Monday, March 23, 2009

Monastics Listen. A Benedictine oblate blog

An elderly Benedictine monk from Nebraska, USA, said, “Many people think of monasticism as a high-toned, complex life only for the elite. It isn’t. The monastic life is a simple Christian life. The monastics take the gospel as their guide and live it in a committed and serious way.”(1)

That’s a great quote for a good understanding of the monastic life. My current favorite explanation of where monasticism can be first distinguished from the other charisms(2) in the wider Church is the word St. Benedict used to begin his famous Rule. He used the word Listen. Monasticism is marked by listening.

Monastics begin their life in community and in seeking God with the idea of not talking, not expressing what they want God to hear. Instead they are ready to hear the word of God. And that concept may be at the core of the monk’s quote about the monastic life not being high-toned or for the elite — those who are marked by their own efforts and works, but rather the elderly monk says that monasticism is a simple life, oops, that is not what he said, he inserted the word “Christian” between “simple” and “life.”

The simple life must be a Christian life. We all stand before God. For the monastic and those with the monastic spirit, they will first and forever listen.



The picture is "Earphones," by surely.

(1) Father Frederic Schindler (1921-1999), monk of the Benedictine community at Mount Michael Abbey in Elkhorn, Nebraska, quoted from “The Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders: Thirty of America's Oldest Monks and Nuns,” by Mark W. McGinnis.

(2) Charism is the spirit or “any good gift that flows from God's benevolent love,” New Advent, Charismata.

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