Coming to Nashotah House was a leap (more like a long drive, but that’s another story) of faith that we made, after much prayer and discussion. Discerning God’s will continues to be something that we must do, both while at Nashotah and after we leave. Where we go when we leave Nashotah is a complete mystery, and will remain such until God reveals it. To be honest, I’m trying to avoid dwelling on that question, because it is up to God (and my bishop) and is still a few years off anyway. There are enough challenges on my plate already.
What are the greatest challenges of being at Nashotah?
The schedule at Nashotah is a full one.We have a full load of classes (15 credit hours) in addition to chapel services (Morning Prayer, Mass, and Evensong daily) and community obligations (We have a weekly community choir practice, two hour work-crew, and various service rotations in the chapel and refectory), in addition to personal obligations such as choir practice, rehearsals, language tutoring, etc. With such a schedule, it can sometimes be hard to do the seemingly mundane things like prayer and homework.
Our Benedictine way of life at Nashotah places a great importance of prayer, as it should. But with our schedule (and that includes the chapel services) it can sometimes be hard to let God invade our daily and hourly lives. We are closer than most to a chapel, to the Blessed Sacrament. We are in the chapel for corporate worship three times a day. And yet, that encounter with Christ must still be sought, must still be striven for. Private prayer is an absolute necessity.
Being in a Benedictine Community, one cannot help but rub shoulders, for good or ill. People being people, this sometimes leads to the shoulders rubbing the wrong way. But again, people are people, and we are all fallen, imperfect people.
What blessings come of this?
Part of the Benedictine ethos is a way of sanctifying time. Time becomes a resource, a tool, in a completely different manner than corporate America sees it. Time becomes sacred, and we absorb this sacred temporality by living through it and living it out. On a more pragmatic level, Nashotah will teach you about time management.
When some heard that at Nashotah I would have its chapel schedule, they expressed their feelings of incredulity, amusement, awe, or envy. But I look at it this way: What a privilege! What a privilege to be able to receive the sacrament and sing some of the greatest treasures of Anglican Music daily. It has been said that you cannot worship daily in St. Mary’s chapel for three years without it changing you.
Living in such close quarters, you can rub shoulders the wrong way. But you also have the opportunity to see how a society can work when everyone has an equal dignity, when the community is based on mutual recognition and Christian love. Living in the Nashotah Community you must learn how to forgive, you must learn how to deal with people you don’t like. Nashotah is one giant family, and I think one of the benefits of this is learning how to live in a parish family, a skill that every seminarian (and truly, every Christian) needs to know.
I thank all you who are praying or contributing financially to our being at Nashotah. It means more than you can know. If you feel so called, financial contributions can either be sent to the Cathedral Church of the Epiphany, or sent directly to Nashotah House’s Development Office (and marked on an accompanying note that they should be directed to my student account, NOT on a check itself). Alternately, if you would like to assist with the purchasing of books, you may find an Amazon wishlist below. Every prayer and every dollar does so much for seminary and formation.
In his Name, and under his Mercy,