December 17th, 1998, Serial No. 00148

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

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So you may want to mark those two, just so you remember what they are. Panacra is kind of unmistakable. That's from the first chapter of Bliss and Simplicity. I read this last year, this one. Yeah, yeah. It's good. And the other one is from the first chapter of The Meaning of the Monastic Life, by Louis Bouillet. So I think we'll be using those mostly next time, as kind of side references from our chapter. Our introduction continues. May our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May our Father help us with your Spirit. Help us to know and to love. We ask this in Jesus' name. Bruno, could you spell his name, Bouillet? Yeah, B-O-U-Y-E-T. Louis Bouillet of the Oratory. I know. Last time, we were talking about the novitiate, trying to get a good idea of what the novitiate


is about, what the purpose of it is. And so we looked at the Rule of St. Henry, Chapter 58. We looked at the Commandments and Constitutions, part of Chapter 7. I don't think we started on this formation document, so let's take a look at that. That's from the general chapter of 1992. And, Ramiro, you weren't there. I wasn't there. No, you were there for the formation meeting afterwards. Right. Chapter. Now, you'll notice that the first part of that is not about the novitiate. But actually, what's about the novitiate in here doesn't say much more than we've already done in the Constitutions. But the introduction to this document gives you an idea of the presuppositions, okay, and emphases. That italic part is interesting, where they say every type of monastic formation has its roots in the life of the Trinity. And what they're talking about is relationship and love, apparently, okay? When they say Trinity, it's not another perspective on the three persons, but the idea that the Trinity is the model and archetype of community, of love.


And it's spelled out later on in the Recommendation of the Catholic. Then there's a little introduction. Before, I didn't really mean introduction. The introduction is only this couple of paragraphs. Then you get to 1.2 of the Permanent Reformation. And this is highly organized, I think. I think we're entitled to be a little bit critical of the presentations. The Prologue of the Rule Defines Monastic Communities in the School of the Divine Service, Scola Divini Servizio, okay? Now, de Vogelwey is a great researcher on that matter of what school means. And he goes into it enormously, coming from the background of the rule of the monastic, but also from the pagan world, the classical world, where scola, or scola in Greek, had certain meanings, okay? But it had several meanings. One could be the school of philosopher, and that's the one that's most akin, I think, to monastic life. And I think that's the one they're talking about here, when they talk about contemplative tone, which the word scola, scola, suggests.


But others were, you'd have a school of, like a bodyguard or something like that, that's a special group of soldiers, or courtiers, okay? So it had a lot of different meanings. I think the word scola can mean to, like vicar, like to have leisure for study or for contemplative activity. Anyway, that's what they're trying to get across there. But I'd refer you to the book if you want to know more about it. That the rule of St. Benedict doctrinal and spiritual commentary, okay? That's one of the one-volume commentaries on the rule, and there's a lot of treatment of that. The trouble is that most of it's about the rule of the master and the rule of St. Benedict, but not much about the preceding classical tradition, the meaning of the word scola. I was disappointed by Cardar, our new American commentator, because at least in his index of themes, he doesn't include the word. You'd have to find it in his text, if he comments on it.


Exquisitely contemplative quality, indispensable for the monastic person, homo monasticus. And listening, not being dominated by things, not losing their order, this is a horizon in the ultimate direction of life. Sounds like a kind of philosophic perspective. I wonder if there's even something there for disagreement. It sounds like the thrust here is that there are going to be things bothering us, but not to lose purpose. In other words, it seems like it's not, rather than talking about what the homo monasticus is, it's concentrating on don't be too distracted by things. Yes. Like a kind of openness to the ultimate, openness to ultimate meaning, ultimate values, which is a pretty vague way of looking at monasticism. It's all right, we can zero in on that and focus more closely, focus in. But if that were the final definition, the monastics are pretty much too late.


But for that, I think we'd have to refer to the Constitution. This is a very partial document, very functional. Okay, now here are the three big themes that are going to be the basis of the document to follow. God's word, the person, and openness to dialogue. Okay? Now it's interesting, I don't think either one of those three is precisely the monastic theme. I think they're developments from the monastic theme. But those are part of, what would you call it, but those are composed between them, sort of the structure of the Commodities perspective, I think, for the past 30 years or so. Those particular developments and accents. Benedetto was so strong on God's word, also on the person. And the openness to dialogue is characteristic of the Trinidadic, too. That's certainly a new perspective in monasticism. In our monastic tradition. Okay.


God's word. First of all, Alexia Divina. And a theology of experience. That can mean a couple of things. It can mean a theology which comes from experience, or it can mean a theology which experience is, in some way. That's your wife. Yeah. Yeah. Now, here, I don't think this was, this didn't come out of an enormous tradition of wisdom. A lot of the things that are said in here are obviously somebody's ideas. Okay. There's somebody's way of presenting it. They say, well, listen, this fellow really has the idea, let's let him draft it. So that's what they've done. For instance, where it says, we're convinced that the Holy Scriptures are God's own hands, which even now are shaping the organic legion of the image of the risen Lord. Well, okay, but for Irenaeus, God's hands are a word and spirit, right? One hand is the scripture, another hand is the spirit. But you can say also that God's hands are scripture and life, or something like that.


But to say that the word of God is both hands is not quite in the center of the tradition. And that has a lot of consequences, too. Okay. Okay. So this is about Lexia and the communication of the tradition of Lexia. I think all of that is excellent. I think that would be two things that would be very distinct, that you know about what progressed from the Nehemiah to that of Atonement, which is probably those who are attentive to the spirit who speaks with them. Yeah, that's right. They're picking up the spirit here a little bit. But that other statement is pretty dramatic. Well, it's not patristic. It doesn't have any fault. Moving from heteronomy to autonomy. Do you hear St. Paul behind that? What they're talking about there is like a movement from Old Testament to New Testament, or law to spirit, an external rule for your life to the interior principle of life,


which is the spirit. So in Paul's letter to the Galatians or Romans, what you've got is this principle of moving from heteronomy to autonomy, which is very difficult for the Church to deal with, because if everybody's autonomous, then how do you have the Church acting for the community? But heteronomy means for you to be ruled and directed by something outside yourself. Okay? Autonomy is for you to be directed from within yourself, basically. Some people devise a third term like that. What was it, theonomy, or what was it? Which is a kind of synthesis or synergy of the two. You need both theonomy. Yeah. And some people can't be totally independent of it. Certainly not of God's Word. You can't stress God's Word and stress complete autonomy. You did go one second across and you addressed this idea of it doesn't matter, conservative, Catholic. That's right. That's right. Heteronomy would be the ultra-conservative Catholic.


It's also masculine. Yeah. To some extent, the autonomy thing, yeah. So there's not quite subtle enough, it seems, when you're speaking of it here, but I don't think you're intended to stop there. This is just in passing, sort of moving towards it. And it is good to hear that in an official document, but I don't want to talk on it. Okay. Right of the great human heritage of past tradition to make for history. It's interesting to hear it in the light of contemporary history. That's going to edge into the dialogue. A virtuous circle. That's almost like a bad pun. Instead of a vicious circle. But maybe it sounds better in Italian. Or in some other language. What they're talking about is lexio and monastic wisdom feeding back into a creative liturgy.


So the liturgy nourishes you, but then the community should also be creating the liturgy. Well, certainly there's some of that in this community. Virtuous circles in like sacred space. Virtuous circle. Well, what do you mean? See, there's this cliché, the vicious circle, all right? And he's saying... He really is going against the virtues. He's going against the... I know that as they talk about the hermeneutic circle, for instance, where the text interprets. That's what happens. You interpret the text, the text interprets you. So it's one of these processes which... So you're cycling up rather than cycling down. It's the relationship between what we call... Between liturgy and the person, I guess. Or between the word and the person. Yeah. See, the word is instructing the person. Is the person instructing the word? No, the person is constructing the liturgy. Now we get to the person, and for this, for me, this doesn't quite fit.


In other words, what he proceeds to talk about here is only partly, I think, fits under the rubric of the person. Fits under that heading. For instance, the primacy of the contemplative life. I think that's another point, separate from the primacy of the person. But if you're in an institutional kind of monasticism, you will see the contemplative life as the personal life, as opposed to the structure of the man. Maybe it's coming from that kind of picture, but I don't quite understand it being in that place. I don't want to overdo the criticism here. What's important is the positive points. And then the way that develops, dialogue in the community, dialogue between hermitages and monasteries, openness to cultural differences. It sounds like Bill Mullen's in Category 3, dialogue. Yeah. In the first paragraph of A, there's a love of tessitrinitas.


There's tessitrinitas and solitude, which seems very important. Then in the very next paragraph, a climate of serenity and respect for the dialogue, among all sorts of different types of dialogue. So, by the strange proximity of those two things, it also highlights some tensions of how do we be both true lovers of solitude and discernment. Tessitrinitas, the real silent life. And engage in this beautiful dialogue in a way so that they don't both collapse into nothing. So, having both of them. There can be healthy tension, but by putting them together, they can express healthy tension. Tessitrinitas now is St. Benedict's word for silence. So, the chapter on silence in St. Benedict's Rule, we call it the tessitrinitas chapter, I believe. It means a little more than silence. It means a kind of love for silence.


Should we end this class? No. This is a fresh and new knowledge class. Oh, a new knowledge class. We're starting it. I heard Bill ran out, and Robert came by and asked, what's that for? And I said, that's a class going on. I'm not confident I'll be here tomorrow. Sorry to disturb you. And then, paragraph B is about culture, isn't it? I'm kind of defining this. And culture and information and education, it's all getting in there. Now, this, of course, is part of the personal encouragement to continue the personal study. C is about professional training. D is about work. Now, these are against the background of those parts of the Constitution, I think. The one on formation, Chapter 7, talks about professional training.


Largely reiterations. What were they thinking of when they said professional training? Here? Okay. It could be, for instance, theology. Or it could be, say, bookkeeping or accountancy. Or it could be pharmacy, if somebody's going to be working in that area over there. It could be... Nursing. It could be nursing. But by and large, they don't do a lot of it. They don't do that stuff on the outside. But they're thinking of professions that might be part of a monastic life within a monastery, basically. So, if somebody's going to be handling the finances, then maybe you should go and study that. Study accounting, or whatever it's going to be. It could be... Yeah, it could be all kinds of things. But some of them are... Would be what we call theological activities and things like that. Spiritual direction. If somebody's going to give me their spiritual direction, I can go and study that. Take courses from them. The idea is that after a simple profession, somebody's beginning to move into a niche in the community.


Is beginning to move into a particular role, a service role in the community. And should have training for that. And not just be dropped into it. As often happened in the past. So those will be licensed water operators. Take the necessary exams. Okay, Category 3 is openness to dialogue. There's a lot of good stuff in here about work. The things that they bring out about work. Dialogue with God, with themselves, with the community, with the church, with the whole world. Now this is really new, where they've come out of this tradition. Beautiful. Certainly part of the development of Vatican II. Because one of the biggest things in Vatican II is turning from a church-turned-unified thought to a church-turned-out-with-a-will. Or turned out with a different will. There was a missionary church before, but it was still turned in towards itself. Because what it took was unchanging. What it took to the others, what it brought to the others was not influenced by the others by and large.


So when the church opens and there's dialogue, that's a revolution. When it begins to learn from what is outside itself. A lot of things in Vatican II express that, like the acceptance of other religions being valid. Or the modern world accepting the modern world as one thing. Getting its place. But you can see that somebody is kind of, a little bit, finding his own accent. Making this so that what is prescribed in Article 125 of our Constitution, now that's not a humanism, okay? It's to be taken as a criterion for judging the authenticity of a vocational criterion. That sounds strong, doesn't it? But I can see an openness to it as being taken into consideration. Not that somebody is going to take that into religious dialogue, but that at least they're not spooked by it. They can accept it. And that the congregation is going to do it like that. Yes, they have to recognize that if they want to accept it.


Okay, theological and spiritual formation. Study of fluency, that means a lot more in Europe than it does over here. Because all wisdom is inside the United States. Kamal, I knew Kamal in Chattanooga. I think the reason why I mentioned it is because they are climates of dialogue. In Chattanooga, it's the inter-religious dialogue. In Kamal, we have a lot of complemented Jewish-Christian dialogue, and Asian-Christian dialogue, all kinds of things. And here, of course, we have dialogue with the modern world. Dialogue with the East a lot, in California. Okay. Now, this really brings up an adequate yearly funding for the Trinity Library. Any questions or issues about that before we get started? Because you get an idea of where the congregation largely is coming from right now.


The points that will be stressed. You'll hear a lot more about these if you remember. And some of them have been, I think all three of those, have really been central and basic for the last 30 years. I liked what you said about the Thomas E. Flint experience. Yes. Over in your schooling, but what I hear in actual experience over there is that they said, I am a theologian. Well, somebody in there is reacting to that. Somebody is reacting to that, and that's where that comes from. There's some tensions inside the people that are doing this. Okay, initial formation. Now we're getting into the initiate area, so this is more specifically of interest to us. Principle of unity and terraformation progress, organic interrelatedness of the various phases, and the formative function of community. Here you get a new paradigm, sort of. You move from the Newtonian old paradigm to the new paradigm,


which is what? A system of interrelated things. It's not moving parts, pushing against one another. They're separate things, but things somehow are all strange, in some way all one. So the idea of a unity, unitive process, an organic process, you could say. And then the community itself, that is the whole, is the formative agent rather than the part. So you move from the parts to the whole, which is a healthy progression, actually. It's very much in keeping with what's been happening, even in contemporary intellectual and in the church. What kind of waves rather than particles? Yeah, it's a wave or energy field, okay? The whole energy field rather than the particles. So, also you'll notice a kind of movement from masculine to feminine, from things with hard edges, okay? And strict separation, let's say, between novices and rest of the community and so on, to a kind of feminine energy field,


which itself is like a matrix, you know, a feminine word, which is the formative agent. Formation of a team, a kit, and that jazzy sounding French word. I don't know what it would be, you know. The community assumes responsibility to provide an environment. Trust in masters, we've been through much of this in the Constitution. Consistency between the first years and what happens afterwards. That's a lot easier, as you said, in a monastic community than it is in an active religious community. It shouldn't be too hard to maintain that within the religion. Paragraph 2. Masters of the candidates dialogue and commune among themselves, okay? Accompany new members in a mystagogical introduction to monastic life. That has a double effect on the phrase. It's wonderful to see that word there, isn't it?


Mystagogical, which means that... Mystagogical is an introduction into a mystery. It's an initiation. Remember we talked about those three terms for formation. Formation, education, initiation. So this is the initiation point of it. The only trouble is, mystagogical introduction in terms of the basis of what the candidates see with their own eyes in the day-to-day manifestation of the community's life. Well, I don't know if that's the way to proceed. Because it isn't a matter of looking at the day-to-day life and trying to penetrate that to find the mystery inside itself. But do you in some way have to start with the mystery as it comes to you, let's say, from the tradition, the scripture, and the liturgy, and then work outward towards the light in some way? I don't know. You see what I mean? Because in ordinary mystagogies, you see, we've heard of sacramental mysteries. In other words, the Christ mystery, as received in baptism, participated in the Eucharist. And the bishop was explaining that. He was telling the candidates, the baptized people,


what they had, explaining what they had experienced. Explaining their illumination in terms of the scripture, in terms of the New Testament, especially. But this is like a reverse procedure in a sense. There needs to be something more in the day-to-day life. And I think the whole formation process is in that sense that you're feeding from something deep, which is expressed in the tradition, and then trying to relate that to the day-to-day life, but not taking the day-to-day life as a criteria. I guess two things. If the bishop explained to the people their experience, when did the people have a chance to explain their experience? Do you know what I mean? It's one thing to tell somebody my experience. But you can't tell them my experience. You don't walk in my shoes. And this is my experience of this mystery. And so I wonder, even in this, it's like in the day-to-day living, introducing the monk into real life


and that there is something more or behind the day-to-day living than what you're experiencing, or how you are at least open to see that masochism is more than what happened. Here's the day-to-day experience, and the structure of that, but there's something deeper in that. It's got to be a kind of dialogue between the day-to-day experience and that mystery, that knowledge of the mystery, which has to come through very strongly. And it seems to me that the teacher is continually doing a mediation between his awareness of the mystery, and his depth and totality, and the day-to-day life, which is what also probably happens in spiritual directions. Bringing the personal experience into the light of faith and the light of one's understanding of the mystery. And to make sure that the person is caught just in the day-to-day routine. Because that becomes a cookie-cutter. Do you know what I mean? Well, what you say is true, but no dialogue. Where's your experience?


My child? Especially the word. So mediation between the candidate's expectations and the concrete reality. Okay, and then that third dimension, which is the mystery, the inner fullness itself. But that's not what we're talking about in three, obviously. But that's a good point, isn't it? Mediation between the expectations and the concrete reality. Because people bring an ideal vision, and they have to be helped to mature. So kind of to nurse that vision and mature it, and help it to develop in the light of the actuality. Some people can wrap themselves around their ideal, their expectations, and never really accept the community, but sit on the edge and judge the community over it. Oh, and it's shattering when it happens. I remember, there was one guy here,


we went to India the other day. And when he came back, it was impossible. Everything here was shabby, inferior, western stuff. And I said, finally, we're on the good side. Took somebody who was ready when we left. Okay. Contract four. Not only to determine if he truly seeks God, that's the 11th verse. Sound out the dreadedness. Fides quae, or fides quae, those are the Latin names. Fides quae is what you believe, all right? And fides quae is the faith with which you believe. Okay, that's what we call an ablative. Fides quae is a nominative. And fides by which, that's an ablative. Fides quae, by which you believe.


So, remember there was a big, um, kind of controversy between Catholics and Protestants, because the Catholics were accenting fides quae, that which is believed, and the Protestant was accenting the active faith in which he believed to God. Let me read you, I had a reference in my book, Sacramentum Mundium Sacrificium Theologicae, where they happen to have the same two phrases. Where's my page? Hmm. I forgot. There it is. No? There it is.


There it is. It's talking about the, in the light of the intrinsic unity of the active faith, distinguishing it at the following basic dimensions. Faith as knowledge of revealed truth. Believing in God who reveals himself in Christ. Fides quae created truth. But the accent is not the truth, the accent is objective, on that which you believe. And faith is trusting obedience to God and a personal encounter with him. Fides quae created truth. So you see, the objective faith and the subjective faith. Now, Catholicism at the time of the Reformation was stressing objective faith, and Protestants in their work have got this side of it, subjective faith. Now, of course, they're both essential. That's from the article on faith, I believe the author is in in the Condensed Sacrament of Monday,


the same article would be in Sacrament of Monday. Do you know that collection? It's a kind of encyclopedic theology, edited by Karl Rahner, probably by Karl Rahner. Yeah, back in the late 60s, it's a number of articles, and they have useful contemporary treatments of a lot of theological subjects. Okay, prior formation and practice of Lectio Divina Collatio. Oh yeah. Introduction to the liturgical books. That should be down in there, probably during the postulancy phase. Another personal accompaniment, which Ron Yarrow has been doing. And then seven, the consideration of the individual needs of the candidates. Timing the phases of formations, and so when somebody's postulancy is extended or the membership is extended or something like that, it's really a consideration of the movement, what you call the development of that person.


Any questions or issues about that before we move on? I think now we can move to the question of what is monasticism and what is a monk, which is the subject of that introduction to consider this book. I have a high esteem for that piece of writing. I think it's very well done, certainly in its time, but the way that the questions are brought up and confronted, and in a rather subtle way, discusses this. This is done in the English-Panamanian translation, so it's not a basically contemplative monastic translation. They're highly engaged in schools and things like that. The different parts of that book are very different, I think, in their quality. You'll find some that are pretty pedestrian, and others which are quite good.


This is one of the better sections. Now, we can proceed in two ways here. We can just sort of go through it and bring out the points, or we can use these discussion questions, or thirdly, we can simply hear what your reactions are, what your questions are. It starts out with that question, what is a monk? Now, those two xeroxes that you have, basically, the next time I panic, I believe they will relate to this question, which I think we can return to fruitfully when we try. In the living country, for self-definition, we shouldn't be too bothered if we aren't able to say what it is to be a monk. It's very interesting, isn't it? But somebody feels very strongly the attraction, the urge, like the vocation to something that is unable to put into words what it is.


It's a multilayered symbol that's all around you. It's beyond Christian definition. It's borrowed from the Testament. So there's all men under time, wisdom. But it's kind of precise, it seems. Monasticism seems like something very focused and precise at one point. At another point, it's a great big, in which all kinds of different people in all kinds of different locations fit. But what's common? That's true. Panakar does a good job. Panakar is focusing very much. Panakar manages to say that it's specific and it's universal at the same time. It's a response to an architect which is in every human being. And I think that's really true. Fourier, what he does basically is review the proposals for the meaning of monasticism. So he starts out with contemplative life.


And that's actually what... Panakar is close to that one, but he goes deeper. And he goes that way. He says, well no, it's not simply contemplative life. Part of why he does it is because he says that's outside of Christianity too. But Fourier is coming from a somewhat polemic stance about Christianity. He does that in almost every book. He had to defend Christianity against, as it were, contamination from outside. He's writing about scripture. There was a time when they intended the rationalists, especially from the Protestant side, or the critics, even, not Christian, tended to reduce Christianity to outside influences. So the Eucharist and the sacraments came from the Greek and Middle Eastern mysteries. There was nothing essentially original in them, not what Jesus did and so on. They do the same thing in monasticism. So he's tightening up and fighting against that. And you have to realize that in Fourier's writing. On the other hand, he has some very


penetrating, I think, intuitions about what monasticism is about, what scripture is about. But he's going to relate it very much to the Word and very much to a personal God. So he rules out monasticism as contemplative life. He rules out monasticism as life of penance, as liturgical life, as scholarly life. Each of those, in turn, he knocks down. And he says, in the end, that monasticism is not the search for something, it's the search for one, for a person, and it's a personal God. So he defines monasticism as a quest for a personal God. Now, Pentecost approaches very differently. What I'm going to say is that there's such an insistent existential personal experience in Protestantism. I think this is coming from somewhere else. One thing is to accent human personal experience. And that can be even in distancing oneself from Christian tradition to some extent, or from the ascertained tradition.


But in stressing the personal God, one is trying to go right down the main line of the Christian assertion. Or stress the uniqueness of the Judeo-Christian tradition as contrasted with all the other traditions. In the Old Testament, it means that the biblical God is an intensely personal God. So it's a different accent around the same way of person. I'm too quickly at loggerheads here. That whole thing of the living comes from Versailles' definition, goes back a little bit to that almost theological discussion. Yeah, yeah. To say, Mr. Godgear, my daily life is inadequate. If you take into consideration 1,500 years of daily life of monks, I'm doing, Mr. Godgear, that. Okay, okay. But to do with my daily life, what are we doing?


It's inadequate. Okay. So when I talk about this lived experience, I'm talking about a lived experience. Okay? But at the same time, there are some things that I think you can't assume or take for granted as expected. With every profession or job or change of lifestyle, some things that you see going into it are the reasons that you're attracted to that. And of course, there are going to be some encounters with reality when the idea that you have going into that and the things that draw you to that way of life aren't what you find. But at the same time, it seems like there are some things that you feel like, you know, ancient monks went into the desert to go into the desert. You know, people joined a chenobium in the Middle Ages to join a chenobium that they, at some level, was familiar with them. And some things about it, at least, you know, that there would be a lot of monks inside the building.


So it's just as important at least to be able to present to people what the life is about. Because instead of just handing yourself over, well, I feel a call to come to this mysterious place X, and now I'm just going to abandon all judgment. You know, work on what you will. So there's, in other words, there's some, it would seem like there would have to be some correlation with what a person expects of a place versus what's... Oh, definitely, yeah. And an adjustment of those expectations, and yet the expectations contain within them an authority, don't they? Each of the detailed expectations may have to be changed, but there's an authority of vocation inside the general expectation. Almost like vocation within a vocation. We used to say that. Which word was it? Mother Teresa did. Mother Teresa did, but she had her vocation


within my vocation. There's the expectations of that which attracts me, but then there's something inside of that too. Delete, delete. Yeah, and already in the first attraction, there's something very, very true. I mean, the absolute truth is already in the first expectations, in that first attraction, even though it may be part of the habit that attracts somebody, or whatever, the architecture, still inside that is a genuine thing. Okay, self-definition and living. And then it gets to the two basic questions. In this Christian monasticism, is monasticism part of something universal, or is it something unique in itself? Now, see, Boyer is going to take that second avenue, by and large, and Panikkar is emphatically taking the first attitude, okay? He's defining monasticism in universal terms, whereas Boyer is tending to do it in purely Christian


terms. In fact, he rules out, as it were, a definition of monasticism, which would be universal, which extends outside the word, as it were, outside the, what do you call it, the relationship with the personal God that we know in Christ. The second question is, is monasticism basically to be defined in terms of the individual or in terms of the community? And different kinds of monks would give very different answers to that one. The Benedictine traditionally defines this. The community defines monasticism. Whereas the Arabic, the Carthusian, would have the opposite definition. And the Kamalists, the Buddhist Kamalists use it their own proposal, which is very clear, of course. It goes back to that faith interior, faith exterior, objective, subjective thing. It's the interaction of both. There's the mystery, the magic. And that's the place it's hard to define, so it's easier to talk about one of the poles. That's right, it's polarizing the church all the time, even in politics.


It's sort of a rational bend for us to just hold on to something and not let go. The absolutes seem clear. The end points seem clear in some way. And the middle seems very scary. Sometimes the end point is the place to be, but very often in life we have to live within those dualities and we have to find an immediate point, which somehow incorporates a lot of different things. As between community and solitude, we're always moving between the two. And then he goes on he works on question one. And let's not hesitate to say that monasticism is not a universal phenomenon, at least not present very widely outside Christianity. Remember, that's quite a shock, coming from where we were coming from 40 years ago, because we thought of it. And when you have a conversion experience, you tend to think that it's all being one, and you can be pretty scared by the idea that, well, no,


monasticism, what you're committing yourself to, is also a universal thing. In some places it doesn't seem that way, to the press. Those are scary things, of course. It can take a long while to get comfortable with. The way of life embraced by those who desire for God, and notice the Benedictine definition sort of is an overriding passion. The life organized in terms of that search for union with God. And then they define Christianity in a different way. We're called to share in the life of God through incorporation of the Jesus Christ fellowship in the spirit, not primarily a search for an absent God, but a response to his living initiatives. You're going to find Panakar giving you a different story there, because Panakar will say, well, we're talking about that now, defining Hindu


monasticism, more or less, in terms of a present reality, and Christian monasticism in terms of an absent reality, the transcendent God. So he wasn't quite accurate there. In Christianity, we're between two points. There's a realized, present eschatological constraint, which means that God is with us, God is in us, Christ is already here. And on the other hand, we're moving towards a total presence of God, and in a way, Christ and God are radically absent, in a way. We're between those two. It's another one of those things we were talking about. And monasticism has to be remembered and situated in the same way. You know, you've got those two perspectives you might call apocalyptic and sapiential. The apocalyptic is that God is absent, and he's coming all of a sudden at the end. Christ is going to return and set everything straight. But meanwhile, we're sort of relating in a purely dualistic way to God. Well, the wisdom is the sapiential approach, which finds God to be present,


and basically the future as an unfolding of that which is already present, rather than coming from outside. Now, the first one sounds kind of disagreeable to us, but there's some truth in it. It's in the New Testament. But there is an absence, and there is a coming, definitive, in a time of judgment. On the other hand, the second one has been too much ignored by a lot of our tradition. The wisdom approach. And monasticism has largely lost touch with that wisdom approach, that sense of a human and God from God. And so has Christianity. How I think how maybe this isn't entirely accurate, but it touches on the problem of apophagy versus catechism, the dark pursuit of God, the journey, the fact that you're not there yet, that you're going on, versus the catechism


of this piece of order, this icon, not in an idolistic way, but in a real way of legitimate worship and adoration, where this thing is good, nature is good, creation is good, life is good. The cataphatic how do you find the balance between the two? Granted, all people mean both. Some people might be called, or some people, I guess, called more to one, more to the other. And then how do you make decisions about how you go about life? You see how powerful community can be. Community will monitor that balance of apophatic and cataphatic. That's a very, very, very, very powerful role that community puts in the life of an individual human being. And so how do individuals in community strike that


balance between the apophatic and the living and the cataphatic human being? I wouldn't totally equate the two pairs. The cataphatic one and the present versus let's say transcendent future. They're not quite the same, but they overlap a lot of the time. Part of that is what you've experienced and part of it is what you're given, I think, in the community, in the church, in the theology. Because you've experienced in your own search for God something apophatic and then you have a certain sensitivity, you have certain organs of cataphatic experience. So you have a long, active experience, for one thing, in yourself, but people need an initiation to the apophatic and they forget about it, disregard it, disbelieve it, allow it to be eclipsed and so on. And that's been missing a lot in our tradition. See, apophatic also.


The apophatic can be purely transcendent or there can be an imminent apophatic. This is partly where the two pairs come together. They're not quite overlapped in a sense. You can have an imminent apophatic in which your senses are not willing to, what do you call it, are not mediating the reality to you. Your imagination and your senses and nature are not mediating the reality to you, and yet it's within you. And yet there's a fullness within you. That's a tricky one. Because one can do too much to disregard the human world, the sense world, but that dimension is very true. And then there's an apophatic where God simply is distant. And that incarnation aspect of the apophatic is very difficult to believe. Because at a certain point, people... I wonder if our experience of apophatic is ever without the cataphatic.


No. The cataphatic is really just... Well, if it's experience, it's got to be cataphatic in some sense. Pure faith, I think, can be purely apophatic. If I just believe in the word, I believe in something I have not experienced, that's that kind of pure, dark faith. But as soon as I say experience, in some way, there's got to be something cataphatic about it, even though it be very interior, very subtle. I would think. But even faith, even... Faith tends to be experiential. If I'm not experiencing something in my faith, I'm experiencing my act of faith. So there's always something experiential. You see, I've been thinking about this. Through tradition, it's like always cutting for the apophatic here. And really, there's really a union between them. if you think of them apart, it takes away one from the other. It's true, but... Even the blank wall is an icon for me.


Yes. And it's like... Do you think we move between the spectrum now? For instance... I think it's between them that we move. Yes. Think of what you're doing when you do silent meditation. Just sitting with your eyes closed in silent meditation. Because for me, that's like the pure apophatic where you're trying not to experience it. In a way, right? You're trying to descend into a depth which is without perception, without thought. And then you open your eyes and maybe you look at the icon, something like that. Well, I think it's a movement towards that. My personal opinion is that you never move from one to the other. There's always part of you in your experience. I think the spectrum between them is something like the spectrum between interior and exterior. But I think at our core, I think that's the apophatic here. The center of ourselves. And then as we move outwards, we move into an area which is perceptible. Feelings, thoughts,


and the natural sense perception. The concentric circles. Now, Panakar is going to equate monasticism with that center, with that apophatic point. So that's interesting. Precisely the vanishing point, the disappearing point of the perceptible, of the experience. I think that's true. In fact, you could talk about it. Think of hermits and think of monks. Think of a cenotaph or monastery in its full medieval glory, with the liturgy, with the incense, the bells, and he added up on his throne. And then think of the hermit out in his place in kind of a simplicity. And also simplicity of experience. Just in the darkness of faith and in a kind of wilderness desert. It's like those two poles manifest in those two forms of monasticism. Travesty and caricature. The apophatic and the catechetic. There's a highly catechetic


monasticism which expresses itself in culture and creativity, music and art and theology. And then there's an apophatic monasticism which is typical of the hermit. And it may be that we'll be inclined, coming from a contemplative side, to consider, to define monasticism more in terms of this than in terms of that. And of course it moves over from community and so on. Community doesn't tend to be so apathetic. But once again, we're more superimposed. Okay. Monasticism is ambiguous, isn't it? It's like Christian monasticism is like an ellipse with two centers instead of a circle with one center. Instead of Buddhist monasticism, especially Buddhist, it's also going to end up to be a circle with one center. For instance, the ashram in Hinduism is not a community in the sense of Brahmanist theory or Hermeticism, it's a teacher.


A teacher is the center and everybody is just around that teacher and he's radiating like the sun, okay, and everybody's sitting around him. It is sort of typically that way in the Shantanayana. Whereas a monastic community in Christianity has a Eucharistic center, you can say, okay, which is the community itself, which is the theological reality. It's at the core of the New Testament, okay, especially actually the Apostle Saint Paul. And then there's this other pole of interiority, okay, and it's mediating between those two, the Christian and the monastic community. And they're expressed in two forms, once again, of solitude and community. Hermetic and Semitic. Okay. But I think each one needs the other. People try to absolutize one ideology, they really get in trouble. They try to absolutize the Hermetic, cut it off from its matrix in a broader ground. Part of


the Kamaldi's recovery of the past, what, 60 years has been coming out of that kind of position of an absolutized solitary life. I think the Carthusians find themselves in that predicament. Cutting off too much from the wider ground. If you can have a matrix of monastic life, out of which the Hermetic life, the solitary life grows, then you've got something helpful back and forth. If you try to absolutize the solitary moment, solitary location, really what do you want to get? For an individual, that may happen, but for a group, it's nothing else. So in that way, this Kamaldi's congregation is more healthy than the Monte Carlo congregation. Although inside a given institution, some adjustment will always take place. The solitude will never be absolutely solitude. You've got more than one person. Kind of getting off the track, but what I meant to stress is that two-pole


characteristic of Christian monasticism. Some people would say that to be a monk is simply a whole other way of being a Christian. That monasticism is Christianity carried to its ultimate point. It seems to me that we're always getting close to that. I have to stay that way. What's the matter with that? Is it all right? I think that's the way many feel. If you have a religious conversion, which is the same time as your monastic vocations are at the same time in that conversion experience, you may feel it, because they're the same for you. You feel them as the same impulse, the same attraction. But if that's true, then the monastery is really on top of the hill and everybody else is down below. The monastery is really superior to ordinary Christian life because it's a more perfect form of the same vocations. It's fine. There's something wrong with it.


And once a love has fallen, that kind of suffering sometimes to a degree, and then something happens and the love's cut out for another. It's a conquestion you have to deal with. Yeah, it's called the private stage, I think, in any church. It's kind of a projected interior you go to. Everybody's got feet on it. If it's not true, then what is? Is he just doing one thing? It happens in culture, by human nature. Cultural centrist, trickster thinking. We have all the barbarians out there and big apples. No, it's like the monk chooses one direction within Christianity, which is also in other people,


but they don't specialize in it. They don't make it their main thing. The monk makes it his main thing. But it's not the only direction. There are other valid directions in Christianity. But one of the active directions is that they define monasticism in terms of interiority. But let me suggest we've got this weird shape here. I need a figure. Somebody stole it. Anyway, I put monasticism here. It sounds like chauvinism. It kind of sounds like going to the peak. And the world here And in this way, monasticism represents one possible orientation within Christianity. Let's say you remember that Trinitarian background. God, word, spirit, and world.


So monasticism is the movement, the primitive movement, the beginning, away from the world towards God. And as things differentiate themselves in the course of history, monasticism remains the search for God's benefit for that pole, that particular pole. But there are other possible expressions. For instance, other forms of religious life. The Dominicans who accent the word of teaching. Or the Franciscans or the sisters who accent the words of mercy. Or the Jesuits who move out into the world in a particular way. But monasticism keeps moving towards, at its core, it keeps moving towards that search for God and therefore keeps in some way moving away from the world even when it's moving towards it. So we have a tension within this world. And then that, you can also think of this in terms of interiority. Different circles. And then this is the center. That's what Panagiotis said. But if this is


the Christmistry, then monasticism is, moves towards this pole of the Christmistry both the eastern pole or the interior pole or the unitive pole, okay? And somebody else might move towards the secular pole of the Christmistry. And somebody else might move towards the intellectual pole or doctrinal pole or the sepiential pole, let's say, of the Christmistry. And somebody else might move towards the love pole. Or compassion pole, let's say, other Christmas together. In some way, each of us has to have all of those, okay? And in some way, each of them is equally valid, okay? The deception is to absolutize this one, just because it's put it on top of the diagram, just because you call it number one or whatever. And the mistake is to absolutize that one and consider it superior to the others. But what really matters somehow is the realization of this mystery, this central mystery, no matter in what direction you move, okay? And the whole of this thing represents the Christ


mystery. It also represents the human person, that the human heart is at the center of this. I think in the Middle East, you see, in Asian monasticism, you've got basically this without the other fold. The other fold I left behind is the monk, the sanyasi is the one who's had the straight part in that sense, away from the world and away from all these other things. But when Christ comes into the world, religion is a monasticism itself has to be revolutionized in the sense that it has to move from this absolute center to this center, okay? Call it the Christ center, the heart of Christ, that incorporates the other community, incorporates these other possibilities. And what matters is not so much your, what do you call it, your success in realizing this one fold, your success in realizing the mystery. That's where Bouye is, right? That's where the introduction of consider your core was, right? Especially with, you know, recently we've been talking about individualism and stuff,


that's especially difficult in some ways for modern Americans or modern Westerners to commit to the all four directions. Because then for them, it does seem like the only way to be truly spiritual is the pure north way. Because then you're really trying to go after God. And also they're maybe more attuned to the dangers of materialism and greed and stuff like that, which are looking at some of the other poles more apparently. One can flee from everything else into that absolute, but then one can be where there is nothing. There's the real absolute, the real God absolute, but then there's a vacancy also that is possible inside the human person. One thing is what we want to do, but the other thing which is true is what is given to us. Now suppose that in Christ the whole thing is given to us, okay? And it's not so much in terms of, see, we're moving between search and expression, those two visions in the question of that. Search for something that isn't here yet,


or expression of something which is given, which is already here. Suppose that it's basically expression, that we have received this totality, so what matters is expressing the totality, whether it be expressed in this dimension or that dimension. In some way we have to express it in all four dimensions. The person who is only a contemplative has no love, has no affectivity, has no relationship, has no communion with anybody. I mean that's pathological, okay, if there were such a thing possible. But what we've received is a totality. We see the totality of our humanity, which has all these dimensions, and then we receive the totality of the Christ mystery, which has all these dimensions. So somehow we're responsible to all of them. And even though the monk is specified by this dimension, I believe, that's what Pentecost goes to in the center. But in the Christian scheme, it's not the center of this diagram, it's one pole of this diagram. Anyway, we'll come back to that next time. I don't want to keep you any longer this morning. This is a good pot to stir, I think, this whole question


of what is monasticism, okay, because maybe we can get some, a kind of basic sense of orientation, basic map from which we'll proceed. So the last time maybe we can pick up also with some of those discussion questions we had. Would you say for you, let's say the person is in the center, God person? The God person. But he tends to put it not in the present center, but in the center of your aim. Okay, so you're moving towards that, you're relating to that God, but he tends to have a somewhat dualistic point of view. So that God is, as it were, exterior to you, all right? And you're searching for that God, moving towards that God. He's a little bit in that. Yeah. So as you move towards, you get a pole, you get a center. Whereas Pentecost, it's the emptiness. They're two very different visions. Pentecost's vision is like a union vision, a sense of integration and totality around the center, okay? But for Bouyer, the center of his vision,


the important thing is not at your center, it's ahead of you, above you, and outside you, by and large. At least that's his starting point. But do you get a good look at that? No, we have to do something like that, because there is a lot of transcendence, there is a lot of that relational relationship to God, as imaged as exterior to yourself in Christianity. Relation to Jesus, relation to the Father, Jesus' own relation to the Father. So that's there. But the other thing is the imminence of God, and God as being the eye within your own eye, okay? The self within your own self, the ground of your own self. There's two, at least those two divisions. We'll come back to those again. I think we're good. Thank you. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. And as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. What did we leave off on this one? We left off, I think, about what page? Do we get page 40?


No, I mean question number 40. Okay, good. I think we did question number 40. Good, let's pick up there. In the middle of page three of the book. Because we should take a good look at his definition, really, of Anastasism down at the bottom of page three, as we move forward. I think it's Christmas Eve. What do you think? I don't know how busy people are going to be. I don't know. Does it bother me? I'd kind of like to leave. Everybody feels that way, let's do it. Okay, sure. Same time, same place. Okay, great, great.


You mentioned to me, I said, talk to you, but okay. We'll try to be 830 when you stay, 830 on the left and 830 on the right seat. You going to get the recording in? Yeah. Okay, thank you. Okay.