Camaldolese History - Last Class

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Camaldolese History, Last Class

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Is the needle moving at all? There we go. Ah. All right. Okay, today we want to cover... No. Do a Joshua. We're going to talk on Kamalili's spirituality. What I'd like to do is pull out... Do you need to make an announcement about the... or talk about... Yeah, yeah. Okay. See how much of the schema on spirituality that I've developed you can give me. Just by knowing our history and having read our constitutions, knowing the rule of Benedict, and listening to various points of... mileposts of our history and spirituality. Just in general, then,


what would be some aspects or descriptive parts of what one would call our spirituality? I mean, we can come up with all kinds of things. For instance, one could say our spirituality is liturgical, but I'm not looking for that specific, actually. Liturgical spirituality would be part of our greater spirituality, but I'm looking for just the general points. Give me one. I'd say primacy of love. Okay. It's... Yes, but it's in two different sections. Hmm. Primacy of love is very Kaladi. Benedetto Kaladi. What do you mean by the primacy of love? Well, how important that is as a pervading way of living life


in terms of community and... Okay. Okay. ...service or communal... ...fellowship. Mm-hmm. That is the central point of my schema, right here. However, primacy of love would also, if you go back all the way to the beginnings of our movement, there's already a precedent for the primacy of love. Just among the early disciples of Ramana, what would we call that? What has that been called throughout the centuries? Vaksinadeva. What have we named our new book? Privilege. Privilege. Privilege of love. And I just put that in here


because we're talking specifically about our own heritage here, and this should bring all kinds of connotations into play without listing them all. You know? Like interrelationships were very, very vibrant, and that's part of Kamaladeva spirituality. As opposed to certain ideas even members of the Benedictine family. That's part, always has been. Yes. Okay. So, close relationships of trust. When we start talking about apophatic and cataphatic and that sort of thing, yes, we could say that about Kamaladeva. In fact, if we're going to schematize it in a sort of intellectual way, we would have to go into those categories, but I'm more to the center of that. So, not a lot of the frou-frou


and not a lot of the really head stuff. So, we're sort of in the center of the threefold good. It doesn't get a special mark. Okay. You want to tell me what the threefold good is then? Well, we've got quite a new need. And that would be the solitude. Thank you. Okay. Well, I was going to say, in this century, or just the preceding century, 20th century, they brought out the dialogue, I guess, the prior end of the dialogue. That was an aspect of our Kamaladeva spirituality, which would be under the third good, I guess. Thank you. The aspect of hunger, it should be something like that. Evangelization, maybe. The more politically correct term is dialogue, I guess.


We're going to fill this in? Yeah. You probably won't get the very top one without a lot of prodding from me. And then, let's see, there's one more on the bottom, and one more here. I would wish to say, both in all three areas, that asceticism is an important element in the roots of our charism. So, penance, fasting. I'm not sure where that would fit in. I made it more general than that. Okay. I just said, it's definitely a benedictive spirituality, which brings the rule into it. But, I mean, you can see where, if we say, what is the spirituality? We could come up with 90 different levers on that, you know. The other one that I think would be, perhaps, this whole idea of flexibility,


in terms of idiarrhythmic. That would come in with this, too. Would that be more benedictive? Moderation, little way. The effect of Eastern monasticism on Bongo that has affected our way of life. And how has it affected our way of life? In terms of that idiarrhythmic, we are much less structured than the Benedictine community, having more freedom, more space for the self, more of the Eastern Orthodox. What else goes hand-in-hand with that, to help determine? You're almost getting this one I didn't think you'd get. What else enabled us, our movement, as opposed to the whole Benedictine order, the whole Benedictine movement, but our little movement, just said it, small scale. Okay. Yeah. Okay, we have one left, one pointer left,


and then I'll go through this. And it's directly... It's directly... You know, this thing, I'm going to give you a copy of this, right after we get it. It isn't the most logical of... I mean, one could do a much more logical thing. But I came up with a schema for the lecture I was giving on the spirituality, and these were the indicators I came up with. When we say dialogue, for instance, when Emanuele uses dialogue, and all through the 90s, while he was early in his tenure of prior general, a number of his documents had the word dialogue


and a community in dialogue. And when he uses that, he refers more to the inner workings of the congregation that go hand in hand with this. That kind of dialogue. Also the dialogue between cenobitic and aramitic, because our past is so checkered in that area within the congregation, or between the congregations, for instance. The arguments and fights and downright nastiness over the centuries between the two groups. But there's a whole other area that came strongly through the prior general prior to Emanuele with dialogue that has colored our congregation very strongly. In view of the entire confederation,


Benedict Confederation, we are known for this quality of our spirituality. And that is cuninism. But when you said dialogue, you're referring more to this anyway, so it's unfair for me to just try and pump you to get this. When I came up with this schema for our spirituality, what I was concerned with was to come up with a working model of Kamali's Benedictine spirituality by using just our constitutions, our chapter and consulta statements, and the words of our, I can't say a thing with these things. I can only read, you know, I have three levels for reading. And so whenever I look up at mass, for instance, it's just like looking through Vaseline jar.


I forgot what I was saying. Sorry, the Vaseline got in the way. And so that's why I didn't go into the details of spirituality, such as indicators, such as apophatic, cataphatic, or even levels of spirituality or dimensions of spirituality, such as liturgical, ascetical, da-da-da-da-da. I was more concerned with the general, what hits you about the Kamal Dalis, knowing their history, knowing the sources, and knowing the, how it's lived today, and the main figures. What can we say about the spirituality? It's certainly monastic, huh? I mean, one could say,


Kamal Dalis' Benedictine spirituality is monastic. And not only monastic, but a certain kind of monastic. A contemplative monastic spirituality. So Benedictine, Kamal Dalis' Benedictine spirituality is a contemplative monastic spirituality, and it's meant to be such. Primary source for our spirituality, for our life, is of course the rule of Benedict. And so it's a Benedictine monastic contemplative. And if you wanted just three main indicators, that's enough. Benedictine monastic contemplative. And you can flesh out, you know, the rest of it with that. Yeah? You said you used the consultation with the chapter statements. Consulta. Consulta. That's the chapter we have in between chapters.


Like every three years we have it together. Chapters only once every six years, so that on the third year off, we have a consulta. It's like a midway chapter. Thank you. And this, having the rule of Benedict as our main guide, hand-in-hand of course with now, with the Vatican II documents and our own constitutions, and of course the scriptures, the monastic character of our spirituality then presupposes a strong biblical base, a strong biblical ground from the beginning of our movement. And it assumes then, because it's Benedictine, it assumes the utter importance of Lectio in all of its dimensions.


And I don't mean Lectio just as, you know, the four-staged thing that Guido II came up with, Guido the Carthusian, and we all use as the model, or even just Lectio with scripture. Primarily, yes, but Lectio in a number of dimensions. Even our lives is Lectio, or nature is Lectio. Our relationship with nature is Lectio, part of our Lectio. Yeah, and I was going to say also with nature, going back to Raniero and Bishop Raniero and how he protected that land, and then just now we have our prior Raniero and Bishop protecting our land from some other... Comes full circle. Yeah, it's kind of interesting. Then this relationship with a particular piece of land in the way, or the earth in a bigger picture. Wasn't Raniero also concerned about vessels of the altar or something? Sold them to the poor, didn't he? Well, that was Albertino. Maybe we had more than one that did that. I thought Raniero, it wasn't just land.


I thought it was something with... He wanted to do something with the extra chalices and things they had. Maybe not. Could be mixing up things. So we look to the Rule of Benedict as our monastic guide, and also highly, perhaps even more than other Benedictines, because of our own contemplative root and our own history of solitude from the beginning, look to our own knowledge of our founders' experience at Cusa, during those years at Cusa, when he studied the Apothegmata. So we highly, right down to this day, probably consciously more than other groups of Benedictines as such, not individual Benedictines, but groups,


we treasure the desert literature and that aspect of monastic life in a very positive and conscious way. Note also that even these two treasures we have, that is the desert literature and the Rule of Benedict that we use as our guide, are also very highly biblical in nature, as fleshed out. You know, you read the sayings of the Desert Fathers and half of what they say are quotes from various portions of scripture, a lot of it from sapiential literature and prophetic literature. Okay. Because we are Benedictine, we look upon our religious life


in ways that others do not, because it's not part of their tradition. Because we're Benedictine, because that Rule of Benedict is our guide, the vow of conversatio morum comes to the center of how we flesh out that spirituality. And so, and really, conversatio morum has a lot to say about how this works or doesn't work. That is, koinonia, the communal fellowship, or the primacy of love. How that, what should be central to our charism, to our very being as monks and nuns in this congregation, depends on a dynamic of conversatio. Being consciously embraced in ongoing community life. And of course the other vows, the other Benedictine vows


are very important also in our spirituality. The Rule of Benedict's flexibility, especially in conditioners such as time and place, weather, all the flexibility that comes through the Rule of Benedict, also allows the virtue of discretion, the monastic virtue of discretion to function, if not flourish, in our particular time, because we're just ripe for that sort of thing. We're ripe for the flexibility. We embrace the flexibility. Haven't always, you know. We've had certain corners of our history where they've gotten so frozen into one or other extremes that they've caused problems, and have been problems to themselves in their own monastic search. But if the primacy of love is going to be our law of life,


then with the Rule of Benedict, the Holy Spirit is to be our guide on that, in that rule of life. So the primacy of love, but always conditioned by the work of the Holy Spirit, and that again brings in flexibility. A pluralism of interpretation is therefore provided for by the Rule of Benedict. In the various houses of Kamaldi's life, for instance. And the Kamaldi's constitutions incarnate that principle. They allow that to happen. In fact, they nurture it so that it can flourish in various communities, in the individual community. We have excellent constitutions. With Vatican II, all of the religious communities and orders


had to go through the process of re-looking at their constitutions, rewriting them, going back to their roots and seeing if throughout the centuries they had stayed faithful to the ideals and aims of their founders. And our road historically was a very long one. And 20 years during the constitutions. And that is after three or four sets of constitutions during the century. The century that we finally got the post-Vatican II constitutions, we had already been on that road, mainly due to Kaladi and Anselmo, already back in the 30s, 40s and 50s. We went through a series of constitutional changes, getting ready for that. But then when we did embrace the call from the council to do the homework, we did it well.


You just read our constitutions and you know these people did it well. We have very powerful and viable constitutions. You have certain documents coming out at the same time, like the Rule of Taizé, and that's not coming out of Vatican II, of course, but it's being published at the same time as these people, various orders, are going through this process. And the Rule for a New Brother, the Dutch group. Very beautiful, poetic documents, but one wonders how it stands up to life and how it will stand up to life, decade after decade, as time goes on, you know. It's nice to have a very beautiful, poetic document, but it's also important to have a lot of meat on the bones,


not just the poetic skeleton, for instance. Doesn't sound very nice, does it? I don't mean that in a pejorative sense at all. These are beautiful documents. But we have, with our constitutions, I think, in places it's wonderfully poetic and it will stand time. Go ahead. I'm thinking of it even, you could say it that way, to the fact that the frame is so strong in ours, being based on a thousand-year tradition in the Rule of Benedict, that we could hang poetry on it. Oh, sure. We can live it. We can be the poem. Maybe that's a better way to say it, because we can be the poetry in a solid way. Yeah, that's nice. And so not only are we monastic and Benedictine monastic,


but we are contemplative Benedictine monastic, which brings in a whole other level of conditioners in our Benedictine spirituality. I think that's one reason why liturgical press snapped up our document as quickly as they did. You know, just parenthetically, the liturgical press this year is celebrating the 75th anniversary of being, and so they put out a history of themselves. And they sent me one, a complimentary copy. It was written by the editor-in-chief at liturgical press, the one I dealt with from the beginning. And it says in there, for any authors down the line in the future, if you're thinking of sending us a manuscript, just know that it's our history


that we don't take unsolicited manuscripts. We've added it all up. Statistically, 2% of unsolicited manuscripts are accepted for publication by liturgical press, whereas other presses will do that. Liturgical press sees their aims as very much more narrow and focused. Ours was totally unsolicited. I just, out of nowhere, with the impetus of Michael Downey, thinking that they would love it, just out of the blue, sent it to them. Within three hours of their receiving it, they emailed me. They couldn't have even read it. I mean, they must have just spot-read or spot-checked when they got the manuscript. I think this is something about who we are. To the Benedictine world, we are a little different, and I think this is why.


Because our... But our brand of it is consciously more contemplative, and everybody's hungry for that. Even in the Benedictine order, they're intrigued by it. How can we be more contemplative, given the structures we have and the apostles we have and the whole business? How can we be more, maybe just more Benedictine? Anyway, end of parenthesis. So we are, even according to our constitutions, fundamentally and foundationally contemplative. This is from paragraphs three and four, and you'll remember this. You almost probably know it by heart. The Komaldele's congregation consists of hermitages and monasteries. The hermitage is the characteristic element of the congregation, and as such, orients the spiritual life of all its members. In both the hermitage and monastery, the monks attend to the contemplative life


above all else. This is a strong statement right at the beginning of our constitutions. That's pretty strong. Each monk then is to engage in the daily work, which is his duty as a Christian and a monk. In his work, as in his practice of Christian mortification, asceticism, and ardent prayer, let him open his heart to the attentive hearing and meditating of God's Word. That is, Lectio, throughout the day. Your life is Lectio. Right, you know, foundationally in our documents, it's stated that way. It's quite a challenge to us, too, to live that. Okay, that we don't have to go into. It's important also to realize that our spirituality didn't just sit there in a vacuum through the centuries, but throughout the centuries, depending on what was going on in the church


and what was going on in society, our spirituality was, from time to time, touched by movements that, in turn, transformed our spirituality in certain ways, at least for certain periods of time, so that Commodolese Benedictine spirituality became highly characterized during certain periods by other factors. I would say one of those factors was Devotio Moderna. And I only say that not necessarily because we have a lot of writers from that time who show that their writings are characteristic of Devotio Moderna, but it's just the whole church at that time was swept by this lay movement, which was essentially a lay movement. Could you go back three sentences? Devotio Moderna? Start all over again? I'm sorry, I missed the first part. There are certain times in history,


in our history, when certain movements within the church affected who we were as monks. It affected how we prayed, what we read, how we related. All the orders had that. And so I just don't want it going unsaid that, for instance, we weren't ever affected by these movements. And I would say that during the time of Devotio Moderna, it would be very surprising to hear that we weren't at all affected. Our spirituality wasn't affected by that. And I don't mean core spirituality. I just mean sort of like what clothes you wear during this century. It's sort of spiritually. It's just sort of colored it for a while. Okay? This is getting into more specifics because then we could get into liturgical spirituality and say there are certain periods of our history where our spirituality is very liturgical consciously.


And other times where it just sort of lapsed away, you know, and it wasn't consciously liturgical at all. And that's why you have Vaggenini coming back in before the council trying to get our troops behind the fact that our contemplative monastic spirituality should be liturgical. You know, he had to argue and scream this for a while. And this was in the 20th century. And what I'm saying is during the Devotio Moderna, you know, even though we didn't have writers at that time, the whole church at that time in monastic life, and, you know, I think maybe the monastic life more than other groups at that time were affected because the Devotio Moderna was highly affected itself from monastics. That is taking St. Bernard and the Cistercians. They just loved them. And they took that movement,


made it their own in their own terms and in their own ways without even naming the Cistercians. I'm not saying it's only Cistercian en route, but a strong force on Devotio Moderna was monastic to begin with. It would be inconceivable to me to think that our monks over the decades and decades of Devotio Moderna would not embrace certain aspects of that by books they were reading and how they were praying and maybe certain devotions at that time that were going on because of the Devotio Moderna. I think they embraced that just as much as anyone else. Now, there's another portion of history down just a couple centuries down where we can say absolutely without guessing at all because we have many writers during this time. The heads of our congregational government


had embodied this themselves. That is humanism. Christian humanism was so embraced by this congregation because of people like Traversari and his successor Mariotto Allegri and even Delfino and then a little bit on the other side people like Giustiniani who was principally a humanist and his short-lived friend who died a year after Prof. Pietro Quirini. He was also a strong humanist. Anyway, here with this movement this is what I'm saying. Just like humanism grabbed our congregation


in a very conscious way and maybe some of them saw it as being forced down their throats because the Poi Potenti in the congregation were the ones leading the movement. I think maybe a little bit earlier, a couple centuries earlier Devotio Moderna was the same thing for us but there's no way of proving that sort of thing because we didn't have writers at the time. There is no proof. One can look at the 20th century, our own times now, let's say a century down the road and they could say that the whole ecumenical climate of Vatican II obviously affected the spirituality of Camaldi's Benedictine contemplatives in the 20th century and 21st century. Same type of thing. Maybe mainly in the lowlands. Oh yeah, all the way to Germany


in the lowlands and there. But the residual effect filtered down all over the place. So I'm mainly talking about that, sort of the drizzle, the residual effect or the ripples that went through the church. This would be an interesting study for somebody to do down the line. You know, try to find roots for this. This is just a guess of mine, not the humanist thing, that's obvious. But it would be a nice... If somebody could actually do a study of this you could end up with a nice thesis. Oh yeah, I know. In the Christian, yeah. Yeah, but I mean in our own history. If somebody wanted to do their... What's the equivalent of the masters? Machines? Yeah, yeah. So the license in Italy, I've done it somewhere or something, do that on the study of this


and see if they could come up with anything. Probably Ugo would be a good one to help them. Anyway, just put that in parentheses. Fourteenth? Ending in the 14th. No, more like 13th, 14th. Yeah. Right. That whole movement, you see. Who? No, no, he was Lowlander. Dutch. He was in the Lowland... Yeah, in that whole area that, depending on what time you're talking about, it's called Eckhart. Even the Beguines and the Eckharts. But a little bit before that already, because it started, it really started as sort of a... Who are we getting off base? This is great stuff. As a lay movement, you know,


for a way to bolster up the life of the laity in the community. And it just overtook everything. And then you had whole orders embracing it and whole orders then coming out of it and forming, you know. And the clergy were profoundly affected by it. It all became a whole movement that lasted a long, long time. Well, even right down to the 20th century, as far as reading materials, favorite reading materials for people. Imitatio Christi right down to the 50s and 60s of this last century. But it's something interesting about it, it's the fact that the liturgy of gentlemen has gotten so far away from the people at this point, so it's being supplanted by something else. And in a sense, in one sense you can think of the monastic as the counterpoint of that, that would be firmly liturgical and involved because they're speaking the language and they're immersed in it. But at the same time,


the devotional maternity started affecting monastic practices, so even for Cluny, where you had to add devotions on the liturgical thing, it stayed on, it kind of accretions. That's why scholars are saying, if you're going to look for the roots of the Dolce Verde Moderna, just look back at the 11th, 12th centuries of monasticism, and that's where you see the main impulsion coming from. Because in a sense, in the limited research I've done on the liturgical practices, in a sense, what we did liturgically, to come out with the Romantic and liturgically, is strip off all the accretions and get back to the basics of the liturgical. Try to strip it down to just the basics again. And this is a little before


the Dolce Verde Moderna. Oh, sure. Oh, yeah. But we're hand in hand with Cluny. You know, at the same time there. One could also look at it like this, look at history like this sort of thing. You know, waves, crests of waves. Well, you could have the 11th century Cluny and who are we? Camaldoli and Fontiolana and whatnot being on one crest. And then a little bit later down, history repeats itself, even spiritually. You have that, you know, but that doesn't mean that they weren't affected because we know that they were. They looked to Bernard as one of the, the ones who started the movement, looked to Bernard as someone who could nurture them and their spirituality. So it sort of carries through, you know. I suppose one could look a little further down, Dolce Verde Moderna was a big crest that lasted a long time in various, wearing various masks. And also the whole Protestant revolution,


they all wore the, I mean, there was Devozzi Moderna there also, but they just had different names like a Pietism and a Baptism. You know, various branches of the same type of lay, pious, devotional propulsion into Christian life. So I don't know, maybe that's going to happen again. Some people say, for instance, the Charismatic Movement is another sign of that kind of, same type of wave, but it has its own characteristics. But that it would fit into that type of thing. The movement of South America. The base? The base community movement, in a similar way. Yeah. And very focused on the lay. Yeah. Laity is central to the movement. People. Yeah. And somehow the movements, at some point they dissolve,


they leave their effect, they leave their mark, but the movements themselves kind of... Yeah. Okay. We have a few minutes left. So just saying parenthetically, historically, obviously historical developments affected our spiritualities as well as affected everything else. I'll come back to this, to our little schema here. Just in my mind, at least, I see these certain elements as standing out, as characteristic of who we are spiritually. I have small scale here. God flexible. We just added that. Because in my mind, and also I think in Thomas Mathis' also, the Romaldi movement


was strongly affected in its formation by its small scale approach to things. If you remember the lectures on Peter Damian and... Okay, the whole small scale thing. Couldn't help but affect who we were back then and even who we were for a century and a half. Then later on in our history, it isn't that we didn't have big houses. We certainly had big houses. We always had little ones along with it. Just two or three monks, you know. Very small foundations. We have that all the way through, even down right now. Look at Monte Jovi. Look at us. We're not that many, you know. We're... The small scale and all of it that goes with it, the wonderful virtues and positive attributions that go with it, as well as the baggage that it carries


and the pain that a small scale can bring, affects us spiritually, I think. How can it not? It affects who we are. It might not be conscious. It might be very conscious. I mean, some people would say, I hope we never become a large group here in Big Sur. I hope we just stay pretty small like it is now. That's about big enough. And that says something, you know. When a person says that, they're also saying spiritually, on a spiritual dimension, I like the way it is. I like this small approach because spiritually we are who we are because it's the right number, you know. We don't want to get too big. Well, that says something, you know, about who we are. And it can be different from one person to the other. Or even looking at the whole congregation as a whole, if one would say, well, how does being small affect our spirituality


as a congregation? I would say it can be hard to pinpoint aspects unless one looks at the whole sweep of history right from the conscious beginnings of the movement when it definitely did affect relationship-wise who they were and who we became and how our primary documents show us to be, you know, because of the small scale and because this goes with it. It had to or the small movement never would have lasted. And that's Tabacco's main point, Giovanni Tabacco, primary scholar of Brahman, life of Brahman. Never would have made it if it hadn't, if it is. That's why Emanuele was so pleased with this title because it says so much. A lot of it only we'll know, you know, because we know the history and whatnot. We know what this means. Again, it means...


Yeah, and that's not necessarily a pejorative thing at all. You know, being vulnerable is... We can get into a whole Henry Nouwen spirituality right now, but you know, it's a very positive thing to be consciously vulnerable as a group as well as individuals. Solitude, that has the Romanian stamp right from the beginning. You don't even have to argue about that. That's got the stamp. That's a constitutive part of... Did I say that right? Too many Ts? It's part of our charism, you know. Core charism right from the beginning. Koinonia, or fellowship, goes along with being Benedictine, huh, was a Romaldian aim also from the beginning.


And a strong ecclesial consciousness was always present with Romuald and Peter Damian, both, in their movements. Both of them were very active in church life, particular to the times, of course, fighting heresies and whatnot especially, and being prophets in their own day, and kind of unpopular at times because of it. Privilege of love, I just said something about. Ecumenism, well, we certainly had that right from the beginning with Romuald in his... Certainly the mission to the East, but also his own idea of becoming a martyr in, what was it, Hungary, I think at the time. For him, Hungary later on. But then you can look at the traversary thrust of ecumenical work with the Council of Florence when they almost brought the East and West


back together again. He was central to it. He was the Pope's representative there trying to bring it about. Down to our own times, we don't have to get into the ecumenism. It's just who we are nowadays. It's just part of us. Dialogue also, and then dialogue also on the level of who we are as people in a congregation. Faccia, faccia. We dialogue with one another. And we do so even by constitution. It's important for us to do that. By constitutions and statements from the chapters. We're Benedictine from the beginning, even though we didn't officially become part of the Confederation, which was started in the late 1800s. We didn't join it officially until the 1960s, but we were Benedictine from the beginning with the RB as our guide


and with our founder being a member of a Santa Polinarian class. He was actually a Cluniac. Who doesn't think of Romuald as a Cluniac? There he was. He was a Cluniac. Anything else? Anybody want to say anything about the spiritual? What were the four points that you mentioned that Benedetto gave to the congregation when he became general? Fidelity, primacy of love, community. Fidelity to... That was conditioned, wasn't it? He gave four points. Word of God. Word of God. That's it. Fidelity and ecumenical dialogue. That's it. Bless you, sir. Word of God, fidelity, ecumenical dialogue.