March 15th, 1983, Serial No. 00544

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Monastic Orientation Set 2 of 2

AI Summary: 





There's that section in the RB1980 which treats of it explicitly and together, but it's only a couple of pages long. And you'll find a lot of references sprinkled through the following treatment in the RB82, these various texts, under each heading, as they go through each of those monastic planters. I'd like to encourage you to read some of those things. Let me mention some of the ones that are either more useful or more accessible. And first of all, the Sayings of the Fathers, either collection. You might want to go back over the other collections sometime, whichever one you pick. Remember, there's the alphabetical and there's the systematic. One is the Benedict Award book and the other is Wilson's Asceticism. Those you can read in a leisurely way. You'll find that you're likely to be more leisurely if you're reading the Benedict Award translation because they're alphabetical.


So they skip from one topic to another, from one subject to another, and you're not likely to want to go through just a whole bunch of them and move around so much. Whereas the others collected in chapters, you tend more to think in a continuous way and to be trying to glean something out of a series of them. Then there's Evagrius, the chapters on prayer and the practicos. Both of those are fairly brief and they're in Father Bamberger's convenient book there. And the Life of Anthony, of course. All of these texts are fairly short, they're reasonably sized. St. Basil, part of the larger rules. Get a sampling of his treatment, his theological treatment. The Ascetical Life. And those longer rules, which are in the Fathers of the Church, I think it's probably nine. We have two copies of them. You can try some of his other Ascetical Works if you want. But those are particularly incisive, particularly solid.


Then there's the Life of Proconius, which is worth reading too. There's a particular primitive grassroots saver in Proconius' lives. There are different lives, but the first life, I think, is pretty good. It's translated pretty good. The rules and so on of Proconius, however, you'll find are pretty heavy. A lot of prescriptions. It's not very ritualistic. Then, remember those two collections, which are somewhat similar. The Historia Monocorum, which is translated by Benedict to a word under the title of Lives of the Desert Fathers, which came out only a couple of years ago. And then there's the Lauseat History. I'd suggest that you read one of those. The Historia Monocorum, Lives of the Desert Fathers, is a little more sober than the Lauseat History, which has that great ancient legend in it. Then there's Cassian. Now, Cassian's works are more voluminous.


And I'd suggest that you read the institute's book four. The institutes are composed of twelve books. The first three are about the externals of the monastic life, the Sanvitical life. And if you are interested in that kind of thing, I'd go ahead and read them. But some people will find them rather heavy for that reason. He explains why the office is constructed the way it is, why the monks dress the way they talk. Then the following ones, after book four, are concerned with the eight evil thoughts, which he goes over again but more briefly in the conferences. If you are specializing in particularly evil thoughts, you may want to read them. It's good to take up one at a time. Among the conferences, some of them are much more important than the others, I think. And some of them you'll find much more powerful, much more interesting. I'll read the numbers of the ones that seem to me to be particularly worthwhile.


The first one, the second one, the third one. One, two, and three. The first is on purgatory. And I hope to get to that this morning. We have to make some digressions into the literature about what he's talking about. The bare bones of the history. The second is on discernment, which is key. And the third is on the stages of perfection. And then nine and ten, which are on prayer. Eleven, which again is on the stages of the spiritual. Gashin is very concerned. He uses that kind of structure as a way of just discussing the whole thing. People frequently use a structure which is kind of a scaffold, an artificial thing, in order to say a lot of things about something. Number fourteen, that's a key conference. That's the one on spiritual knowledge. It's really a beauty, in which he sets out the four different senses of scripture, the literal sense and the three spiritual senses. And that's a classic pattern. I've done it through the Middle Ages. Dilruba, that is monumental, the full value of America,


is the senses of scripture in the Middle Ages, which it is in the Old Testament. In fact, he's based on Origen. I don't know if Evagrius ever does that, but somehow it got from Origen to Gashin. And Gashin, I imagine, simplifies it a bit. With Origen, Origen is very subtle. He's not always consistent with himself. And he's extremely intuitive, Origen. And I think Gashin probably irons it out a little bit, and makes it very simple and easy to understand. If you want to study it in Origen, look in Daniela's book entitled Origen. But it's standard. It's in Gregory the Great, it's in everything. I think it begins with Origen. Origen is being re-windicated.


He hasn't yet been canonized. But he's not a father of the Church. Or a theologian. Some people say he's the greatest theologian in the Middle Ages. And he's been called the father of all heresies. I just got a little interested in Origen, because we've been studying Gnosticism in the other class. And it seems to me that Origen is the example of the Christian Gnostic who is so on the edge, and who is so brilliant, that he gets suppressed. He gets suppressed, but we had a teacher, and he was teaching us Gnostic history, and he said, in his poetic manner, the vessel was broken, but the fragrance filled the house. He was talking about Origen, because Origen, mostly after his death, I don't know if he was much persecuted during his life, but his followers and the system that was made by Evagrius out of Origen's thought, really got him in trouble. In fact, there's a section, which I read this morning, in that argumentative introduction,


about precisely that. The squabbles about Origenism, especially in Egypt, it's from page 34, up through 41. That's in the Harvey 1980 issue. There are several biographies in that introduction. And I've never been interested in that before, because I never saw the relevance. I always thought that Origenism squabble was kind of a rather dull piece of detail, but now I'm beginning to see the importance of it. One of the reasons you had to describe Origenism was because it was a troubled moment. It was a troubled moment, because you had to constantly ask the questions. Oh my goodness. Well, there is a moment. I suspect I've posed too many things wrong. I still have to read that. Where did that come from?


Well, he's got something to do with the Democratic Party. They're predicting about the same thing. Yeah, it's the same one. It just appeared mysterious. Yeah. And the crux of it seems to be this. The way it's presented here, the crux of it is this. I'm going to have to look at it further. It's very important for our Gnosis thing, you see. Between Orthodox Gnosis, which is the understanding of Christianity and the Word within the faith, and then the heretical Gnosticism, which is a whole other weird system, which puts on a Christian practice, which puts on the Christian exterior, but the workings of it inside are really something else. You see, it bypasses the whole Christian history. Now, Origen doesn't bypass the Christian history. He's a good theologian. But he puts the accent very heavily on knowledge, and he gives you kind of an incarnation theology,


which is typical of the East after his time, rather than the passion theology that we often have in the West, and the theology of the Cross in the West, radicalized by the Protestants, and heavy also on the Catholicism, versus a more incarnational, or Joannine theology, as it is. It's like Pauline versus Joannine. With Paul it's that the Cross is incarnate, the Cross is an incarnation, but St. John is more the incarnation, just the revelation, the manifestation that has come. So, that is over on the boundary of the Church, which is the borderline, on the outside of which is Gnosticism, and that's the side of kind of audacious speculation, and getting the spiritual sense of the Scripture. See, Origen is not very interested in the historical sense of the Scripture. He'll get it, and he'll get it carefully, because that's the basis of all the other senses. But what he's really interested in is what they call the theoria, or the spiritual sense, or the interior sense of the Scripture.


Now, on the other side you have people who are insisting on literalness, insisting on the external structures of the Church, and of monasticism very often. And in Egypt they had this thing about images and God somehow manifesting himself in perceptible forms. Now that's where it comes out here. The contest about Origenism, according to this author, is between the Egyptians, the Copts, who had a very simple devotional Christianity in which they used images a lot, and the more sophisticated Greek approach, which is to put the images down and go for the spiritual, or the more intellectualized or abstract approach to God, doing away with images. So there's a great struggle between the two. Now, there's more there than meets the eye,


in that behind that there can also be the struggle between a spiritualist Christianity, which says, for instance, that there is an invisible Church, which is much more important than the visible Church with its structures, with its authority, and so on. Meaning the Bishops. See, this lady Pagos came up with this book called The Gnostic Gospels, and that's her thesis, is that the real vibrant Christianity, she doesn't quite say it that way, she claims she's not sympathetic to Gnosticism, but it comes out that way in the book, that the real living Christianity was largely in the Gnostic movement, but because it got into trouble with the structures of the Church, which put all of the weight on externals, including the externals, let's say, of Christology, or of Archaeology, like the Witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, and so on. Because of that, they were sort of excluded.


Now, she says that the Orthodox structured Church won, the Gnostics were excluded, and that's the way it's come down to us, that's the way the history has come down to us. But she overdoes it. Pagels. It's a well-known book, because it was published by Osborne Howard, and he's got a lot of... Listen, she's wild. She's a feminist, and what she's really pushing behind it all is the priesthood for women, which may or may not be legitimate, but at any rate, she falsifies the book, distorts the whole picture, because she interprets it politically. Instead of theologically, she doesn't have a grip on the theology of it. In other words, she claims that the Witness to the Resurrection was a political expedient of the structural Church. Now, that's weird. That underlines the whole of Christianity. She starts right off with that. And many other things in her life. But nevertheless, she brings up some useful information. Now, the Origenism struggle is related to that, in some way.


And notice how the bishops and the monks are both involved in it, and how there's a polarization between the Greek, or more intellectual, or more metaphysical, philosophical, or abstract, or, in a way, I thought you'd say spiritual, and the more simple, unlettered, Egyptian, Coptic image-using, as they call it, anthropomorphic type of monasticism. Now, that's the way the contests come up. Remember the fights they had later about this thing, by Conquest and so on. So that's a critical thing. And remember how it's connected with the Incarnation and with sacramentality, with the whole basic structure of Christianity, including the liturgy. And it's not a simple thing, because both of those positions have some truth in them, you see. Because Christianity does have that interior, and if you lose that, if you lose that spiritual dimension, it becomes a pretty flat thing, a pretty heavy moralizing, juridical, empty thing, if you scoop out that gnosis and throw it away.


Now, with the suppression of originism, that's what tends to happen, I think, in certain places. Evidently, that's what happened pretty much in Egyptian monasticism. Element, that dimension of gnosis was snuffed out and was pushed elsewhere. And then monasticism became pretty good. Yes. ... Some of those things have to be taken as poetry, rather than as straight dogmatic theology. And poetry is legitimate. The theologians, they should do more political theology,


because they have to be careful how they say things. The origin is a fundamental theological person in the Church whose importance is built into the Church. It's like St. Augustine. He's built into the Church, he can't remove it, a lot of the things that he said. And he said a lot of those things before they were heretical, because no council had met or decreed them made up. And we'll probably find ourselves getting back to that. His influence is enormous, not only over Evagrius and Cassius, by which he gets into the rule of St. Benedict, in the West there was St. Benedict, but in the East, to the Cappadocians, especially Gregory of Nyssa, and then down to the Romans, different traditions. Okay, so much about the literature, I'll take a few recommendations. About the early monastic history,


every time I look at it, I back away from it, because I don't want to try to teach history in this class. So I'll leave it to you, I'd like to read that, and then if there are questions, we can try to talk about them in class. And then I'll try to get some points, which you can ask questions in anyway. So, the history you can read by yourselves. It's in Pfeiffer, in that section, the origins of monasticism, especially from 37 to 58. However, thinking it over, I think it's good to read the whole of that section, and not to stop, say, with early monasticism. I think it's very risky right now, where we're at, to clip history into sections, and say, well, we're going to study the 4th century, or we're going to study from the 1st century to the 5th. If you don't bring it up to your own time, it's not going to do any good. At least it doesn't, until you come around to sort of integrating it. So I suggest that you get an idea


of the whole stream of the development of monasticism. Even though Pfeiffer is very sketchy, after he gets to the lower second of it, it just gives you a couple of high spots. There's very little about the recent centuries. And you might think, well, in a century, there is very little to say about them. But there is to say about them. During the recent centuries, we've largely lost the heritage of monasticism. That's why it's important to talk about it, to see where it went. This is Pfeiffer in, say, 37 through 58. That's his sketch of the history of monasticism. I'm just going to mention some landmarks there. I don't think I'm going to have enough time to talk about it. Before I forget it, a couple of other history references. There's an article by Armando Yu,


entitled the Evolution of the Religious Life in its Historical and Spiritual Context, which I think would be good to read. He goes all the way from the beginning right up to the present time. He's not talking only about monasticism, but about the religious life. He's a travesty of a Mr. Senior, remember? Up in Canada. Armando Yu. His name can only be spelled by experts. V-E-I-L-L-E-U-S. He's one of the biggest, what do you call it, monasticists. Monasticism. He travels around the world. Yeah, I'll put this on the shelf. It's from Cistercian Studies. Then there's, if you want a copious treatment on any section concerning Egypt and Palestine, there's Chitty. You're going to try to read that. And then that R.V.1980 introduction,


which is really very useful. But it seems to me also that better off I'll have that for some time. Let's try to make a brief sketch then of just some phases, which I've numbered here, but don't worry about the numbers, of this development of monastic history. First we have that mysterious period before monasticism, before monasticism. Those virgins and ascetics of the early period. By the way, their origin was called a monk before monasticism. He died about 280, and he died before he became a monk. And he was called that, not only for his life, but for his doctrine, which is really a monastic theology. Interpreting the journey of Christian life in terms of the exodus of Jews out of Egypt into the desert. A desert theology. Then we have the solitaries of the desert.


St. Anthony, the desert fathers. And here we're talking about Egypt, and we don't know very much about Syria. For those who are interested, there's a fascinating article by Gabrielle Winkler on what she proposes is the really earliest Christian socialism, Syrian socialism, which itself is mostly pre-monastic, the way she likes to name it. It's pre-monastic, if you like, paradigmatic. Because we find out that the Syrian thing is less removed from the Church than the Egyptian monastic institution. And it's got a strange holism, or a strange totality about it, a strange integrism, or whatever word you want to use. It's all one piece, the Syrian monasticism, in a very biblical way. Remember that the Syrians are Semites, and they've got that same kind of unity, unified personality that Semites have, which is all in motion. It's not as speculative. It's not a theoretical unity. It's more a kind of instinctive unity.


In that Winkler article, you'll see that notion of the one. And the notion of the monk as being the ikidia, or the idiot, as they say, which means the one, the only one, which means solitary, but which means also unitary. And with the unitariness of Christ, as realized somehow in his baptism, it's all connected with baptism. So he unlearned it very much as a piece. The other thing about it is that it's got a kind of sometimes disturbing wholeness about it, in the sense that everybody that baptized in certain places was expected to be, for almost a month, expected to be a celibate. So there's that kind of structure about it. And we don't know exactly how that relates to monasticism, because we've got a whole tradition in the vocabulary of monasticism that's grown up from the East, and from the Egyptians, and on into the West.


Then we've got Saint Pacomius bringing in the cenobitical life. He's the first founder that we know of community life. And he really founds. That is, he really organizes it. And you find these big communities which are organized with a distinct structure. They're not loose fraternities or brotherhoods or something like that. They're quite different from what the hermits and the little groups of hermits were doing in Egypt. They get pretty big too. He has a congregation of some thousands of monks. The key concept, of course, in Pacomian monasticism is that holy koinonia, which is a marvelous notion, a marvelous inspiration, I have to say, because of its biblical basis. And so what happens at this moment? This is something quite new in monasticism. When not only you are seeking the Lord within yourself, but seeking the Lord in solitude. Or among a brotherhood of other monks,


people seeking the same thing. But somehow the brotherhood itself takes on a theological quality. It's no longer just the teacher who is passing down this wisdom to you from St. Anthony or whoever it may be, or Moses or whoever it is, who is passing on this monastic wisdom to a circle of younger monks. Rather, the community itself, the horizontal relationship itself among the monks, takes on this theological depth. So it's an emergence like Pentecost, an emergence of the New Testament into the community scene itself, the social scene itself of monasticism. And so monasticism becomes thought of, the monastic community becomes thought of as a holy koinonia. Now you remember the history of that term. First of all, it's in 1 John. Right at the beginning of the first letter of John's work, what is it? It's the sharing in the life of the Trinity. The fellowship that the Father and the Son have with one another. The fellowship which is almost synonymous


with the Holy Spirit. It's in the Acts of the Apostles. As the title for the brotherhood. The title for the apostolic community. The first chapters of the Acts. And also it's in 1 Corinthians, I think, chapter 10, I found this in the article in 1980, these three letters. Of course, St. Paul talks about the Eucharist as koinonia. Koinonia is communion. So it's communion in the body and blood of Christ. He uses the Greek term koinonia. So it's got that very rich biblical substance to it. And then it's brought in to be synonymous with the monastic community. So the very experience of your life among your brothers puts you in touch with all of that. So here we find ourselves with two models of monasticism brought side by side. We've pointed this out before. You've got the desert model of monasticism which is that exemplified by the hermits, Anthony and Macarius and Moses,


and then you've got the Jerusalem community, the apostolic community, or koinonia model, exemplified first by Pocomius. Now, Pocomius is not just a church. This is very monastic. And here we notice the difference from St. Basil where he's on the same page. See, with Pocomius you've got a real separation from the church. You're out in the desert. It's not an ecclesial community with women and children around itself. If there's a community of women, they're separated. They're across the river. It's a celibate community which is properly monastic in every sense of the word, but is no longer solitary, except that the solitude somehow has brought itself into the life itself. It resembles the later Trappist life in that way, I think, that it's not simply a fellowship where there's free communication among everybody. There's a discipline also of silence. There's a discipline of interiority. Let me see now.


I think the offices were heavier. The offices were longer. I think, didn't Pocomius have the tradition of the twelve psalms, I think, in each office? So they would do that several times a day for long hours of prayer. And the office would be done differently, I believe, because it was probably not sung by all the monks, but probably by a reader while the others listened. So there are a lot of features like that. The work was carefully organized, and in fact the communities were split, the congregation was split into different communities based on their craft or based on their work, which sounds like the regimentation, which is a little alien to monasticism, I would say, and quite different from St. Benedict. Yeah, I can't say much more about it without dipping into the books, but you can find that in the RV1980, and I believe it in Piper. Whereas with St. Benedict


you don't seem to have that wave, you know. Pocomius was riding the crest, riding that wave of the movement of the Holy Spirit into the desert, and so his organization had to cope with that. St. Benedict doesn't seem to have the same problem. And Pocomius himself, remember, had quite an interesting path in his life. He was a soldier, and he experienced that kindness of the Christians, and he wanted to be a monk like the others, but God said to him, no, your vocation is to serve men, as I remember, by teaching them how to follow God, something like that, serve men by bringing them to God. So even the monastic vocation at that point, he takes a different twist in his case, very clearly, because this was an angelic message, something like that, so the life goes. So the whole interpretation turns a corner with Pocomius, and we have two things side by side. The pluralism of Christian life now begins to get manifested also in the monastic life, which is a very healthy thing. They would respect one another,


but there's that story about Antony talking with some of the disciples of Pocomius, and saying, well, your father has found a better way than mine. Because he says, there weren't any monasteries around, and I probably, historically, don't know the disciples of Pocomius. When I came out here, there weren't any monasteries, and now he's planted the holy plant. That's right, that's right, very much so. Well, I don't know if the connection is direct, or actually if it's kind of a new descent of that inspiration, or a kind of emergence of that inspiration. I don't know the fact of the influence, you see, because it's very hard to trace that path of influence between the primitive community, say, Jerusalem, and the beginnings of monasticism. There are a lot of links missing, whether it be with the solitary or with the communal ones.


But the connection, at least on the basis of what you see, is much clearer, even if the links are missing with Pocomius than it is with the solitary. You can say that that's kind of what an archetype of Christianity is going to emerge, wherever you see it emerging. Okay, then we get to St. Basil, who is quite different from Pocomius. Now, remember we were talking about Egypt up to now. Now we're talking about Syria, and we're talking about Cappadocia, and Asia Minor, and also Minor, and we're looking at the map of the way it was in Egypt. You'll find maps, by the way, in some of those books. In the heresy of monasticism, there are additional maps, and also in Tudor's book. Now, St. Basil, people squabble about whether he was really writing for monks or writing for Christians. Some people called this community a monastic community, others said, no, it wasn't a monastic community at all. It was simply a Christian community, which was trying to live


a full Christian life, according to the gospel, in a rigorous manner, but with women and children and everything. There seems to be a difference, actually, during the life of St. Basil. In his earlier ascetical works, he seems to be writing for a Christian community, pure and simple, which, however, with that typical Syrian thoroughness and holism, is attempting to live a life that is really just about monastic. In his later life, however, he seems to write for a community which is separated itself from the church to the extent that you have to ask, well, how do you decide which one's better and so on. So it's a separate institution in some ways. Now, the characteristic thing about St. Basil is his closeness to scripture, which is typical also of the Syrians that I've heard more about. Remember, being right almost in the language condition of the New Testament, is sort of instinctively stated in the same way that Christ did. I don't want to exaggerate that because, you know,


some of the wildest, most exceptional stunts of the Centurion were also done in Syria. Bugis writes about this in his book. So it's not entirely true. Those things can be sort of tangents that all come from the New Testament. Notice that even the Assyriac language, which is a language which appears just given about this time, is actually an offspring of Aramaic, itself an offspring of Hebrew. Aramaic is a language of Jesus, okay? So that's the basic language of the New Testament through Prophets, the Lord himself. There's a real continuity between that Syrian transparency and the New Testament itself. It's not quite so true in Egypt. Yeah? He went up to Damascus, and so on. St. Paul seems to have been pretty Greek in what he's describing. He, himself, was from where?


Tarsus in Asia Minor. So I guess that's not so far from Zen Basilism. That's up there in that promontory of what we usually think of Syria. It's in the north of Palestine, both to the west of the Antioch or the Barbarian Sea, and to the east. Eastern Syriac and Western Syriac traditions seem to match back to Spyridon. One who comes from the opposite land is from Syria. They have slightly different scripts. Okay, now, St. Basil, therefore, is very biblical, very New Testament. He's a real theologian. Remember, he's one of the fathers of the Church. He was involved in the struggles of Arianism, I think. And then, the people who fought against the divinity of the Holy Spirit, they were called the Humomachians or something like that because they fought the Spirit. They said the Spirit wasn't God. So you had to fight for every inch in those days. Of course, the Arians


don't want the Spirit. Christ is divine. So he had, remember, he wrote his work on the Holy Spirit. He's much esteemed as a dogmatic father. And remember, we even have the liturgy of St. Basil, actually. It's the alternative liturgy of St. Basil. There are countless icons of St. Basil. Do you ever notice how many there are? Usually, I think, he and St. John Cruz are together. He was a bishop of a very solid ecclesiastical community. One of the three congregations. His form of monasticism, therefore, is a fusion of an ecclesial theology and a some of the traits of the early monasticism. But that Syrian scene is still pretty mysterious. It's still emerging. It hasn't been studied much before, clearly, into the light. And one of the reasons is because it learned enough people to leave Syria. Yes.


You know, there's a connection because, as a matter of fact, I'm very dependent on what I learn after breakfast this morning. As a matter of fact, Evagrius was the ordained lector by St. Basil. Then he was ordained deacon by St. Gregory of Nazianzus, another two Cappadocians. But between Evagrius and Basil, there's a world of difference, OK? In that Evagrius is this completely focused, well, he's that, but he's a hermit. He's a solitary. And this interior spirituality, OK? For Basil, he's quite the opposite. He's an ecclesial figure, monastic figure, very much focused on externals and unsympathetic to the solitary life. Also, the differentiation between St. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa comes out as if Basil was a kind of choleric administrative figure somewhat, you know? A real churchman. And Gregory of Nyssa was a more poetic, sensitive,


interior, spiritual person who, you know, but St. Basil was too tough because they kind of got along. And the thing between Evagrius and Basil was a little bit the same, but there wasn't the, I don't know what the relationship between them was. So the thing that you're always finding about St. Basil is that he didn't like the hermetic life. And that comes out clearly enough in his writing, I think, in The Longer Rules where he has, one of his questions is whether somebody should live alone. He has about nine reasons right now. Who's sweet where you are? How will you manifest charity? How will you develop yourself? And yet it seems in practice that he did not exclude the solitary life. It seems that near his communities there would be hermeticism. But no doubt he had some excesses and so he was very cautious. And this is typical


of churchmen to be bishops dealing with hermits. Just as soon as that happened. Very often. As mentioned, there's quite a lot that's been wrong. The history originates from some of these priests. Who were the Aryans? Some of the Aryan people. Oh yeah. That's how we got confused. The Aryan, A-R-Y-A-N is a racial thing. Okay. It's an ethnic thing. And those are those people who descended into India. And then the word was re-picked up by Hitler and that's where it comes from.


Aryan? No. No, it's Arius. A-R-I-U-S And that one's spelled A-R-I-A-N Okay. They're the followers of Arius who denied that Christ was divine. So that's a whole other thing. Two quite different things. So the Aryan heresy was one of the biggest threats to the church in the first centuries. Yeah. Liberal Protestantism where the divinity of Christ doesn't get denied outright but it's sort of slipped away from. It's sort of, you know, it's sort of conjured away. And I've never understood really the roots of Aryanism exactly. That's a whole other question because you shouldn't be into it much. But I've never understood exactly the motivation for it quite clearly. It's a form of rationalism in a certain way. And rationalism has to do away with the mystery. It can't let those two those two truths dwell together. The thorough humanity of Christ


and the complete divinity of Christ without absorbing one or the other. Okay. We were talking about St. Basil. Now, St. Basil had a big influence on the rule of St. Benedict and hence on Western monasticism. It's a paradox, as Pfeiffer points out, that he's considered the great founder of Eastern monasticism because he didn't really found a form of monasticism that's endured down to a hard time. The forms come from other people. And there are Eastern monks who call themselves Basilian monks. It's kind of a general term for Eastern Santa Barbs, I think. But St. Basil didn't found that kind of monasticism. It seems that very often in tradition somebody, some great name becomes the umbrella for the whole other development or whatever. Then, St. Augustine. Now here, we're over in the West now. We're in Africa, Northern Africa. St. Augustine


had his own quasi-monastic experience. Remember his conversion and the connection with the life of St. Anthony? Remember his quasi-monastic experience with a few friends? What was it? Cassius? Cassius. And then, later on, his strong connective band. But he becomes a bishop. And the way that monasticism comes out in his later life is trying to organize his priests into communities. So he's really making communities of canons. And also helping some some sisters, some nuns, among whom, I think, was a sister of his. There's a famous letter of his written to his sister, which actually was a rule back to these people. It became a rule. They were very confused about the manuscript tradition and the different documents as there is, for instance, or was with the commoners, to sort out what's authentic and what's not, to sort out who it was intended for. But what we know him for


is his rule, which, among some other writings about monasticism, some of them are polemical writings, that monks should work and so on. It's one of those. So, I guess the monks who wore long hair and didn't work, this was already the rule, which is really for apostolic religions, for, I think, basically clerical religions, who are to live a common life. There's no stress on solitude. There's not a stress on the contemplative dimension, either. The focus is on poverty and common life and living the life as it were, of the primitive Christian community. And that also gets into the renaissance community, very much into Western monasticism. Then we have Cassian, who's a very interesting figure.


He's a bridge between Eastern and Western monasticism and who, to some extent, embraces both forms, the solitary form and the community. Remember, he wrote his Institutes for the Sabbites. He wrote his conferences about hermits. I don't know if he really wrote them for hermits, but he wrote them for them. Cassian is a bridge who actually claims to be passing down to us the doctrine, the teaching, of the Desert Fathers themselves. And his conferences all bear the names of Desert Fathers. There are 24 conferences. The first one is out of Moses and Abazon. Some of the names we recognize from the sayings of the fathers and some of them we don't, or from Palladius. Some of them, no, we don't. Most of them we do, I think. Isaac and Moses, Abraham,


Nesteros, and so on. And these conferences are, they've studied them a lot in recent years. There are different layers you can find in them. And part of it can be attributed certainly to the Desert Fathers, but a good deal of it is Cassian. And especially the kind of theological unity and solidity that it has. You cannot really go on to those Desert Fathers who were a bunch of men. Some of them were quite unlettered and so on. There's quite a gap between the sayings that you find of the Desert Fathers and this massive theological complex of Cassian himself. And it's a beautiful book the way he writes it. He writes it with a certain amount of flexibility, a certain amount of fluidity to it, as he'll structure the monastic journey in one way in one conference and structure it in another way in another conference. But there's a consistency in the way of thinking of that kind of thinking according to ladders and certain principles. Now remember that


he's influenced very much by Vargas, whom I didn't talk about yet, because Vargas is not a monastic founder, he's just a figure. He's a monastic brain. He's an intellectual among the Desert Fathers. The RV1980 suggests that he wasn't the only one, that there was a kind of Greek group with a philosophical bent among those Egyptian hermits. That's the first that I quote. In other words, we don't have writings in the United States. But Vargas takes origin, and systematizes him. Now the systematic thinking of Cassian very largely seems to come from Vargas. This was proven by Apollo Massili of Undictive Monk and the thesis of Apollo Massili in 1848. For instance, the notion of apathy or apatheia of Vargas becomes Cassian purely at heart. And the active and conductive that practically and theoretically pass over to the active


beta-active beta-conductivity of theoretical Cassian. And similarly with many other things, the eight evil thoughts come right over into Cassian and so on with slight changes. What Cassian does is to catholicize Vargas, to render him orthodox, to prune off the wild speculation, keep the practical stuff, the useful practical stuff, the more mainline things, and bring it back into a thoroughly biblical form. By that I mean, when you see apatheia, which is a Greek term probably coming from Stoicism, being transformed into purity of heart, you're coming back into the vocabulary of the Gospel. But notice that there still may be inside it something else. You can still have a Greek philosophical, intellectual notion inside it. And that creeps out the question. Sometimes the vocabulary changes, but what's inside is still either the same. By and large,


however, it brings it back into the, what we call, sound, dream, mind, you know, theological determinant part, just as it was for Evangelists. And this, in contrast to somebody like Basil. In contrast also, I think, to St. Hervey, people may claim that St. Hervey points to the apatheia as a superior form, you know, you can only support that in a couple places. And that superior and inferior can be really kind of meaningless to you because it depends on what's going to be really real. What does the Lord want me to do? That's the question. What will work for me? That's kind of an abstract paradox. So we were talking about the vagaries and passion. So, see the line there between origin and the vagaries and passion and the influence of origin that I talked about in the rest. You'll find passion when you read


him, you'll find him to be sometimes an exciting writer and sometimes very boring because he goes on to think, he enjoys rolling out his phrases and so on. But inside there's a very good picture of thought and some stuff that is so solid that you just can't get away from it. For instance, the first notion that he puts in his books is the most precious thing in the system. Now, Cash had founded some monasteries also. Cerebrical monasteries among the South in France. But he's not known for those foundations. They didn't spring into some long tradition. But he's known for his writings. And his writings very greatly influence St. Thomas Aquinas. You know,


it's said that St. Thomas Aquinas had two theme letters on his table all the time. One was a Bible and the other was a copy of Cash's. He didn't have a copy of Sumer. It wasn't because there wouldn't have been permitted. He wrote in Latin. He's all in Latin. In fact, we don't have a good, full English translation. We've got one that's almost complete but it's a hundred years old. But it's readable. And then the Selected Conferences in Western Europe. So, in writing in Latin, he makes a transposition already from the Greek thought. So, he'd have to think over whether he's going to carry a bad racist term into Latin. And some of him, he does. Sometimes he'll just take a Greek term and put it right in there as such. But usually he changes it. And he


rounds everything off and makes everything Catholic. This has happened countless times in the history of Christian thought, where you get one of these great thinkers who has all these intuitions which jump way out of the corrals of Orthodox thought. And then another theologian comes along and brings him back in and sort of reaps the harvest of truth and leaves the chair outside. Also sometimes you read out some of the inspiration and so on. The same thing happens with Evagrius and Maximus the Confessor in the East. Maximus the Confessor is a great theologian in the East. And somebody proved some years ago that many of the structural keys in this theology come from Evagrius. It's incredible that they come from Evagrius. And, of course, through Evagrius is being imagined. Question in the


audience. And then the practicals. The Gnostic centuries, which are a good deal wilder, are available in French. Okay. Now from Cassian we go through the Rule of the Master of the Saint Benedict. The Rule of the Master is not a question of a tradition being there or a community being there or a congregation or a foundation. It's a question of a document. And for a long time they were not sure whether the Rule of the Master came after Saint Benedict. Now the consensus is pretty certain that the Rule of the Master actually preceded the Rule of Saint Benedict. Do you see the importance of that? Because that's true. If the Rule of the Master came after Saint


Benedict, so what? That means it's just another derivative of the Rule of Benedict. If the Rule of the Master came before Saint Benedict, that means that Saint Benedict must have taken much of his Rule from a pre-existing document. So that tells you a lot about, first of all, what was not of Saint Benedict, what pre-existed him. And secondly, from that you can find out what was in the mind of Saint Benedict himself by the changes that he made, the changes Saint Benedict comes along and Rufus Roman just shaves it all off and leaves


him with a practically short prologue. There's things like that and there's a lot of meticulous legal prescriptions. What to do in this particular case, in this particular very minute case, which is not in the works. It's a good deal longer than the Rule of Benedict. So the Rule of Benedict is a very much edited and digested version, a matured version. See, the Rule of the Master could have been a kind of adolescent quality about it, an unripeness about it, the unripeness of legalistic optimism, where you hope that if you put down all these things you create a perfect community. Saint Benedict knows better. He knows human nature better. And he does pull around with an idealized, perfect, very carefully


drawn picture in the way he puts down what's necessary. And Saint Benedict also Christianizes, what would you say, amorizes the Rule of the Master. There's poetry in the Rule of the Master. There's more heart in the Rule of the Master. He's got that feel for the continuity, the feel for the experience of community more. And the compassion and the Christocentrism also is astounding in the Rule of the Master. We've got the five or six volumes in the Rule of the Master. And he's printed it in the Rule of the Master so that you can, he uses one kind of type for what's original to Saint Benedict, or at least doesn't come from the Rule of the Master, and another kind of type for


what is just like the Rule of the Master. So you can go through the one and see the changes. Very handy. It's like the work of the Pyramids. He's got a concordance to each one, all kinds of studies. Father de Vogel, the book is in French. The commentary is in French. So, the Rule of Saint Benedict for us is a decisive


point. Because all of the monks of the West after a certain point, which is about 800 A.D., were under the Rule of Saint Benedict. That's a uniformity. So we've got a criteria for today. And then I'd like to go into the Cassian's First Conference, some of the sayings of the Fathers. It's the first chapter in the first book in the systematic collection, which is about the perfection of the Father's vision. There the question is asked, what is a monk? Father, what do I have to do to be a monk? So I'd like to go into that, and then go into the other questions. The history thing I'll probably come back to again and again because the study of history becomes very exciting at a certain point because everything that happens in it begins to come right back to you in your own life. It begins to, the light of history begins to liberate you


from certain boxes that you've gotten into. Certain presuppositions that you sort of imbibe without even knowing. So for that reason the study is very important. One is the study of our own traditions, how we got to where we are. Thank