Monday, February 9, 2009

Is a new oblate an old Christian? A Benedictine oblate blog

Support Structure for Sky Ride

Busch Gardens

I like to think about the most basic elements of the monastic life. Where and how and why does the monastic life diverge from the full Christian life lived by “regular” people?

What are the spiritual, liturgical, and organizational elements that create the monastic life — and are those even the correct elements?

Equally interesting to me as an oblate is the question about how some people — those with an interest — come closer to the monastic way of life while still living in the world?

As a former evangelical Protestant, I came to the Catholic Church after a full season of life and without any prior understanding of the Church’s beauty and ancient truth.

The Catholic Church’s monastic traditions are new to me — and they appear vivid and sudden as someone walking out of a desert mirage.

The basic supporting elements and characteristics of monastic strength that came through the earliest Eastern desert Fathers are matters I think about often.

St. Benedict understood how the Eastern monastic life could be lived in the West. St. Benedict’s Rule for monks living in monasteries under the leadership of an abbot helped preserve learning and then create European civilization. I hear people say that monasteries may fill that role again.

I am interested in the societal contributions of monastic life, for example, virtually every ancient manuscript that survived to 700 AD is still available today thanks in large part to the monasteries.

But I am more interested in how a monastic-type of spirituality can be fully embraced by oblates in 2009. I think we can because at the source of the monastic way is a form of Christian life that was lived by many Christians in the 250 years before the first monks and hermits appeared in the desert.(1)


(1) The end of this recent blog on an EWTN Monastic TV series touches very briefly on this thought.

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