December 10th, 1998, Serial No. 00149

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.



AI Suggested Keywords:


Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

AI Summary: 



Labeled as "Novice Class 1999"; #item-set-041


for your own notes, you know, taking, and also you need it for the ceremonies, like you're officially giving it at the end of the visit. Oh, that's great. Let me take it back. This is the full edition with a big introduction and all the appendices. Okay, it was a very useful thing. It's got a concordance in the back, and so it's, it'll be referred to at various times. This is the rule itself in Latin and English, without all the accessories. And you need to have at least that ladder in your possession. Okay, what about Consider Your Call? Has either of you ever done it? I read it. Hmm? I read it already. You memorized it. I've got one copy here, one from the library, and Francis has another which we can get back. So let me just give this to him. Thank you.


No, it wasn't memorized. Oh, yeah, we'll get another one. Did you use that at all in the past, Francis? No. What about the monastic bibliography? There's a six-page bibliography of monastic and canonical sources, things like that. Do you have it? Six pages? We have, like, a one-and-a-half sheet. Okay, it was a long one. Father Albert had some years ago, so he didn't need it. Because Consider Your Call uses a kind of basic text, as we go along, so it's very useful for reference, especially for the beginning classes. Later on in the course, I need it so much. And you both got the thing from the 1993 General Chapter Formation document.


I put it in there once, just in case. Let me give you a couple of things. This is a program I took classes from this year. And it is more or less subject to variation, of course. I only made one change in this one year, and that was right up at the top, where I separated the one and two from three. Because you've already gone over the phases, and so it's very hard to do it. So, Eve and I will be kind of alternating with these classes. We'll be together for about the first nine, down through Monasticism, Church, World. Then he takes over for Monastic Profession and Vows. And then for the World, too, so he's going to have a little run, a little stretch. Profession and Vows and World of St. Benedict.


Then the section on Monastic Prayer, we shall alternate and sometimes do it together, in the various sections. And then, Work and Priesthood. I think that he'll be covering the Work part, and I'll do the Priesthood part, and so on. And the last couple of classes we'll be doing together, Recapitulation, Discussion, and all that. Now, the idea with the Profession and Vows is that you get one substantial treatment fairly early in the year, and then come back and review at the end. Formerly, for some years, we had given the treatment of the Vows rather close to the Vows, which seemed like a good idea, but when you think about it, it's not, because you should have that sort of digested and working in you during a lot of time. So now we do it early. As I say, the subject of change, the variations, and the opportunities, he's everything. Here are some discussion questions.


We'll consider your call for the introduction and the first chapter. We'll be using that book for the introduction on the, what is a month, is the question. And we might start that next time, depending on how much time we'll have, So that's the introduction, the first three chapters of that. I'll have some more discussion questions for you when we're getting towards the end of this book. These are just for the introduction and the first chapter. Did you need these? No, they're not a good thing. This is for next week. We might get to it next week. I think we'll probably do it. Not the whole thing, but the first part of the introduction. So it's well to read the introduction before you speak.


You don't have to have absolute answers for these questions, of course, they're just a little thought. We may use the questions when we discuss them in class, presupposing you're reading the text, okay? It's better that way than just to go through the text, but we'll see which works best. Okay, those are the things I wanted to ask you about. There were three texts that I'd like to look at in connection with the novitiate itself. That's what I thought we could focus on in this session. The first is Chapter 58 of the Rules of Environment. The second is Acknowledged Constitution, second in the section on novitiates. The third is that formation document from the General Chapter of the 93. Actually, the part on initial formation doesn't add much to the Constitution. We could take a look at the points in the introduction to that document, which give you an idea of where the congregation is coming from and how they see formation today.


Chapter 58. Now, reference for this, for the history of monastic profession and novitiate, is an appendix to DRD 1980. It's the last appendix on here, I think, which gives you a very adequate history of the subject. Actually, the scholarship in here is 20 years old by now, but I don't know that a whole lot has changed since then. The big revolution in the study of Benedictine things was the discovery of the Rule of the Master. Not so much its discovery, but the final consensus that the Rule of the Master comes before the Rule of Benedict. Therefore, the Rule of Benedict is taken from this larger, earlier source, okay? And you can understand St. Benedict by comparing what he does with what he started with. Okay, what he introduces, what he changes, what he removes. And that was fully taken into account in this book.


That appendix is monastic formation and profession, appendix 5, starting on page 43. No, there are seven appendices, that's not the last one. Now, St. Benedict was an innovator with regards to the novitiate. He seems to have established the one-year novitiate in the form that we have it, quite clearly. There are a lot of variations before that time. Whether it be outside the community, partially in the community, or inside the community during the formation period. And then he also seems to have established a separate novitiate place, okay, the cello novizior, I think he called it, the house or cell of the novices. And also a separate novice master, a particular monk who has that responsibility to take care of novices. You can imagine in the earlier tradition, the desert tradition in particular, things were very informal. It wasn't structured.


They'd give you the habit, and that was it. But the big difference between the rule of Benedict and today is that in those days, in the rule of Benedict, your one-year novitiate was the whole formation, okay? You'd be outside for a little while, then you'd be taken into the novitiate for a year. When that was over, you made your final profession. There wasn't any such thing as temporary or simple profession. And it wasn't until 1918, the Code of Canada. That's a surprising fact when you realize it. And now it's possible to extend a further period of initial formation for nine years, isn't it? You make temporary profession, that can go for up to nine years before you make your final commitment. So something major has happened. It would be a big question, a big research to try to find out exactly what it is. What has happened in the Church, in Western humanity, and so on, that has brought that about?


It was a nine-year period of time also, but 1918 was later. I think it was done later. It's been extended gradually. I think it began probably with three years or something like that, okay? And then they realized that people are not ready to make a definitive choice, even after that four-year period, and they should, plus the three years. So they extended it further. At present, there's no particular expectation that a person will make solemn profession after that three years. It was encouraged that they were very free to extend it. I think we do. Because we're in the Middle East, it's a little untypical. I mean, you're away from your home country. Maybe we can just go around and read paragraphs from this chapter 58. Now, we'll come back to this later when you study A, the rule, B, profession, and love, okay? Because it's all in here. See, the whole thing is in this chapter 58.


Let's go on. We do not grant newcomers to the monastic life an easy entry, but, as the Apostle says, test the spirits to see if they are from God. Therefore, if someone comes and keeps knocking at the door, and if at the end of four or five days he has shown himself patient, bearing his harsh treatment, difficulty of entry, and has persisted in his request, then he should be allowed to enter and stay in the guest quarters for a few days. After that, he should live in a bishop or an abbess's study, even state. So you get the idea. You can imagine the kind of treatment today. Somebody can't get in the monastery, and the father slammed the door in his face. Somebody poured the dirty dishwater up the stairs window on himself. He wouldn't let him in for three or four days. He'd say, I never want to see this place again. These people are not even Christian. You can imagine. Things are different in the street. And there were reasons for that. Reasons to test the determination of the novice,


and to see whether it was dependent on kind of circus practice, you know, whatever it really be. And, of course, if that's the custom, then you're ready for it. If that's the culture, if that's the expectation, if you expect these to be crusty old men, mean old guys with hearts of gold, no, you can't expect that. And you can be sure that the reputation will proceed when the guy's coming to the monastery. The best thing you want to do is that. A senior chosen for his skill in winning souls should be appointed to look after them with careful attention. The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God, and whether he shows eagerness for the work of God, for obedience, and for trials. The novice should be clearly told all the hardships and difficulties that will lead him to God. That's a very packed part of it, isn't it?


Now, this senior is an honest man. Skill in winning souls, that's interesting, isn't it? Aptus, Lucanus animus. Now, it doesn't sound like that's what you would want from the novice master in the light of the first paragraph of the chapter, does it? It doesn't sound like anybody's trying to win souls, and I think that sounds like you're trying to keep them out. So there's something about the novice master and the heart of the novice, apparently. Something that's going on. Now, notice the criteria for the discernment of the vocation. The major criteria, and the first one is, does the novice truly seek God? Si Rivera Deum Quere. Si Rivera Deum Quere. It's a very important phrase.


Secondly, whether he shows eagerness for the work of God. Now, the work of God there is the divine office. Which is really a major factor in the Rule of Benedict. Much more than in some other traditions of monotheism. For obedience and for trials. Now, that's interesting, too, obedience. Why was that singled out? Well, you can say that that's the backbone of the Rule of Benedict. That the avid and the virtues of obedience and humility are the backbone of the Rule. That's something we'll talk about more later. And for trials, and that goes along somehow with the obedience. In fact, you'll have later, when we talk about obedience, well, what about if a monk has to do something impossible? Or really heavy things are expected. He's supposed to be able to bear that. And then all the hardships and difficulties of believing in God. It's not a pretty picture. It's not the picture of a place where I'll have a sense of belonging, necessarily.


Or a family or something like that. It doesn't have that warm feeling of community that we attribute to a monastic family now. It's a different perspective. A different consciousness. It's interesting, all of the things you say. Letting go of the hardships and difficulties of believing in God. It almost sounds like, again, a sense of a program that's put on, rather than letting go of the hardships and difficulties. And those seem to be discovered. Maybe that's in there, too, but it sounds, at least the initial standards of, this is all that's going to happen, this is going to be a hardship, this is going to be a difficulty. Obedience, trials, hardships, and difficulties sound like they're all one package tucked in, in a way. Those trials and difficulties will come through the obedience, I think. They'll be part of the structure and part of the program, rather than something that happens to you. There's a real belief there, though, isn't there,


that the monastic life is a struggle, the Christian life is a struggle, and that somehow it's through the struggle that you get to God. Remember, somewhere else, the book talks about the way of obedience, the way of God, and he defines the monastic life as the way of obedience. Here you call it the way of trials, or the way of spiritual struggle and conflict. But it's all one thing in that way. And it could have invoked the image of the cross, but it doesn't really. It could have invoked the Eucharist. But it will somewhere else, when you get to the chapter on delusions. If he promises perseverance in his stability, then after two months, have a lapse. Let this rule be read straight through to him, and let him be told,


this is the law under which you are choosing to serve. If you can keep it, come in. If not, feel free to leave. He stands firm. He is to be taken back to the mission, and again thoroughly tested in patience. After six months have passed, the rule is to be read to him, so that he may know what he is entering. If once more he stands firm, let four months go by, and then read this rule to him again. If after due reflection, he promises to observe everything, and to obey every command given him, let him then be received into the community. But he must be well aware that, as the law of the rule establishes, from this day he is no longer free to leave the monastery, nor to shake from his neck the yoke of the rule, which, in the course of so prolonged a period of reflection, he was free either to reject or to accept. Thank you. Okay, let's look at the structure. The structure of the year of novitiate. He's going to be brought in,


and after two months of that year, the rule will be read to him. Then after another six months, it will be read, and then finally after another four months, that would be at the end of the year, and at that time he may make his commitment, his profession. The terms in which he's to think of his commitment, perseverance and his stability, first, okay? That's in then verse nine. And then a little later, have you tested in all patience? The same idea, really, in verse 11. The second time that word appears. Yeah. It's in the first paragraph. Of course, it's not exactly the same word. The whole idea, like where it says, hardships and difficulties and trials, and obedience and patience is involved, is central. Okay, and then, 14, verse 14. If after the reflection promises to observe everything


and so to obey everything. So here, it's more in terms of of obedience, isn't it? And response to the structure, to the program. And then he's committed, it's a lifelong commitment. And that commitment to the community, to the rule, to the evidence, is taken as a commitment to God. It's a very spiritual thing. Now, it's not that the novice is illiterate, because later on, a major factor of the Derrick and the Masterfight, that's what it is, is reading. But nevertheless, it's read to him in a rather formal way. It will be read straight through to him. That would be strange for us, too. It's almost a ritual, isn't it? Rather than...


Because how much can you understand when something, a long document is read through you continuously like that? What would it take now? It's kind of ritual, just like the profession is a ritual as well. There's a strong ritual sense of the state of history. At first I thought it might be explained, but the way you're saying it, in a sense, it's exactly the opposite. There's no... It's just a straight reading through. What's enjoined here is a straight reading through, and I presume that he'd have an opportunity for questions, you know, and for explanation. That must be taken for granted. I think he'd have to. He's got his noviceness to get his mentors, so I suppose it's a presumed question. Okay, now, I don't think we need to go through the rest of it with such detail, because we'll be running into that later. We've gotten up to the point of profession here. Let's just look at the major features of it.


I've got another copy of this, if you want. So, starting with verse 17, what you have is the ritual of profession. He's going to make three promises. Fidelity to monastic life and obedience. We're going to run into that phrase later, which means the way of life, basically, the whole way of life. And our lady ends here. And he writes a promise. If he is a layman, then he has someone else to write a promise. I presume that if the candidate is a literate, then they'll teach him to read, if possible. There must have been someone who's been able to learn to read. I don't know how they worked out the Lectio Divina for that, whether somebody would read aloud and they'd follow it together or not. And then there's the profession formula itself.


Receive me, Lord, as you have promised, my children. We'll see that. We've seen that in the professional ritual here, both simple and solemn profession. Sushipa Mandala. He prostrates himself. He's considered part of the community. Normally, acceptance in a community is denoted by receiving a habit in the earliest tradition. And then the thing about possession. He's got to divest himself of everything he owns. So he can do it in several ways. Verse 24, 25. And Benedict is very worried about that. Later on, he's worried that a young person who comes to the monastery might expect an inheritance or something later on. So he'll have to make very sure that there's no such kind of division involved. And then his clothes are taken away


and he's given the clothes for the monastery to have. And basically, that's it. Let's take a look at the Commandments Constitution and listen to questions about that. There's a whole section on the issue here. Chapter 7, Section 2. It starts on page 34. Chapter 7, Section 2 Number 135. Now, here's the chief purpose of the novitiate. We can contrast it with the purpose of the apostolic service which was expressed a little earlier. The chief purpose of the novitiate is to help the candidate to know and experience what monastic living requires of him.


So that when he professes this life he can do so in response to the personal call of God. Whereas some of them deliver his baptism in a month. Let's take a look at the one on prostitution. That's number 131 on page 33 here. The purpose of prostitution is to aid young men in gradually adapting their psychological and spiritual life to their new situation so that in a climate of serenity under the expert guidance of their master they may fully examine their call. And then there's this assessment business too, and maybe assaying the degree of profound spiritual formation and so on. So, this is a preparation for what the novitiates have to do. The purpose of the prostitution is not expressed as experiencing the life. It's a kind of adaptation to the point at which such an experience can be validated and made. Of course, that's a little arbitrary because people have their own rhythms. Adapting their psychological and spiritual life


to their new situation. It's like learning the ropes so that they can really try the life out, so that they can really experience it. And you can imagine in the Boston Institute there'd be more exceptions to the normal structure of the life than there would be during the militia where a person really gets to experience it. That would have been much more noticeable in earlier years when there was a much tighter structure, for instance, in the militia. In the old days, the militia really was a separate section. These cells over here were both in the militia. And if you go to the part of the chronology, it's a separate little alley, a separate little street of cells which was formerly the militia. Catholically, by the church. But that has been found to be unproductive, counterproductive, separating the novices. Because now the theory is that the novice master


is not subjecting the novices to a particularly kind of strict and exigent trial period, but rather it's the community that's born. And what they have to do is learn the life in context of the community in which they were living. The community as a formative agent, that's going to come up in that, to come up in these constitutions, and then again in the document. So it changes from a vertical and structural perspective, both vertical, coming from the novice master as it were, and the idea of the tight structure of life which is distinct and carefully maintained. Movement from that point of view to the community perspective, which is typical of our time. Thank you. You can see where that was almost helpful


for religious students, but not so much for monastic life. You mean that kind of novitiate? Yeah. There's a lot of complaint among religious though, that the novitiate is one thing and their life is something else. Yeah. You'll get a lot of religious people who say, I loved the novitiate, I was happy there. And then they sent me out into the apostolate and I was lost. Or I couldn't find that prayer, I couldn't find that interiority. And so they come in and say, how would you do that? Having had a taste of that in the novitiate. That's a problem for many religious people. But just think where they would have been if they had just been out in the apostolate. Do you know what that would have meant? Or how prayer could be meaningful for them, or the essence of who they are for their lives. Well, that was the monastic period in their life. They had their monastic phase, like going back into the early centuries, they had their monastic phase in their worship. And then they went out into a congregation which has lost touch with its own monastic mood, in a sense, or with its own contemplative mood.


Because most religious orders do have that kind of contemplative mood too, except they're very modernized. Even though they have quite a lot of prayer in their original formulation, their original constitution. So, it's largely the fault, I think, of the way that those institutes have developed. Like in the States, you know, the whole notion of the contemplative life is just lost. There's no understanding of it. I mean, even from the monastic life to have, even in the beginnings, a separate place for novices. You know, because... It's like, this is the group that you're in. It's not like the religious order where you go around and you live all over the place. And so, this is the place where you're living your life with everybody for the rest of your life. So, where you think religious orders,


you know, as I said, some kind of grasping that, I think, is important before you start moving out all over the place. Because, more than likely, you're not going to get it out there or get it very little if that's where you're going to get it. That's right. And then, in the division, might be people with different apostles. Do you know what I mean? So, that grounding in prayer is going to... It should be the center of the circle for all of them, yeah. But they'll move out to the periphery and very easily lose touch with the center. Part of it, you know, part of that in history, I think, is because the religious orders had such a hard time breaking out of monasticism. They had such a hard time blowing the container of monasticism in order to be able to go out and be active and do what they were told to do in the world that they blew it out too thoroughly and forgot the origin, the center.


So, it was very difficult to break down that container of monastic observance in the West for the Christian religious. And Francis does it with quite a determination. They didn't want any proper monasticism at some point. Because they knew that was going to close them in and tie them into all kinds of plural office and cloister and everything. It would frustrate the people, of course. And the Jesuits weren't even further than that. For a bad tour in the office in Parliament? Yeah. There was a time when contemplation was a bad word. There was a contemplative prayer was around that. There were different reasons for that, I can't report. There's this little book by, what's his name? Knowles, David Knowles, where he shows like a constitutional history of religious life. I think we looked at that before. Where he shows the various stages of moving away from monasticism, breaking the eggshell and moving on. And how each one takes a further step. But today it reaches absurdness


because the contemplative thing is just out of sight. I wish it may begin only when a candidate has become aware of his calling to reach a level of maturity to answer a sufficiently clear and responsible choice. Well, that's asking a lot. It's asking a lot for people to make some kind of quantum leap in maturity. You know, during the first year or so, during the Apostles. Do you see this period of formation lengthening on both ends? Remember how it lengthened out afterwards into this nine-year period of maturity? And it's lengthened beforehand in introducing the Apostles. So, it's... And in early monasticism, practically speaking, very soon the community would be the form of religion, wouldn't it? After that, the mission of that. And we were in the sea, in the fish pond of the community. And then, later on, the Theotokos started


kind of theorizing, structuralizing the connection. They delivered what was in the original chapter. And then, C.J.C. is the Code of Canon Law, all right? Codex Juris Canonici. It's wherever you see that. Now, there's a class shelf over there, by the way, which still has some books on it. I've got to look at them. I tried to put them back in the library, and they're scrupulous. I put them back on the shelf. But there's a Code of Canon Law there, if you want to look at it. It's good to be familiar with it. Familiar with the area of the Canon Law which relates to religious and monasticism. There's even an article on it. So, these are paragraphs of the Code of Canon Law. The purpose of the mission, in subsequent years of formation, to help an artist to grow in his journey in the path he has chosen, to make him ever more conscious of his own vocation, more than material. Obviously, the knowledge of his vocation


that he's talking about is much more than that of some kind of experiential understanding. Number 136 is on the classes, which brings to mind this distinction between formation and education. There are three words. I remember there was a paper by a chap who was doing this. Formation, education, initiation. It's good to reflect on those three words and what they imply. The word formation is kind of a disagreeable word now. It's hard to find a more appropriate one. There's something wrong with that word, isn't there? Because it suggests that you can form a monastic person like a cookie or something. It's got an extrinsic, very dualistic sense about it, connotation to it, as if you could take the person and make the person into something by exterior forces and structures and actions, operations, okay?


Whereas what's happening is something's happening inside the person and the form of the person is going to emerge largely, principally, from inside, isn't it? It's going to be the form of Christ or the form of baptism or the form of that organic person, not something you can compose from outside. So there's something wrong with the word formation and yet it endures. I think it's appropriate for some professions and things, for some roles, formation would be appropriate. If it was a military formation, something like that, not so much for a monastic one. Nevertheless. But the word education is not adequate either because it relates to, as we usually understand, it relates to the idea that it relates to intellectual knowledge and information. It's an important part of monastic life, an important part of monastic formation, but it seems too off the ground,


too unrelated to practice and to experience, as we understand education. And yet the word education, to reduce, means to bring out, doesn't it, religion itself. It would have been more adequate in its original meaning. The word initiation, I find, to be the most, somehow, exciting of the three words. That is, initiation as bringing someone into a mystery was opening someone's awareness, consciousness, to that which is going on interiorly, in some way or another. Or you can think of initiation into a mystery, which is the mystery of the community, the mystery of Christ, which in some sense is objective, is outside the person. Or you can think of initiation as opening the person's consciousness to that which is happening inside them. And the two things are going on at the same time. But the word initiation isn't completely adequate either,


is it, because you have these other layers. You have a layer of formation to an external observance and to the ways of a community, to the Benedictine life, let us say, which requires certain external ways, observances and so on. And you have an education which is necessary into the culture and the treasures and the mystery itself, insofar as it's communicated through words. And we are in a religious tradition of the word in Christianity, of the biblical word especially, not involved in education. But one of those echoes still seems to be initiation. And that's something that continues for one's whole life. Even though it's strange, initiation, the etymology of the word refers to the beginning, doesn't it? And for us, it's revised in terms of baptism and euchres, the sacraments of initiation, and particularly baptism.


But in understanding monasticism, in Vatican II, you'll find more and more reference to baptism in these constitutions, you will. So that monasticism is some kind of initiation into initiation, in a sense, okay? Some kind of initiation into what is implicit in your baptism. Not trying to distinguish your individual call from the baptismal call. Those things can seem kind of vague and kind of boring, but as you stay with them, there are more and more riches that come out of them. I find that word initiation exciting because it preserves the idea of the fullness of the mystery continually just beneath the surface. It also has a Eucharistic sense, of course. Okay, 136 is about these classes, and there's a kind of large order proposed here.


Initiate them into the sources of monastic wisdom. What would those be? Well, first of all, the monastic fathers. Generally, they classify the fathers into two categories, the church fathers and the monastic fathers. They're not the same father. The church fathers are basically bishops, teaching bishops and writing bishops, aren't they? And the monastic fathers were men of practice, like the desert fathers and so on. And you'll find that the two traditions produce two different kinds of traditions of literature, like the Mahamons and Commentaries and the Treatises of Saint Augustine and John Chrysostom and Gregory the Great and so on. Those are the church fathers, Gregory and Chrysostom. They're the maids. And the writings of the same father, or the collection of the saints are the desert fathers, or the stories of the desert fathers, another kind of literature. Sometimes they were crossing the two, like with Gregory the Great, and that's the like of that, but in general, it's a distinct experience. And, of course, monasticism affected


and was close to the life of the church much more in the early centuries, especially in the East than it is now. How many monks were bishops, you know, in the early church? It seems like most of the fathers of the church had a spell of monastic life at one point or another before their apostolic responsibility. And up until, like, when you say the 11th century, maybe, in the West, the monastic life was kind of in the center of it all. And very, in a very accented way, around the time of the birth of the canonization. Remember, you had a monk pope at that point, and Gregory VII, and so on, and the monks had a lot of influence on the monastic life. And then, after the, what, 13th century, that was no longer true,


the ecclesial or ecclesiastical tradition of monastic tradition started quite early in the West. It's not true in the East, but in the East, it's still very close to that. Okay, source of monastic wisdom, largely the literature. Meditated reading of Holy Scripture, you'll find that's kept in the center throughout these constitutions and formations. Liturgy, spiritual and historical tradition of monasticism, so some histories, meaning, and especially economics tradition. I'm hoping when the TV comes back, we can do some of that. We're not on the TV. Religious vows, and the consecration of God in a monastic doctrine too. Interesting, those two are separated there, isn't it? There's two different traditions represented in the religious vows and in the monastic profession. We'll get to that in the study of profession, but monastic profession in the beginning was really one thing. Even though, remember, you had three commitments,


or three expressions of the commitment in chapter 58 in Benedict's book, stability, conversion of minds, and obedience. Yet it was considered to be one act. And those were, what would you call it, the way, the messy way in which they overlapped and seemed to be exchanged and so on, indicates that one really thought it was distinct. They were like three limbs on the same body. But later on, the religious vows became much more individualized and constitutive in some way of religious life. The idea in early monasticism was you lived the life of the community. That was it, there was a tradition, and you entered into that tradition, and you lived that life, and you made one commitment to God in that tradition, and the particular expressions of that commitment didn't matter that much. The way in which they were distinguished and articulated was quite variable, quite flexible. It's important to realize that the unity and simplicity of the monastic commitment, which is, after all, a commitment to unity in some way. Martin was talking about it.


It's a commitment to unity of life, to unity with God, and to a kind of unitive realization. And there, of course, you hear the resonance of the East with the Asian traditions. But that's something Christianity needs to be clear about. Okay, younger candidates can have instruction of other subjects. Number 137 is on the role of the monastic community in formation through the experience of monastic life itself. So that's a very important realization. There's a whole different consciousness there, isn't there, than the consciousness we had before. And this is not only with respect to monasticism, monastic formation, but a lot of things in Christianity, in Catholic Church. Before we thought, or others would say it, we had an institutional model of the Church, so we thought in terms of structure, didn't we? And we thought of faith itself in terms of what was called an array of doctrines, of dogmas that were to be believed,


the essential truths of faith. But we didn't very well see the unity between them, and we didn't very much think of the Church as the body of Christ in terms of a body of believers, of the people of God, but rather the Church as a kind of... I don't want to say structure, and I don't want to say institution, because it's too... it doesn't fully cover it, but something like that, we had an image of the Church which was much more like an object in some way, and much less like yourself and the people and the others, much less communal and organic image of the Church. And that's changed a lot. I think it's a change for the positive. So you can see it coming in here. And earlier you thought of... and that's like in terms of observance, the way of life. Here you think of it in terms of the community, the community's way of life. Relations between members of the community and novices must be characterized by...


this is in 137 again... great fraternal charity, family spirit, and a necessary reserve that as the novices do in this delicate phase of seeking and examining their vocation. For one thing, it means that people in the community are not to be interfering in the work of formation. So the community... that reserve. So it's something that the novices themselves should be conscious of, I think, that they have to be aware of influences, of being excessively influenced by individual members of the community outside the novitiate. And often, see, candidates can be very open and vulnerable and suggestible because they're looking for wisdom, they're looking for monastic wisdom, and if someone offers it to them, they're very ready to accept it. If it's a senior member of the community, then they can be very highly respected. They have to be careful.


Because sometimes, there has been in the past, a tendency among some senior members of the community really to have a gospel of their own, in a sense, to have their own spiritual way that they wanted to urge on others. It's not always appropriate. And this can be true of devotions, it can be true of practices, and it's especially true when it causes division, okay? When there's some suspicion of the central line of formation of the community, something like that. Does the reserve work in another way? It may be inappropriate as well for the novice to do too much sharing of what's going on inside with a number of people, okay? There's good announcements to be made. But to preserve a certain container around the interior, there are exceptions to that by and large.


Okay. Enter the harmony of aims and charity to inquire of any master. I think we have that. And then how you report to the novice master, and let him obviously know you're giving. Okay. And the criteria for the novice master. There's a way of relating to the novices. This is about the fourth paragraph of 138. You know, simplicity and friendliness. We wouldn't have heard that so much in the older legislation, simplicity and friendliness. What would have been emphasized would be giving a good example and what do you call it, a kind of erectness and luminosity of the observance or something like that. Let the master give a good example by his own perfect observance or something. It would have been the idea. This isn't the same thing, is it? And yet the qualifications for the novice master include those things.


It's more the climate of relationship which he encourages and kind of projects and which is an expression, should be, of the climate community itself and of the values of the community. Goodness and respect for their personalities. That, too, is something that you wouldn't have seen 80 years ago in the formation. All right. His actions for the end of heaven and hell is to perform themselves as human persons and as men of God. Notice the two levels there. Sometimes I talk about three levels, human, Christian, monastic. As if one were on top of the other. They're all one. It's too easy to neglect one and take revenge on the other. If you neglect the human level, then sooner or later it will jump you.


Something will jump on you and you'll have to work through it. Similarly, the Christian level. It's possible for somebody to be so in love with the religious life, the monastic life, the contemplative life, the solitary life, that they forget completely about Christianity. It seems hard to conceive of that, but really, in the heart, there can be such an obsession with a particular form of life, a particular way of living spiritual life, that the values of Christianity are just eclipsed and the connection to Christ even grows dim. And what it can be, in the end, is a kind of being locked into an obsessive love affair with one's own ideals, with one's own image. And which is a separate judgment, I think. A kind of image of glory, of one's own self. Not everybody is subject to that. I remember the famous Father Halsharing, who was a graduate of monastic spirituality,


he gave a conference to about a thousand nuns one time about the values of the religious life. He said, well, it's more important to be a human being than it is to be a Christian. It's more important to be a Christian than it is to be a religious. It's more important to be a religious than it is to be a contemplative. And one nun came up afterwards and told him, Father, you've just destroyed my monastic ideal. And he said, thank God. I'm a religious man. It sounds a little extreme, doesn't it? But there's something that humanity itself is close to God in some way. And if you had never heard of Christ, somehow God would still be in your humanity. That particular one, there's something about that pyramid. See, what he was trying to do was turn over that worship of a particular way of life which is manifest in the love of the habit, in the love of the way, all of the stuff about a particular form of religious life, which in the end predicts the gospel entirely. As I say, I had a little problem in the first two steps of the pyramid.


More important to be a human being than it is to be a Christian. No, no. They don't have to be in conflict. They're not in conflict. If you've heard the word, if you've heard the gospel, then to be a Christian means to be a human being. Or your humanity somehow is fulfilled along the line toward that light, which is known as the spirit, which means moving in the direction of the gospel. If you've heard the gospel, then to be a human being, you can't think of any other way, a better way to do it than being a Christian. It's necessary to have humanity. So they don't know what it means to be a Christian. That idea of humanity before Christianity used to be scary, especially in this world today, where untutored humanity, and untutored school, that forcing a form on something, and just humanity run amok with no teacher or anything like that. There's something about it, though, that Jesus himself does drive into that level,


because Christianity is the tradition of incarnation. So what Jesus does is to transform humanity by descending to that level. So there's something going on between the first two stages, the first two steps of that pyramid that requires further reflection. But one doesn't have to construct the hierarchy in that way. What he was doing was he was taking all those and knocking them off their ladder. And then the Christian Catholic, and he was more important than a Christian, he was to be a Catholic, and that was a publicity outrage, too, at the same time. But if you read further in Hausher, you find that there's no problem with him. I mean, he's not outside orthodoxy. And I probably haven't expressed it in clarity. He wrote a wonderful article called The First Principles of Religious Life, or something like that. It was in Iranbiya Monastery for about four years. First Principles of Monastic Life.


And what he said was, well, religious life, monastic life, should be the life of the Trinity. And then he explored each of those three directions, the direction of the Father, the direction of the Son, the direction of the Holy Spirit, what it meant to him. And in each case, it was an expanding direction rather than contracting, rather than a box. Here's one of the Desert Fathers in the Hebrew pen. In fact, the Desert Fathers are great examples of, even though they're dedicated to their, quote, outside way of life, to the forms of their life, even though they're forms that aren't hierarchically structured or something, like a 13th century monastery, but they're at the same time very, very able to leave those forms in compassion and to really show true compassion for their brothers and sisters. When it's working life, when the form of life is working life,


then somehow it bores down through the pyramid and reverses it in the sense that the way of life itself makes you more Christian, more human, et cetera. In other words, it intensifies the lower, seemingly lower levels rather than transcending them. A monastic life would make you more of a Christian rather than less of a Christian. Being a Christian and a monk would make you more human rather than less human, okay? So the illusion is in thinking that they had to go to war against one another. But it is possible to live that special life in such a way that it makes you less Christian and less human, and that's what Haussler was fighting against. He saw people who were in love with their status as religious and so on, okay? In love with their self-image as superior people as part of the elite and so on. And that's what he was trying to do. But I have to find the way he put it exactly, because he was a good thinker and a good theologian,


and I think he did it less sloppily than I did. But he did, doesn't... Not in his almanac, but in that telepathy, he said something similar to that. The way I remember it is that before you're a Christian, you're a Christian, you're a human. That's right. And you need to work, all three of them need to come together. That's right. That became a foundation stone, a central kind of part of the communalist thing. Since the time of... So he kind of like brought that forward. Very much, yeah. So in general, I think about it on three levels. It's wrong to think... It's right to think about one on top of the other in terms of, what do you call it, based on... It's not good to think of one on top of the other in terms of simple superiority, especially between the second and the third, the Christians and the monks. It's not a question of superiority. Something else is going on. It's a question of specifying a specificity.


Okay. Does it make it sound as though the ones that are underneath are left behind? Yeah. They can't be. But it's good to reflect on that, isn't it? It's good to reflect on the relationship of those three levels because it makes the ideas churn. And it makes you arrive at something beyond, a little beyond expression. So you get a sense of feeling of the way it should work. The way they should relate. If you put it in here before, it won't be there. I have to be a mystic. Okay. His actions shall be aimed at having an outspoken self. The human presence is not a barrier. Each autonomous has... Now we get into... Move out from the center. Let's just push through it quickly because we're running out of time.


Each house, 139, has a right to its own novitiate. And it's better if he has a novitiate there. But often when you have little monasteries, little harem cities, they don't have the resources to really do a good formation there. So send them to the central house, which is what they do on their way. They have a little way to come out of it. In fact, they enjoin that very strongly here in the document. Yeah. We're not in that position. We don't have anywhere else to send them. And besides, this community is big enough to do its own formation. Okay. And then 140, what's required for a valid novitiate, 12 months. Can't be absent for more than 3 months. And if you're absent for more than 15 days, I can make it up. There can be an interval during the novitiate outside the community. Which is going to extend the novitiate. It's not part of the year of the novitiate. We've got a month-long novitiate to cover. And then it's reviewed in 142 every 6 months.


Now that's the one required by the Constitution, so we have it for all the candidates at that time. Now it's required by everybody else at the same time, because the other ones are not in the Constitution. It's... Okay. In 143, the chapter to decide on the name of the novice as to profession. 144. During the novitiate, the candidates continue to wear lay clothes. Now, we don't do that in the same way that we have a monastic habit. And that's been... We've had that exception for a long time, because we felt that people need a strong kind of monastic identity earlier in the process, in the name of the novice. But that still is true. They still remain wearing their clothing until the end of their service. And then 145, the issue of possessions. During simple profession... During the novitiate, you don't have to worry about it. You're not going to be involved with possessions. During simple profession,


the person cannot administer the goods and cannot enjoy their use, whatever they are, okay? But somebody else can do it for them. But after solemn profession, you simply can't own anything. You have to get rid of it. But one does not have to get rid of all possessions at the time of simple profession. Only at the time of priming profession. Okay. 146, temporary simple profession. And then the formula of profession, we're talking about in priming profession. And we don't need to deal with that now, so... Next time, let's take a look at those pages from the document, the 1993 formation document. Particularly, there's an introduction, which you don't have to worry about too much. It's a short introduction. The part in parenthesis is important, part of the formation of the Trinity.


And 1.1 introduction is not so important here. 1.2 is important, that's permanent formation. And then 1.3, initial formation. Up until number 7, that's where the novitiate concerns end. So we can talk about that, and then we can begin to discuss the introduction to Consider Your Call. The part about what is among the meaning of monastic life. I'll have some other references for you, some other instructions. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, the plural of the document. And I think we'll... Shall we bring the presentations for the next... Let's see, we might bring them next time, anyway.