;
“For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
“Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
“And You are exalted as head over all.”
For now, I must rest. The maelstroms, those trials that flow and ebb in waves, loom ahead.....