The community met to discuss the subject of vocations and various candidates. As the discussion went on, one Father spoke in this way, “Today various mistakes can be made on both sides. By the candidates and by us, if were are honest.

Many candidates come to us today laboring under the impression that simply to offer themselves is all that needs to be done. They forget in our way of life to offer yourself is one
thing; but to be accepted into our midst needs further times of reflection and discernment.

It is better today that the final decisions are not simply taken by the bishops or monastic superiors alone, but by the whole community. Since the community as a whole has to live with the candidate, even when it is a dispersed community over many miles and even in different countries.

Those who may wish to offer themselves for deacon or priest also forget in the ordination the consent of the people is required when they reply, “Axios”. This should never be seen
as automatic or symbolic.

The Church Fathers in their wisdom left us with this as a clear reminder that the candidate comes from the community and will serve the community. It is also very serious, but the community can reply with a “Non Axios”, if an unsuitable candidate is being forced into it or its life. Once this has been spoken it can never be ignored or refused to be discussed.

However, Fathers and Brothers, if we are honest, we can make mistakes in our way of life. In the monasticism especially it is a mistake to take the “one-size-fits-all” approach. It is a fantasy, if we believe this, because in the entire history of monasticism it has never been the case even with the cenobitic life, let alone the Skete or eremitical life.

Everyone is is on their own unique journey to God. In that sense, there really are many paths but one destination. No brother in the next door cell to another has ever walked exactly the same path as another.

(Father Richard)