July 19th, 1983, Serial No. 00379

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Monastic Spirituality Set 11 of 12

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Let's carry on with Merton's article, which I was saying to Jack, I said it would be kind of a choosing, because there's so much sourness in it, you can be very negative when he wants to. And he's fighting a number of dragons, one big dragon, which isn't so much around, it may be in some enormous monasteries, I guess, but it's not our biggest dragon right now, the problem of the very heavy institution which pressures you. I don't think that's our chief problem. At one time, it was largely our problem, it was the institutional model of a monastery or a hermitage, which tends to be depersonalized, so everywhere you have a robot, it doesn't exist anymore. So our area of problems has changed. But at the time that he was writing, we were very much in the same place that he was. The article was chosen as a presentation of the situation of today, but it really is the


situation of yesterday, now, in the 60s. Nevertheless, a lot of the main points, the main goals are still the same. And the way he presents two images of monasticism corresponding to two images of the Church, that's still, in a way, current, even though not precisely the way he sets it up. He loves caricature and he loves to exaggerate. The article is really too conflictual, in a way, it's as if people are in some kind of a deep freeze or some kind of a prison and he's telling them not to be discouraged that the light will come. He makes it sound pretty grim. And he gets pretty negative about the way that monasticism has been administered. And I think, somehow, I think unfairly so. I think he's a little bit too cynical about the motives of the people who have been running the institutions. That's a product partly of his experience in the Trappist monastery at this time.


But a product also of his gift for sarcasm, his kind of razor-blade sensitivity. It's a general problem in that book, Convocation and Liturgy. It's funny, because some of these books that I've read, it's all open-ended. Like the monastic journey, the monastic life, for example. I think it's a paradise. And then here, it sounds like highly objective. Yes. That's beautiful.


I haven't seen that. What page is it on? I guess the pages are different. I'll have to find it, because it sounds like kind of a key saying. Yes. Yes. Yes. Still.


Still. Now, Merton is very much in the process, and he doesn't have the answers, you know. He opens up a lot of questions. They may not always be exactly... They're not the ultimate questions, but they're the first questions that have to be asked. In other words, he sort of asks the opening questions, and then after those doors have been opened, then one can really look for the answers. What he's really trying to do is crack out of a shell which has formed, a very thick shell, like a macadamia nut, which had formed around the monastic charism. That's why he has to hit it so hard. It's hard to hear it from the inside of my mind. Which is what he's doing. It's always been very difficult for me. Because we usually let go of our conditioning, but at the same time we need to be...


Passionate. Yes. When we start expounding... When I start expounding and doing it myself, then I remind myself that it was by understanding that I could help. It's very much a beautiful thing to do, so... So I help. I'm really grateful to be able to help. That wisdom, that... A lot of it, you see... Let me try to rephrase. A lot of that is the struggle between independence and formation. Or between accepting... Not a mode, let's say. At least a formation. Accepting some kind of shape, some kind of imprint, some kind of guidance. And the spontaneity of my own inner inspiration.


And that's always going to be with us. So that sort of tension or war between charism and institution, as we see it. Charism is not just... Between what we experience internally, the impulse that we have, and the rule the institution is on, is always going to be there. In Merton's time and from where he's writing from, there's been a kind of sclerotization, a kind of sclerosis that's happened. So the institution is really taking over. And it's really hardened like the closed fist around the charism, around the personal impulse. And so a lot of his fighting here is to loosen up that grip so that it will be able to pulsate, so that there can be a real living interaction between the two. Even like a heart has a contraction and then an expansion. It's like those two movements. But the thing was so tight and so... The sclerosis had hardened so much that the heart couldn't pulsate larger than the monastery's. It was all contraction. No expansion. So, that's part of it.


Question from the audience. Perhaps it's not what it claims to be. If it doesn't produce love, then what good is it? Some people never wake up to that, I think. Because some people, what they're looking for really, because they're rigid, they're looking for rigidity. You take the hard person who's working on willpower and on compulsiveness. What he's looking for is something just as hard and compulsive as you. So, he's not really looking for love. And if he sees it, he won't accept it, you know. And there are a lot of people like that who come into monasteries and stay there. Because that's what they want. They don't want to wake up to love. They don't want to be vulnerable. They want to build their muscles. And the Trappist organization was a lot like that. It was hard, I think, to love in that setup because it was so energetic moving forward on those tracks. As well as for other reasons. Well, it goes on and on. God sort of nurtures the spark even when the shell gets that thick,


even when it seems almost dead. Somehow, he seems to keep things alive so that life can generate from them afterwards, even when the tubers get very thick, you know, and the veins get hardened and so on. It's strange. It probably ends with the way it was. Something else can spark. You can say the same thing about the whole monastic tradition, which sometimes is like a set of hardened arteries, you know. And then new life can spring from it. Many, many times. Okay. We'll be moving around this area as we continue. So, we got as far as page 7. I've got page 17 here. I don't know what your page number is. Okay. Because, see, the page numbers are different in the paperback edition and in the course foundation. The copies that we have are from the course foundation. That's why I couldn't connect to the introduction. It's okay. Okay. Now, the basic question here is between two models of monasticism, between an institutional model of monasticism,


and let's call the other one a personal model of monasticism, okay? When we talk about contraction, when we talk about rigidity, when we talk about rules and observance, when we talk about authority, when we talk about the institutional model, when we talk about personal growth, when we talk about freedom, we talk about creativity, we talk about the realization of the inner self, the individual response to the Holy Spirit, we talk about mysticism, then usually we're talking about the second model, which I'll call the personal model. We could call it a hundred things. Now, I was looking for a good example of the institutional model as a counter-piece to Merton's presentation of the personal model, which is what he's continually doing, except that, like in the Seven-Story Mountain, he completely swallowed the institutional model. He swallowed it whole. He doesn't let that book run wild. In his early books, he doesn't tend to be critical. In that book, he does. Now, a good example of the institutional model is Abbott Marming, who was writing in the century.


He was an Irishman who entered a Belgian monastery. A Belgian monastery, you can imagine. He was also an Irish Baptist monastery. He's not a Baptist. He's Belgian. He treats out, he sets out, in Christ, the Idea of the Monk, which is his major book on the monastic life. It's a beautiful book. I was nourished on this book when I read it. This was the standard document, and it's marvelous. It's a synthesis of the very same thing I looked at in St. Paul, and so much like Thomas Aquinas. And it represents a certain stage of Catholicism, which is pre-Vatican II. Vatican II opens up to the possibility of this other model of monasticism, which Martin was talking about. Now, the first part of this book of Marming is entitled A General View of the Monastic Institution. Now, if you put that on the title page of a book nowadays, you could use it for, I don't know, a ballast, or you could sit on it, but you'd never persuade anybody to read it.


But this is what he wrote in about 1920, in the 20s. Chapter 4 is entitled The Cenobitical Society. Let me read a little bit as an example. The foundation stone of the Cenobitical Society, having been laid in the person of the Abbot, who remains for us in order to complete our broad outline of the Benedictine idea to examine more closely the diverse elements. See, it's a static image. It's like the image of a building or a temple. Part one. We've already remarked that there's a striking analogy between the government instituted by St. Benedict and that of the Church, and this should in no way astonish us in a rule coming from one in whom the Christian sense is so closely allied to the Roman genius. Now, the Roman genius he's talking about is for making laws and for making government. It's an organizing genius. You know that the constitution given by eternal wisdom to his church establishes a monarchical and hierarchical form of government, reflecting upon earth, God's supreme monarchy in heaven,


and the hierarchy that frames it. Wow. I could almost have sung that about 20 years ago. That was beautiful. But if I look at it now, I'm not quite as veritable about it. Because the danger of that is, of course, that you divinize the institution. You see, you take a given structure. He's saying this about the Church, you know, but say you take the monastery, and you say this structure of authority and the whole thing in the monastery is a direct expression of God's will, a direct and complete expression of God's will. That's the danger. Because it can be an expression of God's will. I believe that God inspired St. Benedict to write his will. I believe that the Benedictine monastery, with its structure, is an expression of God's will. But if you make that the totality of God's will, if you say it's the perfect expression of God's will, and especially in a concrete case, then you're in trouble. Now, here we get the difference between the Catholic idea and the Protestant idea. The Catholic idea is that the Church mediates salvation to you. But there's also the direct mediation of the Holy Spirit.


Now, when the direct mediation, not mediation, the direct communication of God to you by the Holy Spirit in your own life. Now, when that's forgotten, the Catholic trap is that the institution which mediates becomes absolutely false. So the Church is God. The Protestant principle is that there's no mediation. That nothing between you and God can communicate God to you, but only God directly through faith in the Holy Spirit, faith in grace. Now, the trap there is obvious too. That is, if you rule out the mediation, you rule out all the things that God gives you to help you to live with him and to live with other people. Practically speaking, we rule out the Church as a substantial entity. We rule out not only authority, but also the sacraments. If you take the principle, absolutely. Now, Albert Armin is writing from the position of a Tridentine Catholicism, or the Catholicism of Vatican I, which was a militant Catholicism which identified itself in its contrast


to Protestantism, I think. So, you'll find this kind of fortress idea in Armin. And he sometimes distinguishes the Catholic idea from the Protestant idea. Of course, disfavorably for the Protestant idea. But he doesn't see the shadow in this particular image of Catholicism in the US, which is seen clearly in the heart of Vatican II. At the basis of the visible body, which is his Church, Christ Jesus has placed a visible foundation, Peter and his successors. From them, all power and jurisdiction is derived. In the same way, our Blessed Father makes the entire organization of the monastery depend upon the abbot. When the supreme of racial authority holds all the activity of the monastery and all delegation, the principal officials in the monastery, the choir, cellar, and deans are instituted by the abbot. Not only does the first investiture of these officials depend upon the power of the abbot, but in the exorcism, and so on. The centralization of power within the hands of the abbot is one of the most distinct ideas in the monastic church.


And then he goes on and modifies it somewhat. But you get the idea, you see. If you're not careful, you get the idea that all grace flows through the abbot. And this is, once again, a Catholic truth. If God only comes to you through authority. If God only comes, in that sense, from above. If he doesn't come out of the ground. But the Holy Spirit comes up from the ground of your heart. The Holy Spirit is indwelling in your own center. And he comes to you in all directions in everything that happens in your life. Now, Marmion knows that, of course. He knows it better than I do. And he frequently says it. But nevertheless, this investiture depends on the absolutizing of the mediation of the institution and particularly of authority within the institution, which is the abbot. Now, Martin is writing out from under that. You see, he's writing out from under the shadow of that structure and of that ideology. And that's why he's so vivid. Because he's seeing how far it can be carried when you really have, in addition to that Benedictine


kind of absolutizing, which can be very benevolent in some Benedictine monasteries. Because the Benedictine can also spread through moderation. If you take the Trappist Reform and put it on top of that, you've really got something. The Trappist Reform, which centers on penitence and on work, and then put on top of that the energetic American personality and the old Irish Jansenism. You've got a pretty good mixture. You can drive yourself up in the car. That's what was happening. So you've got the institutional model and you've got the personal model. Now, we could talk about some other models, too. Where Martin, where was it, on page 16, where he talks about being able to adjust the institution in order to emphasize on one aspect. You can dream up about four other models depending on which of those values you select, you see, to organize monasticism around. Whether it be the liturgy. Because some people think that monasticism has been their treasured benediction for the purpose of the solemn praise of God in the liturgy.


You can make the liturgy the center of your life as a benediction, because that's the way St. Benedict can seem to set it up in his room. He has so much space to do it in an office. He can seem that way. And because of the locus table and so on, there's a lot of chapter for you to come up with. Or poverty and labor. Now, you can consider that monasticism is sharing a lot of the common man through poverty and labor. Or openness to the world. You can consider that monasticism basically is to offer a place to the world for its being recreated, for its finding that. It's a hospitality. In some way. Or Trappist vigorism. You can conceive of monasticism as a life of penitence. In other words, a life of return to God through bearing hardship. Through asceticism. And you can devise other, also, you can have a purely mystical model of monasticism. You can see it's not a completely simple thing.


Or rather, it's simple and complex at the same time. Okay. We're on page 17. Right now, it's a matter, like with Merton, it's a matter of moving to a new model, moving to a new paradigm, as they say, also in the secular science. I think I mentioned to you before that Book of David is always entitled Models of the Church, in which he sets forth five models. Previously, the institutional model had been almost absolute. Everybody thought of the church, the Catholic church, as an institution, as a hierarchical institution. And the people that are there thought of themselves almost as beings and outside of it, not quite. And he points out that there are several other models that you can introduce to one being the mystery of the communion of love. Another one being the servant of God. Another is the herald, the preacher of the gospel. Another one is the sacrament model, which is pretty deep, which Patrick combined. And a couple of the others. We don't need to go into that.


But you can see that what is true of the church expanding into a pluralism of models is true also of the mysticism. And basically, at the bottom of this thing, you keep going deeper, you see, you keep finding deeper levels. If you consider the problem that Merton puts us in within the two models. If you go even deeper, you find the tension between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Because the Old Testament is an institutionalized religion in Jesus' conviction. Now, it wasn't meant to be that way. In the Patriarchs, it's not originally that way. Then with Moses and the law and the whole thing, it continues to get heavier and heavier and heavier and more institutional. So you get the Judaism described in the Pharisees, which is like a very heavy burden or a very heavily constructed building in some way. And here, of course, I'm doing a clue, but we have to do it in a different way. And Jesus comes in and radically criticizes, radically shakes and upsets that whole institution. And that's why there's the panic somewhere. So, instead of, he says, this temple will be


torn down, okay, and the temple will be rebuilt in three days, that's my body. So you go from the temple of stone to the temple of the body, the personal temple, the temple of the human being, which is not only Jesus, but also those who believe in him, in some kind of an organic community that goes into him. And that's the basic interplay here. But the point is that the Old Testament is never in the past. It's always with us. Because we've always got mortality. And we've always got a bunch of natural laws that govern our very being. Even if we don't invent any laws at all and ask the Lord to search for us, we're governed by simply the law of gravity. And that's a kind of archetypal heaviness. And that means death, that means mortality. And really there are a whole set of other laws that we're subject to until the resurrection. So the Old Testament, the Old Testament tension lasts until we die and rise again. Then we're liberated. Then the New Testament is really fully in the New Testament. And until then, we're always sort of living in the New Testament and the Old Testament together.


That's a point that I could argue about at length. But I think that's the bottom line that this thing is talking about. So you see, we're never going to be free. But we're continually striving to be free, to transform the stone into flesh, to transform the institution into person, into love, to transform the law into love. It's a work that's continually going on. That's what Jesus is. He takes all the laws and the laws of God and says, if one gets to know me, love. Okay. So it's a work that has to be done again and again and again. And while we're doing it, we can't throw away the institution. That's the point. Any more than we can throw away our bodies, the place that we live. Question about acceptance. You can't be free of something that has come before you. That's right. That's right. There are some things that have gone before us


and are already sort of in the past, like things that we've experienced. There are other things that remain with us, like rules. I'd like to buy the body from you as the place that we are with. The body that is mortality and below the rules of government. So, if they're made too solid, we find that always they're getting in the way of God. That's right. People sometimes disregard them. It's harder to throw away. That's right. See, the churches in that place


of right now, this is what I'm concerned with. Between having a pretty complete legal structure and having more freedom. But that will always be legal. The point is that there has to be a continuing turnover of law into person, or law into love. It's a thing that never stops. Because somehow, strangely, we are moving forward. You see? That's right. So, both outside and inside, there has to be this continual movement. Which the law tends to resist. Jesus does it, especially with the Sabbath, because the Sabbath is kind of the archetypal law that sets aside the sacred space. And Jesus humanizes the Sabbath and continually violates it in order to show that the law itself has to give way to love. Okay. I'm talking about


solitude, first of all. The wilderness things, being the core of monasticism. There has to be community, there has to be brotherhood. It can't be purely charismatic. You have to preserve the authentic wisdom drawn from the experiences of ages when monasticism was there. Monasticism has to be more democratic than in the past. That may seem strange, but there is a process going on in history that you can't deny. You can't step aside from it. Abbot will need to be a spiritual father, not a prelate. A prelate is a pontifical figure. A prelate is a pontifical person. A police chief and a corporation president are all important. He's a master, so to speak. It leaks out and you don't care. More initiative, spiritual guidance rather than institutional control. All this is very difficult. It's a matter of growing up. The superiors have to grow up and the monks have to grow up. It's no easier for the superiors


to grow up than it is for the monks. Because you can remain an infant in control as well as an infant in the court. Charism and monastic vocation is one of simplicity and truth. The rules and disciplines of community life have merely created an atmosphere of formalism and artificiality. We've had plenty of experience of that, and that's why things are a little looser now because we're coming out of what Merton is kind of figuring. It is tragic that in the name of discipline and obedience, monastic silence has been exploited as a means of keeping the monks out of touch with each other. Indeed, fearful and suspicious of one another. I don't know whether it's really that way. It's not as if a rule of silence was ever instituted in order to keep monks out of touch with one another, but that's what happens. Unfortunately, there's a kind of


dovetail effect that happens where you get St. Benedict preaching about silence and humility, and it so happens that silence and humility dovetail perfectly into a certain kind of authority, a certain kind of power structure. So, what happens is that human nature, on its not-better side, takes over on both sides. On the side of authority are people who love control and love not to have their vote dropped, just to keep the status quo and keep everything in order. On the other side you've got the passive people who like not to have to make any decisions, or who enjoy vegetating, quietly hibernating. So the two interlock perfectly. And then here you've got a virtue which interlocks with some kind of human weakness on both sides. And that's what happens. It is not deliberate. He makes it sound as if it were malicious. See, I think


it didn't start that way, but the Trappist regime, it could get that way after a while. It became, could become an instrument for just keeping people quiet and avoiding trouble. It's really easier, actually, if they've been going on for a couple hundred years. It just falls into that kind of expertise. Monastic and Trappist disclosure has at times become nothing more than a means of keeping one's ignorance of the outside world in the hope that they would become indifferent to its tragic context and not create any bother. They're having problems of conscience over things like war, poverty, race and evolution. Okay, now that too is a bit of an overstatement, I think. It wasn't deliberate to begin with. It's there, and then it becomes a very convenient way of avoiding trouble after a while. That is, it becomes invoked without fully realizing it semi-consciously as a way of keeping things quiet. It just glides into it.


A perfect example is a book by what's the name, name who wrote about it, I think, Ronald Ronald Ruth Burroughs reported it in the past. There is an example, but another superior who's kept everybody in his table. The trouble is that the way he says this plays right into the criticisms of a lot of people who don't like monasticism at all. In other words, monasticism, monotheisticism, that is, it's a pernicious thing. He's exaggerating here in a way that seems a little dangerous. He tries, you know, he saves it for the moment. One who dedicates himself to God by vows today finds himself committed for life to a massively organized, rigidly formalistic institutional existence. My God, imagine. And then you read a vocational brochure of a


monasticist. He should come out of this. See, he's putting it on a little bit. Or, why do you stay in the monastery? I don't know. Questions cease to have any See, he gets carried away. He's got such a gift for this. Once he starts, he can't stop. He's a kind of sarcasm. Questions cease to have any point if you already know the answers but the trouble is that they're not answered since the entire firm decision is to ignore the question. The institution is identified with God and becomes an end in itself. And that's where it is. You see, that's the trap of the institutional model. That's the trap of the Catholic thing. And everything has its shadow. I guess God doesn't have any shadow. But everything has a shadow. Maybe we're God's shadow. Including the Catholics, too.


The better things are, the bigger shadow the madness evokes. And the shadow is precisely a kind of self-absolutism. The shadow is what shuts out the light. In other words, it's something's own size shutting out the light. Well, the shadow is a place where the light's not getting there. Right? Yeah. Now I've become confused. I have to go back to the text. I have to go back to the text. There's no alternative with regard to this institutional life and all its details. You run away. It's a wonder you didn't break out. It's a wonder you didn't get a hacksaw and a plate. What year was this? About sixty-five. Yeah, the book was published in sixty-seven. He died in sixty-eight. And when he goes on about the spiritual dynamo


model, he's beautiful. I've never seen the book quite so. The beautiful machine, which, as long as it runs smoothly, it remains infallible, is what's been done, exerting an irresistible influence on the institution of manifold irresistibility. But if you go through this, you've got to have a very good grip on the real thing of manifold. So the reaction of people very often, I think young ones, is to just determine yourself and not listen to them at all, because either that or to say, yeah, that's it. That's all. Yeah. Yeah. And then he talks about the loss of vocation and so on, neurotic anxiety and monstrosity. So I see that this article wasn't really that good at choice. I'd read it once or twice, in fact, I even did my color job on it.


This neurosis business. A long while ago, Sebastian Moore, who had written an article, a famous article, called Catholic Neurosis. And then another fellow, a priest, a French priest, wrote one called The Christian Neurosis. Now this is the third stage, not only perfecting the thing, but putting it out as a monastic neurosis. It's the ultimate consummation. However, he talks about consummation, compensations, and how the stronger people compensate by dominating, and the weaker people find their power by manipulating others. I never read Peter Pan. What was his personality like? I only remember that green lady swinging on the trapeze and making advertisements for you. Okay. Do you understand? Yes.


I remember you were passively dependent, were you? No, I don't understand. Then, yeah, he goes off on this tirade about the people who love power. And it turns out that there are quite specific people, towards the middle of the page, page 21. It also, unfortunately, happens that these people advocate, so he's thinking two or three guys in his own household because he should. Because they have a particular model of monasticism, and that's this monumental monastic and basically static concept of monastic power. Then, the kind of leaders that he wants to find, that would come from the new generation, would be kind of the guerrilla ones. Yes. Yeah, that's right. He's got a good dose of it.


From within the prison walls, he was a kind of leader. We can almost feel the Central America. But they have to have the testament formation. Creative forces at work, and those who are fully aware of the real nature of the monastic vocation, not just to become a cog in an institutional machine, but as a charismatic breakthrough to liberation of wealth. Martin gets wiser as he gets older, too. This is kind of surprising, that he polarizes things as much as he does here. Where there isn't, there is. He's dramatizing the tension between the two. Well, it's hard to talk about this, and to talk about all the monasteries in the Church, all the institutions in the Church at once.


That's in a way what he has to do, and that's about it. Now he talks about tradition. Tradition, he's on page 22 at the time, is not passive submission to the obsessions of former generations, as charismatic, intense sarcasm, the obsessions of former generations, but a living ascent to a current of uninterrupted vitality. And that's pretty good. The trouble is that it's hard often to find that current of uninterrupted vitality. Where we find ourselves is between the two, sort of, you know. There are those obsessions of former generations, like with the Trappists, you know, the obsession for penitence and for work, which shortened their life expectancy in a few years. But on the other hand, this current of uninterrupted vitality, by golly if anyone was to find that, it sounds like a fountain of years. And it's not quite that visible, not quite that visible. It's hidden in the mystery of people's lives. And usually you don't see communities of movement


in that vitality. It is a living spirit marked by freedom and by a certain originality. Fidelity to tradition is not in the enunciation of our initiative. Humanisticism is nothing if not created. Now, that's hard to reconcile with the fact that having rules, externs, which are handed down from the very essential, is not created. Because the individual can always be created. The community can always be created. There are certain things that cannot be basically created. And today, some good things can be created. To be created is quite a busy question. Because it's as if we find ourselves suddenly shot five centuries away from where we were in the Bible by what is happening in our time. And what is really happening is as if we were kind of in control. ...


... [...] Well, it depends on which level you talk about it. It's not creativity just in the sense of superficial change, and it's not creativity in the sense of introducing something absolutely new. But he means it in the sense, if your life today is not a fresh response to what you need, then monasticism is not alive anymore. And he means that on the level of the individual, on the level of the community. So if our response to the situation of today is not creative, if we are not able to take the same vocation, the same thing, and realize it in a fresh way today, then we're not alive as one. I think that's true. And also the fact that monasticism is meant to give growth. Growth is basically creative. Because it's always being new. And always being something that you weren't before. You're still the same thing. Especially in the monastic tradition.


But growth always means reaching to somewhere where you weren't yesterday. Becoming something you weren't before. Or stretching yourself. That's what we mean. Now the stretching could be in an uncreative way sometimes. You can stretch yourself on a rack. You can stretch yourself in all kinds of ways. You can tie yourself in knots, and that's the kind of stretching. Or the stretching can be creative. But the practice of life is sketchier, but not always in a creative way. I don't want to define my words too much. But I believe in that notion of creativity. See, it depends on how we line things up. If we line monasticism up with Christianity, and we say Christianity is basically creative because it's bringing the new world into the old world. Just as we start bringing the new system into the old system. And you see the creativity has to be effective in that way. I'd like to talk about this another time


in terms of the word. In creative words. The creativity in monastic life springs from the natural desire of man for truth and for communion. First of all, truth and communion. Talk about the contemplative life or contemplative community, that's what we're talking about. So the contemplation is not just a kind of sporadic or isolated experience. But it's a breakthrough of that truth in which we are based. Or that truth which is which we're flowing through. Or that truth which is the matrix and the medium of our life. And in which we have communion. If we talk about monasticism as a wisdom tradition, that's what we mean. Truth and communion. The truth of love and communion in the second truth which is handed down like the contemplative truth. Now here again Martin is swinging into his best keys because he's talking


positively about what monasticism is. And then the supernatural gift which is simply an elevation of truth and communion in the mystery of Christ. And that mystery of Christ is the key of all things. He talks about tradition, that's what we have to do in section. Then he starts throwing his rocks in the opposite direction. To restrict locations to this or that narrow area. Now here he's talking about people who don't admit that monastic life is a valid location. And so we have to go out there and mark it first. Be with the speaker. So he disposes of that. Down at the bottom. The specific value that draws a Christian into the desert in solitude. And for him that is the monastic life. He's very different from Martin. Martin would say the monastic life is living in a monastery. In the cenobitical society. Martin says it's living in the desert. There's a deep sense that


God alone surprises. Now that you can chew on to see whether you agree with it or not. I think it stands pretty well. See Panacart tells you that the monk is being the first Christian center of the center. Involving the center. And I think this is the center, isn't it? The center is that which alone surprises. And the ultimate center is God. And then there's the center of our own person. And we know that if we live a simple life we can move back somehow into that center which we find is sufficient so that we can let go of a lot of other things. So the monk has to let go of all kinds of things. Wife, and families, and business, and all those things. In order to be concerned with that center, we compliment this God. Which is God himself. The life of God. So, we'll be talking about that later. And then he gets to one of his key affirmations. They realize themselves to be called to a totally different mode of existence outside of secular categories. A. And outside of the religious


establishment. B. This is the very heart of monasticism. Now that would be contested. This is another model of monasticism. You see monasticism as being an inner bastion of the church. Hence a firmly established monasticism is a self-contradiction. So, you can see, remember when we were talking about history, we talked about the conservative church. And here we're talking about the Christian world. You can draw that all the time. We're talking about monasticism. We're talking about this dynamic of monasticism. Now, he says it's outside of the secular categories. He says also that it's outside


of the institution of church, where the church is established. He's describing monasticism. Yes, it's a nationality, and I wonder why. Because the benefit of monasticism tends to create an establishment which is harmonious with a micro-position of the church established. So that's a monastic thing. If this act of monasticism were this way, as an institution of authority, identity, structure, salvation has to be there. But his model is quite different. His model is to see it, or maybe hear it, but not as a church. That's not his model of monasticism. Monasticism, we're talking about the Catholic Church. If you've never met the mythical church, which is Daniel, of course, the other one, you have to see it. Other people have said that monasticism


belongs over here, in the world, with the monks, and somehow with the secular Christians. But even I usually do not hear that from people. There's a world of monasticism. There's some monks amongst them. Some of the good monks would be out there. But I'm trying to say that it's neither one of those. It's not very clear to the secular world what monasticism is. But it stands outside the world, and offers a kind of prophetic viewpoint of what monasticism is. We don't know much about the world of monasticism. More about just the scene that's happening in the world. And a lot of it is because of what we've seen in the Catholic monastery, and all the things that were censored in the book. And to have an infomercial, you see, so that's another side of all the problems.


Question from the audience. Question from the audience. He wanted to have a number of experiences that he wasn't able to have. And even free to travel, I think he would have. But he lived in various monastic scenes. Question from the audience. They've disputed about that


since that time. No, one of his friends, I don't know, maybe not whether he wrote it, because he was able to think different ways at different times, especially in that book. He says things that sometimes don't seem to reconcile perfectly. One of his friends at least said that he had time to leave the monastery. And there was a strong holding on to the homily. That's pretty much it. Whatever. Okay. Then he gets to the core that really interests him, which is the true creator spirit must be part of love and authentic desire for God. This is the mystical dimension of all of this. Monastic ordination is one which implicitly is not explicit. It seeks the experience of union with God, the contemplative. He knows that obedience is his spine, to purge his desire, but that he can't take the place of that other thing.


The need for spiritual liberation, the need for vision. These are kind of universal goals of monasticism. But these are systematically frustrating if institutional formalities are substituted for them. This is the real problem of monastic renewal. Not a surrender to the secular city. See, that would not improve all these things. But a recovery of the deep desire of God that draws him in to seek a totally new way of being in the world. Now, how can he say that? Is that his definition of monasticism? Totally new way of being in the world. That's the desire. It is the desire for the kingdom of heaven. I suppose you'd say that. The desire to be totally transformed in God, which is a new way of being in the world. In a way, the reason for a monastery is to give people a try to do that, give them a chance to do it. Even though the monastery can never claim to be the kingdom of God. Sometimes that is my temptation to do that.


It's not enough just to say no to the world. And the problem of the young monk at the top of page 24. In quest of renewal, looks for something to say yes to. Nothing to say yes to is the world. He comes up with the same message as the world itself. So monasticism has to have its yes inside of itself. Those are both that total repudiation of the world and the yes to the world, the simple thing of going back into the world, are both mistakes, he said. And then he gets into a discussion that's a little harder for you to see precisely. The monastic life is neither worldly nor unworldly. And I depend on the term in the way in which he says it. The monastic life is worldly. You begin to look at it as a world, obviously. There is not artificially otherworldly. We merely intend to be liberated and simple. But that means


when we let go, we move ourselves out of the world in a certain sense. I'd like to point out once again, one of the problems that's involved here is that the specifically monastic principles that we think of are usually renunciation and so on, which in a very real way are negatives. They're letting go at some point. And if we forget the basic positive then we're in trouble. If we forget that the more important word in those two words, monastic life is life, rather than monastic living in the world. That it's somehow more important to be a Christian than to be a monk. If we let the specific, which in the case of the monk is in a way a negative. Positive, chastity, and so on. In a way, I say, but obviously not in another sense. But if we let that specifically monastic monastic renunciation predominate over the positive life, then we're going to be in trouble. And we'll find that psychologically


it takes a while. Oh yeah. Except when you replace those things that are in your mind as positive. Except You've got to find a point of Except the place You've got to find your positive ground in which this is built. Creation. Let me put it this way. Here's monasticism. And it can look a little negative if you want to look at it. Renunciation.


Monastic renunciation. Now this is built on top of Christianity. And what's Christianity? If I don't If I don't If I don't put a flag What are we going to do? I think it's like recreation. Recreation finally And where does the creation come from? It comes from the word. That's all for crude.


In a sense, you can have a monasticism as being totally renunciation. And that's part of the Christianity. Christianity being the crude idea that comes along with marriage and family and youth and sex And Christianity comes along with the crude. It's very close to that. But then you go further and find out that Jesus was also Jesus was also Jesus was also. But everything can turn into a negative if we somehow think of it as a positive thing. It doesn't matter if it's a negative thing. It's a very important principle. Because it is essential that this humanity and the religious identity and essence of this humanity are seen as omnipotent. As if the whole of the world is omnipotent. And it's not because it's built on top of everything. It's because it's part of everything. It's because it's all one big part of it. Do you read the Bible?


Huh? Do you read the Bible? No. No. No. Yeah. It's a negative thing. And most of the people in the secular world see it that way. It's the cross and it's guilt. And it's sin and punishment. So the most important thing in the world is that we recover that positive. Recover that upward power. And without recovering the earth and the creation I don't think we can do it. That's what your analysis is all about. Because you've got that. It hasn't left the ground yet. But as soon as we get focused on a specific thing


it's another form of that isolation thing by which my gifts my thing is the most important thing in the world. The artist trip and so on. It's another form of that. But it's much more general and primitive. It creeps in also to religion. Anyway. Okay. I wanted to finish this today so I guess we can probably let go there. He finally addresses himself after going into one of his favorite ways of looking at the monastic life. At liberation from the lucid and terrible darkness of the contemplation and the rationalization of contemplation. He can be so sarcastic. He's all broken glass and laser glazed in one place and then here flows his poetry and his nectar comes pouring out out of his heart. And then he speaks a word to the monks he says do not be discouraged. Do not be impatient. Do not be afraid. Hold on. Okay.


Next time I would like to go on to that article by Booth. And I think there is a kind of continuity here between what we've been talking about now and that. Because we're trying to find our ground. And the ground really is the world. And even if the ocean comes out of the world. And if we have a central practice in our monastic life. In a monastic life it is. It sounds like some kind of a head shape. Some kind of a scholarly ivory tower or something like that. It's not that. It's another finding of ground. And finding the tradition that Martin has spoken about. Which is not only monastic tradition. It's got to be the broader tradition. The tradition of simply what God has spoken. So. Okay. We'll do that. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen. Our brother Patrick.


He called up yesterday. Thomas is in the guest house. And he said he had finished his message at home. So he'll be back. He's going to come with David. Things. It's not like we can change the situation. Because his father knows him well. Maybe his sister is going to help us. I didn't hear. Okay. Oh yes. Sure. Amen.