Theophane, a Cistercian monk residing at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, tells a striking story that beautifully illustrates such letting go:
I saw a monk working alone in the vegetable garden. I squatted down beside him and said, “Brother, what is your dream?” He just looked straight at me. What a beautiful face he had.
“I would like to become a monk,” he answered.
“But brother, you are a monk, aren’t you?”
“I’ve been here for 25 years, but I still carry a gun.” He drew a revolver from the holster under his robe. It looked so strange, a monk carrying a gun.
“And they won’t—are you saying they won’t let you become a monk until you give up your gun?”
“No, it’s not that. Most of them don’t even know I have it, but I know.”
“Well then, why don’t you give it up?”
“I guess I’ve had it so long. I’ve been hurt a lot, and I’ve hurt a lot of others. I don’t think I would be comfortable without this gun.”
“But you seem pretty uncomfortable with it.”
“Yes, pretty uncomfortable, but I have my dream.”
“Why don’t you give me the gun?” I whispered. I was beginning to tremble.
He did, he gave it to me. His tears ran down to the ground and then he embraced me.
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