All these monastic practices makes monasticism seem to be full of grief and sadness, where does joy fit in all of that?
At the first glimpse, monasticism looks like a life of grief, struggle, sadness and tears. A monk deprives himself willingly from the pleasures of this world, living in the dry desert, wearing black for the rest of his life. This is true, but this does not lessen the fact that monasticism is a life of inner joy, “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8).
The monk is the happiest person on earth. The life of a monk is like the Tabernacle that Moses established in the wilderness, “Then he made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering of badger skins above that.” (Exodus 36:19) It looks ugly from outside, but so beautiful from inside.
A Christian layman sometimes loses his inner peace and joy because of the world’s ever changing circumstances yet, a monk in the wilderness is away from these disturbing circumstances.