My friend Father Augustine Wetta, O.S.B., a Texan surfer turned Benedictine monk, says that the day he entered Saint Louis Abbey as a postulant, he swore to himself that he would never again have a lustful thought. That resolution, he adds, lasted “about an hour and a half.” So he decided to delay his resolution for one year, until entering the novitiate. But when his novitiate came around, he was still bothered by the same lustful thoughts. “In fact,” he says, “as far as I could tell, I hadn’t made any progress at all.”
At that time, the then Brother Augustine had been reading a biography of St. Benedict. “I came across a passage that said when he had lustful thoughts, he used to go roll around in a rose bush. So I said to myself, ‘That’s easy. If St. Benedict can do it, then so can I.’ And I went out into the garden behind the monastery and jumped into one of our rose bushes.”
Did it work? Not in the way the young novice intended.
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