Introduction to Theology, Serial No. 01113

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And because not only the Son, but the Father and the Holy Spirit are truly called Truth,
it's evident that one and the same Truth, keeping what is proper to the person, works
these things in these three stages.
In the first, he teaches as a master.
In the second, he consoles as friend and brother.
Nobody else in the whole of spiritual literature I know ever talks about the Holy Spirit as
amicus et frater, friend and brother.
In the third, he clasps us to him, astringent, he clasps us to him as a father does his sons.
This, as you see, is not just an abstract vision of the way to human fulfilment, but
a very lively description of the way it can actually come about.
I expect you'll remember that Burnham finishes this section by saying it is a very slow climber.
And perhaps in some ways it was.
I always think it's very hard to forgive him for letter number one.
Do you remember letter number one?
Written to the young man who ran away to Clooney.
It's a brilliant piece of rhetoric, absolutely devastating, and a very terrible thing to do
to anybody else.
I don't doubt he lived through that.
Of course, one of the sorts of ways I suppose he got through it was living to see what happened
in the crusade for which he preached.
He came to see what a ghastly fit it was, and what a mistake it had been to support it.
He had all sorts of things that woke him up.
I have no doubt the percative came quite a lot at the end too.
But I honestly don't think there's a faster or surer way than this one.
That's why one comes back to it so often, more than any other.
Because it's very simple, it's very lucid, it's very evangelical.
And I think if you really read it sentence by sentence, very often, you won't go very wrong.
Well, let's have a pause, shall we?
You had something you wanted to talk about, Peter?
You weren't quite clear as to what the assimilation to the Trinity was.
You're talking about the Master, Friend and Brother?
That's right, yes.
It's actually paragraph 20 in which Bernard is saying, in fact, that at each of these stages
of development, obviously, God is considered precisely as truth
in the way which is appropriate to each of the persons, is what he goes on to do then.
First of all, he makes disciples.
You learn the truth in the first stage, by self-knowledge.
And then, in the extension of one's charity to one's neighbour, one is consoled by friendship.
And then, eventually, you become a son, which is, of course, really what the Christian vocation is,
to become a son or daughter.
And then he simply says that, of course, since these are...
If you take what is proper to the persons, then you can say that in the first stage,
the son is the teacher or the Master.
And in the second stage, the Holy Spirit is the Friend and the Brother.
And in the third, the Father draws you to his arms.
Did that seem to be unusual or unsatisfactory in that analysis of the thing?
Did you find that so?
Had you had it done like that before?
Or had you read it very closely?
Do you think my enthusiasm is misplaced?
It does seem to me to be a very unique kind of work.
It's an entirely original work, a very young man writing this work,
and it's full of quite fresh sorts of insights.
Because, really, there's very, very little dependence on...
Obviously, Bernard Sommer absorbed some of the kind of...
as they all did, I think,
absorbed some of the kind of way of thinking about the interiority of things from Augustine.
I think that's what they chiefly learned.
It wasn't spliced ideas.
I suppose this is the way one goes on, you know, in thought,
as one's reading, is that sometimes you think,
where on earth did I read that?
One can't always place it.
I was so happy to find things about the Proud Virgins straight away
by putting my finger on it and guessing where it was.
I hadn't really looked at it for some time, but I knew it was there
in the sermons on Our Lady.
And, of course, it really was...
At least once, certainly, when I began religious life,
I think, in the houses of both men and women,
it was really very shocking how many people had lived in community for many years
with absolutely no sense of the common life at all.
They might just sort of have been all in little boxes.
And so there was no kind of mutual enrichment,
such as we get even in a class like this,
and there just simply wasn't,
because the conception of obedience was interpreted in such a very mechanical kind of way
that most people didn't even know this appeared everywhere,
and Mother knew best about everything, in fact.
I did come across a place where, in fact,
it was a common-life problem,
where the sisters had all been certainly invalidly professed
because they hadn't even seen the rule.
I said, Mother, do you want the rule?
It must be an extraordinary case.
You made a reference to St. Bernard's preaching of the crusade.
And I think it's a very balanced, critical thing I've heard said about it.
Well, as I say, I think there is evidence.
I mean, I can't just put it before you out of my head like that,
because inevitably a lot of historical information is very difficult to remember.
But I think there's enough evidence that Bernard did come to regret what he'd done.
I mean, when he saw what really happened.
Crusades, of course, were the greatest possible disgrace for Europe.
All they did was smash up the Byzantine world.
They really were just thugs, quite straightforward thugs,
and were guilty of terrible atrocities.
I mean, you think of the Church of Santa Sphira being absolutely wrecked by these brigands.
It really was terrible.
But, of course, this extraordinary thing, I suppose, although this is, for me,
this is a very special thing, and some of the things on the Canticle are,
and I suppose the book on loving God, these are very remarkable things.
Bernard has an extraordinarily clear mind.
That's why I suppose he was so brave, in a certain way,
in saying things that nobody else, as far as I can see, ever said before,
or has ever said since, quite so clearly.
But there's a kind of coolness about him, which is also rather frightening, I think,
which comes out of the letters, I'd say, especially in letter one.
And also, of course, the fact that it was, after all,
in the affair over the recent double lives, Peter the Venerable comes out best,
without any doubt.
The Abbot of Cluny, who was the kindest of them all, who took him in.
But obviously Bernard must have been, I suppose,
he must have suffered a great deal from the fact that he was
made to be a very busy man, because he was so gifted.
All his life, he must have been...
It was, of course, over the addition of these works that I first met John McClure.
I was still quite young.
I don't think I was actually a priest, I think I was perhaps a deacon.
He came to see me when I was in bed with the flu, the first time.
And I'd just brought his studies, the manuscripts he'd touched,
when he was beginning the work.
So I said, would you sign it for me?
Actually, it was a piece of Peter Damian.
So he said, well, as I may have it in the air, we'll put that in the books.
I can't say about that, it might be a bit sad.
That's one of the books I did bring with me.
But the reason why I was thinking of the manuscripts suddenly
is, of course, that Bernard, like nearly all these early Cistercian writers,
obviously did quite a lot of preaching in one way or another.
And like St Augustine, he could preach and write in different styles
according to the people he was talking to.
These texts are very much more
concentrated kind of writing.
But then they too were finished off.
Most of these people had a stenographer or somebody else taking them out.
Sometimes they made their own sketches of the omelettes.
And it's one of the things which, of course,
will obviously have to be discussed about those new finds in connection with Ayred.
And I'm hoping that the volume which is said to be in press is not too terrible.
Of the sermons available.
Because some of the things they should have looked at, I know they haven't.
They haven't really seriously considered, of course, the Timber.
Most people don't realise that medieval writers also published.
And of course the only way to publish them was to have a complete copy.
This one wouldn't do, for instance.
If I pause sometimes going through the typing, it's so bad at some points
that if I could guess what I meant, I wouldn't have known.
So what most people like Bernard did was
they either had their own draft of what they'd said
or they compared other people's drafts
and then they made a fair copy which was deposited somewhere
or passed from house to house.
And so most assertion houses had a kind of homiliary books, you know,
to carry you through the year.
And so that's how it takes...
In this particular volume of the treatises you haven't got anything so complicated
but you'll notice if you look at the Latin text of the sermons on the Canticle
and much more of the seasonal sermons,
especially the seasonal sermons in volume 4 and 5,
then sometimes you've got an almost totally different version in the bottom
which is near enough to be authentic to what Bernard and Mary have said.
And then it's written up in the form which they preferred
which is not always something we would prefer.
We often find the drafters more attractive nowadays to look at.
I think it does make one feel nearer to these writers when you're looking at the drafts
because you can guess what it sounded like.
Things coming up very simply.
Of course it was an extremely austere life.
I mean, I suppose, he used to have his license.
As soon as I first saw it, which was extremely severe,
I could never have survived for a very long time.
It was nothing like so severe as it must have been, for instance,
when it was lived in England in the Middle Ages.
I've never forgotten that I went once to Tinton, which is an abbey in Wales,
on a November day.
It's true there's no roof on Tinton now.
And a wind was blowing, a vast wind was blowing.
There was a small, this vast monastery had a califactory
less than half the size of the room we're sitting in at the moment.
That was the only heating there was in the house.
So I suppose they were all sewn in for the winter,
in fact it was as tragic as it used to be.
In Thomas Merton's younger days, I remember how he complained about
prickly heat in summer because they were sleeping in their hammocks
and they were very much sewn up.
I suppose people probably did...
Monasteries, of course, were not vastly more uncomfortable
than ordinary houses were in the Middle Ages.
Of course, most houses must have been fairly draughty.
You had to be very well off to have either quartz or glass in your windows.
So it was a very tough life.
And Ben, as you know, really ruined his health by
all kinds of immoderate fasting and so on.
Could you kind of link up for me a little bit
what you read from Father Staniloy,
you know, the Pledge of Revelation?
I didn't see how it fit in.
You didn't see how it fit in?
Perhaps it doesn't, but I think it does.
I think what he's really saying is that...
You see, of course, you do remember the quotation,
the phrase about the first fruit of the Spirit
comes, of course, from Romans 8,
where St Paul is saying,
we who have the first fruit of the Spirit
have grown within ourselves.
In other words, if you like, we're in the situation
we were talking about yesterday,
in the original sin situation.
But what Father Staniloy is saying is that
we have at least...
We have already these things, not in promise,
but in fact, I'm going to say,
if we're really living a Christian life,
we already have some foretaste of the...
We already have some foretaste of the...
of the Beatitude of Heaven.
As you know, of course, one of the sorts of things
we'd have to talk about,
we went on for several years together,
is the notion which you get in something like Gregory of Nyssa,
that, of course, we should ask God,
indefinitely, I mean, penetrating into the mystery of God.
God will always be mysterious.
In fact, one of the most interesting papers we had
at our Protistic conference in the summer,
it was a very short one,
by Father Paul of Omni,
who is now about the age of Bob.
But he apparently wrote a thesis, when he was in Rome,
on St. Paul,
1 Corinthians 13,
showing that, of course, St. Paul is actually saying,
faith remains in heaven.
There's no doubt that's what the Greek says, really.
And this, of course, does fit with God's remaining mystery,
which is more...
wonderful, even in heaven.
And this is the kind of intriguing
that Gregory of Nyssa thinks.
So, if you like, I suppose,
although this seems much more alive, perhaps,
seeing an orthodox context,
I think it's theologically, you know, perfectly acceptable
in the sense of the word that
we have to say that the world is different,
that life is different now, really,
and different in the same way as it will be.
And that the acts of New Testament revelation
are already actualized.
I suppose that, in a certain way,
I think, again, this is what many of the first...
what made St. Joseph so very attractive
at the time when it came into blossom,
during St. Bernard's lifetime,
about 250 houses all over Europe,
was the sense of the extreme nearness,
all the sort of things they were talking about.
And it must have been, I think,
a very exciting experience of the common life.
Across very different types of people.
You remember, this was the very first time
that houses really provided in a very big way
for people who were illiterate in every sort of way.
Pune had always had, of course,
some people of that kind, too.
But, as you know,
the whole thing got rather out of hand at a later stage
when there were actually very rather revolutions
in some of the houses.
I think that, if you like, the atmosphere of the house,
when it was lived, really, under very dynamic...
Albert, who was teaching this kind of thing,
must have seemed so different
from the very barbarous and crude life in the world
as it must have been in most places.
It must really have seemed very much like
Palliduses plus Thomas.
Don't you think?
This is really why I thought it was appropriate
to lead in with that, I think it is, if you like.
All he's really saying is that
all these things are, in a very real sense,
And you'll remember from the passage the other day,
we had from him the other day,
the idea of the Holy Spirit's imminent
is exactly parallel with
Ferdinand's second friend and brother.
And this is of the Holy Spirit.
And this is something that nobody else says,
I think, in the West.
I can't think of anybody who says anything like it.
That's why the charismatic movement
doesn't seem to have got over.
And of course, as you know,
in addition to the enormous,
which was obviously done by personal contact,
expansion of the men,
a great number of women's houses
came under Cistercian influence,
so that we don't really know
whether it's St. Gertrude of Hillel
was really living in a house
of Cistercian servants or not,
with absolute certainty,
it rather looks as though
they must have come under Cistercian influence,
that particular community.
So all that area,
right up through the countries,
the bits of the woods,
which I know so well,
along the borders of modern Western Germany and Belgium,
was full of little places
where this kind of life was being lived.
And I suppose it's one of the ways in which,
although they're individual places, one knows,
where this kind of life again
is still a long, long way from being
realised. Community is talked about a lot,
the more it's talked about generally,
the less it exists, I think.
But I don't know what,
do you not feel this is very much more,
if you like, this is kind of see-through
of the man, of the theological principles
of the recreation of the image,
which you don't get in purely theoretical treaties.
And the fact that it's got a specifically Christian
dimension of the neighbour,
because this is always the bit of the Gospel
that's never really worked out properly, isn't it?
It's very seldom it is.
St Guston, of course,
has one or two very careful discussions of it,
which we might eventually come back to someday.
I won't forget the idea
of trying to do something more about this.
Looking through the little book you put into my hands, Mark,
I can see lots of things
that I would like to work through there.
I find it very hard to believe
that he's really thought it all up
without any kind of outside help.
I think that Pedersen, as I say,
the Danish Pedersen, is the man who's done
some of it a bit more thoroughly than he has, anyway.
But I suppose we could say
that perhaps one of the things we do lack
to have a completely New Testament kind of anthropologies
is to work in the dimension of new,
the spirit, the presence of the spirit.
Let's say body, soul and spirit
are kind of triad instead of two,
body and soul,
which is mainly philosophical
and Greek philosophy at that.
And it's not St Paul's Anthropology.
So that has to be done,
but I don't quite know,
I don't quite see yet how to do that.
We need people of the stature,
these kind of people,
to be able to bring this off, I think.
And the circumstances in which to do it.
I mean, such work as I've done,
you see I've done in the midst of everywhere,
I've been in quite a busy life,
and I think I've learned more from having,
as my old teacher, Richard Alden once said to me,
I've learned more by teaching
than I would have learned by myself,
because by people's asking questions,
you see what you ought to have done,
and usually find you haven't done it.
At least you haven't done it to your satisfaction.
So I can say that what I am going to try to do tomorrow
is to put together some of the things
which I think are the context,
which somehow or other we've been going round the edges of
in some of the questions,
and deal with faith and providence,
and religion,
mostly from St Thomas,
because, well, as I say,
I was just looking through the bit on superstition,
which is, of course, too much religion.
And in fact, of course,
then I can also, I should also,
inevitably bring in Father Schmemann,
saying, of course, Christianity is the end of all religion,
which it is, of course, in principle.
And I suppose one can almost say
that satirical austerity was also what this was about.
Christianity being the end of religion,
or it was not necessary.
But, of course, the trouble is that when we're beginning,
most people need more.
And, of course, they had more,
as Gilles Saint-Saƫns collectively says,
and it was still, I think, the best book on,
the general book on St. Bernard,
the very first one, published in 1903,
as far as I remember.
The one thing they didn't give up was their books.
The books were very good,
and they did really do their next year
in a way which made all this come alive.
And it must have been very exciting to hear these things,
even when they were quite short being preached,
I think, these sorts of things.
And then I think of trying to do a kind of
on Monday, of trying to do a kind of drawing together
again the Christological element,
which I think is worth mentioning in chat,
because I think I can honestly say
that it's been very interesting to find
in all of you this sort of echo
for this feeling of the artistic view of Christology
and how much it comes into the centre of theology
rather than, as it were, starting with God
and working back to the Trinity.
And I think it's one, let's say,
I suppose we're not all blown up,
but that's something you can't think about anyway,
there's no point in thinking about that.
We have to go on, say we were going to go on for a long time,
and I think it's going to be one of the things
which is obviously going to be very economically important,
enormously so,
because insofar as it affects people's prayer life,
it's bound to make the foundations of Christian reunion
theological in the deepest sense of the word,
because the more people really pray...
It's very interesting, of course, you'll remember,
and on Lordship you'll remember
that the Welsh lady, what's her name?
Anne Griffiths, yes,
who was brought up in a very cloudless media
and who began to pray more and more and more,
and of course her theology got better and better
in the things she wrote.
You can't really pray without actually becoming a theologian,
you just get to know what is right.
So eventually she was writing very, very orthodox hymns
in this very strangely cut-off media.
I may say, for those of you who don't know,
Anne Griffiths is a very extraordinary, interesting case
of a woman brought up in a very small cloudless media in Wales
who devoted a lot of time to prayer.
People apparently said, you know,
if she went out to get a bit of potatoes,
she would wait for a very long time
and she would often be absorbed in prayer
for about a couple of hours,
or she came back and cooked the meal or whatever it was.
And somehow or other God taught her,
and it does, it's an extreme book.
You're talking about the biographies?
Herbert Hodges' biography and translations of her hymns too.
Oh yes, yes.
Writers and well-sitters.
Oh yes.
I think, of course, one's remy of this kind of thing
doesn't mean, say, that one shouldn't really do
the sort of thing I would try to do with you today.
One shouldn't really think about these things as well.
But of course they never really come alive for you
if you don't try to live them too.
And that's the way you become a theologian.
Is there anything else you want to ask?
Yes. Come on, Ken.
In the Cistercians and today in the Church,
when we talk of the image,
and we mean the soul or the mind,
is likeness synonymous with the image,
or do we...
I think it's fair to ask you the question,
what would you like it to be?
Because I think this is where, if you like,
people have sometimes made a choice,
as I pointed out, I think probably yesterday.
And again, at the beginning of the day.
That's really why I'd rather rush through
St Thomas on the image.
Because in fact some writers, as I showed you in Leo,
for instance, Leo doesn't ever explicitly make
a distinction between image and likeness.
But he clearly presupposes it in the way he talks.
Because you become like,
just as in Bernard too, you become like God
by being merciful.
This is where the likeness shines out.
I guess then my question is,
it's not really a dogma,
something that's written out.
Well, it's a dogma.
What is dogmatic is that all men
are made in the image of God.
Whether they realize this or not.
This is certainly dogmatic, isn't it?
We must say this.
I'm now saying I don't quite see
what else you could say.
It clearly is dogmatic, although it isn't.
Because it's so nearly
implicit even in documents
in which this is not said to be
something you must believe,
without which you will be condemned.
It's so evidently written into them
that you can't...
There are various ways in which we can know
whether something is dogmatic or not.
It may be defined and counseled,
which is relatively modern and relatively rare
to that extent.
Or it may be simply something
which everybody is so consistently taught.
And obviously you can't read the New Testament
without believing it's out, can you?
Because it's explicitly made
part of the pattern of the way
we become conformed to Christ.
It's the renewal of the image.
It's explicitly written at least
in the New Testament letters.
So I don't see how we can regard it
as anything other than dogmatic.
But obviously what
Elisabeth Oshin's work preoccupied one with
was the realisation of this
as an experience.
Which does mean to say that one
learns to live out the likeness.
It sounds very dull to say this,
but it is practising the virtues
in the most abstract way to say it.
It's actually reacting in a given situation
in a Christian way, isn't it?
Living from love.
Which is a very expensive business, in fact.
That's very exacting for all of us.
Because according to our temple
it makes different kinds of claims upon us.
So it seems there's no satisfactorily abstract way
of giving a list of what those things are going to be.
It may be anything from cooking the lunch
to preparing a lecture.
For me I feel it's the same thing.
I don't much mind, which I do.
In fact I rather prefer to cook the lunch on their own.
I feel a bit safer about that.
And I can think of one of my very favourite Benedictines
who's a prior now
and a very difficult Mastery
saying to me once,
I always feel happy when I'm mending the boilers.
I wouldn't do that.
I wouldn't have the faintest idea
how to mend the boilers at all.
He's actually a very good scripture.
I think it's because he's also a person
who's very serviceable.
He feels he expresses his sense of community
best when he's doing things as I'm trying.
It's like when I was standing in the hospital
they probably don't have much use for what he can do otherwise
at the moment.
Which is very sad.
I noticed from this that the one
old scholar they had left
whom I remember saying to me once when we were going down the Vespers
down the stairs saying
I don't know who will do it later on
because nobody else wants to do it.
Does this answer your question?
I think it makes monastic life
very worthwhile, doesn't it?
Even when sometimes one's too tired
to feel anything's worthwhile.
But it does make it worthwhile
even when one's tired.
One doesn't...
I found actually
the sense of solidarity
with people who are tired
especially at this time of day
is one thing that's actually helped me
to persevere in religious life.
If you're married, if you're with a father
in the family or if you're responsible for somebody
like my friend Mike yesterday was looking after
people on the streets
you can't be there whatever you're feeling like.
And that does help one through very often.
Even if you feel much rather that I don't get to sleep.
Have you got anything more, Mark?
One's drawing out at the moment.
Peter, there?
It seems, from what little I know about it
that religious life as such
hasn't always been...
as it was lived
there's always been an encouragement
to living with this kind of responsibility.
No, I entirely agree with you.
I think obviously one of the reasons
why it did tend to get terribly desiccated
just about the turn of the century
was it came to life very much indeed
at the end of the 19th century
both within the church and outside it
because of course there are now
fairly flourishing groups of people
living a religious life
in various Protestant bodies
including Lutheran ones.
But I think what had kind of overtaken me
after the kind of romantic attraction
to the Middle Ages was passed
which is it I suppose
by about 1920
at least in its very great strength
then somehow or other
the very size of the buildings
and the need for administration
reduced the number of people
who were capable of teaching.
It happened all over the church
not just in religious life you see
for instance the situation
has been in America and England
for some time
we're just beginning to get out of it now
certainly it's happening faster in England
than it is in America
Bishops tended to be appointed
because they were good canon lawyers
rather than theologians
which meant of course that you got
the most fantastic pastoral letters
very often a pastoral letter
by Advent or Lent
not even mentioned the season
we're talking about some collection
rather than something else
there was no real teaching
I can remember many pastoral letters
that had one sentence of doctrine in them
once that begins to happen
let's say once administration takes over
and then of course that tends to produce
only administrators
I think what you remember
something Dr. Johnson said
there's a certain truth about religious life
he said that a country gets the government it deserves
and in one way people in religious life
often got the superiors they deserved
because in fact nobody required
they didn't require of each other
the qualities which make one fully human
and so of course they didn't want the kind of superior
who would do anything other than be a good administrator
they didn't want somebody who was going to teach anything
and yes
well I was going to say
are you finished?
well in light of that though
they're getting what they want
going back to what you referenced
well it was slightly cynical of mine
well yes but in chapter 72
the idea of supporting one another's weakness
what about the responsibility
and accountability people are to have
for living in community
Benedict rules for those who commit faults
he does
so if people don't want to take responsibility
or accountability for their behavior
yes but as you know what so easily happened
was that in fact it was reduced to such
if you have too many rules
more than the rule itself
nearly everybody had constitutions of some kind
in fact religious life whether in the monasteries
or in other communities was very much alike
nearly everybody was brought up in the same sort of issues as I was
I was brought up there like a tramp
as a Dominican
and this meant among other things
of course there were certain people who didn't speak and couldn't speak
in fact my novice mosque would never allow me
very easily even to go to confession on any other day
than the day when the man was sitting there
at one specific time
and one specific man
so it was really quite difficult
to break out of that circle
you surely see what I'm saying
this didn't create accountability
because in fact it prevented it ever arising
nobody ever had a relationship
as straightforward and human
to make any demand at all
you simply said may I do so and so
and you got the answer yes or no
my novice mosque always said no
I think he only said yes once
to anything I asked for
so you see
you can't in that way
you can never get anybody who can do anything
I suppose the reason why
what has happened
this is obviously a kind of caricature of the situation
but it is very interesting for me
one of the most moving experiences I have had in teaching
was when I was asked to
try to help some superiors
of women's congregations
while I was teaching in London between 6-7
6-9 and
it was very moving indeed to discover that
the only people who could now have gotten their houses
were generally people who had been cooks
or somewhere low down the line
who really knew what went on
I've never forgotten talking to a Benedictine prioress
who said she was lighting lamps for St Joseph
for occasions and in the same conversation
revealed to me she didn't know how the kitchen stove worked
so I thought you might just as well blow out all the lamps
and learn about the stove
it's obvious isn't it
eventually I found that when you've got a list of these people up in front of you
it was only the ones who knew what really went on
who could then take over
I've certainly the kind of contact I can remember having gone into
one congregation I visited the relics of
when I was in England
I think it was last month or two
when I first went there
they were just like prolegland ladies with servants about the house
that's the distinction between
there was no fraternity
there was no feeling of being sisters and so on
the categories were so clearly marked
and of course as I say it was generally
I've always known these kind of people
in fact one of the lay brothers who had written to me
was a great hero of mine
when I was a novice
and I still remember the extraordinary experience
you would never get into a religious house nowadays
of sitting, of standing, waiting for the community to come for supper
listening to the clock ticking
there was no other sound at all
and we've been in contact with each other ever since
and everybody's gone
so it was very frightening I think
whatever you may feel about what's going on now
it's much much better than it was
30 years ago, much better
and it's much more like the real thing was
because there was the danger of the romantic revival
of monastic life
one of the things that I've just been speaking of
the community of men where you've got a great big building put up
as though it were the middle ages
now of course they've got less
if you look down the list you'll see it's 30 men
but I know perfectly well I can tick off
a lot of people haven't been there for 10 years
so it comes down to about 10
10 at the most, perhaps 5 of those can walk about
but it comes to very few
and that's really an almost impossible thing
they can't produce very much else because they're all too tired
it's all straightforward
due to our time keeping the thing going
but we are getting through that one too
because as the buildings fall down
or become impossible to run
people have to move somewhere else
so the community of sisters that I visited
which is now just what remains of what was a big congregation
at one time
is really very much better off
with two ordinary townhouses
slapped together with a corridor between
which is quite all they need
instead of a vast place that needed a huge staff to run it
and was absolutely dead from the point of view of the things we're talking about
they often had chaplains who won their last legs
who found everything to be built in
and so on
nobody can help being ill and old
and so on, that should be normal
in fact it's one of the things I suppose most communities need to do
is to take responsibility for those who are getting old
so they can provide for them at home rather than send them away
somewhere else
but really as I say
it seems to me the decline in theological life
in nearly all religious houses
was bound up with this
because of having reduced everything to a formula
so things like chapter 72
they weren't really very real
there always were a few people with the courage to break through this
I can say I think among bishops
and other people once in their own lives
who could
in the absence of a living tradition of chapter 72
but of course I don't think on the whole
it can be found with continuously talking about it
I think somehow
rather really reflecting on the theology of this thing
and then trying to realise it whilst trying to live it oneself
one is trying to say
to an obviously real claim
even if it comes at an awkward time as one does
one does one's best to meet it
I think then
the thing comes to life
at least we have every reason to believe that God will bless it
and help it to do so
but I suppose
we have to accept the fact that
the number of places that do
bring this off for a very prolonged period
have always been small
if you look over the history of religious life you'll see
that I find it very marked
for instance somebody that I have worked on
his Ocean Manuscripts of the 12th and early 13th century
it's very
striking the difference
between the first 50 years and the second
because the first 50 years
when they had less equipment you know there was more work to do
fewer books and all the rest of it but it was all mine
then they got all the books and all the equipment
and all died
so you never have to be too comfortable
you have to have enough to survive
but not too settled
it seems
and that's the trouble about having big orders
I think this is one of my reserves about what C.T.O. was doing
it was an important kind of experiment
to see whether you could keep things alive
by having general chapters which worked very well
to begin with
once you've got a big top heavy order
it's a much more dubious proposition
and in the dark ages they had the advantage
if the monastery just stopped being a vile proposition
they went away and let it fall down
so even there of course you see
just look at it
Jarrow produced Bede
in the 8th century and Bede was taken
to the monastery as a little boy of 7
and it looks as though there was one point
when he was left with the abbot alone
and they decided they weren't going to see the office
in spite of that there were only 2 of them
because the whole office was wiped out by a plague
or by an invasion or something
and somehow or other it lived
for a full generation of men
and then of course there was another kind of wave
and it went
perhaps that's enough
perhaps that's the other aspect of your first question
John Baptist really
we can't just establish heaven on earth
and make quite sure we've got it safe
so perhaps the Lord just has to
disturb us from time to time
and he has to take up our roots and go on
it's always a pilgrimage
this is one of the aspects of the monastic life
that the Irish tradition
again implies for short periods
when the right people were there
you see when Colin Baines was at Luxor
and they went on to Bobbio
it was a kind of crisis
because so many people turned up and lived in tents all round him
so that they could have spiritual health and instructions
that made all the local bishops really annoyed
that's why he went off, that's why Bobbio was founded at all
and for time was dead
there are no formulas
which don't mean you need people in the end
theology is all about people
what we've tried to look at in these two days
is really what it's all about isn't it
it's about God and man
and if you forget it, that's what it's about
that's what we need
do you retire?
do we retire?
we don't have to stay
if there's anything at all they want to say
any more than that
I hope I haven't just killed it by saying that
it does seem to me, as I said, I've spent a long time
on monastic history
and it does seem to me that this story is so evident
it happened very clearly at Beck
Beck is a very very interesting example
going back a bit earlier
that the whole time between
the foundation of Cleaning
and the foundation of Ceto
is very fascinating from this point of view
because you get several things
you see
Beck being founded in the 10th century
by an old soldier who was 40
when he began to learn Latin
so that he could sing the opposite choir
he was the first abbot of Beck
and then up from Italy came Lampranck
who could teach a bit
and the thing came to life
very much indeed
and then Anselm also came from northern Italy
not far from Milan, from Aosta
and so you've got two very remarkable men
working together
and they both of them became
in succession Archbishop of Canterbury
so you've got a whole school of theology
surrounded by delightful people like Gilbert Crispin
they didn't write very much
but they were very real people
and that was the sort of second wave
Cuny was the very first one
Cuny was extraordinary how impressive
the early Cuny was
it was more important than anything
that went on in Rome
that was the time when the Popes hunted in the woods
they didn't have anything else to do
and the Abbot of Cuny was much more important
from the point of view of life
than any other
but I expect, my guess is that
by the end of the century
most big groups will have broken down
and there will be a few masters here and there
living by what we've learned from these things
but live new all the time
which is what we're doing really, aren't we?
You see this, yes?
Yes, please Mark, come on
I've been talking too much, I didn't like to talk much
for this day, didn't I?
Yes, what were you saying?
Well, in light of these great movements of monasticism
and the history of monasticism
what would you say regarding
the state of monasticism today
and its continuity
Is it undergoing what you would call
an authentic renewal
in an authentic direction
and self-understanding?
It looks to me as though it is, don't you think so?
It's happening here and there
In one way, as you know, what we're trying to do here
at the moment is fairly unique in the world
I don't have to know of any other place where this is going on
It's a sort of attempt to do something
because we feel a mutual need to do it
And I suppose this has got something
of some importance for the future of it
The other aspect which
is not so intimate to us
but is very real, I think, everywhere
are the fact that there are little groups
You see the Benedictine sisters in Australia, for instance
have founded a small daughter house at the moment
where I'm in touch with, as you'll be hearing
There are only about six or seven of them there
It seems to be much more likely to be the sort of number
that people are going to be able to live in
because in this way they're going to know each other
and are going to work together better
I don't think one has to make it artificially
but if one is reduced in numbers
then perhaps one has to accept the facts of one's situation
and accept the fact that
which certainly earlier monasticism did
that sometimes people would come and go
over a period of time
Of course the things never really worked
unless there were some who spent the whole of their life there
There always had to be a few
But perhaps we have to get used to
in the West
and get over the whole of Christian monasticism
to what is
clearly there in the oriental tradition
that people do go into monastic life for
perhaps half a lifetime
and then go on to something else
That again, presuppose
that the Biron can have too many buildings
and too much to keep up
You see, we went all the way up to the St.
the other night
It's difficult living with what is essentially
temporary buildings
And so I immediately said
What would you have done if you'd built something more permanent
It might be much more terrible
Because although you've been running around
and putting up things and falling down
and deciding what to do about them
You have at least got the embarrassment
that it exists in some place
I'll never forget when I found one of the sermons available
in Troyes
I stayed in the Grand Seminaire
The big seminary in Troyes
Which was built for, I suppose, about 300 students
at the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th century
And there was I, sitting with five professors
And the library was full of dust
Nobody ever went to the library at all
Then we were in a corner having a meal
with actually five very charming professors
One who came from the region near Lourdes
who was able to sing vernacular songs
of the kind that Bernadette would have heard
I had enjoyed this trip very much indeed
from that point of view
But the thing was absolutely broken down
Utterly, utterly unreal
A kind of museum piece
And 15 students for all years
In that diocese
I don't suppose it exists anymore
They probably just accepted the fact
that they can't keep running at all
And I've also not forgot
that I found my way to it by asking
an old lady on the street
how do I find the Grand Seminaire
And she said, well they live up there
and I live down here with the rats
Which was again an absurd situation
because it was a complete division
between all the ecclesiastics
and the people they ministered to
Not that it did in the country of course
France still has many clergy
who have their garden
and have the kind of solidarity
with the people which is very useful
in keeping the church alive
So my only feeling is
What I just can't tell is that
probably we will all get smaller as groups
And we just have to get used to that
We're not going to have big numbers
And it isn't really necessary
from that side of the whole thing
But it should be
Because we rather need to have groups
where we at least know each other
Because otherwise you can't develop
any of the human virtues
that really are necessary for us
If we are a monastery of more than 200 people
then how can you know them
There are at least one in this country
There is more than that
You just simply can't do it
It's nice as a contemporary experience
I remember it was very exciting
When I first came to America in 75
We were about 200 together
for the baptism of our Lord
The church was full of us
celebrating mass
You can't celebrate mass
We had the other gentlemen
That's all very well
But it's a showpiece
Not the thing that really counts
about the continuity
It's always been
It reminds me of one of the nice things
I think it is in the foundations
where it is of course having terrible jobs
to find a job to find a place to sit up
My own view is that the houses
of poor women ought not to make
very much noise in 4D
I think this has been
the main thing I've watched
Just think now
that the cloister has started to make noise
It's much more used now
by people pushing the perambulator
The cloister has now reduced
to about 3 rooms on the top of the pathway
which is all they actually need
The rest of it is open to people
who want to come and spend a quiet weekend
Why not?
Instead of polishing all those floors all the time
which is the way it was half that time
Not very much else that was useful at the time
You made the remark once
that institutions
take a very long time to work
They do, they do
It's extraordinary
Just the question
I'm not thinking that monasticism
is done for
It has been pointed out
It's not a divine institution
It's a human institution
With perhaps other religious institutions
or ways of religious life
that might just have reached the end
of their need
I would say something that's very much
How does a group
just say
Well, I guess as long as there are
Well, I think that really the kind of thing
The reason why I made a special point
of mentioning chapter 72
in connection with this stuff
It seems to me these are complementary things
They've got the spiritual vision
of what chapter 72 is all about
And it seems to me
This is really
one wouldn't like to say in many places
But this is the reason why I believe
monastic life in some form is the only viable form
of religious life to survive the 20th century
Because only the rules have been picked
And it has been relived and re-read
I mean after all remember you see
Nobody has ever read the rule as it's written on paper
Sturgeon didn't do it any more than anybody else
They cut out the school for one thing
And most people have done when it really worked
Very well, except for Beck
Where it did work very well indeed
Where they had a school and it worked very well
and it fed the monastery
But I think it seems to me
You see for instance somebody who's seen a good deal
of Dominican life, spent a lot of time actually
I never tried to write a book about it
Though I could have done
But I think the thing that convinces me
that the Dominicans can't survive the 20th century
Is the life of Domini written by Pierre Biquet
Which really does show
How much this conception of life
As it was done in the constitutions
And even still is
And I've just come out of it partly
In coming to America
I transfiliated the province of France
Because France happens to be responsible for Scandinavia
Now Paris is in a ridiculous situation
It was easy for me to come to be a monk
Because it so happened
That this province is so divided