The moment when I decided to begin something entirely new came rather unexpectedly. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting in one of the pews in the abbey church of a Benedictine monastery. The church was mostly empty, except for a few others who had come to attend the same retreat that was my reason for being there. After some time had passed, the monks walked in and took their places in the choir. Their evening prayer was about to begin.
“God, come to my assistance”, chanted one of them.
“Lord, make haste to help me”, responded the others.
The monks began their evening liturgy, and I joined in their prayer. The days progressed at a slow pace. I hardly remember what was said in the conferences, but I remember how the experience of being in the monastery started to work on me. It was the beginning of a process of discernment about my life which let to my decision to become a Franciscan friar.
Before this, I spent 20 years as a scientist working in various fields of biochemistry, cell biology, and medicine. My story is not about turning away from this past, but rather about how my scientific worldview was transformed by the experience of learning to be a friar. In the spirit of St. Francis.
In one way or the other, my blog posts are always about this: what can we learn when we take the Franciscan view of the accomplishments of science?