Friday, June 20, 2008

A Monastery Wall is a One-way Wall

The walls of a monastery are to keep the world out of the monastery, not to keep the monastery out of the world.

This one-way flow worked throughout much of the 1,500-year history of Benedictine monasticism, as civilization collapsed or was subject to frequent foreign raids, monasteries guarded the light of truth.

Education and knowledge spread out from the monasteries to rekindle civilization. When similar forces are working in the world today, monasteries are fulfilling their historic role.

The flow is out from the monastery. This can be seen in the large number of monasteries that have active oblate programs, in monasteries' involvement with education, in their use of the Internet, and in their expanded spiritual retreats (St. Leo Abbey in Florida, for example) that serve people from all religious backgrounds. Little wonder that the Pope called monasteries places of spiritual power.

Visit a Benedictine monastery — you will find they live by the Rule of St. Benedict —and you will be welcomed as Christ.* If you enter the gate of a monastery and find that you are changed more than you change the monastery, that’s OK, and that is probably why you came.


* Here is the reference in the Rule of St. Benedict to welcoming guests as Christ. This is the famous Benedictine hospitality:

Of the Reception of Guests

"Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ, because He will say: "I was a stranger and you took Me in" (Mt 25:35). And let due honor be shown to all, especially to those "of the household of the faith" (Gal 6:10) and to wayfarers."

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog yesterday, through a Google search of "oblate blogs". Lots of interesting stuff here -- keep up the good work!