Moving On

To my esteemed readers,

I wanted to give you an update of the events of my life as they continue to unfold.  I want to let you know that after several months of careful discernment and consideration, I have decided to ask for a dispensation from my monastic vows of stability, obedience, and conversatio morum so as to return to the lay life.  There are several factors that have gone into the making of this decision.  A couple of these are

  1. Family Life– Since joining the monastery, my family has continued to grow closer and closer and I’ve begun to feel their absence more poignantly especially on holidays.  Since the closest member of my immediate family lives about three hours away (my parents being about 6 or 7 hours away) this has not been that easy.  The thought of marriage- that of starting and raising my own family, has continued to attract me and the desire has continued to grow in me.  As I continue thinking and praying about it I keep feeling a deep sense of contentment and joy at the thought of having a good wife and raising kids in the Catholic faith as well as the many joys and challenges that accompany this.
  2. A Desire to Evangelize- Those reading my blog, particularly my allocutios from the Legion of Mary, know just how passionately I feel about spreading the Gospel.  In my work with the Legion of Mary as Spiritual Director, I have felt a pang of longing to be going out and doing what they are doing- knocking on doors, bringing Christ to those who have rarely or never considered him, as well as the ability to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy more broadly.  I have been able to do this to some extent in the monastery, but in a more limited way (I have been living a contemplative life after all).  As monks we are surrounded largely with those already in the fold of the Church (not a bad thing) but don’t interact as regularly with those that are on the fringes since the main way monks evangelize is by people coming to them- for retreats, education, etc.  To give an analogy- if you consider the monastery as a bow, those who visit or receive from the monastery are the arrows shot to the heart of our ailing culture.  I find myself wanting to be one of those arrows.  My desire is to do this as an active member of the Legion of Mary, whose spirituality (lay in character) has moved me so deeply and richly.

I have been blessed in my time at St. Benedict’s Abbey and recommend a visit to anyone who may be considering a vocation to the monastic life.  St. Benedict’s Abbey has blessed me in these years with confreres striving to live well, a good community, a deeper insight into the human person, a love of prayer, a greater confidence and love of myself, of my neighbor, of the saints, of Mary, and of the Holy Trinity.

As I’ve considered and prayed about this, a constant sense of joy and peace has surrounded the decision to leave.  God has blessed me abundantly in this time of discernment and has even given several signs confirming this decision.  I am very confident in this move.  Nevertheless I still ask for your prayers, since coming back to the world and its troubles (including student loan bills, a job, and housing) will be a new cross to bear (though I receive it willingly as did Christ).

In Christ through Mary,
Br. Benedict Mary, soon to be Brad, Geist

P.S.  I will be continuing my rosary business of Benedict’s Beads.  You can read more on my blog over at benedictsbeads.com

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