How to Build a Monastery
It’s become a bit of a joke to refer to the chaotic stage of history in which we live as “these unprecedented times” (I have a classmate who has changed her email signoff to the phrase out of a sense of irony). The sentiment, though, is easy to understand and share. These are indeed strange days, combining a worldwide plague with a noxious political climate coming to a head on the day this piece will be published. Combine those with the standard goings-on of a world infected with sin, greed, and a lack of love for one’s neighbor, and it would be easy and understandable to despair. The problem seems so novel and large, and we feel so small, that there is nothing to be done, except perhaps to hide until it’s all over.