January 2nd, 1999, Serial No. 00150

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Rule of Benedict Novice Class # 2 - 1990s

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Help us to understand, help us to love, help us to live, we ask this in Jesus' name.
Last time I think we got through question 14.
It's on, consider your quote, introduction page 5 somewhere.
Next time, I think we can just move forward to chapter one of Consider Your Call.
Again, we've got questions for that already.
When we get to chapter two and three, which we'll also do, I'll give you more questions.
We were talking about the monastery as a little church and the positive and the negative of that.
And it sort of goes along with the positive and the negative of the perfect monk, thinking of himself as somebody who's striving to be a perfect Christian, or a monastic person as a perfect Christian.
And of course, for the monk himself, that's a perfectly valid goal, that's what it means.
On the other hand, if you define monk in that way, then you leave everybody else out in the cold.
If you define monastery as a little church, ecclesia, as they put it,
then you lose the, what do you call it, the interaction of the monk and the monastery with the other organs of the church.
The one organ pretends to be everything, in a sense, so that it says, I'm the heart, and I don't need the kidneys, I don't need the liver.
There's something about that complementarity of the different ways of life.
Which appears when you, if you talk to lay people, and you see what their lives are like, or what they're doing,
and the conflicts and things that they do and that they have.
And having the monastic order is the same issue in this new way.
And he says the meaning of it, he's talking about the difficulty of distinguishing monasticism from the other kinds of religious life.
He says, well, don't worry, because maybe that means that monasticism is in the center rather than the periphery of the church's life.
That's up on the top of the next page there.
But what does that mean?
Because you can feel also a kind of evaporation happening at that point, the danger of something vaporizing and getting lost.
If to be in the center of the church's life means you don't have any distinguishing characteristics, there's nothing different, you're the same as every other religious group, only without their specific elements, it sounds like there's something a little bit missing.
If you say center in Pentecost sense,
then the center implies depth, doesn't it, so that there'd be a search for the center, so that the center could be conceived as a goal and as the intersection of a depth dimension in which the path of life would be distinguished by its depth.
So it wouldn't have a function which is specifically distinct from the other religious ways of life.
As the religious ways of life tend to themselves, they tend to move towards one kind of apostrophe or another function in the church.
But if you say that at the heart of religious life, monasticism tries to open up the depth dimension of all religious life, and that it should be distinguished by progress in that depth dimension, then it can make satisfactory sense.
But he's hesitant to make that kind of claim for monasticism, and he isn't thinking maybe of centering that way.
But I agree with him that it's to be so in the center rather than the periphery.
But then you have this paradox that, well, I thought monks were marginal people.
And you're not in the middle of the church, are you?
And you're not in the middle of the parish, or of the public church life.
But that seems right in some way, doesn't it?
Even if Jesus could enter the world as its center, he's also marginal.
He's on the periphery.
In some way, he's peripheral to the Jewish establishment.
It sounds presumptuous for the monk to claim that same kind of marginal centricity, or whatever you call it, but there's something to it, in the aim and the aspiration.
Which question were you talking about?
It's almost like an X-figure.
In an external, dualistic sense, the monk is a peripheral.
center, but looking at life from the point of view of mysticology, the whole Christian mystery of life, then maybe the monastic life or other kinds of life that are nominally, and hopefully more deeply than nominally, dedicated to the quest for God
it's over that.
And it's, in a certain way, even though the more institutional parts of the church, the diocese and the bishop and parishes and the life of that, it's in some ways the center is hard to define.
of Isaiah right in the middle of the synagogue, calling the people right back to the center, calling the people back, even though he goes into their center, their town, he's the one calling them back to the center.
And he comes from the periphery to do that.
And so even though they're structurally built around a center, he's calling them to a deeper center within
It's a little like John the Baptist in Jerusalem, probably.
John the Baptist is off-center, he's eccentric, in the sense that he's out in the desert there.
And yet, what he's calling to people, he calls them out of Jerusalem.
The image you get is they go out on droves, you know.
From the center, out into the desert, because he's witnessing to them some kind of deeper center, and they're finding it.
So, somehow the monastic thing would seem to play that role.
But then Jesus comes back into the city, and he dies, as it were, just outside the city.
He comes back in.
His life is moving back in from there.
So it's a little complex, but...
You really get the idea of two centers.
One center which is like organizational or official, institutional, maybe an epicenter, you call it.
And then you go into a kind of solid geometry instead of the plane geometry, and there's another center way down inside, like the center of a sphere rather than a circle.
And that's what the John the Baptist or Jesus or the monk witnessed.
was, for example, for Buddhists, it's quite clear that, in a sense, their ministers are monks.
You know, they're the people they turn to for spiritual nourishment.
They're monks.
They go to the monasteries.
And they're named monks, you know, right away.
And one would think, even in a sense for the Hindu,
center of it.
They're the contemplatives that are at the center of it.
So it seems pretty logical, you know, that that's where you would go if it would be
where do you think of the hierarchy of the monasteries?
It seems like the center of that, really think about, there's more commerce with monks in the Eastern Orthodox Church among regular, ordinary folks than there is in the Roman Church.
Except it's true, the Roman Church had a certain period.
Yeah.
Around the 11th century, around the time when St.
Roman was.
And it seems like that's a thing that we've lost in the West.
It doesn't necessarily
here, because I think this is the center.
I think this is the basics.
Monasticism plays a more mysterious role in the West than the modern West.
There's been a differentiation in the West, especially that split between the institutional and the, if you call it the interior, the contemplative.
And it comes down to that, doesn't it?
It's not necessarily the monastic, it's the contemplative.
I think in a way it's interiority.
It's like you have an exoteric Christianity and an esoteric Christianity and an interior Christianity that don't have the same center, the same visible center.
Although with a pope like this one, you begin to see a strong relationship between the two centers again.
in Pope John Paul, very devoted to Carmelites, and so it's a contemplative thing, really.
His focus is often there.
But it's not enough to pull a whole church in that direction, and it would be wrong to pull a church in that direction.
For some reason, something else is going on.
Something else is going on, which monasticism didn't sufficiently express, I think.
It's like, you know, that Peter and John thing, at the end of John's Gospel,
Jesus says to John, you stay here until I come.
So John stays there.
The Eastern Church stays there, right with the mystery.
But Peter has to follow him.
And it's as if in the West, there's something going on which is important, which has to move away from that center string.
And a lot of the darkness and the alienation and the splits in the West and all that are somehow connected with that.
Whatever you call that historical development.
From one point of view, it's the development of the subject to the individual, and kind of pulling away from the collective.
Another point of view, it's the critical reason.
Another point of view, it's just this kind of autonomy of the natural from the supernatural, so that they can reunite later on in a deeper, more integral way.
Something's going on.
And from another point of view, it's the creative thing.
that somehow, emancipation from that original solidity, that original kind of monolith was necessary, so that the individual, personal, subjective, creative human being could find itself.
And then it can come back to you.
But actually, that's what's going on in the West.
Those things are going on in the West, but they're always, I think,
And they tend to be a little more closed to the East.
Well, like the Christian East, they say if it isn't in the councils, it's not for us.
In other words, if tradition has not sanctioned it, it's like the fundamentalism of tradition.
That if it's not in those first seven councils, well, it's not for us.
You know, building hospitals, and schools, and missions, and things like that.
Maybe having lost, I mean, definitely having lost something in the process, but somehow that has become... Yeah, and eventually what happens, you get something like the real beginning of altering these social structures in the world, okay?
In other words, after a while it begins to get to the root, the root of the tree of oppression and so on and so forth.
It begins to make the Gospel cut at a deeper level in human life, okay?
Like, you know, Marxism is a spin-off of Christianity in a sense, and so it begins to cut at those things that traditional Christianity didn't cut at.
It begins to break down the middle order.
And somehow at the heart of it is the Gospel, and the Gospel firmly.
Somehow the gift of the West is involved with all that.
A real change in the world, a real transformation of the external world.
Not the movement into interiority, and then kind of, well, suffering the world from a position of unity and interiority, but moving out into the world, and really seizing a kind of charism to transform the world, to make a new creation in that sense.
Now monasticism has had a real uptime, hasn't it?
being devoted, specializing in that interiority.
Which is not to say that Nazism hasn't been creative, but certainly it hasn't been very creative in the recent centuries.
It's sort of in a position of, how do you call it, inferiority, if you can imagine.
This is not just a kind of point we touch on all the time.
It's a critical point for us, I think, for a lot of us.
It's what does history mean for us?
Where are we in history?
I hope.
Yeah, I was recommended to these guys.
I thought that we would read C.H.
Lawrence's book on medieval monasticism.
Have you seen that yet?
No.
I really think it's fabulous.
And then along the way to talk about seeing our life in the context
We keep looking.
To me, the more I study monastic history, the more I keep looking better.
They're very, what would you call it, disorderly.
From where it goes.
Some of these things about some of the paradoxes in trying to figure this stuff out.
spirituality, taking off again, with some kind of realization of the damage that a self-centered, selfish stance can wreak upon the environment, upon communities.
You know, like, for example, in Hollywood, there's a lot of criticism of simple, mindless, suburban life.
And that, I think, in some ways, is good and refreshing.
But at the same time, you would think that if that was really an authentic movement, it'd be breaking down the doors of monasteries to pipeline.
And in some ways, I'm surprised that that's not happening.
I mean, there are people interested in pastoral life and stuff, but there isn't that definite.
This is a John the Baptist exodus into the desert to do this.
There is, but it's still locked into
life in the world as it is now.
Like, people might come here for a weekend, and I'm not testing any stores or anything, or they might go to Barnes & Noble and look in the spirituality section or something like that, but there's not yet to the point where this conscious criticism of our way of life, which maybe has never happened before in history, a real sense of uneasiness with it, but
is not yet biting.
It's biting in some ways, but not in others.
You're saying I would have liked a mini-American television show.
Yeah, and a real deeper change.
But in some ways it is.
Like the fact that, you know, kids on a telegraph app in Brooklyn will be, in some ways, like, you know, if somebody does something that's authoritarian or something,
I think what Father Bruno was saying about this deep, in many ways, like Mark's Gospel, very dark, this descent into the earth, but it's coming up by, you know, kids sitting on Telegraph Avenue aware of the fact that humans have civil rights.
I don't know, in some ways that's profound.
But at the same time, there's something terrifyingly superficial and mechanistic and big brotherish about that.
You know, if this technology gets used in the wrong way, look out.
So it's... I don't know, does that make sense?
forward movement of Christianity ultimately.
But Christianity almost diffused way down into the soil and then coming up in the ground water, so rather than explicit.
And monasticism has to reckon with that, and the Muslims had a hard time doing it, partly because of its shell, very thick institutional and traditional shell, and partly because it's been persuaded that all it had to do was find the center.
Even at its best, it tends to think that what it's about is simply to interiorize, okay, and that that solves all the problems, setting aside that transforming kind of permanent world.
Merton was good, because he was, what do you call it,
schizophrenic enough to move in both directions, and acutely sensitive to both sides.
Okay, I guess... Then he criticizes the effort to find an answer to the question, what is a monk?
Because we can get too, let's call it, self-gazing very easily.
And he starts a new section.
on monastic renewal.
And he's interested, of course, in the monastic theology, that's what the book is about.
So he's setting the basis for that, for what he wants to do.
I'm down on bottom page six now.
The question of traditional forms.
And he says, well, they have to be, it's not a question of throwing them away, but a question of interiorizing them, assimilating, interiorizing, and then sort of bringing them back out from inside, which is, sounds beautiful, but is extremely difficult to do.
It takes time, it takes great kind of attention, fidelity, persistence.
So, on the top of page seven, so the renewal is not an operation applied from outside, but something that's coming from inside.
the kind of embodiment, incarnation of that matanaya, which monasticism is about.
And then he talks about two lines, okay, and that corresponds to those two alternative ways of looking at monasticism at the outset.
One is to look at renewal in terms of the monastic archetype, you might say, and the way that it's realized in its purity, often in other traditions, like the Buddhist tradition.
If we criticize our life in
in the lay of Buddhist monasticism, something like that.
The second way is to consider the renewal of monastic life in terms of the Church and in terms of realization of the Christ mysteries, the paschal mysteries of Christ.
There's a little of both, more than a little of both going on.
That inter-traditional vocabulary of religious experience is an interesting idea, isn't it?
The fact that, and it's partly scientific, in the sense that you get a language which becomes a, they call it a Vulgate language, a common lingua franca, that's the expression, I guess, for the whole world in spiritual terms, okay?
The internet is difficult.
I mean, you find a vocabulary in spiritual corners of the internet, probably, which would be fairly well understood by a Buddhist or a Christian or a Sufi or whoever.
They begin to learn one another's vocabulary and even to use it, and even to use it in connection with their own experience.
For Christians it's especially Advaita, I think, a non-duality in the Eastern tradition, but a whole bunch of other things too.
People fling around the language of karma.
It's almost like a not-language.
It's a non-language.
Yes, it is.
It is exactly a not-language.
Apophatic.
And that's why Buddhism is, I think, a monastic religion, in the sense that it's an apophatic religion.
A monastic is the apophatic tradition within a religion, okay?
So, apophatic life, you might say.
So when you spoke of
And that's the same being at the heart of it, like the Buddhist culture, I think it's true.
He makes a point that the important thing is not just reading books, but the contact between people steeped in their own faith.
Yeah.
I'd rather read the books, of course.
But I think one of the things that our age in particular has to be
Dalai Lama said, people, if they want to go up in a spiritual pyramid, just pick a world religion and do it.
Just go into it.
And I think that for us, I mean, I love reading other religions and talking about it and stuff, but at the same time, to really get deep into Christianity and with what that matters, what he's saying about the external observances and structures,
the danger of them being washed away.
And they're, I think, ultimately designed, these structures and observances, to get us deep into this religion, into this Christ mystery.
But with the structures of bigger institutional life,
structures are going away.
If we do write deeply into the ground of our own religion, we need these observances and structures to help us go deep.
And how to do this in both a communal sense and an individual discipline way, and also from this
Often there's quite a bit of reinforcement for structures from the other traditions, like, you know, the solitude, or the monastic institution itself, I think, is encouraged by an encounter with Buddhism, for instance.
That is, the things that you're doing are persuasive.
These are meaningful, you know, that they're, in fact, they're universal.
But pursuit of interiority, pursuit of the potential.
Excuse me.
I'm seeing it through a different window.
I'm looking at the child through another window.
And I like our life even more, having seen some of the validity because of the universal language there.
But I think you're dead on there.
The only way we really can approach this dialogue is so well steeped in our own tradition.
Otherwise we're not bringing anything to it either.
Because the Buddhists are not looking for us to pretend like we're Buddhists.
that kind of float in the religious sea and pick what they want and make a religion.
I think it's important, the image we have of ourselves, because I forget whether it was Nasser or whoever, the idea that religions are different organisms.
They're different plants.
You're rooted in one.
You're not rooted in two or three.
You're rooted in one, especially if you're a Christian, because it's like your sacramental and your faith connection with Christ.
That's what you are.
You can relate to the others, but you are not the others.
But people swear that and smear it.
They think, well, you know, a little of this, a little of that.
What I heard that kind of destroyed somebody else's argument was comparing Christianity to Buddhism is like comparing apples to tennis.
You can play tennis with apples if you're careful.
I've got a special kind of racket.
And of course, the area where this comes into the Kamali's thing is with Shanti Mahana, I'll say, with Pete Griffiths.
He talks about the growth of, he's quoting Merton here, Merton's Asian journal, the growth of a truly universal consciousness in the modern world.
And Merton's language is so pungent.
Universal consciousness can be a consciousness of transcendent freedom and vision, or simply a vast blur of mechanized triviality and ethical cliches.
That's Merton crashing through his finality.
He's got a sarcastic vein in him which he just wants to play that music.
It's true.
And the Internet is where you have access to both.
Okay, then he talks about the second way of looking at renewal, and that's within Christianity, within the Church.
So, connected with the renewal of the Church itself, as inspired by the Vatican too.
And essentially, a deeper participation in the paschal ministry of Christ.
So, then you look at monasticism, you define it in those terms, more or less, as a participation in Jesus' death and resurrection.
And therefore, realization of baptismal days.
Yeah, I wonder what the adjournamental means has meant for monasticism, the adjournamental.
It's broken open the container of monasticism.
In other words, things that were built, the masonry which enclosed Benedictine monasticism especially, all of it, all Catholic monasticism, blasted open so that the stones have to be reexamined and then reassembled.
It's a dangerous procedure, a dangerous moment.
And then it has opened up a new and more critical looking at the sources.
So that you really are permitted, the thing loosens up enough so that you can really ask yourself, what is monasticism?
You couldn't really do that before.
The answers were so enforced, the answers were so loud that you couldn't hear the questions.
And the answer's from the word of God.
Listen, my son.
So anyway, his choice is to do it from inside.
But I'm grateful he's looked at the outside first.
I was struck by a book on the top of page 9 where it talks about
And even though it's ensconced within the council, it's at the same time has the potential to be a super radical move, because it's, like you said, going through the answers, going back to the beginnings and daring to ask certain questions again.
And this asking of the questions might result in all sorts of walls being torn down and
source, you know, just this last couple of minutes, how much more powerful, revolutionary move that could be.
You're not just returning to the same old mill, but you're returning to the source, and if that's well done, it could really radically re-ask some questions and challenge some structures.
It's a very radical move.
The Council doesn't pander to the Council at all, it's just, it's open.
It'd be interesting if the two parties
Presence.
Yeah, what's in the middle?
Sometimes, this is one of the criticisms of the liturgical movement anyway, the return to the source and the adaptation of the present.
Some people just wanted to toss out everything between the 6th century and the 20th.
and say, maybe this is just a little too big, there's no more water running through it, you know.
Yeah, what's in the middle is what we are concretely, what we are traditionally, as we have received traditionally, and so on, and all of the structures and all of the concepts
And going back to the sources and going forward to the present is also like going into the original source, in a sense, OK, the interior inspiration or charism, and then outward to the world that surrounds you freshly without the mediation of a set structure, in a sense, or a set world, a set institutional world or intellectual world, doctrinal world, whatever you want to say.
Well, I think what's interesting is either it's
church anyway, is this kind of return to a neo-traditionalism, a neo-conservatism.
Let's see if you're a bishop, you're a, say, a nostalgia for a church that never existed.
And this is not necessarily a good movement.
But at the same time, there was this whole thing going on in the 70s that was this huge reaction against the 1950s and 40s and 30s.
So this wasn't necessarily, that was a wild
again, after the 6th century.
So, in terms of monasticism, what is that in the U.S., I wonder?
You know, and some monasteries are going to a kind of neo-traditional.
They crashed in the desert, now they're wearing habits, and I'm not sure if that's the same movement, but he talks about atheism, the same kind of thing, neo-traditionalism.
So, I'd hate to think that the fire of Vatican II has already
People in the church are going to say, oh, forget it, let's just go back, and this is all... It's so hard when it comes down to concrete things, when it comes down to concrete liturgy, concrete where it's agonizing.
Because you can't just generate newness.
You can't create liturgy which has what we call a substance of power, a conviction to it.
It can't just be made.
It has to be extremely powerful.
But interiorly, in our minds, in our hearts, we can see and we can feel only those two things, you know, the domain to embody.
So easy to talk about, so hard to do it.
And what are the choices?
And what's that?
What's that fire of renewal?
What's that fire?
when there goes the fire, you know, so, well, let's just go back to the way the business is usually.
The inertia is so, it's so easy for the inertia to go back just to business as usual, I think.
Does that make sense?
Yeah.
I don't think the fire's gone by the way, but it's awful hard for, it smolders, you know, but it's awful hard for it to catch the whole thing.
the liturgy and stuff, in some way I think that now, it's almost like the only thing monasticism has now, in a certain way, is its depth dimension, what's below the ground, because it's almost like what's above the ground has been cleared away, like it's gone, and only our roots
buried underground, but almost that, we can almost make a form of that naked simplicity of the edifice being knocked away.
Just when we're standing in a circle around the altar, it's a bunch of human beings standing in a circle, which is probably a fairly new liturgical movement.
or anything like that, that circle of human beings, and if we have a lot of people, multiple circles, concentric circles of human beings around the altar, that's incredibly powerful.
And it's almost like our eschewing of icons, of statues, of that stuff, that sort of renewal, is really powerful like that.
And just the sort of invisible wave
incredible liturgy.
But then how do you do that on a larger scale?
How do you do that with the parish and stuff?
No, the monks don't have to solve those problems if they can make it present in one place, you know, and leave it to others to transfer it.
And what you say about if it were all bulldozed away, or it has been bulldozed away, theoretically monasticism or Christianity should be able to be bulldozed every day and regenerate from the ground.
The root, let's say, not so much in the tradition, but it's the charism and the seed, the mustard seed inside, but also the root in the individual person.
Because the monasticism is involved with the individual person, with the invisible center of the person.
And if that's there, then the whole rest can be grown afresh from each time.
Theoretically, but it's real in some cases, like Romeo, you know?
You get these people who have that thing burning inside of them, and they can regenerate it anyway.
Put them into it and start a monastery.
Or a hermitage.
And in a way, that should be monasticism's, what we call, pride, or its freedom, or something like that.
That utter simplicity.
of the interior fullness.
He's getting to the question of theology and monastic renewal, because that's what he's about.
So, he talks about monastic life work and then theology, those three levels.
And then the two great directions are at the top of page nine.
Back to the sources, forward to... That's got all kinds of...
profound resonance is that double movement, I think.
It's like a movement back to the Father.
And, I mean, really, there are several stories to that.
A movement back to the Father, or in to the Source, the unitive Source.
A movement forward and out in the Spirit, actually to create.
The unitive return to the center, and the creative movement out into the world, in a sense.
Because to meet the conditions is also to meet the demands, which means meet the demands of the world for a new creation.
It demands a creative response from someone.
Then he talks about this dearth of the kind of theologies as well.
People often say, don't give me theory, give me practice.
Here he points out that unless you've got theory practice, you're not going to go anywhere.
Practical reform without theology is blind.
But the purpose of monastic theology is not primarily to suggest concrete changes, concrete measures, but to provide some kind of vision, which precedes the concrete decisions.
And then he talks about this dearth of monastic theology today.
That opens a whole thing, which we'll return to in a minute.
The movement from a wisdom Christianity to another kind of Christianity.
I think it's something we do need to look at in depth sometime.
See, there's a certain kind of vision that belongs to monasticism, that's native to monasticism, which is eclipsed.
Between the scholastics and Trin.
by a time trend here?
Yes, several waves.
Scholasticism first.
The individual human reason beginning to take over and put that, I think, that ecto-intellectus out of sight, that noose, you know, of the Eastern tradition.
The contemplative intellect begins to be eclipsed by the individual human reason, ratio rather than intellectus.
And then along comes the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, okay?
And the whole scrap displaces the center.
You can't even conceive of that deep center anymore, or of universal Christianity.
It's still not an explanation.
And then the Enlightenment finishes it up.
And then the Church gets totally on the track of that.
We're caught reacting against all the enemies after that.
And to react means to be pulled out of your center, out of your depth, onto that kind of...
the battlefield.
But now comes the question, well, does it come back?
And if it comes back, what's it going to be?
If this wisdom vision comes back, and if monasticism has the vocation to bring it back, to help seminate it, to help bring it out of the ground, what's it going to be like?
Because it isn't going to be the same as it was before.
Very interesting.
There's one other point.
You didn't bring up the questions.
a failure on the part of Catholic theology to keep up with contemporary anthropology.
And to me that's where it comes back, that it comes back in contemporary anthropology.
I wonder... What do you mean by anthropology?
When I saw that word last time, I said, what does that mean?
That's why I wrote my thesis on that.
I think it's this understanding of what the human person is.
That's what I understand in the Anthropology, is understanding, and having completely changed our understanding of the human person because of that psychology, A. Maybe A and B and C and D, maybe that's this whole discovery of the psyche in the Western tradition, which other traditions were still exploring, not calling it psychiatry, they were calling it spirituality, but perhaps that's where we've really
I don't even know where or when or how, but somehow that's what we lost.
Well, once again, when we turn to masculine reason, or ratio, from the intellectus of the center, we excluded that psuche.
We excluded the other piante pole, the counter pole of that ratio.
And we did, you know.
And then we talk about what mind and body.
It's crazy.
The psyche is totally...
That question here, that business of anthropology sent me to Rahner, you know, because Rahner is one who tries to bring the center of theology back to anthropology.
So I looked up to see what his vision was, okay, what would a new, a contemporary anthropology be?
And he looks at the whole of history in terms of the emergence of the subject, of subjectivity, the personal subject.
So when you say psyche, okay, and depth psychology and so on, you're getting into that, into that subjective experience, which is simply not there in the
What you find, even in contemplative literature, is my experience reflecting the doctrine, my experience reflecting the revelation, my experience of the Word, let us say, but not translated into terms of my experience, still in terms of the Word.
Even in St.
Bernard and so on.
You would feel, let's say, the kiss of the bridegroom or something like that, but that's the language of scripture.
It hasn't yet come into you, disappeared and come back out in your own language.
That's only part of it, but I think he's right about the subject.
Now suppose monasticism is tied to that subject.
Suppose the vocation of monasticism is tied to the subject in the sense of the metapersonal subject or the deep subject.
Bringing it together with that emerging subject of the West.
Take the Atman or the spirit of this triple anthropology and bring it back to this emerging subjectivity of the West.
A critical reason too.
Everyone emerges as a holy language, too, which is what we're not completely comfortable with yet, I don't think, but yeah, a holy language.
There are probably many languages, because it's got to be somewhat pluralistic.
But somehow I think the vocation of monasticism is about that, itself, the deep self.
It would be, when he talks about the Vedic revelation, the core of it for him is that search for the Self, it seems to me, the Atman.
one with, wedded to, this emerging personal subjectivity, with its creative dimension too, monasticism could have that role.
And a monastic theologian could have that role.
Because monastic theology has to be wedded to that intellectus, to that deep contemplative center of the person, to that anthropology.
When it loses that, it loses its own self-consciousness.
It loses its knowledge of who it is, and it did lose it.
Just so I can use my favorite word once this time, but it's still somehow monasticism has the structure to keep it from drifting into solipsism.
I don't know if this was in your thesis, or if you said this in another sentence, where we were talking about how it took millennia for the Vedic masters to finally reach the awareness, Atman is Brahman.
And so there's that final realization of Atman.
of subjective self being somehow part and parcel with Brahman, with the First Person of the Trinity, whatever that is, and that somehow this inner awareness of that presence within is also related to an awareness of other people as
subjects as proper individual subjects, as real entities.
And so it's kind of murky, but it's somehow that greater realization of self and other.
For a long while it seems possible for people to treat other people as if they were not subjects.
You're not a person, you're a creation.
A lot of moral theology today is polarized between the principles and the subjective experience.
Even the whole sexual area, birth control, abortion, all that is largely polarized around us.
So anyway, I hope we can return to this particular issue, because I think it's very important to see where monasticism is going, and let's see what it has to give to the Church and to the world, and what's different, and that wisdom connection, and then the subject, the self, the person.
Eden Merton is something like a seed of that person, okay?
Aside from what he says, and what he's saying is often an observation.
But the voice that you hear from there is like the seed of that new person breaking out of her shell.
Because he's so, he's unable to let go either of that deep, let's say, Atman of the East, which he sought for so many years, or of the realities of the present world and the movement of his spirit in the world, you know?
Anyway, he talks at some length here about what has to be done in order to regenerate a monastic theology.
Now, in a way, a monastic theology can't be monastic in the sense of just being interested in monastic life.
That's one of the tricks about it, I think.
It's distinguished by its universality in some way.
I think it should be.
If it's really at that unitive point, at that point of the deep self, the deep intellectus, let us say, then it can't be just monastic, and it can't even be only Christian any longer, okay?
It has to be universal.
That's what distinguishes it.
And yet it is Christian.
And yet it is monastic.
But it's not somehow...
It's not interesting as much in distinctions of that kind as it is in the unitive center and source from which it comes.
But if it had soaked with what we call a Christian grace, Christian faith,
and somehow intuitively knowing the relationship between Christ and all the rest, and the universality, even if he can't express it.
Then he talks about the different directions that are needed here.
Historical research.
You see people spending their lives working out the... And then, rethink Christian monasticism in light of contemporary ecclesiality.
New vision of the Church.
And then thirdly, theological give and take between the values of creation and revelation.
Now here he's stepping away a little bit from monasticism.
It's not explicit.
But what he means is the word in the cosmos, I suppose, or the word in nature, or Christianity and humanity, or that which particularly pertains to our revelation from the word, and that which is universal, and human, simply human.
The things he talks about there are connected with person, subject, and with society.
Yeah, because you're at the top of page ten.
Again, back to the anthropology question.
Some things which were taken for granted in the period of theology do not ring as true to us today, such as the notions of contempt for the world.
not being trained very much, you know, just something about the way she says things.
You know, even the notion of self-hate, self-hate and self-love, you know, do you use the word nowadays of self-love as such?
and it's gotten more subtle for her understanding.
It's like those are the first crude sketches of a language of an expression, and later on you get too subtle for them.
And often, I think, see, when somebody has an enormous overwhelming grace, they pick up the vocabulary at hand.
They're not going to find that subtle vocabulary.
She would express her maybe what would be a very subtle and complex grace, you know, in crude terms, because that's all she wants to say, she's in it.
But it takes so much transience
self-hatred, you know, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep,
itself is the prideful, covetous, sinful self, and we're supposed to be going against that, although nowadays, especially with anthropology and stuff, and this emergence of this aware subject, there is real, I think in its best forms, healthy respect
like a Christ's great commandment, two great commandments, love God and then love your neighbor as yourself, but that self is mentioned last.
It's almost like the healthy love of self that somehow emerges as the concentration of the love on God and on the neighbor happens, that
in the old language saying is, you know, evil inclinations and stuff like that, but also you're trying to mesh that with an idea of healthy care for yourself.
You're taking care of the body, taking care of the healthy mind and stuff like that.
And, you know, sometimes I try not to worry too much about it, but I find that there's definitely distinctions that have to be made, like sometimes it's about
And at the same time, realizing that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and are precious.
Yeah, it's very hard to generalize on that, and it's a matter of individual phase where a person is, and also the guidance of the Spirit, I think.
Yeah, at the bottom, the foundation of Monotheology is Immanuele, the foundation of all Monotheology, the person is made in the image and likeness of God.
self, how could we hate it?
So self-hate and self-love mean something different to us now than they used to mean.
I think different writers have done different things in history with that, but some people will say that right now we're on a journey from some sort of image to greater likeness, and so in that journey to the likeness of God,
we sometimes have to cast away the current image that we're at, or something like that.
So it's a shallow self-hatred.
It's a self-hatred to get rid of where you were yesterday, get rid of that, and get to the lightness.
But I would say, 30 years ago, we wouldn't have even talked about the false self and the real self.
This is new language, and I think it's really beneficial language, because even if we're
None of the revolution is there, I think.
I think it's moving from the image to likeness.
I think that's... So much of the self-hatred in the past, or the doctrine of self-hatred, is tied up with a quote you call heteronomy, with giving yourself over to, let's say, the institution of care, and monasticism, to obedience, and so on.
No trouble is that it never came back, in a sense, because there wasn't anything to bring back the sense of self, especially the sense of that deep self.
Well, which goes in the whole approach to asceticism in general.
What's it for?
Is it because of hatred of self?
Is it because of the love of self?
I mean, you could say it either way.
I mean, asceticism is a great thing when it is a means toward whatever, to discovering the deepest self.
You can even say that asceticism has to be an expression of the self, has to be a language of the self in general, that has to somehow cast off certain things in order to realize itself.
And if asceticism can become itself a form of pride, self-love, and the other way of saying, I'm doing all this to get to heaven, well, I mean, what's a deeper love of self could you have than that?
I mean, it's still, in a sense, sort of language.
It can itself become a false personality.
Seriously.
When they talk about contempt for the world and angelic life, he would write that down.
The idea of the evangelical councils in that way was that some people were called to the life of the precepts, the commandments, and other people were called to the life of the councils.
Father Benedetto used to carry on about that.
So those who were called to be perfect,
And others are called to be mediocre.
Now those are the vast majority of Christians.
The monks are called to be perfect and nobody to counsel them.
Oh no, I'm good for mediocre.
The counsel is being, you know, the counsel of absolute poverty.
And I think in monastic theology, by the way, the sort of rediscoverer of monastic theology is John McClure.
And the classic book is The Love of God and the Desire for God.
So we could look at that at some point.
I don't know if it's in your bibliography.
It's funny that he put a name to it, and monks were fumbling around and kind of unsure.
It's amazing.
This happened in the 40s, probably.
40s or 50s.
Maybe 50s.
He was teaching at San Anselmo.
Putting a name on monastic theology as a wisdom theology and distinguishing it from scholastic theology, for instance.
Can you imagine that that had to be done?
That it had to be kind of held up and distinguished?
That's the kind of problem people have.
And specifically in that book that he did that?
Yeah, that book is a... Is it now?
I think it goes back to the 50s.
Maybe 60s.
The latest would be around 1960.
Not absolutely sure.
Yeah, you're right.
Around 1965.
And he's a Benedictine.
Well, next time let's carry on with the first chapter there, okay?
Garden of the Father to the Son of the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be.
Voyer talks about lexical scheme, when he talks about teaching, or DuBois, the academic life, it says that, you know, even though it's there, that that's a different way of looking at word or something, that's a different type of reading.
Monastic way of reading is totally different.
Is this article DuBois, The Search for God?
Yeah, that's the first part of Voyer's Meaning of the Monastic World.
This is the book.
I think we have two of them in the library, I don't know where the other one is right now.