Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I received an interesting email from a new friend- "Oblate X", whom although posted a comment somewhere on my blog, I cannot seem to find where he posted.

His comment is a reference to where I must be describing myself as a "little bit monastic". His comment says, "I'm not sure you can be a "little bit monastic" - that is sort of like being a "little bit married". Marriage and monasticism are both defined by the nature of the vow. The monastic vow (in the Benedictine tradition anyway) is to poverty, stability, and conversion. The key to these is stability - the lifelong commitment (much like a marraige vow). Without this vow, and the renunciation of private ownership, it is impossible to experience monastic life, just as it is impossible to experience marriage by sleeping with women you've known for only a week. It's worth thinking about - monasticism can't be "had" in a week's time."

My thoughts on this:
I agree with you to an extent. Yes monasticism is a vow to a "way of life". Yes that way of life is a dedication to living a lifestyle of poverty, stability and conversion. This commitment is a lifel0ng commitment and "process" of sanctification through observing the specific practices of monasticism.

Where I disagree is that one has the option of being called to cloistered life as a benedictine or a secular ordered benedictine. Obviously one cannot give up privite property in doing a secular order, however one can observe the rule, practice the rule, pray for brothers and sisters, and live out (in spirit) the ideals of the benedictine way. My understanding of possessions is that they are not privite property but that we are stewards of God's gifts. So as far as I'm concerned there is really no such thing as private property.

When I say that I'm a little bit monastic what I mean by that is not that I'm casually committed, but that I try to live out the ideal of the benedictine spirit.

I would be careful in the way you approach your critique because you sound a bit like some of my fundamentalist friends, who at times can be quite pharisaicle. Oblate X- I look forward to further conversations.


No comments: