Monastic Spirituality for the Christian in the World

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.



Suggested Keywords:


Monastic Spirituality for the Christian in the World

Archival Photo



Auto-Generated Transcript

for me to be back your bishops ranch and this is the eighth year and i've been a benedictine thirty three years but i find this particular retreat very special it always is a moment of renewal for me year after year in may
very special weight and more and more people are discovering the benedictine heritage is something they want to tap into people from all kinds of drunk denominational backgrounds and time we had a paper in our folder from a quaker and
roman catholic and anglican papers of course but it's now weren't born ecumenical source for many of us i think
it could still seem to some a fairly exotic topic wraps you also have some friends who raise an eyebrow when you say you're going mach worry we got to listen to to some tapes on benedictine experience
business something like getting into pakistani camel herders experience for ghana tanzania and basket weavers experience or something something very remote and exotic and maybe a pleasant for a moment of escape but what does it have to do with the draw
pneumatic problems that we know are out there in the cities and up inside in the hearts of each one of us
there aren't many benedictines hearing he argued in bounds so this is kind of a moment of alienation trying to relate to something that isn't precisely at the heart of your own vocation or carry some
but the benedictine is simply one instance of the monastic and i think it can up very convincingly be argued that there are many monastics here many monks were all monks in one way or another at one level or another monk
monastic these have an archetypical significance for each one of us by the way this is just a footnote but a monk is and gender inclusive term of it's not gender exclusive and so many of our women monastics prefer
for that designation to none or sister anyway i'll be back to that particular debate but it's not at all a a sexist term but indeed is seen by women living the life as the more inclusive term
so the moon has universal archetype there there's a lovely collection of essays out of edited by raimundo funny car called method simplicity the monk as universal archetype and the title says it all i think he is an interesting writer his mother
it is spanish roman catholic and his father is hindu indian so he's very much a bridge person that he's taught for years at harvard in the area of comparative religion then per years at the university of california santa barbara so he's a into all kinds
of exotic experiences of asia and europe and in the united states so he has that wider horizon that
give legitimacy to this kind of claim of universal aren't typical keep looking at what he starts out a youth and say the art type of the monk and he says by monk i understand that person who aspire to reach the ultimate goal of life with
why concentrating on this one single and unique goal to the monk is the person who focuses who is after that one pearl of great price who is after the one thing necessary then it goes on to say what that all of us the monk is simply someone who does
that in such a focused and up in some ways exclusive way that that person is a kind of up sacramental shine an outward and visible sign of this grace and cares or be in all of us so he goes on age eleven of this the thesis
i'm to candy is that the monk is the expression of an archetype which is a constitutive dimension of all of human life this art type is a unique quality of each person
so i think jack should rightly yesterday to we don't want to play games should were all a monks or nuns who bounds some diamond but we are at this level of at the steepest level of indeed monks nuns were discovering this dimension of our yearning
of our life
he then goes on that there's a non monastic dimension or poll in each one of us he terms this that poll of creative complexity so you have on the one hand a blessing simplicity the seeking out for the ultimate the absolute god
the one thing necessary but then you have this other poll of all kinds of things that that give expression to all those gibson interests and abilities in each one of us and the trick is not to just suppress one of the you can go with the other but to find some kind of
creative interaction of these to the blessed simplicity goal and oh finds an outward expression in the monk
the created complexity ball finds a classical expression in the marriage vocation
and therapy and that is archetypical it's as reasonable for very people to come for a week on benedictine monastic spirituality as it would be for a monk such as myself or someone single in the world to go to a week that would explore the marriage archetype
carl stern says that all being is spousal lucas about the phrase and of call you says that we ignore that marriage are type to our own peril
not that we should all rush out and bearing but did we all have to come to terms with that journey within us with within each one of us up for our happy but conjunction of the feminine and masculine within
so as according to as i understand it all of union doctrine it's not again an either or either the creative complexity or the blessing simplicity rather the classically monastic or the classically spousal
but both and in some kind of creative of interplay and the bike vocation adventure is simply sorting out which of these is to take the lead which of these is to be dominant and then having found that and having lived that thoroughly not to repress not to
ignore that other
group of us monks have some years ago were at a dinner party given by the dean of grace cathedral and b jones he's married with kids they were all there and we were chatting about these two archetypical vocations monastic and marital and just to stir
pato little i said don't you think that monastic celibacy is against nature
and he grinned and shot back immediately if there's anything that's against nature it's marriage
an and up there was his wife and kids with a grin to and they are very well from
where do we mean by nature there if we mean by what is classically called fallen nature when each of us gets into our own little ego space in wants to be the center of the world and was everything else to be simply in function to me myself and i would then certainly marriage is against nature and certainly
the of the monastic terrorism is against nature but if we need me in nature the way the good lord created us
then up again we're orders a monk were all of us up called to that nuptial fulfillment
merton goes on again and again as do to fathers and mothers of the church about that essentially contemplative vocation of adam and eve to be with god in that immediacy and trust that paradise the nakedness expresses but also a man and woman god created them
the this is the image of god in its fullness so a right back at the origin of it all up we have these two archetypes in a fruitful twigs and redemption what the lord brings us is to restore those two in their creative interplay and to bring them to any up
and new fecundity in christ
so up we're all here and we're all listening to this tape
we thousand seven simply because this is about all of us this has universal significance and about each one of us also in a very personal way as jack and saying this morning as we claim this art type of and incarnated in our own personal story
but to talk about the archetypical significance of this the is of a liberating thing because it gets us beyond simply the egocentric focus it's not just me wanting to be a big hunk or me wanting to have the best wife on the block or something this is something deeper this
is about that most profound yearning in my heart in your heart in all of us and that we want to again integrate that in our personal story make it up individuated so that it is my way of being bumped and your way a big bump my
by way of living the your nuptial calling and your way
augustan says you have made us for yourself oh lord that we are restless to we rest in you this is about just the ultimate journey of our flesh and bones and jump into that level that we want to be monk at that level
of that we want also to without that nuptial again because we are talking about something at this level there is also the shadow shy if we want to be good a classical unions every archetype has its shadow side and we want to be aware of that of even image lightship side
but art type can become so intoxicating and i can relate to it in a very unhealthy way so that the whole thing does become alienated i simply up forgetting my own a very concrete humanity my own very personal story and limits and wounded nurse etc want to
become monk archetype and we get a bit of that to help with the people who come to us at our a monastery and want to become monks in one sense they want to become monk sometime next month
and so we want to ask how were relating to this art type and it can't be in to obsessed addictive away it wants to be with that freedom and with that rationality and just that common sense and some deep sense of
humility that keeps us healthy here
and then the art type itself however a healthier way we relate to it it can be alienating it can have huge dark side it can get into a kind of a spiritual pride of the kitchen kind of thing for those people are just lay people are just diocese and
priests but i i'm a monk you kiss me something about this is post graduate from montreal
up and that of course is of the pitch that the ultimate temptation ah
he is spiritual arrogant spiritual pride and so this is a very tricky business
well as were quite aware there's the classic of icon of the monks ascending jacob's ladder while the farther you get up up the more dangerous the fall and this is expressed very vividly in a wonderful i kind of months so i know it up and the higher you get up then when you fall you can a break every bone in
your body so that as st benedict widely says it's only by defending into a more profound humility every day that we can more security walk in this monastic way or indeed in the way of married chicken
so i think we can creatively relate to both of these in a very interesting way i think one can argue convincingly that jesus was single and the world that jesus was monk
a pelican has a wonderful book out about christ through the centuries and one of the archetypical ways of seeing christ is christ the monk but christ is also the spouse well christ as single person in the world who literally you would seem was neither a cool on monk or of married to
mary mack of under anyone else he can relate to these in a away the challenges each of us in our own particular location to relate to both of them but it can be also a a dark and a constricted way of living are christian life if you get into the monastic in an unhealthy way to know how many of us
team that film name of the roads or read the huge pretentious novel which and
that up a author their in a delightful italian way explores all the sinister alleys and got dark corners of this kind of thing and it can get very sick indeed i think seeing the name of the road should be part of the agenda okay
a monastic arctic show that one doesn't get to the ethereal and triumphalist stick about it all
but it can get up many key and
the body is bad creation is bad all that kind of thing it can get up many
i'm blocking on the word and sugar a masochistic that atlanta i've got to hurt myself to what to really grow with god's love is fairly a true story of that sunday school teacher asks the kids what does jesus what boat and where the waves which and because i know came the
so this you up the way some of us were brought up and touch so we have to be careful i wasn't i was brought up a mellow anglican hunter
jesus wants most that we enjoy
what percent of and can get into that and so i think this doesn't mean don't explore this mysterious to my channel of us but it needn't explore very carefully and up so that because if it is a universal art
dr we're not living this dimension validly unless we can limit in every moment not just when we're in the sanctuary not just john wood were chanting grigori
not just when were kneeling before the lovely variant icon of or whatever whatever way we particularly focus on the monastic but it should be available a tourist in every one it also in the irritating moments moments when things don't quite go right in the of the moment that don't have much significance real
lee they should have significant through a pint of monastic mindfulness and presence to that moment somehow god is there at the heart of it and that's the key and sometimes god is there in those unexpected and of less significant moments of in a deeper way than in the sir
blind moments so are to be open to the universality of this reality meaning in every culture in every time but also in every nook and corner of my own life i don't have to be monk only when i'm in a particularly pious and
exalted when i'm angry when i'm depressed
when i just block or when i'm happily noble those are also appropriately monastic moment to claim and relate to this heart of the matter they're just lovely book out by father brian taylor and episcopal priest was also a husband and
father and a benedictine oblate his book spirituality for everyday living and adaptation of the rule of st benedict and this is published by liturgical press so this is another one of those lovely ecumenical ensures
justin this introduction he says balance zeal and moderation are the qualities of the rule of st benedict that make it a humane approach for imperfect human beings who seek the protection of god in their lives in this sense benedict's rule is incarnational it work
with people as they are in this world calling him to what they can become in christ the bet anything way is a force from within the acts as levin in the low can become for human in this life as it has been given to us is to allow the sacredness of the orden
during to become manifest but it gets a lovely brains you could be kind of our motto to allow the sacredness of the ordinary to become manifest see the benedictine to seek god in work in cooking prayer a community greeting strangers dealing with possessions this is too
enter into the mystery of the incarnation benedict not add to the gospel of jesus christ he should be provided a way of seeing christ's continual incarnation in this world so this is a particularly demanding challenge we can all of compartmentalize our
spirituality and the very terms ambiguous spirituality it's not a biblical term and some a good traditions of the reform or rather hesitant about it i taught and twenty seven years of at birthday of course on history of christian spirituality and i would ask the lutherans
and methodist and presbyterian to come in up to talk about do for an approach to spirituality presbyterian etc and first they had to work through all this skepticism because shop maybe there is no such thing as a lutheran approach to spirituality was determined shelf suggests that week
get into some exquisite a sublime spirituality level of our be and luther if he was anything he was earthy
even boarding even instant for delightful moments and that's the way can you want christianity to be lived and shows wrigley etc and i think they challenge us to be careful not to compartmentalize what we're talking about
so are one good monastic practice is just to be aware of where i am just geographically it might be in this lovely space that does suggest the monastic but it might also be on a bus or i'm caught in a traffic jam or in bovine in the grocery store
or whatever that is a monastic spaced
and then to be aware of where i am within really it might be a space of anger depression fear sadness whatever that is a monastic space and plane that if we really want to achieve integration
so our homework assignment up if we're really going to take seriously this monastic clay models this up challenge of the rule for us is to universe on universalize it to see that it is applicable for everything and if it isn't up then we're not
applying it right also for sin
bob was that dummy text of paul because romans eight for those who love god all things work to the good the gustin hasn't powerful footnote all things even sin
oh yeah flynn is the occasion or for compunction for into entrance for a deeper opening out to god
yes the benedictine a we can be for all of us and beat the benedictine life because it wants to be encountered at this deepest level of monasticism of the heart and not just at the level of scapular errors and duck smells down some things and of course in talking about
to the monastic we're talking about something that even christianity doesn't have a monopoly on if one thinks about it ahead of course there are buddhist monks there are hindu monks there is some kind of counterpart to the monastic in any and every re
religious tradition was back each giving this benedictine experienced week at the lovely episcopal holy cross motherhouse westpark and where the monks took me up to see this shaker village and a very moving powerful place and witness of these people but it's class
sickly monastic including the commitment to celibacy to shared goods to obedience to a life of balance and seriousness and focus on the gospel etc right here in the far left of the protestant reformed is this classically monastic form of life that gets exp
press even indra even if chairs that the so this is an exhilarating aspect of getting in touch with the monastic is getting in touch with the universal yearning for god and this is the way perhaps to encounter hinduism at
dramatic and got involved in the east west dialogue rather late what they did it with great enthusiasm so the vatican phoned up all these great of spiritual beaters of check so invited them to roll for a dialogue santa many of them said yes and show they've started and dividing it can be an our we do and up
they discovered to their astonishment at all these people who are coming where monks in one way or another show to make up the benedictine monastery and our own personalities monastery in rome and the fulton and said haters some monks coming
so they house these monks with us and of course there was an immediate of harmony and of synchronicity there because the basic goal is the same blessing simplicity of whether one is a christian or jewish hindu or buddhist
a sufi or whatever
so up one of the things this does is open up and a very exciting horizon it's kind of like the firmament in the heavens of kim here so that he's been studying asked the system of for years and only got up to the rule of st benedict and this i assume is in the christian tradition or me
additional stuff you can spend a lifetime on for corneas on the desert fathers and mothers on basil and of just in the christian tradition never get to benedict or you can spend a lifetime on eighth century english who asked to sit some more fourteenth century monasticism
of the shinai or of mount athos or or of this particular current of buddhist tradition zen buddhist monasticism
we at new camellia of this bond of friendship with the tassajara zen buddhist monks and then with the of zen center at boston san francisco et cetera and we're very aware that's a very different type of buddhist monasticism then tibetan buddhist monasticism
is extremely of rich being show getting into it it's not that will exhausted with these tapes or with this week or with the what lifetime will simply explore a little into the mystery all the stories of throughout history and imprint history of
how people have lived out this archetype to challenge us to live it out in a more expansive inclusive way
so the conclusion is that up guess is it can be a lifetime challenge and hopefully it will be seen as this india best possible sense
one of the ways of living a monastic that immediately precedes jesus that is the same times jesus and john the baptist and the apostles is the scene chrome tradition right within the jewish heritage of me
classically norman about the pharisees and sadducees in the high priests of these currents of jewish spirituality the time but it's more recently that we've been learning about this fascinating pro monastic monastic way of living the jewish story
which is the a scene which is cool rom
and if one looks closely at the life at coombe wrong but the literature of the machines what once in ball for instance was a vow show celibacy for at least a core group and then apparently there were the a married couples on the periphery of the experience as and our monastery we have a married couple of
to the also on our grounds of at this group of monks also had their vow of obedience to the spiritual and they also have the sharing of goods that a three year and a vicious they have all those kind of components that are characterised
tick of monastic life and what makes it interesting is just the location of coomera was within sight of where john the baptist carried out his great ministry there a baptism dare at the jordan so more and more biblical scholars anglican of
great for of and roman catholic are exploring this fascinating
he's echoes in the message of john the baptist and remember that john and andrew for instance where disciples of john the baptist and then they switched they would over to jesus bringing that experience as the judge who went over to choose from so the pharisees who went over to jesus inevitably
brought that whole experience paul brings his whole experience might then react against it but it's very much there in his message and his way of experiencing and presenting christ
so we're starting to realize that here's something that from the beginning was in the amygdala community and raymond brown has written some interesting things on the home wrong echoes in the johanna in literature although stark contrasts between lie
life and death truth and the why office of calling to this decisive moment and up if you're in the fanatics all those classic texts from isaiah that her classic texts for the a scene literature all this of eschatological expectation
the moment of the arrival of the messiah et cetera
so there was a time when it was thought catch up at least in the reform that monasticism was kind of at a later contamination there was your authentic pure gospel way of living christianity which is particularly pauline of and then as the centuries common goal
this is diluted with all kinds of contaminations and the worst of these is this monastic thing that comes from god knows where and in certainly involves of works righteousness and the of betrayal of the central poly in sight of salvation by faith alone etc shove it up the monastic is the enemy really
and so if you want to really live the gospel you live in a real sense the anti monastic of but i think more and more also the reform is seen that this isn't of precisely the way it is that this monastic again is part of the foundational and part
of the of nurturing and balding or force of the self understanding of the early christian community
so as we get into our monastic art type of we get into simply the primordial sources of the judeo christian experience that we encounter in john do we encounter also and paul as so rabid browsers the letter to the hebrews is a classic
a christian text with with some a sheen echoes so one of the benefits one of the perks of this kind of the week and the beginning of this tape used to up get into the origins of toward the
christian experience and some spiritual some day political experts scholars argue that jesus was in his first period very much a disciple of john the baptist well this means he was doing something like a young monastic novitiate and shown faith that john the
aptus mining but instead of period that jack i'm coming through my pages here to find that that quote from raymond ground but yourself a few colds from his article on coram scrolls and the johanna in gospels and gospel and epistles the argument for the in
the relation between the joy and my writings and the kumar literature and is a big strong ah then he says after the joanna there's the pauline there's also a better the hebrews virtually everyone who has studied the cool mom tech to the light of the new testament has recognized the startling kumar parallels
in their narratives concerning john the baptist was very patio of his life and preaching has a crew mom affinity from this it would seem likely that the baptist before his contact with christ was in relationship with cool mom or other a scenes perhaps he was raised by the community or income
contact with community or the head of a quasi a seen group if this is true and if job son of zebedee was his disciple how we can explain very well but kumar impact on the fourth gospel
so hopefully what we're doing is seeming a little less exotic and then as we go up to the sixth century as we start to come to term specifically with this one
incarnation of the monastic which is the rule of st benedict
are there again we are coming to terms with a document that isn't marginal and exotic and curious but then becomes extremely important and foundational for the rest of western christian spirituality so
are you and you don't want to hear anything about archetype of and if you don't believe in the connection between the johannine literature and up cooldown of if your western if you're a christian in the western tradition there's monastic into in you simply through the historical influence of the rule of
when benedict whether you are despicable the roman catholic or of the reform it's interesting now
the briefing fourth of a monastic experiences in the reform the lutheran benedictine communities in europe and united states and that's a splendid flourishing ecumenical a monastic experience for kids way such as so more and more diverse traditions are are clay
amy his heritage that's just their objective me so if one's going to do spirituality in a serious way part of this means get back to the roots find out where we come from so we can understand and some were enlightened way where we are now and where we can go
well as if we want to get to where we come from of the rule of st benedict is one of the classics again for all of the christian traditions in the west
germany for the roman catholic tradition of for roman catholic saint benedict is officially be a patron saint of europe and patriarch patriarch western monasticism so patriarch of this western way of living this archetypical experience and there's thousand and three
thousands of a monks normal sisters up in the roman catholic tradition now trap is black benedictines by benedictines and up with quite a influence through colleges and retreat houses and parishes if nothing else but if you look at
literature in spirituality now we have an old table back there
hope you think also your christmas shopping
it's interesting so many are reading about benedictine spirituality information to me how many anglicans through and deaths of whether the estar de wall with a certain we started all this discovery reclaiming of the benedictine heritage for everyone or it could be someone like brian taylor on board were being deaf
there's a whole literature that's also agric and a whole litter to the roman catholic but also one more again the lutherans methodists presbyterians are to set up by got so superstitious as to believe in chance
so this is simply historical influence the benedictine centuries that so shamed england are all up and down in england it was a benedictine way of living the gospel that was witness to the people in the towns and villages and also in the cities
through the cathedral from the parishes show that the basic components so benedictine like returned she community of spiritual reading of personal prayer these are the basic components of the benedictine athos
martin thornton him in his class economic spirituality goes on and on about this than it had been shape and concludes that the modern english church is still thoroughly benedictine and he noticed this parallel between the book of common prayer on one end and the rule of st benedict on the other just the basic building blocks
of spirituality best de wall before she got into this thing of spirituality for the laity and for everyone me up with a medieval scholar and she in her introduction to a marvelous book seeking god way of should dedicate she mentioned just this historical
foundation to at all and she has some statistics i think are fascinating by the beginning of the thirteenth century in england and wales alone bone the number of houses of black monks had grown to three hundred and the white monks the cistercians i've had some so
seventy houses this is just the monks and i asked her she said she doesn't mean the nuns there so this is three hundred and seventy houses just in england in the twelve hundred england and wales
well i got out my your advantage and pocket calculator there are fifty eight thousand square mile from england and wales and that you didn't even know that can
now california is almost three times as big as that so if care words really one hundred and seventy and benedict find out if you aren't getting either
that is the equivalent of something like a thousand benedictine abbey from primaries cathedral houses up and down just california you can imagine what kind of impact that would have on the shape of christianity as you would be we lived in in california
what package ah ancestor of mention sources amazing phenomenon more in england and also the nation's on the continent of the cathedral priority of the monastics who had staff the cathedral of show that a bishop
be a monk as classics tungsten or and so the monastic choir would be a monastic said to the choir of the cathedral with the monastics and the outreach the catechism the schools when can make a case that the kind of the cradle of our schools and youtube
verse use as we know them in the west of our the benedictine schools so she's arguing if you are angry can you got to get into the benedictine just to know what it means when it really means you can keep the level to be anglican i think that's the same thing can certainly be she said of the roman catholic
and this opens up all kinds of ecumenical resources this is what package vatican two calls spiritual humanism at a level that's more profound than simply of exploring the doctrinal parallels are problems or disciplinary problems in our churches
but how by spirituality if we mean life in the spirit how we in the spirit open our heart up to the father in christ
then of this is the very deepest level to explore our uniqueness or diversity and our christ is also calling us to be one
show all that is just a big can kind of commercial for let's do what you already want to do tech trash hopefully this will be an ongoing motivation we need this motivation yet takes focus and commitment to come back to this center to come back to the still point of the turning work
world which is this sub is presence from twisted just cleaning to god alone and so all of this hopefully will be on the way
another final motive is thank god the room and synthetic is a good rule all of this could be true and it could be a a bad rule there's all kinds of bad monastic rules out there but in fact is a rule that is filled with humanity with a sense of balance really
some of it starts from where we are in our brokenness and limits but a causes to the perfection of the gospel i think brian cage caught that of dialectic very nicely benedict says that the abbot should show proposed monastic life that the
week don't fall into an utter panic and the strongest have still something to strive for so that both and
origen says that the word of god is very mysterious such that the elephants elephants can swim with it and the nets can wade in it
it should be the same for benedictine spirituality added speech to us wherever we are in our darkest most broken moments and also have in our highest moments of communion with god the great anglican not scholar own shack with rights of the rule of the spiritual teaching of
st benedict is now for more than fifteen hundred years influence to religious life a western europe it is as fresh and living today as it was from the days of st gregory the great clear simple and wines
and the oxford dictionary the christian church says that capital of sympathetic is alone among the ruins
it is a classic emd strict theological sense that it is this document that is generated a whole tradition including in a real sense the anglican and the roman catholic of subsequently and that that tradition in key moments of renewal goes back
to the original document to find the life and the force and the inspiration for renewal
it shall transcends its own time that it can speak with a very mysterious immediacy to us here in california in displace or back east to new york or new england or of hopefully forever
refinish a bets with courage set out on this journey of into the rule of st benedict on it