Listen Carefully, My Son

A man becomes a monk in order to form a relationship to God. The opening words of St. Benedict’s Rule call the reader to hear God’s invitation to this relationship: “Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you.” On February 2, 2023, Novice Daniel Chinn continued his search for God by professing temporary vows and receiving the name Br. Gabriel. By doing so, Br. Gabriel confirmed his earlier decision to enter Conception Abbey in order “to give myself away to God, letting Him and this community form me into what He wants me to be.”

Br. Gabriel grew up in Clarence, Missouri, with his parents and two sisters. He was raised as a Catholic, but his interest in Catholicism was sparked as a teenager by the conversion of Br. Gabriel’s father and by a friend’s ordination to the diaconate. These two experiences inspired Br. Gabriel to wonder how he, too, could respond to God’s call.

In time, Br. Gabriel became a seminarian for the Diocese of Jefferson City and trained for the priesthood at Conception Seminary College. There he became interested in the Benedictine way of life because “the prayer, the work, and the community” at Conception were things Daniel could see “entering and finding fulfillment and happiness.”

The prayer, the work and the community take on a new significance for a temporarily professed member of Conception Abbey. The junior monk is called to listen closely to God’s voice in prayer to better discern his vocation. In community, the junior is called to develop his ability to see Christ in the lives of his confreres and to manifest Christ in his own life. In his work assignment, the junior monk is called to shoulder more responsibility. In Br. Gabriel’s case this means serving his brother monks, Abbey employees, and guests as an assistant in the kitchen.

— Br. Anselm Broom, OSB
Monastic Formation Director


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