January 28th, 1983, Serial No. 00548

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Monastic Orientation Set 2 of 2

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It begins on page 53, now we let it blow for a bit and then...
Well, what happens is that it's still warm and so it comes on until it cools itself down.
It's cooled.
The thing is, we don't want it to burn itself down.
This is one of the shorter schemes, but it's a rather crucial scheme.
It treats one problem, or one question, which has a lot of ramifications,
and which has been a very serious question in our congregation.
It's always a serious question in the contemplative orders,
because in the active orders it's a question of what kind of apostolate,
and in the contemplative orders it's a question of whether apostolate or not.
And also it reflects very much on the character of your life,
which is defined as a contemplative life, therefore defined by its opposition, as it were,
or the difference from the active life.
Let's go through it and use the particular articles for digressing,
the things that will come up, also the questions that will come up.
Because the concrete situation, of course, is always very relevant here,
what's actually being done in the monastery.
The theory and the practice are often hard to put together in this particular way.
There is but one spirit who distributes the variety of his gifts for the benefit of the Church.
The reference is to 1 Corinthians 12.
You'll find a number of, I forgot to bring over that book called Pauline Parallels,
where the similar passages, the parallel passages in St. Paul are put side by side so that you can find them all.
You'll find a similar passage in Romans 12 and another one in Ephesians 4,
where St. Paul is talking about the one body and the many gifts.
The gifts that he talks about, it's interesting to look at them,
because they differ from one passage to another.
At one time, talking to the Corinthians, they're likely to be charismatic gifts, as we usually think of them.
You know, gifts of prophecy, gifts of wisdom, and gifts of tongues, such things.
In another place, however, he'll be talking about administrative gifts.
There is one who distributes to the poor, there's another who supervises,
and there's another who teaches, and so on.
So, one is a much more institutional and one is a much more charismatic kind of gift.
This is what he says in 1 Corinthians 12.
Now, concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I don't want you to be overwhelmed.
And he goes on.
Now, there are varieties of gifts with the same Spirit,
varieties of service with the same Lord,
varieties of working with the same God,
who inspires them all in every way.
It's not like a 2010 formula.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom,
to another the utterance of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.
To another, faith.
So, he means a particular kind of faith, obviously, because everybody needs to have faith.
To another, gifts of healing, but on Spirit.
To another, the working of miracles.
To another, prophecy.
To another, the ability to distinguish between spirits.
To another, various kinds of tongues.
To another, the interpretation of tongues.
All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit,
who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
For just as the body is one and has many members,
and all the members are the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ.
Now, you'll find that a lot of the gifts that he's talking about there
don't really pertain to what we're talking about here,
a lot of the missions.
But that's taken as a paradigm, as a model for the diversity of gifts in the same body.
Which means also that some people will have a more exclusive contemplative call,
a more exclusively contemplative call,
and other people will be called to have been a mixture of manipulation and activity.
And it's not enough to say that where you belong to a contemplative order,
therefore your life should be a purely contemplative life.
Unfortunately, that doesn't help you for that reason.
It doesn't seem either to give them that kind of grace as well.
So we find that what an individual can do,
and what an individual seems to have the gift for,
often is a good deal of diversity and pluralism within the same body,
even the contemplative body.
And sometimes it seems to cut across the lines
between the contemplative body and the active body.
The institutional lines and the actual living reality
sometimes are not exactly the same,
which brings about part of the problem.
All the members inserted by Christ into his body
through baptism, confirmation of the Eucharist,
and the sacramental basis for all of these gifts,
this is a highly dense theological statement, this parable,
are impelled by this outpouring of charity
to cooperate in the growth of the same body,
so as to bring it to its fullness.
So you've got the unity of the gifts coming from the same Spirit,
the diversity of the gifts,
and the single function of the gifts,
which is to build up the body of Christ.
So much of his function is on call.
The Vatican II reference is there,
the first one is Lumen Gentium,
the second one is Ad Gentes,
which is the missionary decree of Vatican II.
The monastic community,
now first the church, then the monastic community,
effectively performs this apostolic mission with its very presence.
So this is the key and specific apostolate of monks,
where the monastic community is a presence.
Now that you can meditate on for a long while,
in what ways that's true.
There's a kind of a very deep spiritual, theological, Christian meaning to that,
and you can be also kind of mythological,
and there's a kind of mystique,
which lends itself to certain abuses.
So gradually we get ready to discern the difference between the two.
It has to be not only a kind of symbolic presence,
but also a real presence,
a real presence of the Spirit, a real presence of life.
Then it goes on to say what kind of,
or what dimension in this presence,
what dimensions they are,
that had this apostolic function,
the charity.
So the communion in the community.
The mystery of Christ, that is the liturgical mystery,
but celebrated and also extended into life.
The word of God in the community.
And finally, prayer.
The prayerful colloquy and the asceticism of God.
In the individual life.
Make of the monastic community a proclamation for the presence of Christ in the church.
And the Holy Spirit in the community.
So, presence.
And, of course, a lot of people would say that
that presence is all that the monk should do in the way of apostolate.
That's one thesis.
The contemplative community should be exclusively ministering by its presence
and not in any active way.
And the structure of some communities actually makes that so.
That's true, for instance, of the Carthusians and of the Carmelites.
Whereas other monastic groups have a broader apostolate.
And in some cases you'll find it swings them all the way off balance,
all the way off base, so that their life is no longer the core community.
There's a whole spectrum.
A living monastic, being a celebrity in the life of the community,
according to their own duties and gifts received from the Spirit,
the monks, therefore, participate in the apostolic work of the church.
And now this broadens it.
Some brethren, especially the Hermits,
these are the ones who are exclusively devoted to that contemplative,
purely contemplative dimension of life.
The life of total dedication to God in solitude and continual prayer and intense penance,
united to the body of Christ by a divine bond of apostolic faithfulness.
Now that's a direct allusion to Perfecta Caritatis No. 7,
which is in front of this page.
Here it is, page 615.
There are institutes which are entirely ordered towards contemplation,
in such ways that their members give themselves over to God alone in solitude and silence,
in constant prayer and willing penance.
So this is made for the purely contemplative.
These will always have an honored place in the mystical body of Christ,
in which all the members do not have the same function.
The difference there is to the parallel passage of Paul in the Gifts,
which is Romans 12.4.
No matter how pressing may be the needs of the active minister.
For they offer to God an exceptional sacrifice of praise.
They lend luster to God's people with abundant fruits of holiness.
They swear them by their example,
and they enlarge the church by their hidden apostolic truthfulness.
That's a key phrase of Perfecta Caritatis No. 7,
that hidden apostolic truthfulness.
There are all kinds of different ways of expressing that.
But missionaries will talk about the effectiveness of someone else's prayer,
or the prayer of a condominated man, for instance,
in their own body.
They know they couldn't do what they do,
they couldn't have successfully done their prayer.
They are thus an ornament to the church,
and a fount of heavenly graces.
However, their way of life should be revised in accordance
with the aforesaid principles and criteria of up-to-date renewal.
The greatest care being taken to preserve their withdrawal from the world,
and the exercises which prolong for the contemplative life.
And then it goes on to talk about the active institution.
The monastic tradition, including that branch which derives from the example
of teaching of our Holy Father, has always kept alive this apostolic consciousness.
Then there's a long string of quotes,
a long string of references to our tradition.
I'll find a few of them for you in a moment.
And it's given concrete expression to the ecclesial charity
which inspired the according of grace conceived by the Spirit,
and correspondence to the conditions of time and place which differ,
which differ from time to time and place to place.
That's what's being said there.
Let's find a few of those examples.
There are two books, unfortunately not in English,
which collect these things in a useful way.
One of them is called The Monogamous Catechism,
and the other is called The Letter of the Hermitage.
They were both edited by Father Anselmo Giovanni.
The first has a section called The Rule of Holy Activity,
or The Rule of the Apostle,
in which there are discrete quotes,
just like the Appotegment or the Sanctuary Parts.
The other is a treatment, kind of a treatise.
Both of them are based on a kind of principle
which got into the monogamous ideology
during this century and came back into it.
The principle of the three levels, or the three groves.
You may have heard this already.
A Frenchman's name, Bruno Bonaparte, says it.
There are three groves, or economies.
The first is...
No, three levels is what they represent.
The first is the Synovium.
The second is the Hermitage.
The third is what he calls Evangelium Paganorum,
which is the Gospel preached to the pilgrims
in view of martyrdom.
So you have the level of community life,
you have the level of solitary life,
and you have this level of the kind of apostolate
which puts your life on the line.
Now, this has sometimes been read,
as it is in these sources,
so that the three levels correspond to
Synovium, Hermitage, and an apostolate
which then broadens out.
And that's kind of a...
There's a distortion built into them
because the Evangelium Paganorum is one thing.
It's one thing to go and preach the Gospel
among people who will probably roast you
or stick you with spears or something.
It's another thing to go and celebrate Mass with the nuns
and have them give you a nice breakfast.
So there's a possible ambiguity there.
Well, it's up to the discernment of the community.
It's up to the discernment of the individual
and then the superior.
But what I'm pointing out is that the theory is sort of at the floor.
Even though it's dangerous to put the apostolate
on the top of the ladder in that way
and to believe that you come out of this life
at a certain point after the solitude
opens out the theory sort of goes like this.
You're either going to absolute solitude,
which is reclusion, which is a form of living martyrdom,
or it opens out to the apostolate.
It's the kind of thing that kind of rarely do you see it.
Rarely do you see it happen in life.
Yes, I see.
You call on the apostolate.
I ask that you be a witness
of what it's like to experience
in the world
and to help yourself
in finding yourself in the foundation of repentance
as a shape-shifter
in the face of this destructive foundation.
That's the valid basis that's under this.
That's the truth.
That's the truth.
That's the same as being a Christian and a Muslim.
We are all citizens.
We are all citizens.
We really thrive because of the people we have met.
That's the...
St. Anthony is the same thing.
See, there's a long string of examples like that
where somebody goes into the monastic life
and perhaps goes into extreme solitude
and then comes out and begins to bear fruit
in some active way of relating to people
and preaching to people, for instance.
To schematize it in the way, however,
of putting synovium, hermitage,
and then this movement out
is too rigid somehow.
It doesn't conform to reality
and has a couple of risks.
The whole vertical thing is very risky in that way.
When you put one kind of life on top of another kind of life,
I think the danger is there.
When you take external forms of life
and say that one is better than the other,
at least that's implicit in the theory.
It's all right to say that one naturally leads to the other,
but actually about 50% of the time
at least you find that they don't line up in quite that way
for some reason,
especially when you make those three levels.
And then you find Cassian sort of in the other way
talking about the active life at the bottom of the ladder.
He talks about active life and contemplative life,
and for him the active life precedes the contemplative life.
Or accompanies it, perhaps,
but is in a way the lower level.
So it's very hard to structure that whole thing,
to schematize that whole thing.
When you're dealing with a lot of people,
it's very difficult to make a scheme that's going to hold water.
You can look about one person in his evolution,
like St. Anthony's, etc., etc.,
or many others who have lived an active life,
and then gone into the contemplative life,
and perhaps ended up in extreme solitude.
But to make a scheme that holds for a lifetime,
especially when it becomes a law,
fortunately that's not part of it.
But you can't program people.
That's right.
...made up during the history of the Church,
relating to the Temple of Neanderthal.
So it seems in our scheme,
we really have to be most contemplative in our experience.
And then there's the St. Thomas' scheme,
which has a different dimension,
but it's...
I personally always find a lot of confusion
between these two.
See, in the beginning...
In the beginning, it comes from the Greeks, of course,
the notion of active life and contemplative life.
And the contemplative life
is a somewhat aristocratic
or leisured philosophical life, it seems.
Whereas the active life would be
that devoted to kind of inferior things.
Now, the active life can also be the political life,
for instance, in Plato.
It takes more dignity there,
because Plato believes that...
I think he believes even that the contemplative life
should sort of open up into a political life.
In the beginning, with the monks,
with Evagrius and Cassian,
the active life is the first stage,
which then leads into the contemplative life.
But they're in the same life pattern,
or they're in the same institution,
or they're in the same person's life.
Later on in the Church,
you get a separate, a juridical separation
of different institutes, different communities,
different orders,
some of which are active
and some of which are contemplative.
Now, that, in a way, is necessary,
because you have to know what you're about.
You have to have a clear scope
and a clear road for your life.
It has the disadvantage, however,
of almost permitting active people
to pull away from the contemplative core
of their religious vocation.
Now, St. Thomas is very clear
that the core of every vocation is contemplative,
or is perfect charity,
an experiential relation with God,
and of also truncating the contemplative people
by making them believe
that their life is exclusive of any ministry,
or exclusive of any outpouring
from what they receive from God.
As soon as we try to rationalize these things,
we're going to have trouble,
because they're above rationalization,
especially since we're discussing
not only the inner workings of the human person,
which is beyond any kind of rigid reason,
but we're discussing also
the free activity of the Holy Spirit.
And as soon as we make a principle,
he's certain to make an exception.
He just loves to do that.
He'll probably make four exceptions for one principle.
So, the scheme is all this kind of irony
that comes into him from time to time
and bites him sooner or later.
It's good to be aware of that,
so that we don't get too rigid
in our thinking about these things.
At the same time, the Holy Spirit may want us
to be doing a very definite thing
and only that at a particular time.
And he may want that to be the focus
of the particular communion.
Also, the contemplative life
has a certain analogy to the Sabbath
in the Old Testament.
It's good to point this out,
because then we watch what happens
to the Sabbath of Jesus.
The contemplative institute of a monastic life,
the life of leisure for the sake
of devoting it completely to God,
has a certain analogy,
a certain relationship to the Sabbath principle,
which is a time, a space
that you set apart from God.
Now, the big thesis of Jesus
in the New Testament,
he proves in a rather violent way,
is that the Sabbath is meant for life.
The essential thing there is somehow
allowing the Sabbath to be a place
of vitality or of life
or of life-giving or of healing
or whatever you want to call it.
The same thing is true
in the contemplative life.
It's meant for man,
but not man for the contemplative life,
not man for some other program
that's included in that.
We always have to go back
to the Scripture for our final word.
But the thing is,
our final word, in a sense,
for the word out of which
the Holy Spirit is trying to speak to us,
just like it did to St. Anthony
and to the other saints,
but the Holy Spirit says more
than is in the Scripture.
He says it in a way
which is individualized,
and that's the difficult point.
Because if you look for
a kind of institution
of the monastic life
or of the contemplative life,
in the Scriptures you won't find it.
You look in vain.
So the contemplative life itself
is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit
based on the word
coming out of the word.
And to really understand it
in all of its vitality,
we have to both return to the word
and keep that kind of
vitality of the Spirit,
the freshness of the Spirit,
and its love for diversity,
rather than preferring
our own programs.
That's the struggle
that's continually going on.
Let's find a few of those quotes
from our early sources.
The first ones quoted
are in the Life of St. Arnold.
I think all of these
are in the Navis Catechism.
Life of St. Arnold,
Chapter 35, Verse 17.
St. Arnold is a
very interesting person
because of his own,
the dynamic quality
of his own life.
He's just been living
with some monks
in Puerto Rico
who are not very receptive
to his doctrine.
They wanted to hang on
to their groups.
Disgusted with the preferred
spiritual sterility
of these monks.
There's a phrase
which is used to characterize
Impatiens Sterilitatus,
Impatient with Sterility.
Arnold started looking around
for a place to go
which seemed ripe
for a great harvest of souls.
This time for local administration.
He sent some of his companions
that were messengers
to the province of Camarino,
and they received him with joy.
He always seems to be
one of the starting attitude.
He's very often preaching.
Arnold settled in this place
and built cells for himself
and his disciples.
And while he was in this place,
the Lord reaped
a great harvest of souls
through him.
Who could possibly portray
with interest
how many men flocked there
to do penance,
and ended by giving
their wealth to charity
and embracing
their medical rights.
In this Arnold was a man
blessed like one
of the Seraphic angels,
in that he burned
with a flame of divine love
that could be compared
to nothing.
And in that,
wherever he went,
he ignited others
with the burning rod
of his holy preaching.
And his preaching
to the priests and canons,
many of whom were living
in an irregular way.
It's either through simony
or because they lived
in a country.
Including some bishops.
That's the ministry of Arnold.
That's the point.
He left some of his brethren
at Valdecastro
and went to Orvieto
where he built
a monastery on the land
of Count Peralto.
And such ardor
for doing good
burned in his heart
that he was never content
with his works.
So that while he was
building one monastery,
he was only thinking
of the next one.
And so it seemed
that he would like
to turn the whole world
into a hermitage
and band all men together
into a monastic association.
I don't know what the
original name is.
And indeed,
if not all,
he led many
to abandon the world
and scattered them
far and wide
in many, many foundations.
For a short time
he stayed in a valley
in the Coensus Mountains
and after that
in the Petrano Mountains,
not far from the monastery
of St. Vincent.
Wherever he went,
he gathered
an ever greater harvest
of souls.
For he was so completely
concerned with the
burning love for God
that he was constantly
implanting the souls
of men with celestial desires.
A lot of this work
seems to be,
a lot of this ministry,
this apostolate
seems to be gathering people,
recruiting people
into the monastic life.
But it's not entirely
like this.
There's this reforming work
among the priests
and the monastic
priesthood people as well.
There's a chapter
in the Constitution
of Blessed Buddha,
chapter 38,
which is more specifically
concerned with
the apostolate
in the monastery.
And it's in the form
of exegesis.
Do you remember
the two wives of Jacob
who were given to him
by Laban, his uncle?
First Leah,
who was bleary-eyed
and who he labors
for seven years,
and Rachel, whom he loves.
And he gets Leah instead.
So he works for another
seven years for Rachel.
Those are his two wives.
And one represents
the active life,
and she is fertile.
Leah has all those children,
and Rachel is sterile
but beautiful.
So the analogy, of course,
is that the life of activity
is fruitful, productive,
good among people,
whereas the contemplative life
is apparently sterile.
Often they don't
carry along that word
they just treat it
as if it were sterile
on a certain level
on the physical level.
This is entitled
The Mandrakes of Leah.
Remember, Leah's,
one of her sons,
finds these mandrakes
which are supposed
to have a property
of bringing about
of fertility.
So it wanders
into the other
significance here.
So Rachel asks for them,
and she gets them.
she conceives them.
Rachel is wont at times
to desire the mandrakes
of Leah's son, Reuben,
that is, to yearn
for the occupations
of external offices
in the fertile works
of the ministry,
interrupting for a while
the pursuit of contemplation.
But she ought quickly
to return to the
contemplative quest,
for while a brief intermission
often serves to restore
this first occupation,
in other words,
refreshes and strengthens
the primary pursuit
of prayer,
of contemplation.
A long interval
results in either
cooling or forgetting
the earlier purity.
We know of some
who desire the mandrakes
of temporal administration
with such ardor
that they would like
to be always involved in them,
while others so abhor them
as to refuse to look at them.
Both attitudes
are reprehensible
and blameworthy.
The sweetness,
this is the formula now,
the sweetness of contemplation
should always be retained
in the will
that the occupations
of administration
are to be accepted
when necessary
on the command
of the superior.
Notice here
it's a question
not of some external apostolate
but he calls them
the occupations
of administration,
which might mean
the job of the seller
or other business
that has to be done
around the monastery.
which confer fertility
bear a human image
and are supposed
to look like a human person,
bring forth fragrant fruits,
symbolize the duties
of good human administration.
It's strange
that he uses the word
expecting to be talking
about preaching
like something
like St. John
was doing,
stirring up people's hearts
to the level of God.
These are sometimes
quite rightly desired
by religious
and contemplative
so that they may
find in them
an opportunity
to let their virtue
and sanctity radiate
and bring forth
the fruits of honor
and honesty
and receive a good testimony
from the people outside.
That's a quotation
from St. Paul.
It's in one of
his letters
that we were talking about.
So that's the function
of those external works
in Blessed Ludov's time.
Now here's the principle
in the next paragraph,
number three.
The community
may legitimately
take up certain
apostolic actions
when these prove themselves
to promote
and express
those fundamental
spiritual values
which the monks
are called
by divine vocation
to live
and to witness
in the Church of Christ.
This criterion
will determine
the concrete means
through which
the apostolic community
and the individual
can develop
in a homogeneous manner.
Homogeneous manner
means without
kind of isolation
and one person
being off
doing his own thing.
It has nothing to do
with the rest of the community.
Notice it starts out
talking about the community.
Whatever somebody does
is supposed to have
some relation
to what the community does.
What the community does
is supposed to have
a relation
to what the community is
or to the fundamental
monastic values,
fundamental spiritual values
of the Church.
So that's the criterion.
And I think it's very well put.
In other words,
it doesn't start out
well you can do this
and you can't do that
in a kind of
categorical way.
It goes back to the core.
What's it all about?
The activity
should promote
and express
those fundamental
spiritual values.
Now the problem is
with individuals.
Because individuals
just don't fit into
ideal or theoretical
Somebody will come along
and say,
I want to do this
and, you know,
it seems to be
his own thing.
But he seems to need it
for something.
He's not ready to do
what it seems
like he ought to do.
He can't stay
in the monastery.
He's not happy
in the monastery.
He needs to be
out of the monastery.
That kind of thing
happens all the time.
And so it's not always
as beautifully
as it
goes spiritually.
There is
There is
But there are
people who
have a
problems, okay, and who at a certain point just can't, they can't hold on to that commitment
in a sense, or they can't stay within the confines of it, and sometimes they shouldn't
because it's unhealthy for them. Consider the case of a person who's simply in the wrong
hole, he's in the wrong location or something, okay, and what are you going to do if nevertheless
he doesn't want to change or he can't change for some reason, what are you going to do?
Because if he stays in the monastery, he's likely to drive everybody else wild. There's
also the case of people who came in very early, we don't have this cemetery here anymore,
if somebody entered the monastery at age 12, okay, and he never had a chance to develop
certain phases of his life because they were all inside the monastery, and then it comes
he's 24, 25, and suddenly he gets the impulse to go out and experience a part of life, it's
hard to keep him in the monastery, and you're not quite sure whether you should or not,
and often something like that, or in some way be cloaked with an apostolic face, you
know, you have to go out and do some work, and which is partly true of course, but a lot
of it is on the side of the person, the needs of the person, or the limited possibilities
of the person.
Has he felt that it's too defensive?
Well, that's something else. That's when somebody comes and he just goes off, he just
runs away, that you accept him back, St. Benedict says three times, and the third time is the
last. This is a different case, this is where somebody really requests an absence to do
some apostolic work, but you know that the reasons, what do you call them, ostensible
reasons, are not the whole reason.
I see that there is a difference, but I also see that there's a point where he's not
coming in with a capacity to rationalize himself.
That's right. Sure, there's a lot of that.
The question is, on the one side I want him to go with that capacity to rationalize myself
out of the situation, and on the other I want him to come to an understanding that the subject
is to the fullest extent that he is.
The individual moral question, or the subjective moral question for the individual, may be
complicated by psychological problems. This is frequently the case. Somebody's got a really
emotional problem. He's going through a real difficult time. He simply needs to be outside
for a while, so he does some work while he's outside.
The tendency in our congregation is to prefer the person over the law, to prefer the person
over the law. At present, that was not always the case.
The most traditional form of monastic presence in the world is hospitality.
Okay, that's a Benedictine tradition particularly, but not only. You'll find it among the monks,
even among the desert monks.
Not only of the material comfort, but first in the spiritual nourishment.
In the community of charity.
That's a very natural form of apostolate. It's a very natural thing for monks because
it fits right in with that first level of their apostolate, which is their presence.
So the most natural way to admit people into that is to let them stay in the monastery,
let them share the presence. That's the most natural extension of that presence.
That's very homogeneous because you don't necessarily do anything else which doesn't
square with the monastic life, etc.
Charitable zeal. So let's just comprehend the spiritual needs of those guests.
In other words, it's not just a hotel. They should be somewhat sensitive to where they
are and what they need.
Now this is a broader thing.
To meet the humility and ritual edification, those demands which the Church and the world
may make upon their monastic concentration.
That's a good order.
Suppose a local bishop wants the priest to go out and have him parish on weekends.
What do you say?
Fortunately, our bishop has never asked us to do that.
And if we did, we would have to resist to respond.
We'd want to get towed into that.
We're in trouble. It's expected of you.
And there's almost always a shortage of priests.
And so that easily becomes chronic.
And your life easily becomes diminished.
Now you can see how it happens that the priests have in the diocese, where the people,
the bishop will say, well gosh, we've got a dozen priests there in that monastery doing
nothing. We really are running ourselves crazy up here.
Without enough courage, you should really come out and help us.
So that can be an organizing decision at a certain point.
Hospitality takes different forms.
That of retreats or gatherings of spiritual characters is especially appropriate.
In hermitage, there should be smaller, more groups or individuals.
Our retreat house facility is limited.
I don't think it will be expanded much.
Because a certain size of community can only handle a certain amount of retreat activities.
And we're quite busy, actually, with that small number of people that we can take.
When they want compassion or spiritual nourishment.
Yes, it's a small one.
At the monastery, they have a great big one.
In fact, they can take 200 people at the monastery.
Because they have a lot of double rooms.
Larger rooms.
That's called the hospice.
And it's very active during the summertime.
During the winter, there's not much activity except around Christmas, because they don't
eat the whole thing unless they get a big group of people.
So in the summertime, they'll have these weeks of liturgical conferences, theological conferences,
ecumenical conferences, all kinds of things.
So Commodity turns out to be kind of a cultural center as well as a religious center.
And religious plays a big role.
This started, let's see, way back in the 30s it started.
And actually, Bishop Montini then, the lady we can call Paul VI, was close to Commodity
at that time.
He used to work there.
He worked for the university students, for instance.
What they called the Fuchis, Catholic university students.
So it got started at that time, and they rebuilt the desktops on a larger scale.
And it's been going on ever since.
It has a lot of effect upon the life of the monastery.
In the summertime, the life of the monastery really has to be geared towards that apostolate.
And it also affects the hermitage, although somewhat indirectly, in that the people will
be going up to the hermitage much more than the religious people.
You mean the community?
The community is never more than 30 at the hermitage.
And that's including the young ones.
Usually around 25 or so.
The hermitage might be 15 or so.
The hermitage can't take more than a dozen guests, something like that.
It's about the size of a person.
We had it from the start.
I think the bishop asked us to, he really expected us to have everything from the start.
As soon as they started building, putting the buildings in front of the buildings,
I think they had it.
I don't know the exact order between the major buildings and the smaller ones,
but it was there pretty early on.
They did the cells and the agudas about the same time.
Similar construction, at least the first cells.
The ones up there.
That was part of the original arrangement of the bishop to coach.
Of course, our retreats usually are not good.
Unlike most retreat houses, we don't get to a few retreats.
We just let them themselves.
We have one or two groups now.
We used to have Newman Club groups in the University of California Santa Cruz.
That was partly because of high electrification.
And then we've had, at Berkeley, the Institute of Spiritual Health,
the Jesuit Institute, and we closed it out because it became,
I can't remember the name, a hidden club.
So that's the end of that.
And one or two other groups.
Alan Nelson has his Peace Club.
Today, this meant the ecumenical, non-Catholic presence.
The monastic life has a particular role in ecumenical dialogue.
It used to be that monasticism, of course, was the bone of contention, a big one.
He split between the churches because that's one of the first things that Luther did away with,
was a monastic life.
He wasn't exactly a monk himself.
He was a monastic in that time, but he rejected,
one of his big principles was the rejection of the monastic life,
which seemed to him like a kind of institutionalizing of God's grace,
like a religion of works and so on.
Gradually, it turns around that the Protestants begin to feel,
within their own churches, a kind of hollowness, a kind of shallowness,
and a need for that centering and that depth,
which is traditionally happening in the monastic life.
So, feeling that, they begin to be drawn to monasteries.
And so a kind of dialogue, even a wordless one,
begins to establish itself in the Catholic monasteries.
And then gradually it becomes more foreign.
But come out of it, they have a dialogue.
And now there are some Protestant monasteries, of course.
Taizé is a conspicuous example.
It's a sort of unusual monastery.
Okay, the monks may perform the task of communicating the word of God,
return to the doctrine of wisdom of the fathers.
Notice those three categories.
By the spoken word or in writing.
And then the harmony with the monastic life.
Concrete form, writing,
takes the courses of spiritual exercises,
either in our own communities or elsewhere,
when that doesn't become too much of a disturbance in the direction of monk's life.
I can remember there was one priest in one of our monasteries
who was out about 50% of the time giving repeats.
This is over a month.
He was an extradentorist.
So he had one repeat to the report,
and he began to come out of this
and continued to do a lot of this same kind of thing.
So he was out, and when he was back,
he was either resting or preparing for his repeat.
See, that's the kind of program that tends to happen.
You would think it might be all right to be out a lot of the time
giving repeats, and then some come back and deliver contemplative rites,
but it isn't itself anymore.
It's a time of rest or a time of preparation.
So it just naturally swings into a secondary role with respect to the pastime.
And when they come back,
they have to be taken care of as if they were, you know, wounded or exhausted.
And so it's not really...
I know it doesn't get me because I don't know enough,
but it's kind of a numerous dual pattern.
Collaborate with other monks and contemplative persons
studying the spiritual division of the Church.
A lot of that goes on at this time.
These conferences, patristic conferences and theological-spiritual conferences
and things like that,
for which the monks sometimes have to travel around,
sometimes they have to send a paper.
Well, certainly every...
Oh yes, I think there's a lot more than that.
One thing is that the renewal program in Vatican II,
and before Vatican II, there were the liturgical renewal,
the patristic renewal, the biblical renewal, and so on.
Now, in Vatican II, the way reached a kind of crest.
And since Vatican II, some of those things have continued to deepen and to intensify.
For instance, the patristic thing.
We've had more and more people getting into those areas, specializing,
and so they have more and more groups coming.
I think on the level of study, there are more and more groups coming.
And a lot more publications.
Because it's a phase of unearthing a lot of the...
really trying to find the earliest roots of Christianity,
of Christian monasticism, of liturgical practice and so on.
It's connected with the whole renewal.
Let everyone be aware of the responsibility of fidelity, coherence with the master's vocation.
That means that you have to be before you can speak.
To go back and look over this again,
we seem to have three forms of apostasy that are being talked about.
The first and primary form is the presence.
The presence of the community, the presence of the individual, and the presence of the community.
The second form is hospitality,
which is kind of another concentric circle around this circle of presence.
And that's letting people come into this presence and share it.
Especially with retreats or with individual groups.
The third level or the third circle is the ministry of the word,
which is a more active apostolate.
By writing, by conducting retreats,
either in the monastery or elsewhere,
and by study.
Something else that hasn't been brought out here that is mentioned in the regulations
is spiritual direction and the sacrament of penance.
Because for centuries,
and generally even in the old days,
people would go to monasteries for that kind of thing.
In the Eastern and in the Western traditions.
But it sort of starts here in Russia.
Very open and respectful.
Out of touch with a lot of things.
Unless he's a very balanced person,
because he's out of touch with things,
he can sort of be, it's like he has a direct inspirational line,
or at least in my thinking,
which can be very interesting.
Because people grant such an authority to their privilege,
when you tell a figure to go to a place,
when they go to a monastery,
you expect that kind of authority.
So he has to be very humble,
very balanced in all matters.
He's more detached and less disturbed,
but he's also less informed.
And so, that's the problem.
So if he's a saint,
he can question and determine himself, etc.
In other cases it can be something else.
You can see the difficulty
about people coming to ask somebody about their life,
who is not in touch with the same kind of life that they're in.
That's the problem.
Normally they would have that,
but it's not always the case.
For instance, the person may have gone into the seminary
when he was young, and so on.
There's a whole chunk of life,
of individual life,
and modern public life,
the social life,
that he hasn't experienced.
And so, it can be hard for him really to give the appropriate...
God will give him the life,
but it varies from person to person,
so there is a kind of danger.
Do you have any opposition to the idea that people should leave?
Oh, that can be a ticklish thing.
There have been some unfortunate cases of it,
but that's why this thing came to mind.
We haven't had any trouble here in this respect.
That's the prior job.
You see how delicate it is.
If people are going to a priest as a confessor,
for the prior to step in,
he simply has to ask him to stop giving confessions.
It depends on how humble, how spiritual,
and how deep the goose that monk is,
how he's going to respond to him.
Also, sometimes,
sometimes it happens that a goose goes into reclusion,
not for purely spiritual reasons,
partly because he's better in reclusion.
It's better.
It's better for everybody.
It's better for him,
and it's better for the rest of us.
There's that kind of thing.
Now, when that's so,
you can imagine what can happen.
When people start going to that recluse
as a kind of oracle,
and he starts responding as an oracle,
you can imagine.
That's a whole other question, I guess.
It's not directly connected with this.
You can do it, yeah.
You can do it either way,
because sometimes,
sometimes you can't use the same individual
for spiritual direction as a confessor.
And if you can, it's better too,
as a matter of fact,
from a personal point of view,
because it's better to be treated as a whole person,
rather than two levels, you know, two stages.
There's the sin level,
and then the growth level,
and that's kind of artificial.
So it's better to deal with one person.
For various reasons,
it may not always be possible.
People are supposed to be free.
After they get into the community,
people are free,
and then they're free for both of those things.
During the formation phase,
they should be relating to one person
for spiritual direction.
And it would be the nautical field now.
It's a two-man organization.
Otherwise you get a split in the formation.
The prior in directing the sector.
So the prior is supposed to
know when to say yes
and when to say no
and when to say well.
Fundamental demands of an astral body.
Let him conscientiously judge
the authenticity of the motives, you see,
for which the brethren request absence from the community.
Notice we're told not to judge.
Especially not to judge people's motives and so on.
Here's a case where the motive's up to be judged.
Why is this person asking?
Notice also, it's implicit,
that normally the solicitation,
the request comes from the person,
from the mother.
And somebody will ask him,
and say,
will you come and give us a retreat?
We Catholic daughters of the North.
And he will go and ask the prior,
and say, can I do this?
Any questions about that section?
It's a section which, of course,
during the earlier years of a person's monastic life,
is not of great, immediate, personal importance to him.
But it does become important over time.
And it's important,
the philosophy of this is important
for the life of the community.
Because it determines what kind of life,
what kind of a community he's going to be in.
The extent that it opens itself,
or the extent that it safeguards
its sort of contemplative space.
We happen to be in a position here
where we're very free to determine
what happens to the community.
We're not near a city.
We don't have people on top of us all the time.
If we wanted, we could be completely isolated.
Or we can sort of admit people
into our environment,
as far as we want to.
That's a good position to be in.
That's not always on there.
Let's see.
Maybe that's enough for this morning.
We'll go on with Scheme 10 next time.
Then I think we'll do a little history.
And then commence with a more,
with a deeper topic of consideration
of various monastic matters, monastic services.
Thank you.