It had been sometime since I had visited the Monastery at Vina, and who do I see working in the vineyards? Brother Raphael.
When he caught a glimpse of me, he dropped everything and ran toward me a gave me the biggest heart warming smile and hug.
While I was still in formation, for a few years I attended a Men's Spirituality group at the monastery under the direction of my Spiritual Director. Along with a few men from surrounding communities, two young Trappist Brothers also attended, Brother's Raphael and Placid. Although we didn't often have extended conversations outside of the group, nor see each other often, there was a deep bond established between Brother Raphael and myself.
I am not sure what he sees in me, but what I see in him is a man more joyful than I have ever seen. He works, talks, and lives in such a peaceful state of being it is as if the Holy Spirit has consumed his existence and radiates through him. With just a brief encounter, his love overtakes you and leaves you with such a tranquil feeling it is indescribable.
He is a holy man living a simple life of work and prayer. He lives in a community separate from the world, but constantly praying for the world.
I don't exactly know why God allowed me to meet such a man, and why he established this blessed friendship, but just knowing that this Holy Monk loves us, prays for us, and is always excited to see us, can only be explained as a special gift from God, and a small example of God's love for each of us.