60th ANNIVERSARY OF FOUNDATION
ABBEY OF OUR LADY OF THE GENESEE
1951 - 2011
Reflections On Membership In The GLC
Joseph Pastwik, GLC
The Genesee Lay Contemplatives (GLC) is a community of men and women from all walks of life. While maintaining our individuality we all share the common goal of focusing on Christ and following His will, by means of obedience to the spirit of an ancient rule. Within the GLC community we draw strength and inspiration from each other as we try to live our lives according to the rule of St. Benedict, in the tradition of the Cistercian Monks. What is unique, is that we try to live this lifestyle in the secular world while going about our normal daily routine.
Our goal of seeking God in our lives is aided by spiritual guidance which helps us to become people of prayer, by lectio divina (spiritual reading), by trying to attend daily mass, by joining in prayer with the community (and the church) through the liturgy of the hours, and by listening in silence as God speaks to us.
The GLC's exist with the encouragement and guidance of the Abbot of the Genesee monastery. Through his direction and counsel and through the example of the whole monastic community, we grow in the assurance that we are truly representing the Cistercian spirit in the secular world.
As I reflect on my five years as a member of the GLC community, I can't help but think of how I got here and why I made the commitment to stay. I still hear the words of Fr. Francis, our previous moderator, as he would say again and again, "you're not here because you want to be here, you're here because God called you to be here." I truly believe that God works in His own way in our lives, but we have to be willing to listen, and then trust and follow the direction He gives you. I recall the opening sentence in a Book I read by Christopher D. Hudson, Do You Want Fries With That, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans."
While at the monastery one day, I asked one of the monks as we were talking, why would any young man today want to be a monk? He would give up the secular life, in some cases a career, and in general all worldly possessions. This monk looked at me and said, "There is only one word as an answer," continuing to look at me he finally told me that word, "GOD" I remember driving home and reflecting on our discussion and his answer, I felt rather embarrassed, because, it was that simple. I should have known, the goal for each, be it monk or lay person, is to seek God!
My five years as a GLC have been a growing period, and I'm still on the journey of seeking God, by trying to enter into a more prayerful life, by following the Benedictine Rule, by leading a more simple life and most of all, by trying to listen to God's voice within.
Along with the whole GLC community, I'm grateful to the monks of the Abbey for accepting us, for letting us invade their home monthly, for sharing with us their views of the Rule of the Cistercian way of life, and for providing us with the example of their lives.
Joseph Pastwik, GLC
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