Monasticism fascinates me. It is something that is contrary to Wicca as I understand my religion and, yet, I find it very appealing. Renouncing the world in order to serve the gods would be very freeing.
This fascination led me to Mark Salzman's book Lying Awake, the story of a cloistered nun in modern-day Los Angeles who faces a crisis of faith.
I cannot offer any opinion of the book as a study of monastic life for Carmelite nuns. But, as a study of faith, I can say that the author knows something about the subject. Even though the nun's faith wasn't expressed in a way I find personally valid, the questioning was no different from mine.
A tiny sample of the passages I highlighted:
But what is my dream? Is it really to know God, or is it to know personal happiness? Didn't Teresa also warn that the price of following a dream includes painful setbacks, even having to start all over again? Sometimes it means facing things that we can't face, to learn the depth of God's mystery and our need for faith. My God, I feel as if I am being torn apart.
You [God] was here all along.
God made me as I am. Each of us is given a unique cross to bear, each situation in life a personal call to become holy. He would not have taken me on this journey for nothing.
How blessed I am to know that God is real. What a gift, to know that God's love never fails.
Faith is faith, no matter its expression.
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."