December 31st, 1998, Serial No. 00147

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

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So we've been, in our introduction to monasticism, we've been using basically this conciliate call introduction, which I think is excellent. That's why I go back to it, because he deliberately gets beyond the usual bounds and tries to open up all the questions, the main questions, and he boils them down to two or three, really. The first question is, is monasticism a specifically Christian phenomenon, or is it more universal? The second question is, is monasticism basically a solitary or interior thing, or is it basically a communal thing? Now, you notice from that Bouyer text that you have, that he takes a radically different point of view towards monasticism, doesn't he? He insists in considering it strictly a Christian thing, and he sort of excludes contemplation as being definitive of monasticism, and kind of smears this thing as far as non-Christian monasticism is concerned. He doesn't really consider that possibility. Now, he was probably writing, what, in the 40s or 50s, so that's understandable.


Which one is the Bouyer text? Search for God. Is that it? Yeah, that's it. What he does is, he asks the question of, what's monasticism about? It's from The Meaning of Monasticism, that book of his, which is a very useful book, too. And then he starts by elimination. So he eliminates contemplation right away, the contemplative life, as a definition of monasticism, but partly because he finds it outside. As soon as he finds something outside, he says, okay, that's not monastic. Whereas, almost the contrary is true. That is, the author of Consider Your Call will find monasticism to be a general thing first, and then a Christian. And then he eliminates, like, scholarship and liturgy and life of penance. He eliminates about five or six different alternatives. And boils it down to, I think it's on page eight there, that monasticism is a search not for something, but for someone. And that someone, of course, is God.


So it's the search for God, which is, after all, from the rule of Leninism. Se revere, se revere, revere, if he's really seeking God. It's something that is valid, and at the same time, inadequate, if we want to understand monasticism today, Christian monasticism. Whereas our author here in Consider Your Call looks at it from both sides, inside and outside. And he says, finally, his treatment, his theology of monasticism is going to be from inside. And yet, before he does that, he's talked about the outside alternative, and showed it's, what we call it, it's importance. So, we've got, as I mentioned last time, we've got a couple of alternatives about how to go through this. And maybe the best way is to presume that we've all read it, the material, and then simply to go through the discussion questions and see what comes up,


see what people have to say about that. And using those, not so much as questions to be answered, but as books, or pegs to hang the discussion on. We got, I think, through question five last time. The question of whether monastic life is just the best way, or an integral way of being a Christian. And that's around page three in Consider Your Call. Anything you came up with on that? Consider Your Call really says that that's the purpose of every Christian. And it mentions the difficulty of explaining how the Christian monk differs from the Christian layman. So there's the, it seems to say that all ways of life are this,


are going towards this perfect charity, whereas Panagraha will take a completely different quality. That's right. So if you say the monk is simply seeking an integral Christianity, then in some way he becomes better than the other Christians by doing what they're trying to do in a better way. How do you make out its specificity? Well, the specificity has to be that he's devoting himself to it completely, so he's doing it better. So he's a better Christian than other people, okay? There's something wrong with that, isn't there? It becomes obvious very quickly. There's some truth in it, but there's something wrong with it. Yeah. He points out that for the monk himself, see, he doesn't distinguish between the two. If you have a monastic vocation, and you're a Christian, it's not likely that you're going to experientially distinguish those two. What you feel is likely to be both at the same time. And your monasticism is your way, your monastic life is your way of being a good Christian, let's say, okay? But it's from outside that the distinction is needed, from outside the experience.


But after a while, I think, of being in the monastic life, the poles begin to separate themselves out, so that you distinguish different dimensions in your own life, yeah. Without prejudice to either one. It was certainly a period of time where monasticism was talked about as an apostolic life. Yep, that's right. Apostolic life, not in the sense of apostolate, but in the sense of continuing the early church's tradition. And that's in Cassian, remember? When Cassian sets out to explain monasticism, he says, well, it simply comes from the most fervent Christians who wanted to maintain the fervor of the primitive Christian community, whereas everybody else fell off into a kind of tepid, or whatever. The monks are the ones who thought, no, we're going to keep that original fervor, that original perfection, integrity. And so, remember how he uses the example of Lenin?


Like Lenin, most Christians give a tithe of their life to the complete, seeking of God, the complete, seeking to be Christians. That's 40 days out of the year. But the monks live that 40 years long. In other words, they're not giving a tithe, they're trying to give their whole life to God and be Christians, 100%. It's a good example of that kind of thing. I was thinking also of, isn't it Odo? I know in the early apse of Cluny, Odo had a long truce. Monkhood, apostolic life, free spirit, apostolic life. I don't know. First I was like, could he? Or maybe not. It could be. Of course, I think it's been popular. See, when the monastic tradition becomes kind of isolated and turned in upon itself, then it's going to look at itself in that way, that everything has to be inside, just like the Catholic Church does. They say here that it's kind of different, that it didn't start with...


I think it's sort of your quote's point, that it didn't start as an apostolic way, but now it certainly has developed that within it, and it talks about it especially in some parts of Europe and stuff, where there, the monks are the proto-apostolic workers. Okay, that's apostolate, okay? I think what Cyprian meant was apostolic in the sense of rooted in the apostolic community. I don't mean apostolic as active, but apostolic in terms of the early contemplatives considered themselves being at the pinnacle of the apostolic life, whether in communities, even as hermits. That's the life of the apostles, which means the life of the original... Apostolic tradition. Yeah. And not being an apostolate. Gotcha. Whereas apostolate, that's probably a more modern sense of the term. Yeah. Yeah. Harry and I will talk about that, as replacing the martyrs, if you couldn't be martyred anymore, and become a monk.


Historically, there's something to that. Martyrdom really added as the life of perfection for the first few centuries. But what that does is, it tends to drain the, let's say, drain the value out of ordinary Christian life, if it has to be something special like that. It tends to make the value extrinsic to the life of the community, or the life, somehow, being a Christian itself. So, after a while, you don't call the saints the Christians anymore, the saints are the special ones, distinguished themselves by the perfect life. That vertical ladder is beginning to be erected and you get away from the gift, after a while, to the achievement, somehow. I think it is. What is it? Yeah. It's like every area of the community.


There's an impulse in us to ascend, you know, and to elevate the extraordinary. That's a different verbatim. There's a tendency in us to elevate the extraordinary and also to take the value and the possibility out of our own life and give it to somebody else who is better than we are. That's a model that we put in. So, what do you call ascending? It seems so basic to me. Really, you don't find that so much. I guess, what is it? It's so much more than this. Well, it's like all things. It's like everything. Yeah. We sometimes collect to be God. There are all kinds of things that go in the same direction and go up like that, you know. I'm sure it happens. It's good in a way. I wonder. I don't think so. A lot of people wonder that Jesus didn't want to construct a church in Ireland until he came here. In the Bible, certainly,


you see a deconstructing of that. Yeah. How do we deconstruct something that's been centuries old? I think we have to live with the humanity of it. And humanity means ego. And ego means that ascending thing. And what he did was, he established a church of these apostles who were very imperfect people. And then put the corrective factors inside. He put the corrective factor in the Gospel, okay, of the teaching, sir, of descent. The seeds. Yeah, put those seeds in there. And put the corrective factor of what happened to Peter. The New Testament history itself, Peter's denial of the Lord. He was a leader, okay, that kind of thing. So the reality is right in there. You can see it. To make the correction. But the only way he could do it was incarnation. Putting this grace, this gift into humanity. So he did it. Humanity was very imperfect. So constantly we've got this dialectic and struggle between the ascending and the real Gospel. Yes, he had the great leaders


of humanity. How do we deconstruct it in our time? Well, I'm curious, it's like it's almost impossible. Yeah, but you do the other thing. And that deconstructs it. When you do the other thing, when you don't do it, when you don't do the ascending thing, you don't buy the ladder, you don't climb the ladder, then that's deconstructing. But to try to do it in one radical move, like I said about Protestantism in the 16th century, it doesn't quite work. You can't get outside it and correct it with a simplification or a radical reform of some kind. It worked for a while. The danger also is that you're amputating something because we do it out of our heads. Because we decide what's perfect and then we're going to do the surgery. Or you're accused of amputating essential things.


Yeah, to be the way. I think that, what would you call it, that quality of incarnation, that quality of imperfection and of struggle is permanent in the church and in the monastic life. And in the monastery. Where do we find the foundations for monastic life in the Gospels? That's on page 3 and when he talks about that he critically let's say critically damages a couple of those possible foundations. But the thing about it is you never get a perfect foundation. You never get something that's crystal clear for this kind of question. What about the rich young man?


He somewhat cripples a little bit. Worked for Antony. No. Yeah. He heard two Gospels that day, didn't he? Yeah, give up everything you have and go to the poor and come follow me. I think that was it. So, you know, personally it's true. Critically you can say, Jesus was not establishing monastic life. That's it. But that's the response that we put precisely in that direction. But according to the movement of the Holy Spirit at that time and in that individual and that's very changeable, I think. For many centuries the only way to do that kind of thing in a public way was to be a monk. And then other alternatives come along like other forms of religious life or even forms of life in ways outside the institutional structures and so on. Depends a lot on the alternatives that are there. Antony virtually created one, didn't he?


See, Paul, it seems both end like he says, you know, if you're married, stay married, that's great. But at the same time there is a nudge, push, towards a fuller devotion of your life to God. And that's I want to say that consider your Paul wants to play that down wants to say that monasticism is just one way of monastic life or one way of Christian life that you can pick. But with Paul I think there is a definite emphasis to find to struggle to find a more powerful way to devote yourself to this realization of God's call within you that in some ways might run counter to some of the stuff in the introduction here. I like the questions that the introduction raises but it seems to want to not it doesn't want to build up the ego of the monk. That's fine. But in doing that I wonder if it damages that


impulse to strive for a fuller incarnation of your vocation. I think it could. I think it could be unpalatable especially to people in the early stages of monasticism who want the integrity the fullness of that impulse that they feel, that vocation that they feel that drive not to be impaired not to be questioned they don't want the yes and the no and the maybe. They want the whole thing. So it's not really speaking to that experience. On the other hand the author is not all that way because at one time or another he'll say there are people who want to give themselves totally to God and this is the way for them to do it. So he'll talk in that way. So he tries to do both. He may not do both equally well. I think he's better probably at widening than he is at sharpening. I wanted to ask about the Hindu approach to the four stages


the student, the householder, the monk and the sannyasi and something about that seems more logical than the western approach than kids going in at 14, 15 years old and going right for sannyasi in a sense there seems something so logical about that growth it's like the contemplative life the solitary life seems the logical culmination of a life and I watch my father becoming kind of the son next to himself I think of that quite often me not coming back into my early 30s at least I had 10 years out being whatever I was being but I was talking to this Korean Buddhist monk who visits every now and then last year they had a film and he's got this same hierarchical thing going where they're very much like monks are better


people than everybody else and he's been in the monastery since he was 8 he's 32 years old but monks are better people than everybody else it's just kind of ingrained in his tradition and I'm thinking maybe it's too bad that he's been a monk since he was 8 I don't even know what kind of holiness there is involved in raising the family these things of this human development he's never had there's a sense of fullness of life there which for a lot of monks have simply never experienced they don't broaden they don't become human beings sufficiently they don't become at home in their humanity like we're walking around in stilts we're walking around in some kind of artificial garb that scheme for one thing the Christian vision tends to be very much affected by our theoretical mentality that you have one category


which is your vocation and that's an unvarying thing corresponding to an institution so to speak of my having a benedictine vocation means that somehow God said you are a benedictine and that you will always be a benedictine basically that's one essential thing which is unchanging like a platonic idea well after a while you get to question whether vocation is not a developing thing and whether its relationship to the institution is really that essential Kash and I were talking about that the other day if you really want to explore everybody has the same vocation in a broader sense and then in another sense everybody is just personal yeah, it's the universal call of the holiness and everybody has a path but you're saying God called me to be a benedictine even God called me to be a canonical it's like a river is that what made me drink? opening a Dominican stamp


you're an exception once in a thousand years so with these things I think we gradually loosen up the concepts but as we loosen up the concepts we have to be increasing our security in the interiority it sounds as if every concept has its negative qualities in some ways I feel hesitant to embrace the labels that are imposed on me even the Christian label as a kind of negative concept in American news because of a lot of negative things that have gone on Catholics throughout history have very negative things Monks too have bad reputations


and if I fight that I don't like to consider what other people think about me personally I can embrace the positive but you know in their minds they're thinking well there's a question somehow you've got an inner let's say charism in your experience which may be a Christian experience basically what people think about you is secondary compared to that that thing has to unfold from inside you that's what you are but the historical past of Christianity is somewhat irrelevant to what other people think it doesn't somehow arrive at the level of that is there an interior reality to it independently of all the negative in other words the positive is interior


you have the beauty from the outside it's like any label is almost insufficient well the label is important you have to be able to distinguish the label from the reality that it corresponds to it's kind of like naming a father pretending to be good such a negative concept you can't handle the vocations have a lot of baggage I think that's what I hear that's how I get through even a priest like a parish priest goes out he's carrying a lot of baggage from what people think a priest is and certainly a monk carries a lot of baggage carries more baggage in Europe than in this country because monks are extra transparent in this country even in the church hanging out with other religious folks when they find that you're a monk like when I grew my hair back out they said you don't look like a monk most of the monks I know


don't have their hair cut out yeah other people talk to other religious they say oh I love my novitiate because they figure their novitiate is monastic oh he's got a kind of definition of monastic life down the bottom of page three and notice something he says which is rather radical on page two he's distinguishing Christian monasticism from a lot of other spirituality he says well it's not a search for an absent God but it's the living and the celebration of a presence and of a gift that's a very Vatican II statement and it's a very important statement too and I think it's very true but it's sort of the opposite of what Panakrasman is saying because he says Hindu monasticism is a presence and a present reality and Christianity is a search for something in the future that's total contrast


in perspective I think that's an important principle also which destroys the ladders that idea that it's a gift which has been given but that too can make people just sit down not knowing what they're doing this book it's mentioning of the venerable and persistent tradition in monastic theology and in the pre-Vatican area it talks about as early as Saint Basil, Gregory of Nyssa John Chrysostom but it doesn't talk about the desert or the desert spirituality per se but the desert idea of seems to have this radical need for for penance for the opposite stance of this paragraph this real need to recognize our


need to atone and not just slough it off on Christ who came like us to save us from our sin but then through that it reaches something like this paragraph something like this fullness of life where the tears of pain and agony and compunction turn to joy in this sort of newly given interior knowledge of life and of salvation so it's a so just I don't think that the desert tradition necessarily goes against what this is saying but definitely this emphasizes it in a different way yeah it's like the desert is meant to bless them into paradise if you follow the law of the desert that is you follow the principle of the desert which is to go inside through the way of penthos and so on until the water turns into wine something like that but you do have these two sides and it's very important not to let go of either one of them one side is the aspiration the penthos, the compunction, the life of the desert


the absence of God the search for God, the Psalms that are panting for the living God that sense of movement really corresponds to the desert but the other thing is the fact that Christianity is an event that has happened in a fullness which has been given and that that fullness is inside us and a lot of monasticism forgets that even in the rule of Benedict you don't find much of that sense of fullness it's present implicitly in a sense of community in the commandment of love in the insistence on communion and love and occasionally the way he talks about joy and so on the monasticism has sort of absolutized the one side of the desert in Benedict's rule the word desert needs to be translated into something else but the seeking has the aspiration has won out over the expression of the gift received the baptismal gift basically if you look at early monasticism in Syria


however in some other places the baptismal gift is primary and the reason why people became celibates was because they couldn't conceive of another relationship which would fill an incompleteness that they had because they were complete inside at least they felt this oneness which didn't require another complement including variables yeah they couldn't because they were in some way occupied you know like they didn't have a socket to plug a marriage to plug a spouse into but you don't find that too much in monasticism but baptism is important early monasticism because that's where you get that sense of fullness coming in and a sense of your monastic vocation of being some kind of response to the Christ of it and it's got to be that for a Christian I think it just is in the grace that's given we're inside that what's called the economy we're inside that organism in which the grace that we have also for a monastic life


comes from there anyhow we're not making much progress okay his definition Christian monastics were born of a radical and charismatic option in favor of the new presence of God in his word and saving mysteries exclusively known in life-long education of kingdom of God, doctrine of discipline, lifestyle and selfless seeking that's pretty good from the point of view of that presence not from the point of view of the seeking it's not the desert perspective the experience of the kingdom takes some people that way inviting them to a deliberate simplification of their lives I think that's good and that's in the direction of the desert and then what follows from it is spell it out but in the key of presence rather than absence but it's like the liturgy


we move between those two positions in the liturgy of aspiring towards God and celebrating celebrating the gift and that's the definition I like so much biblical worship in general it's not searching for a distant God it's celebrating the presence of God I like that okay foundations for monastic life in the gospels the strongest one that he points to is the one about eunuchs eunuchs for the kingdom has a certain certain repulsiveness about it there it is and then he talks about the possible


counter witness in various ways corporate pride monks can be specialists in corporate pride they can be beautifully corporately proud something about David Steinberg monastery in New York it was supposed to be the happening place in the next world 30 years ago just a very exciting place and stuff and then suddenly I'm not saying that I know the situation but just things seemed and many people said it was a very very good thriving community and then one person I did talk to said that they were really filled with a sense of pride then vocations stopped and I think that within the last year they've had a couple few vocations but for at least the last 15 years before this year they've been in the desert for a long time I think that the turning point may have been


the death of Plutodemesis he was a very charismatic man and he died and the people that followed said we didn't have that same quality to give life to a community and stuff that made it quite that was the solution but also they were at a cutting edge at that time you had these new monastic communities a new era of monasticism western was one not so sure and then we should have been somewhere behind the cutting edge somewhere down the handle destiny is still destiny is still waiting for us I wonder about this big I think of St. Michael


where I spent one year not as a monk but as a seminarian and that is monasticism in all its corporate splendor I think it's six million dollars in the renovation of your church they've got a new habit he really doesn't know he enjoys the part I think he plays the role of kind of a racial bully it's an incredible place everything is so tastefully done and so high tech and this image has been popping in my mind I was never the least bit attracted to monasticism but it's a different it's obviously got its own validity and value too it's interesting how that happens how a second personality or a second persona can develop from monasticism and has a certain consistency see a lot of the hermit people


would identify that with the synovium ok that's the synovium that's the monastery they're getting out of there going out into the desert even Romano at the time the Cluniac monasticism there are all these traditions ambivalent about it but it often mows away from it precisely that interesting but also to me that's some of the baggage I think even in monasticism carries maybe the religious will have that that's what a monk is or there can be 226 monks in choir and they see us and they think they see us as creatures antiquarian creatures I guess one of the things this is really stressing community and especially with larger monastic communities


you have more people and more things that what Isaac was talking about that tendency of ego to exert itself in so many medical ways in that ego can be incorporated and taken more seriously in institutions which is one of the dangers of institutions there are good things about places like this it can makes a distinction between institution and organism but in its best a community is a living organism is a larger Christian body is a larger presence than just one person of the body of Christ it's not a whole thing but it's a better example of it because a bunch of people have been incorporated into this larger body it's like the final incorporation into the body of Christ but at its worst it's a place where


the institution provides a lot of hooks and nails to hang projects of the ego on and these things that are not good or even part of reality suddenly become have places to become incarnate which is troublesome yeah the world gets rebuilt inside the monastic thing like you make a model of the world but that means the world of pride the world of Tower of Babel all these little offices and officials each one is you know a little metal intercontinental intercontinental anyway all right how can a monastic community fail? well we've been doing doesn't mean to say a monastic community is a sacrament that's deriving from that double definition of sacrament of something which reveals


and communicates or reveals and acts which is efficacious and revealing at the same time so he says a sacrament which the mystery of salvation is revealed but that's there's a more profound way of looking at sacrament I'm sure just in terms of incarnation not in terms of two things but in terms of one thing which is the extension of incarnation the body of Christ or the coming of divinity the same thing with the church because the church is the primary sacrament after Christ so they go Christ is the sacrament of God and the church is the sacrament of God and Christ yeah the church is the sacrament it's interesting the gene makes it a few inches the interesting thing about the sacrament is it also hides you don't see it


I'm thinking of that in terms of the monastic community how people look and say I just don't get it if there's not a sense of that foundation or goal that monks would have to come to monastic life then this would hide it as well as it's meant to be that way like John the Baptist when Jesus says what did you go out to see crazy man out there what's the reason for that it's a scandal because it's irrational something like that and the word does come from mysterious mysterious mystery is inherent to it so that's important very important when you talk about monasticism and the sacrament if you make it just kind of this daylight aspect that he's got and that old definition to a sacrament of the outward side of the human reality that also fits very well


in the choir to the eyes of the believers the outward side of the human reality of people who have chosen to at least try to dedicate a certain evangelical zeal and those signs are very important in the church aside from the interiority of the location itself does the New Testament support the individual or the community interpretation of monastic life well that's a trick question yes neither of you in the community it ceases to be sacrament as it swallows the code of the prophet it's interesting


it's like a constant battle between mystery and control presence always from the beginning when the monastic community no longer lives in fear of that mystery but lives in fear of its own self image and no longer represents the mystery it's like taking the phone that you received and firing it and killing it and stopping it rather than maintaining that flexibility the clearness and also the fire okay, then he goes into that question about the individual or the community interpretation of monastic life which is very germane from the canonic standpoint because we've got both


it's very interesting that you can have these two forms and that each form can understand itself and not understand the other but they can always contend as many early monks that there are stages in the natural, earlier stages of community life a possible later stage is a solitary life but I suppose it's good to think of two of them the two of them simply is two dimensions of our life for our whole life long should we say that one is more interior? I think we have to in a way because one is more relational but to be relational doesn't mean that it's not interior it means it's interior in a different way the other one is more purely interior, isn't it? because we go inside in abstraction or isolation from others as it were we've got to find a point at which those two come together at which they really demand one another at which they really communicate with one another but personality and the fears of that


because personality our personality type and so on is very likely going to make us preferentially inclined to one or the other you'll get introverts who come here and they figure they've really got it they've really got the secret of life because they've found a form of life which agrees with their personality their personality type we have extroverted people who feel what I've always been looking for is a community in which I can really feel that I belong we have kind of an eccentric take on it don't we? anomalies you know, a typical benedictine a typical trappist but even supersonic life they would even answer the question in a different way they could say I'm belonging to a community fulfilling my individual vocation whereas we really that tension is in the start for us


between solitude and community which is very eccentric yeah it is and it stirs the pot again and again and again and it keeps either tendency from becoming enclosed in on itself but boy, there's been a lot of tension between like them too you know also because trying to fit the juridical thing the juridical structure to the reality of the two vocations or the two dimensions of the same vocation very difficult to make that fit how do you express the relationship because they were still moving that around in the 50s and 60s maybe still moving around the definition of the relationship between solitude and community with the hermitage and especially more with individual hermits it starts to defy the very idea of juridical


your laws are for people living in society laws I guess become more bigger and more intense in societies so the more you want the hermitical in multiple ways the more the law becomes unimportant so just by it's very set up it's difficult to manage between a hermitage an aramidical community and a cenobitical because a cenobitical by it's very nature is going to have more laws, more relationships more stuff going on and then an aramidical lifestyle is going to have less of that stuff so to try to loop both of them in the same string of laws is going to be a little bit overdone does that make sense? yeah, it's like they are two different languages notice that the commandment definition of absolute solitude is reclusion the reclusion is to be closed in it's almost like


the vocational thing has been kidnapped by the juridical mentality so the only way of living in solitude is locking somebody into a cell locking somebody up in an enclosure it's like a juridical notion becoming concretized in that concept of solitude not that it doesn't have value but it's certainly not the only way to live large to be in solitude you know the Russian thing they've got monks in the woods and hermits in the woods you've got all these different varieties but that particular definition of reclusion someone who is closed in within me I think comes out of the juridical theory but it's precious that we've got it in the sense that it's precious that we have a juridical framework also for that which flees juridicism to the maximum yet we've got a place for it we don't exclude it in fact we recognize it we make a category for it


as nobody else does nobody else does of course the canon law now has an article for hermits it's not defined as reclusion but it's interesting that the hermit has nothing to do with monasticism it seems in canon law it's defined it's outside of the section on monasticism isn't that interesting because they look at monasticism itself institutionally and it's even clarified yeah so the juridical view of monasticism and the interior or intuitive vision of monasticism are very different because they define monasticism as a monastic institution which is the structure of the canon but we can be happy that the church and the canonist tradition do have room for all of these things


they just have to create their space within those juridical the reality has to fight for its own space within the juridical framework which tends to become rigid and exclusive what's the historical relationship between monasticism and different forms of religious life in the church here and there claims that the other orders are eventually developed from the original monastic community so the image that comes to mind is the image of the root in the tree the tree with its various limbs and branches and monasticism as being the trunk of that tree yeah all types of religious life in the west are in some way developed from the monastic ideal I don't know if they'd all like to hear that I don't think it really is true the first of the franciscans and the americans breaking off it's a very interesting mystery


because they break off well what happens the monk is the person who defines himself as separation from the world but then there are these various returns to the world in various ways apostolic in one way or another so that separation, absolute separation begins to loosen up and then you get a differentiation into these different orders which are juridical or juridical bodies juridical embodiments or containers these different go further into the religious life it doesn't appear to be true that's right that's right now the further down you go I suppose it's the process yeah yeah in a way to say monasticism is the root of all religious life that's kind of a prideful thing to say well it's prideful but it appears to be


in the institutional sense if you look for religious institutions within the church I think the first one is monasticism and then the other institutions the orders and so on develop out of that starting with the friars you already had what, knights, templars and stuff like that and canons who were quasi-monastic but they were priestly, apostolic and then juridically these institutions begin to but notice that we're in such an institutional world that we think about these things in terms of the visible orders, the visible congregational orders which are juridical bodies institutional bodies, but they do develop out of monasticism I think in some way, if you look at monasticism in terms of this one problem this is equivalent to the Panic of Hearts title but monasticism in terms of this co-inunitive problem the God problem this is the earthly world problem


this is the intellectual affective or love energy God, word, spirit creation of earth so monasticism goes in this direction essentially and it goes as far as it can in that direction and then it becomes evident first of all that Jesus is not going in that direction exclusively but he came into the world and his economy is the economy of incarnation so it goes down in this direction so in some way you've got to be going in both directions but there's a withdrawal and there's a return where he's learned to specify himself in these different directions so I get a Dominican's going over here a Franciscan's going over here a Jesuit's going out here but they come out of the same root juridically and go in these different directions and they're moving from this this root in a sense identifies with this point with that co-inunitive point with the God point and that's in a sense Poirier's definition


of monasticism seeking for God is true or Pentecostal definition but that corresponds to what Pentecostal means by the sense that I don't think that's true of monasticism even though you have all kinds of varieties the thing that somehow specifies it from everything else is that direction and then it itself branches returns to the world from that point and begins to differentiate itself inside itself so you've got all kinds of monasticism the monasticism which is very much in the world the monasticism still which is very much out of the world it seems to define itself by separation from the world I remember who was it Garangier 100 years ago monasticism is nothing but separation from the world and in a sense it's true but if you say that the only thing that's important to the monk or the most important thing is separation from the world it's completely wrong it's completely wrong to say that


because the most important thing for him is life and Christian life and living the gospel so it's a tricky concept but in a way it does define monasticism movement from the world towards God yeah and then in the end of course I get to a point where they're not very separable let's see where's a good point to stop what's distinctive of monasticism in contrast with these other forms of religious life I think he said that monasticism is at the center rather than the periphery of the church's life I got the picture no, he said something else before that's called questions later yeah oh, community and hospitality


yeah yeah that's okay but I don't think it quite does it it doesn't account for the more solitary forms of monasticism that desert dimension so at that point he's getting his definition from the community side and from the Christian side rather than from the other side that idea of a miniature church is an exciting idea but it also has its dangers doesn't it remember we had a sort of parallel idea of the monk as the perfect Christian and a Christian who's really committed to it to be a little church means that you've got everything inside yourself and you don't essentially have to relate to anything else doesn't it in other words you're not a specialist you're not an expert except a specialist in being perfect


it does seem almost like a replica of that other proposal doesn't it the idea of a monk simply being a perfect Christian the monastery is simply as being a little church a perfect church something to strive for and at the same time something to be very very cautious about because the church in some way by its definition is constantly encountering the world it's constantly in one way to see it as something that is constantly having to change itself and adapt itself to the world but at the same time there is a certain fullness of a community that is like a whole body but at the same time if the community is not having to live in reality live in the present moment then it needs to do that so again there's a tension between that


being an established whole and at the same time being organically connected to the larger church and the larger entire world but not to be swamped by those connections and of course this would be a church with no women and no children the male monastic yeah because that ignores the connection that the monastic you just have with the local church yeah yeah you're going for the Sunday Eucharist is there a complementarity of cases so that the monk needs something from the church and the church needs something from the monk or is this simply what we call a holograph where everything is inside the monastery it's that big place again down there one could get the sense that they don't need the rest of the church you really have seminaries but it's a self-contained unit with it's own barbershop grocery store and everything


it doesn't even need to be a bakery a lot of those barbershops have tons of priests that's true also but it's interesting it's important for a monastery and the monastic community to be aware of it's own incompleteness in certain ways it's essential necessary just as the monk not being married is aware of what we call partiality the limitation of his own experience of not having children of what that means but I think this idea of circulation which is outside yourself is very important the church itself is to think of itself as containing all good inside itself all it had to do with the world was to bring the world in all it had to do with the world was to get it inside convert it bring it inside make it catholic but now the church looks at itself in a different way it talks about itself as sacrament in the world


somehow it and the world is a pair it makes a pair with a necessary interaction between the two I think the monastery is the same with the church over the world probably I'd better quit for today are we going too slowly? I think it's good to hash these things out you don't feel the dragon to let ourself it's great up to you if we could even go longer or something that'd be great well we'll come back to a lot of these things later on this is only his introduction ok I think I already have I already had them in there


good, so I got a copy for those you're all set then I think we could be actually going through James no, those are for your reading anything you want to bring up for there is welcome there's a list of classes in there too we should talk that over sometime that was pre-revolution so one Ronero is still well I've got I'm sure it's going to be fine you might want to jump in to be continued so I'll give you the Xerox but one thing just a question through all this stuff with the with the with the lack of of our emphasis on


the institutional and with our trying to not to in a certain sense deconstruct the institutional and get back to a more organic more unitive view of monasticism that's more one with all people which definitely has it's good points but at the same time when you do away with the institutional and the juridical shell of monasticism there's definitely some bad things there but you're also in some ways doing away with some of the disciplines that seem maybe everything is unnecessary but when you're dealing with the actual physical disciplines which are ideally not juridical but something that becomes incorporated in the aesthetical person how do we distinguish


the interior personal disciplines from the laws or the institutional life and that's something that I felt in considering your call that it didn't at one point there was something I almost got angry about in this new view of monastic life we just need to or it's assumed that we have internalized all of these formerly things that were outside and I'm like wait a minute have we truly internalized what it means to be interiorly silent have we internalized a deep intimacy with the word of God have we internalized real obedience or authority in the divine sense I think what you meant at that point is that what we have to do collectively as a monastic civilization or culture is to internalize and then bring them back out from the inside rather than carrying along the fixed external expressions that we had before to interiorize them communally


and then re-express them from the charism from the inner charism I think he was talking about but I think it is a progressive thing that the juridical maybe becomes less important as we go along but the juridical is never going to disappear the institution will always be the skeleton, the bones will always be inside the body inside the organism when you talked about the communal and the solitary before the language, the juridical language becomes kind of irrelevant in the more solitary I think the progression was in that direction but that structure always has to be there you know, given how humanity is it's always better to be the earth because otherwise the thing will just fall apart it's funny that we're so dependent upon institutions when we think about it everything is institution and all the people who do something significant are usually connected with the institution no matter who it is so it's very strange that we are the word institution carries so much negative balance


to us, we need other language really because we're talking about a lot of different things when we talk about institution and we tend to talk about abstraction from the fact that the institution is part of a body is the skeleton, let's say, of a body which is living so there's no need to abstract it and to look at it negatively unless it becomes an absolute which nearly happens it nearly happened in our western history in our western church history too because the institution became so thick and so strong we're recovering from that okay thank you no, that's just for your reading if you want to bring something up from that what that is, is a development of Pentecost idea this century yeah, it's about 10 years old okay, good, good thank you