January 11th, 1983, Serial No. 00549

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Monastic Orientation Set 2 of 2




I want to continue with the Constitution's Scheme 7, and we got as far as number 10 on the top of page 46, but let me put something else in the middle. When we were talking about asceticism and penance, we found a reference to that epistolic document, penitamine. Now, penitamine is the Latin for repent, which is the imperative, which comes from the words of Jesus, of course, and of John the Baptist, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. Those are the first words of the document, repent and believe in the gospel. It's in this, the Pope Speaks, this issue from 1966, which I'll put on the show booklet in case you want to look at it. Actually, there are two documents which are connected here. One of them is penitamine, which is the document from the Holy See, like an encyclical letter, it has the character of an encyclical letter.


It's largely an exposition of the theology, the spirituality of penance, and then the need for adaptation of penitential practices because of the change of conditions of the times. And the other document is the U.S. Bishop's Decree, which changes the practice for Fridays and abolishes the abstinence from meat on Fridays. It was 1966, so I tell you we're pretty young at the time. So that's something pretty distinct from the others. And then it suggests other ways, other means of penance. This is just before the other documents. I'll read a little bit of it.


First of all, this is the change in the American Bishop's Decree, the change in the penitential practice. And you can see how they had a meeting in November of that year and decided to make the change. And then they wanted to present it very carefully. So this is a pastoral presentation of this change, which kind of envelops it in a context of interpretation and tries to soften it up and expand it. Yes. I think the fish is not actually there.


The fish only appears as the high-energy substitute for meat, the high-protein substitute for meat. The accent is on the meat. And the abstinence from meat is a kind of universal thing. You find it in India. It's very common. When you talk about diet, when you talk about meat, it's very common. When you talk about food, there are two ways to go. Either reduce quantitatively or change qualitatively. If you change qualitatively, the universal instinct is to eliminate first meat, which involves the taking of a form of life which is close to human life. And then you go on from there. There's a kind of instinct in that which actually is quite meaningful. The sense that the violence in our nature is what has to be subdued by violence as it were to transform. That violence is manifested in the taking of animal life in order to nourish our animal life. Although, obviously, as Christians, we don't go as far as some people do who are not Christians,


but members of the whole world's cultural class, who pretend that they can avoid taking any meat. Even in this, they won't swat a fly or anything like that. They pretend that they can get along without taking any meat. But we're crushing life by our own processes. It's something we have to admit in our life. And then if you read the Bible, you find, strangely, people are surprised. Nowadays, a lot of people are shocked when they run into the Bible and find that meat is being eaten. In fact, the Jewish liturgy in the Old Testament looks like a vast butcher shop at a certain point. What they're doing in the temple is they're spilling these thousands of gallons of blood. The numbers of animals that are slaughtered, it's almost a kind of spectacle of bloodshed, which horrifies people. And it causes us to do a lot of thinking, to understand what's going on. It's quite a different line. Now, not that God is out for blood. But it's only that he doesn't absolutize that thing.


And even in the New Testament, you find the eating of meat with no particular discrimination against it. On the part of Jesus, or on the part of the apostles, which may be very surprising politically. There's where the difference between, call it natural religion, or call it the universal religion of the earth, and the Christian tradition, that distinct revelation comes in. One cuts right across the line. It doesn't contradict it. It just doesn't confirm it on that particular point. Sure. It has a significance. And often, sacrifice is a key thing. Blood sacrifice can be a key thing. But nevertheless, there's a kind of reverence. I'm talking about Hinduism, mostly, as it, and Buddhism, as it comes to the West nowadays, okay? And the general sense of nonviolence which comes with it.


And that sense of nonviolence, insofar as it forbids the taking of animal life, is not verified in Christianity or in Judaism. Blood, yeah, it certainly has a significance. But you move between the religious traditions of where sacrifice is... I don't know that much about anthropology. But where sacrifice is really a dominant element, and where it tends to spread into... and where it's just kept maintained at the peak, I think, is something that's done with great restraint. And in lots of traditions, you have a kind of dualism between something which is done by way of great exception, like even human sacrifice sometimes, done as a great exception, with a basic reverence for life underneath it, including the prohibition of the taking of life.


Anyway, I don't want to say too much about this, because I don't know that much about it. But what I notice is the shock between the general sort of cosmic religious sentiment, especially of young people who get into the Eastern thing, and the Bible, of confrontation. You know, before the flood, Adam and Eve were doing the original creation manual, which was written down in the flood. It was a short sort of a presentation of the concept of creation. Well, that was a step in the right direction. You know, the original concept was to be a vegetarian, the original life plan was an animal. And this is definitely what's going to happen. It certainly isn't a garden of paradise, okay? And so certainly the eating of meat comes up after sin, but I don't know just where it comes up. I think that's what I'm concerned about, the kind of guidance that Christians can know about, is not eating meat.


So then there's the... I don't know if you're 18 or 18 or... Cain was already a hunter. I don't know if he had a reservation to have meat as well, but you have an official, officially sanctioned offering by God after the flood. Every creature shall go. It's something I haven't verified myself. I haven't studied it. We have... It usually goes along with monasticism. If people feel the monastic vocation, they usually have a distaste for the eating of animal flesh, they take it in the name of paradise. I'm not sure.


Anyway, this is a pretty current issue, like in California. Because often, you see, those young people will judge the quality of your spirituality on things like that. If you eat meat, I remember there were some of these Christ people, one day they were horrified. Somebody... It just so happened that these things happened, like an awful kind of coincidence, like somebody shot something, and one of those people was in a restaurant. Yeah. Really? Why? I don't know. I would send half of those kids back to India,


the ones who were fascinated by Saint Francis. They'd say, oh, he's just like all the rest. Okay, where were we? We were on Friday. I was looking for that. The Scirocco has got me. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance, this is from the American Bishop's document, which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday. We give first place to abstinence from fresh meat. So you see very carefully, they're removing the law and they're introducing a strong recommendation to try to maintain the tradition on another basis than that of law, of obligation. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice, as formerly we did in obedience to church law.


And then they go on. And they recommend some alternatives, for instance, not drinking, especially works of charity as penance. You find a similar movement in the Holy Father's document, Penitentia. And we were talking about the suggestion of other ways of penance, other ways of self-denial and substitution for what was being made non-obligatory. Here's a paragraph on that. The church especially wants to point out that there are three principal ways of satisfying the commandment to do penance, handed down from ancient times, prayer, fasting, and works of charity. Now those are right in the Gospel. Look in the Sermon on the Mount. You'll find that Jesus comments on those three. And so they're in the Judaism of this time. Let me go back for a minute. Even though abstinence from meat and fasting have received special stress, these penitential methods could be found in all ages, but in our day there are special reasons why one method is encouraged more than the others because of local circumstances.


Thus, in nations enjoying greater economic prosperity, encouragement should be given to offering some evidence of self-denial so that Christians will not conform to the world, and at the same time to offering some evidence of charity towards brothers, including those living far away who are suffering from hunger and poverty. So you see the social context here is influencing this law. But in nations where the living standard is lower, how can you ask somebody to abstain from meat on Friday if he's starving? It's either senseless because he doesn't have any, or if he does, it's practically all he has to nourish himself perhaps. Maybe he's a hunter or something. It will be more pleasing and acceptable to God and more useful to the members of the body of Christ if men, while not neglecting opportunities to improve their social conditions, so they have to move up. If they get a piece of meat, it's a piece of cake. Offer their trials to the Father in prayer in close and devout union with the sufferings of Christ. You see how they're trying to nuance


and make more flexible the penitential observance, taking into account the different situations of people. Okay. Yes. Yeah, that's right. And so it goes with many, many things. It was never interiorized, it seems to me. I mean, to answer a question like that quickly is rash, but... I suspect that to move from legalism or legislation to interior motivation before that maturity and that tradition of interior motivation is there doesn't work because the people are not ready. Because the interior life to do that is not present for many people.


It is for some people, and those people will go on just as they did before probably. But for a majority, the preparation has not been such as to initiate them to that degree of maturity to carry it on by themselves. Now, that's one thing that can be said. Another thing that can be said is that maybe the bishops are trying to hold on to something there that actually doesn't conform that much to reality. That maybe there are other methods of penitential modification that people are living, and some of them being built right into their lives. And the bishops are trying to encourage, they're sort of trying to hold it together, but it's not destined to hold together, that particular custom of abstinence on Fridays. That's the other possibility over on the other side. So on one side, the people are at fault, in a sense. On the other side, you can suspect that the expectation of the bishops was not sufficiently enlightened and that they're trying to hold on to something there


that simply isn't going to align in the facts of the case, in the reality of the thing. You can take a choice, sort of, along the line between those two. I think that many people just try to be really perfect, and that's just something that we all do as well as we can. Questioner 3 That's true. See, a lot of things in the Church have been this way, it seems to me. And moving from a structure of obligation and of law and of legalism, often, to a structure which allows for more maturity. You can say they don't have the fervor, or they don't have the maturity. Okay, one or the other. It is their fervor is still subject,


or it is still dependent upon an external constraint, okay? Their fervor, or their response, let us say, is still dependent upon an external restraint. If you remove that external restraint or constraint, there are two things that won't happen. One is that they won't keep doing the same thing, because they're not obliged to do it anymore. The second is, even less are they going to find another way of expressing penitence, because it's a more difficult step requiring more maturity, not only to do the same thing, but to find something else in a creative way, responding to that interior disposition which they don't really have. You can't respond to an interior motivation if you don't have it, or an interior inspiration or value if you haven't appropriated that value. Which is a pity, because that's what keeps the Church from moving forward. And the Church is supposed to be the teacher of maturity and of self-motivation in these ways,


so that finally when freedom is allowed, and when people are no longer dependent on the Lord, this is what St. Paul is writing about in Galatians and Romans, that interior motivation and interior movement really will take over. That's what Gnosticism is about too. But you see how difficult it is, because whenever you change something, it's never quite right for a lot of people. Some people may be really pushing to have that change, and they'd be really ready for it on one side, and unready for it on the other. The preparation is very uneven. Other people aren't ready at all, so that they just collapse and remove the wall. It's that way with a lot of things. Sometimes they're just left confused, and they're saying, well, why do they leave us in this confusion? Why don't they tell us what to do? See, one thing is Church discipline, morality, it's fasting and things like that. The other thing is doctrine, in which it's often equivalent, is it not? And when you stop telling people, you believe exactly this, this is what you have to believe, now it's a virgatory. If you don't believe that, you're not a Catholic. And that gives them a sense of certainty, a sense of security,


and they're happy with that. But the trouble is that that kind of religion only goes to a certain depth in its own, it has a limited value in a way. And if you take that away, then they can crumble. On the other hand, to educate them to a real interior grasp of the truth, that's a whole other thing. And it's an individual thing, it doesn't happen really in groups. A group doesn't advance that way. Each person has to approach it differently. Anyway, it's a very difficult problem. It's been given a lot of study. I doubt if it can. I doubt if it can. Because that's precisely the thing that has to happen on an individual basis. Only the individual can grasp the gospel in his mind, can grasp those values. Yes. Now, underneath this, there's a kind of thing,


which is very difficult to get into words, but let's see if we can use point of it. On one level, or in one way, or along one line, there's been a very great maturing in society and in the consciousness of man. Let us take in the sophistication of science and in the understanding of psychology, the understanding of maturity, and kind of what can be put into the press and can be put into words and can be theorized, because there are intelligent and mature people around to theorize it, to put it in, and so on. Even though they're intelligent, their maturity, let us say, may be one-sided. On the other hand, the actual maturity of people, or let us say of the Church, of the great mass of people, is nowhere near that. It has nothing to do with that. So, over here, you have a great exigency for liberty and for maturity, due to a kind of collective consciousness, which has been growing and maturing, and burst into freedom, burst into maturity at a certain point. The collective consciousness does, at least in certain areas. Now, by collective consciousness, that's collective consciousness A.


Collective consciousness B is the real mind of people, where they're really at, the people who are connected with these laws, the people who are subject to these laws, the Christians, or the world, essentially. Now, those two things are nowhere near. So, there's one kind of thing that grows and it moves to manage liberty, and so on, and becomes very sophisticated, and the other thing is still infantile. It's just broken. It's just time it's learned how to walk. This is especially true in the modern world, where you have this enormous disproportion between an intellectual advance, an intellectual sophistication, which is extreme in one direction, and a human infantilism, a kind of human dwarfism, real helplessness. I don't want to exaggerate that, because I haven't got the right words for it, but the two poles are there, the disproportions. No, no.


It's like going back to the Old Testament, or going back to the law. The only trouble is, they're fascinated with liberty in their heads, and in their imaginations, but on the existential level, they're not near it. They haven't really appropriated it. They haven't earned it on the existential level. And why? Why? Part of the reason is because the preparation up to that time had been so legalistic that it had not trained them to appropriate that truth, to appropriate that motivation, that value. So the training wasn't there because it was a strictly legalistic approach, in many cases, a strictly obligation approach. Then all of a sudden, you move to the principle of liberty, and there's been no initiation in between. So you move from law to liberty, and expect people to jump that way, but they don't jump, because it's an organic process and it doesn't have to be. The initiation in between was missing. The pedagogy in between was missing, because the mentality was not the same. It took a jump instead of the mentality itself progressing organically. Anyway, we're starting back to number 10 this week.


Number 10 says that our houses are to be constructed in places which are remote. And that's a beautiful and precious article. In the old declarations, it said they were not supposed to be, the hermitages should not be in towns or villages. But you know, in the old days, we had monasteries, Zenobia, which were in cities, like in Florence, and Venice, and so on, which became thriving, fervent monasteries. But monasteries weren't in hermitages in other. And you can see where the fact that these constitutions were the constitutions of a strictly hermetical order for centuries still influences their color. It says houses, it doesn't say hermitages, no constitutions of hermitage. For the cloister, that which is established by canon law, canon 597, which deals with papal cloister, by the general chapter or by the general council for each community is to be observed. If we look back at those earlier declarations, we'll find 361.


If the circumstances of time and place permit, we should observe the strict cloister in our hermitage according to the privilege granted by Pope Paul III, so that women may never be allowed within its precincts. If this is not possible, at least the papal cloister is prescribed by canon law should be declared. You can see that the preference here, and in these constitutions, the preference is always leaning on the side of strictness. The strictness is the desired thing. Strictness is a good in itself, and exceptions are to be eliminated wherever possible. Now here you can see something of the approach before the bursting of the dam, that we were talking about. The approach which made it hard, actually, for that maturity to be arrived at, because everything is in terms of law and abrogation rather than just understanding. The papal cloister is a cloister which there's a certain groundwork laid for,


certain specifications, and then you submit your own cloister to the Holy See. That's still enforced for the contemplative nuns. Remember that document we talked about last time, Venite Seorse? The second part of that is post-Vatican II, the application of Vatican II for the contemplative nuns in the cloister. The second part of it continues the tradition of the papal cloister, but the way that nuns have reacted to that has been wildly different. Some of them have obeyed it to the letter. For instance, most of the poor prayers I've heard in the carmelites and carmelites. Others have disregarded it, disregarded the papal cloister with another groundwork. Depends a lot on the local bishop. See, the local bishop, if he wants to, he can enforce it to the letter if he wants to give him more liberty, he can, which involves his own taking of liberties. Now, our cloister is set up by the community, and it's approved by the general superiors, and it's approved, as it were,


by the visitors when they come around. But our general superiors now are not very exigent with regard to the cloister, so they give us a kind of, I don't know what to say, vote of confidence in what is going on. The cloister, of course, here, excludes the church, for instance, and you could say it includes our whole central area. And then, in a kind of general way, most of the woods in the back, except for the area over there, there's the area over this side of the road, which is that extreme place, excuse me. And then, from time to time, an exception is made to the cloister, for instance, to take the queen around, the whole constitution of this place. The people who would go into, this is in Canada, actually, the people who would go into the cloister, the remaining monarch, his consort, together with their lieutenant, and then the bishop and so on, dignitary, together with the plumbers and physicians,


in extreme cases. Yeah, we had a big metal swinging gate there. We took it down. It didn't work very well. You see, the width is so great, but the ladder and everything. Well, then we put up the cord. We put up the rope that you see there. But if that was going through there, where did it go? There's no place to go. There's nobody that you can meet here that you don't know. The only stranger that I know of is here in Montreal. He was going up to the hospital. But there shouldn't be people driving up to the hospital. Because the road doesn't go down to Montauk. It's not a public road.


It's a private road. I'll have to try to... We've had various suspicions about that, but those suspicions have been quashed up to now. So, we'll have to see if we can find it. If somebody's driving out in the woods, we'll have to find it. They're not... They're up above you. And then up through there. They stopped there? And they keep going. Well, anyway,


we'll never get to number 11, number 12. Okay, the cloister. You see, there's only that one little paragraph on the cloister. When guests are received in the hermitage or monastery, one brother should always be assigned to receive and care for them. There should be a reference to the Holy Ghoul. And the brother in question, of course, is the... Well, there's a guestmaster in the guesthouse, but when somebody is received in the hermitage, when somebody really comes in and lives inside, Rommel's appointed to take care of most of it. There's a... That's the only reference to the guestmaster, and there's more in this scheme. There's more in the scheme of hospitality. And then something further's been added in the revision, I assume. Okay, temporary absences


for various reasons. Now, here it's a question, in general, in a general way, of stability, of enclosure, and of movement across the enclosure. That's what it's talking about. So, reasons for absences. That's a responsibility. Means of social communication, number 14. Now, notice, it could have been put very simply. You shall not have a TV set, you shall not have a radio, and newspapers shall be a good, a good, a good prior to something. It doesn't put it that way. They're trying to make this flexible and responsive to the values of most monasteries have a TV set. You don't have, you probably don't have a radio in a monastery. That,


that refers to printed matter also. Sense of responsibility rather than explicit prohibitions. You see, what we were talking about before, reflecting on these constitutions continually, trying to educate people to a sense of responsibility, to a kind of evangelical liberty, together with a sense of self-restraint, rather than relying on instinctualism. Better than strict prohibitions, isn't it? Use of written correspondence. Contacts with outsiders and guests. Charity, discretion. Avoid every relation that might involve matters ailing to the monastic spirit. Most people don't have much danger of this. It's when you go outside that you get into such entanglement, such relations. The person who has the job of seller isn't a particular danger there because he has to establish friendly relations


with a number of people who will want to entertain him and various people for their own reasons will want to draw him into their spirit life. Or might violate the reserve which they must maintain regarding the right to their community. That means that a person should keep a check on what he says when he's outside the monastic. Should not spread the family business all over confidential inside doings among others. Could even be very curious about this. Or disturb its quiet. If there's a need to invite or receive a guest, permission should be asked from the superior. Relatives receive the relative kindness and care. Now we get to fasting in the section on fasting which was mentioned before and now is treated more at length. Fasting is an attitude


of joyous expectation of the right one. So we're trying to avoid a gloomy context. Prayer and fasting together testing our feelings. And so there's three or four paragraphs now on fasting and abstinence. Very careful phrasing. A lot of citations of the Kamalvali's fathers. Blessed Rudolf, St. Peter Daniel, the life of Ramayana. Because there's a very heavy emphasis on fasting in the earlier Kamalvali's tradition. Fasting and abstinence. So the first seventeen are the kind of digest of tradition. Faithful to this biblical and monastic


tradition, while we recognize the need of the men of our times for more ample nourishment. Now, somebody might challenge that and say, why? I don't know why. We believe, nevertheless, there's a continual vigilance over the food consumption of the community. In order that the spirit may be more free for the quest of God and for prayer. Okay, that's well clear. Because the reason, there is no reason. The basic reason for a monk to fast and abstinence is freedom of heart. Jesus says, let not your hearts be overburdened by the serpentine drunkenness in which they live. They sleep in the same manner as we do. And that seems to be the reason for Besides that, there are other reasons. There are reasons of solidarity with others. Growing up in a cultural environment, suffering from Christ in the body, sympathy, not only sympathy but solidarity with people as As well as,


it can be the reason of saving to people. In practice, that doesn't work out very well. The reason being because perhaps the amount of money that can be saved in the beginning to people is insignificant compared to the amount that can be made. Science of dietetics. Avoid useless quantity or delicacy and other necessary physical values. Are there cenobitical and hermetical I think this section will be found to as a kind of awkwardness or bashfulness about a lot of this material. And I think this section will be completely agreed to. But each of the brethren learned to regulate himself by a personal standard of his services without judging the brethren


quite differently and without allowing himself to be carried away by a greater abundance. The next paragraph. Personal initiative also in other appropriate forms in reference to penitential. This careful self-restraint in the use of communication means basically to the abstention from the use of tobacco and some other things. It doesn't just say that but


some of them had been living under quite a strict observance when they were very young, from the time that they were 12 or 13 years old. So they never quite worked out their adolescent wild hopes. So they were around 45 and things changed and they take up smoking quite a don't know you heard of it or haven't. It's quite a scene. So European monks would surprise you actually. There's no types of surprises for centuries probably. But yeah. And


similar things. My goodness what is left to the imagination of California monks. know. Laughter . [...] Hope in their hearts as well as an understanding and charity towards the needy, making them sure they are in a good place. I don't know whether that comes up elsewhere in the schemes, but that's a serious concern for a community, to give a heart. Periods of Advent and Lent. Some of those things are pretty obvious. Among the various ways to live these periods of Advent and Lent are passing some time in greater solitude. And then the rest of this scheme basically is on reclusion. There was already an article in scheme four, number seven, on page four, on reclusion, and then this is the real treatment of it. And if you compare this with the earlier treatment, you can see some notable differences.


That's in those declarations 12 through 22. Almost half of that first—well, no, not involved, just in numbers. Ten or eleven numbers of the earlier edition were given over to reclusion. So it's quite an important element. Even though there were never many reclusions. I never remember there being more than two. And usually only one. That's unrecruited. No. During the day. We have one here. I think there's one short time we have two here. Maximum perfection. There's a great caution about equating a particular style of life with a particular grade of perfection. That's a very tricky thing.


We're always in danger of screaming back to a kind of parasitic thing. We say, well, I've passed twice a week, and I'm retired, and so on, and so I'm older. It's a trap. So to equate the exterior life with a certain perfection. Also there's an attempt usually to emphasize the aspect of liberty rather than the aspect of constraint. There's a paradox in this that the person who is confined within a very small space does that for the sake of greater spiritual liberty. But actually, you know, reclusion combines more than one thing, doesn't it? If you talk of the extreme of solitude, it does not necessarily involve or bring with it the extreme of confinement, does it? Not necessarily. So reclusion is a special form of solitude. Now, why it became especially sanctioned by the Maoist tradition, I think largely because St. Arnold was devoted to it.


In other words, St. Arnold would close himself up on himself and stay there. But that was not the only form of absolute or extreme solitude. Now, two things that it combines. One thing is complete solitude in the sense of very little contact with others. But maybe the thing that defines it more is that extreme stability of being within those four walls all the time. Because a recluse often would have been, for instance, to call a compulsive commitment a monstrosity. Even sometimes for outsiders. So the solitude would not be as extreme as its physical confinement. Now, in the old constitutions, in number 13, you still had this institution of perpetual reclusion, which was granted by the general chapter. Permission to grant perpetual reclusion or reclusion for several years as a result of the general chapter. Not granted for a long time, but to those who have already fled at several times.


It means that a long period of reclusion will not be given without previous trial. Perpetual solitude may be granted only to those who have fled at several times, or at least for two continuous years. The prior can give it up for a year. But imagine perpetual reclusion given by the general chapter. I think that must have been the case for two of the recluses in the early fifties. The two-time parliamentary who were quite notable for holding that. Father Madhavi, who handled the stream, who was the reclusive commander for several years, but he was rather lively. He had a community to him. He was rather involved also in the political life. And then Father Pedro, who was the reclusive commander, was actually elected before the end of his term.


He was elected later. Superiors tremble when they read this parable. Those who are attracted to this life should be wisely encouraged in their purpose. They like this parable. Because it's an eminent form of monastic life, an excellent testament of the best of the best. Then a quotation from St. Peter Damian's Opus Quorum Dominus Vobiscum, which is a kind of theology of solitude, a theology of especially the liturgy of solitude. The Church indeed is at the same time one in all and all in each one, simple in plurality or unity, faith multiply in each one, with a bond of charity and a guide of courage. Because from one... Does that remind you of anything outside of the Scriptures? Does it remind you of those Syrians at all? Remember the notion of the one? And the notion of, by virtue of your baptism,


somehow being initiated into this one, which celibacy then liberates you from. To be one, the basic form of solitude being celibacy, being the virginal state of being unmarried, and that being the initiation somehow, or the option, the choice of this one, this great undefined one, which is God and which is Christ and which is everything, into which you have been introduced by your baptism. And when we say it's especially Christ, the one, isn't it? Because Christ was the only one, he's the only begotten, the only beloved, and he's also the virginal one, the single one, and the one man into whom all others are guided. So this kind of... a little bit of this Sophianic, this wisdom theology popping up in St. Peter Damian, and actually there's a lot of it in St. Peter Damian. St. Peter Damian is a very haggadic writer, and he's a very... he's really attached to Sophia,


to that particular Gnostic... not Gnostic, but sapiential kind of... sapiential kind of theological writing, together with some very heavy... moral or aesthetical writing. Okay. The prior needs to decide. Now, they're very careful to put in safety valves here. It may be suspended when either the recluse or the prior gives a legitimate knowledge of the Supremacy. The prior should visit the recluse, assuring the proper clarity. The recluse is united by obedience. James has to report it. If he gets out, it should be put back in the recluse. It should be in the scheme of the recluse. Now, notice the joining of poverty and work here.


Now, that's already a kind of choice, isn't it? You notice there's an implicit theological statement in that? Very often, poverty in the past would have been treated in connection with asceticism. Okay? You would have found it... rather, work would have been treated in connection with asceticism. And maybe poverty would have been too. In other words, they could have both been put in Scheme 7, or at least work could have been put in Scheme 7. But here, work is attached to poverty. It seems to be working towards a kind of holistic scheme, which also is open on the... call it the social level, or ecclesial level, and not merely on the ascetical level. Okay? You see the viewpoint changing a little bit? Not just in terms of the ascetical progress of the individual, okay? But with a broader horizon. The poverty.


First of all, the kind of theological definition of poverty, the basis for it, and then the connection of work, and then it goes on. What is that poverty which the monk... Now, it doesn't start out with so much of talking about the poverty of the Church this time. It starts out with the monk and then broadens to Christ and the Church and then comes back to the monk. Entrusting oneself completely to God, or one serves as seeking his kingdom, in response to his word and imitation of Christ. I found that that was quite a kind of insight for me when I first had the idea. When you think about poverty, you wonder what it is, especially when poverty becomes... when you sort of focus on it, you zero in on it, as one of those key themes which leads you to the core of the spiritual life. In other words, the whole of the monastic life can probably be interpreted in terms of poverty. It can be interpreted in terms of obedience, it can be interpreted in terms of humility, it can be interpreted in terms also of celibacy, especially in its extension into solitude.


But poverty is one of those key ways in which it can be interpreted, the whole of it, one of the centers around which it rotates. Now, what is that poverty? In the last class we had, the one on the vows, we found an article by a Jesuit who identified seven different models of poverty. It seems like a simple thing, but it's a complex thing. Because you'll find, you'll have this beautiful, deeply insightful conception of what poverty means, and then go talk to somebody, go talk to a Jesuit, go talk to a Franciscan, and you'll find he's thinking of it in a completely different way. So, there's more than one facet to this. This is a deep one, entrusting oneself completely to man. See, the active religious are going to think of poverty in a different way from us. They think of it very largely in terms of witness, of making his work more effective. And even the way that he observes poverty is going to be greatly determined by what he has to do, also by who he's living among, by the people he's surrounded by, who's a missionary.


And that's a third one. So, poverty and hope are very much connected. None of the cross connects poverty and hope. I'm not sure. See, the Cistercians basically, as Benedictines, are not so committed to solitude. It's something that develops within the Trappist community, almost as a kind of asceticism. I don't think it's as much in the early Cistercians as it is later. The early Cistercians focus much more on communion. But what they want to say in the Trappist reform, it turns towards an ascetical kind of solitude, which I think is partly the expression of the time, okay? And always everything interpreted in terms of asceticism, in terms of penance and moral obligation, including solitude, rather than in terms of contemplation.


Now, I'm not sure how it relates to poverty. I don't think it's very much a Cistercian community dealing with the solitude we deal with. Because poverty deals with the poverty. Oh, I see what you're saying. Okay, that's a communal poverty. I haven't hit on that notion. Or a communal solitude and a communal poverty. I mean, especially a communal solitude, which is an unusual notion. The first degree of solitude, of course, is simply separation from the world. The second degree of solitude is separation from other men, even in the community. And that's something, of course, that belongs more to our tradition. Theoretically, practically, it also belongs to that. Now, in the Commandery's tradition, solitude and poverty have been very much connected. If you look at the life of St. Norman, he was equally obsessed with both of those things. Poverty and solitude. And you can see how it's easy to associate them,


because solitude is a poverty of human relationship, is it not? At least on the physical level. You can do that, too. And you can consider it's best in itself in terms of poverty. It's bodily poverty. Yes. Simplicity. I kind of got this. That would be a very good thing for stringing all of these things together. For instance, solitude and poverty. I'm alone and poor and sick very often, too. I mean, it's... Yeah, that's right. It's that word ani usually, or now,


which has a kind of global meaning. Whereas our terms tend to be more circumscribed. It's a big subject which was studied a lot in the wake of Vatican II, because a lot of religious communities had a crisis concerning poverty. They found out that their ideal was over here and their life was over here. So they had to do a lot of thinking to try to figure out if it was an identity crisis or something. Okay. Christ achieved the redemption through poverty and persecution. So the Church is called to follow the same line communicating to men and preaching salvation. This is in Roman Gentium. This is in Vatican II. And it's a very important principle, and a very difficult principle to implement, for some of the same reasons that religious have trouble with poverty. As soon as you get a big organization, such as the Church, how can it operate in complete poverty? It absolutely has to have possessions in order to do what it has to do to do its work. So there's a great tension


between those two values in the Church. I call it efficiency and poverty. This interior poverty... So the interior poverty is the base of poverty, just as you're going to find an attempt in describing each of these virtues to root them in their interior level and then work from there out, rather than putting the emphasis on the external burdens. Practiced by the monk with ever greater consciousness, he lived and expressed also in visible form, so from the inside comes the outside, so that his heart may be rendered more free, and so from the outside comes the inside, and you put it in as it came. Renunciation is the possession of goods and of money, so when you make your asama preparation, you can't own anything anymore. And Benedict is not even your own body. An agreement not to use them according to one's own will, except as guided. So you don't own them, and the ones that you have the use of,


you don't use them just according to your own will. The guide is a threefold guide. The teaching of the rule, the norms, the customs of the community, and the direction of the fire for specific cases, specific questions. Can I keep this motorcycle in my hands here? A lot of problems? Explain a little. Somebody comes here with a car, and the guest is a person who lives in a community, and a person who lives in a house, and a person who lives in a car, and a person who lives in a house, and a vehicle is a person who lives in a house. Well... It's easy to give it away, but it's difficult to attach yourself to that person. When it's still around, that's right.


A vehicle or something like that can be a problem, and so we try not to have somebody bring a vehicle and then keep it and have people wrecking it right before his eyes. It's like slaughtering his children. So we try to avoid that. It could be a vocational crisis. Well, that's an attachment. That has to be dealt with. In the old days, they'd move people around arbitrarily. That's when they sent people in. They'd take them to one strong person and take their pictures up in the wall. In the old constitution, it said you couldn't change any of the furniture. So this is a problem. But the problem of bringing things and keeping them is not usually a big problem, because a person leaves so much behind when he comes to a job. What he brings along is insignificant. If he gets stuck on those small things, there are ways of dealing with that. And besides, the absurdity becomes shown up in one way or another. Either the person sees it himself


or he finds out. That's my pillow. Yes. It gets kind of funny when you start talking about our shirt and our socks, you know. As if you were cohabiting in all these things. A lot of those external means, sometimes, you know, we did that. You see, a lot of Trappist things, passed on into our community,


because we had some Trappists, too. So we didn't have customs of our own, and we couldn't simply adopt all the ones from there. A lot of those people, you know, are getting buried without a coffin. Somebody put that one up really close. This is the cemetery in which the monks will be buried without a coffin. And I forget, I think he said, I don't care if they bury them in their pajamas, but they shouldn't put it on the postcards. So you learn to be a little bit detached with regards to those externals. Let's go back. Okay, agreement not to use them according to your own will.


Let's get, let's finish number... Well, we've finished number one. Let's put that for next time. We'll go on with the subject at work next time. It's strange that the... Yeah, number two. Ends poverty and then starts work. Sense of poverty in the central component of monastic life should not be a real simulation. So there has to be a sense of coherence so that one really seriously tries to exercise it in all the manifestations of his life, both the individual life and the community life. And that's a difficult thing. It's a difficult thing not to let go in certain ways. In fact, we almost, if we have a little freedom in our life, we inevitably let go in certain ways, in certain ways, and we have to catch ourselves there. And there are certain areas of individual life and community life in which we really have to reproach ourselves, in which we don't have more than an easy conscience, especially now. It might be different in another country, different in India. The other thing is the difference between,


or the distinction between individual poverty and community poverty. This is the thing that comes up if a Franciscan talks to a Benedictine. See, the Franciscan emphasis is on both individual and community poverty because he didn't want his friars, even his groups of friars, his fraternities or communities to own anything. They weren't supposed to own their own buildings, their own monasteries. Whereas the Benedictine tradition is that the individual can own nothing, but the community can own property. In fact, that's built right into the Lewis and Benedict. The monastery should have its own mill and all those things in it, and the factories and whatever, the workshops and everything. So those are two different options. Those are two different lines. And it can turn into a very serious thing. If you belong to a community, you may be as poor as a church mouse and say you're in some big European monastery. The observance is very strict, and you're extremely poor, but you live in this massive monastery with all kinds of historical treasures, worth millions, and things like that, carrying on a solemn pontifical liturgy.


So you can have a crisis, especially for a lot of poor people. Now this is a consciousness which has come into the church, or let us say it's revived in the church now, in our time, in the time of Vatican II. It's a consciousness which wakes up at times and then goes to sleep. You see, the reform of St. Romulus was largely not only against the general decline of monasticism in the cenobitical, cuneiac monastic tradition, but also against this lack of poverty, against the riches of the monks. And so when he went out into solitude, he went out into a solitude of poverty. And when Justinian did his reform in the 16th century, he did the same thing, a solitude of poverty at the same time. So you could say simplicity with both of those branches to it, the branch of solitude and simplicity. Okay, we'll go on next time. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.