Monastic Spirituality for the Christian in the World

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Monastic Spirituality for the Christian in the World

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he idea of sacred time cairo's and today we want to look at the idea it's very related to this a sacred rhythm and harmony and measures we go into a specifically or musical model and its related to time obviously on
lovely atrium same for all this is the marvelous medieval of woman miss to kill the guard of begun and there's this wonderful tape produced by the national cathedral about her life about all her gifts range from being a composer and musician quarters of the theologian mom
learn a missionary but she uses this image of sacred music of symphony to sum up what it's all about ultimately there's this ultimate harmonious symphony within the holy trinity and the angelic choirs are a participation in this as they
seeing the divine praises always and then creation has the harmony of the spheres and we as microcosm we sing in choir and we bring all that out we have that built in are written you know of the ha
art and of the breathing that gives us that sense of rhythm it's equivalent to us for life or are very life speed with the monastic choir wants to take all this up and echo it in the monastic a harmonies as we just heard with the choir john ring
key and the monastic day and the monastic like also wants to extend disharmony
a box scholars said that it had given bach and tata there might be form different rhythms happening concurrently and i think that's a little kind of analogy for our lives sometimes we have to have for rhythms going at the same time but we don't want any one of them to become
kind of a jackhammer rhythms or but they called hard model
let me know
that better coming lot of gentle of contemplative rhythm of plane chant of gregorian and we want the rhythm that involves the whole of us includes every dimension of the human person there's a kind of a redux
business model of the human person that comes with the enlightenment that brings us down to mind and body or peace of mind of very much on the analogy of the computer today very much the analytic linear thinking that puts everything in the harsh light of day and then the body
he after darwin is that kind of eight body so you have this model of a computer in the ap
and we end up a really kind of school story
hi all day long at work we have to intentionally be this computer up churning out stuff in a very rigorous logic away and then up we were absolutely exhausted we go home and go into our a bowl and the playboy or play girl of the western world or something so we're both
sit back and forth between of animal and have left brain analytic thinking but the more ancient model which is they're explicitly in st paul in the fathers and mothers of the church of has the body which is extremely important and the mind which is to use the modern jargon
and left three but also very much also right brain for intuition for insight and then quite beyond mine a whole other dimension spirit pneuma which is quite as different from mine as mine is from body and all of these want to be included and
nurtured so it's a much richer image of the human person and the main dilemma perhaps a modern life is it again it speaks to and up kind of each sometimes an addictive way those two levels but entirely ignores the third level
and the rule among other things wants to bring us back to an awareness of the full human person and shape a day in musical phrase that involves and has all three of these voices harmoniously sing i think up
esther the walls pick this up marvelously in her reflections on the sense of time the sense of rhythm and balance in the benedictine day
she writes on page eighty six st benedict insisted that since body mind and spirit together make up the whole person the daily pattern of life in the monitor monastery should involve time for prayer time for study and time for work all three should come as
and respect and all three should equally become a way to god so prayer which immediately speaks to and sustains the spirit and this quite even extended way through the day and then next year old study which certainly is very much culminates in the spirit that begins with hard
to a brain word and then the the rest of the day whether it be in the sweeping or the eating or recreation that dumb speaks to the body so all three
ninety two it is existing on the acceptance of each element of the person each member of the community each activity of the day as valuable and significant in its own right without encouraging extreme as a competition over activity or workaholism a vision of related news by
find the parts together in a harmonious whole that's a characteristic agitated keeps coming up we are brought back once again to the benedictine ideal of balance it can be particularly road seen in the pattern of daily activity the alternating rhythm which holds the main elements of the monastic day
together so it's not again just intense of workaholism for eight straight hours but it's this alternating pattern of work and then prayer than eating etc
and each gives a kind of a space and a breather to the other and then enables us to take up the other it isn't that way unfortunately with us and up esther goes into a pint of a confessional thing here i am the other hand field disorganized and distracted as i am torn between for
family and job and leisure and the demands of the local community at the organizations which play my membership exhausted the travel and rush with putting down one thing and picking up enough another so this is mainly of i think characteristic of modern life edition that careful pattern and harmony
but it's a kind of a frenetic of cacophony so what can we do you should we just in the intensity of that the retreat moment decide one a cut this out entirely or cut that out entirely of wriggly that doesn't work in the longer term up at least the basic components of our life if
we're at all serious of need to stay there but we could balance from a little more we can
i kind of pathway one element with at least some elements of another et cetera
can i possibly the context of the understanding of the rule try to recognize that each of these elements can play a positive part in my life that each is good and that with perhaps just a small amount more of space of attention above all a total attentiveness to the demands of the moment they might be able to feed and not
drain me so each one of these components if it is valid can become practice and even become monastic practice for the monk with him up you have done a little with perhaps a little slower pace with a little war of interval etc
by may find the rules synthetic something important to learn from an approach when she insists that a holding intention or varying activities can play an essential part in the pattern positive creative living
up where we need to remind ourselves that this very basic and very modest fact that we are essentially rhythmic creatures and that like needs his rhythm and balance if it is to be consistently good and not drain from us the precious possibilities of be of being our whole selves so this i
think is a challenge to render our by cairo's and to render our life also of harmony chant
so now we can shipped to the monastic vow said hopefully it will be too radical ship because also cure their wants to be a harmony and a delicate balance is one vow here's the counterpoise to another
up we're talking specifically about the monastic vows the three so called evangelical vows of poverty chastity and obedience they come later they're an inferior conception of religious vows the more ancient monastic his obedience stability and converse
thats your moral which is a particularly mysterious one of the scholars debate what if in fact means but we seem to have a certain sense would reach three bows are very deeply rooted also in scripture that i think they are archetypical i'm going to make that argument and we should immediately
pick up on that number three christians are also always have to try out that such as suggest some kind of the trinitarian dynamic so what i'm going to try to do and presenting the monastic vows is relayed each one of the vows to a basic new testament archetype which is also there in the prologue
and we also each one of the bows to one of the only persons of the blessed trinity sorts and all a week up e m forster says of only connect that's what we're doing here up to see interconnections
why spend much time on the monastic vows of one hasn't taken them as no intention to take them will cure again it might well be that the monk within is interested and it could be that these monastic vows or just one way to spell out the baptismal vows of which every christian has made of explain
sadly or to your godparents and then taken up and really affirm or pleading
confirmation then every day we're rediscovering a theology of baptism that no way back then but it's an ongoing living reality as something like marriage you noticed once made your marriage vows and then forget about marriage but it's something to be it every day and they have joyful
also the boy as swing was so also with our baptismal vows so also with these monastic baum's ah
it could be the any kind of valley is extremely difficult for us moderns especially in these decades
i know how many of you know that book by robert bella and his team of sociologists up at the university of berkeley use it about episcopalian and i'm also very committed serious a sociologist of the american scene and not just he began by studying asian cultures but he wrote this key
classic called habits at the heart which explores just as fundamental shape of american individualism that he says we're
were formed into have already the wound will probably but certainly from our first months and years as we grow up of this basic value of stand on your own two feet be self sufficient the independent don't be a parasite have it all together
do it your way kind of thing and these are strong values and at their best they're rooted in the old testament prophetic sense of the significance of each person the uniqueness of each person we shouldn't just melt into the palm mass but jump each one of us should stand up no on gift and
the limit but if this has lived in a unilateral way without that of boys value of community and interdependence and a sense of having received so much if not everything up that it really can lead to an incredible rootlessness
an incredible loneliness and isolation
he argues interesting lead at the therapies which are so important in some ways of can intensify this sense of individualism just the union a process of individuation of can raise some alarm bells here but he copes one therapy
us to kind of an agonised way trying to sum up all his wisdom after all these years tries to tell a patient well in the end in the final analysis you are just alone
and he wants to challenge the person to have his responsibility you've got to you can depend on mommy your what your spouse to say you you've got to decide what you're gonna do but as a final statement of you who the human person has it's kind of scary certainly not a biblical vision of a place
a of communion community of and if you are alone than this doesn't exactly encourage bounds to others are binding for a lifetime to others whether that be the spouse of flesh and blood spouse and marriage whether it be of the three persons in by back
two small bows or in religious vows it also involve them commitment to like commitment to a concrete community so we've got to be aware of that and a pondered critically the basic strategy of the isolated individual is keep your options open but you know what works for you
today and maybe what to work for you tomorrow but things change you don't know but who were a week a month a year down line since we're all addicted we've all gotta take it just one day at a time and all of this of gravitates against are standing up and with a certain courage and a
certain madness of bowing of a pledge of one's life to another for a lifetime so got to kind of work against all this grain which is an alienating grade and rediscover that balance so we can be aware of our own needs and attr
actions but also very much aware of that deepest need to perhaps bond with others and also up for a lifetime
those in the rule the rule doesn't go on at length much about them and sometimes in one section speak only have one of these three as kind of summing up and representing the other two in other passages to of them out of three there's only one passage of read passage where he speaks of all three of these valves together and so we view
the latch on that and say a hot three vows he was to be received shall make a promise before all in the oratory of stability and of the reformation of his life and of obedience and that's yet and then it goes on to say about this vow even cetera but it's not as if there's a heh
avi emphatic exploration of each clough and how it's related to another but that then comes through the centuries and exploring what does this one and that would mean
there's a consensus that underlying these three bows is simply one basic commitment it's that fundamental motive and commitment of contrite law of the prodigal son returning to the father of listening to the father and and
rising up fence in the sun and returning to the father in the spirit
so it's one to one reality in three three and one and hopefully we hear echoes of the holy trinity
ah let's look now at each one of these vows see it also again with its archetypical connection and then a related to one of the persons of the trinity and see if this works and this again challenged each one of you to do something analogous with your own bounds for
well what are they and how are they related to the deepest archetypical your jeans and needs of the psyche and how do they tie in to got to work hopefully or try your god
by think the first bow is obedience this is one that doesn't please us certainly doesn't make sense to the solitary individual who his own on ultimate authority but it's basic to the christian experience first of all primarily of we'll be gone
and when gerald may says his whole life into a movement into to surrender the whole of psychological therapy program can seem like a movement to self control and self possession responsibility etc but having done all that then you need to give it all
all over in willing surrender to god and this is the fundamental obedience or baby array and scholars point that this is etymologically related to of out injury to here to listen that is the heart of the
of the act of obedience is a listening to god but listening to really hears of your way and the jesus or are always permitting that israel doesn't really here because in the biblical sense to here is to move immediately put into practice because you truly here at every level the the
truth of the matter and the redemptive force of this salvific darbar this salvific pick word so to as some benedick sense you compared to really put it into practice that's true hearing that's true listening that stuff that's obedience
so this is archetypical this goes right back to that first astonished of expression on the baby's face when she or he hears the voice of the mother just amaze and admissions something's happening out there have someone is in bulking is
speaking to me is calling to me and the amazing of joy of listening
and this becomes israel's basic vocation shema hear o israel so israel is to be this people that is a cure of the word and israel sin precisely is being a hard of hearing of falling into of are not listening
not hearing the voice of the shepherd and so they stray and so the prophetic
cry is always again listen listen to new oh israel
there's this wonderful a city tale of a rabbi benjamin or someone who's slightly screwy and crazy and a mystical but he's there in the synagogue and some other much more respectable rabbi is of opening the scroll and he starts to read thus says the lord and rabbi
then jumps up and down and goes into ecstasy in shouts and pounds his head against the a wall and rooms as please please rabbi and and besides we haven't even told you what
but rabbi ben just this fact that ours is a god who speaks and that we can hear this is everything and in a sense it is you don't even have to go beyond that are somehow it's all in that first moment so this is our vocation
and this is all comes into jesus who comes not to do his own will but he used the here of of the father's will and then he becomes the word incarnate because of this and he called just to be listeners of the word call one of the towering the illusion of our time
he wrote his doctorate up on this fundamental capacity of human person which isn't just an outer on sense organ but that as rule says it's the year of the heart and it gets down to our basic being it's not the first of all of doing that listening but are being is open to the infant
it is aspiring to receive that word from the infinite
karl bartos a long thing on how the basic for good for faith is the here and not the scene the scene will come in the kingdom every now and then we see are clearly as on the mount tabor in the moment of transfiguration but only me to hearing shall we want to do that job
so what's the basic vocation of the monk the perhaps of every baptized christian to listen
i will cut to polish are listening skills and usually are so much noise around us and noise within us that we can't listen we can't miss prism of one another we don't really hear what's in the other person's message
and of we can't listen to god so as she probably not the first word of the holy rule is up of school to listen this in my talk to your masters teaching and inclined the ear of your heart so this is it i interior level the heart that center is alyssa
me receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving fathers were so this is what it's all about this gift of listening and this comes right out of the wisdom literature of
but as here with attentive years the exhortation which the divine voice christ was daily
saying today if you hear his voice harden not your hearts we related this to cairo's cairo's happens when we hear when there's that communication to the listening and we say speak lord and this isn't dumb just any kind of word ultimately it's perceived
to be this a loving voice his voice of the bridegroom
and the tenders is joy this wonder as with a child who pursues a proceeds and towards the bob and the mother's voice or the father's voice what can be sweeter to us to bread and than this voice of the board inviting us behold hold in his loving kindness lord shows us the way of life
so what we are years of the word and ours is this god who speaks and of course on words of scripture and of creation or finally summed up in the christ with living word of god and so the fundamental bow what is to be messner to be here
at this word that is to say lunches you written forget about it as we hear so much and the probably a rightly and appropriately forget about it but here and then dewar of the world that's what's presuppose and that's what obedience is on the back so invented it goes on and on about it begins its
primarily in the rural obedience to the word of god
for every one first of all for the yeah but he's very insistent on that and for the whole community and then obedience to the rule benedict establishes religious revolution he's not the first because there's all these rules floating around but it was a time when these of legislators sob
we got legislating things you have these charismatic aba's and armours out in the desert rat are virtually total control over their disciples and this could be a control in the spirit and totally inspired but the danger there was into a misguided building and this
the all kinds of gurus and spiritual teachers out there a jim jones's and reverend moon etc up we need some rules of the these spiritual guides feel in obedience to and we also perhaps also or the inner attitude
directs our own inner community needs a rule of life so that it doesn't get to to tell a terrarium
this is the problem of the classic and superego or a leader of a parish community you have a family or of this quinn authority and power becomes not service that enhances but oppression but if there is that hearing if there's that listening is that of be of obedience
first of all of by the guide to leader the abbot then it can work out money
healing and enhancing way
when we hear the word what happens well we rise up again it's like the prodigal son who hears that word insight oh my god my father my father's house all that love they're all that food there and she's there to guide you in the heart and he rises up
and up he stands he takes his stand and that moves us to our second bow monastic vow upstanding started which is etymologically a tied to this vow of stability
so take our stand were well on christ in christ he is our walk that wonderful teaching of christ i don't be like those who build their house on the shifting sands to build your house on the walk the rock produce the gospel of christ the rock that is our confession approved the price
it is of that's when peter called rock the rock who is christ himself
churches one foundation christ our lord kinda thing so as who do we hear in the first that well it's primarily the first person father primordial father the primordial know who speaks that say the word and we hear that word which raises in the way
and we stand in the word in christ and so we yup fulfill that second bow which is stability this wants to be simply a response to god's faithfulness god's faithful has said levin
stability above in commitment to us as jack said this warning of christ isn't one who makes contact and that just abandoned since on it there's been a contact if there's been a word smoldering here than god on god's side will be faithful the only question is will we on our
side of respond in faithfulness in steadfast love up and if we do that simply the substance of stability fidelity to bob it's stability of heart and up its first of all to god in response to god's again
steadfastness to us and then it steadfastness specifically for the boat to a concrete community not to four walls not which you grabbing her place but to a community and it's also what people miss to oneself do not run away from
all those inner knee so that inner wounded as those in yearnings and also be up in her darkness to be there and take up our place there
there's a lovely book out on st john's college your call of sense of place
yeah and i think the title is marvelous because if you ever been to st john's college though it is definitely there and it's some unlike any other place in its architecture but i think also in the inner dynamic of the community
there is a sense of place there it's not a who's had to hope when there's no there there
but i can often be the characteristic of our secular city of are coming and going of our suburbs of but there's just no there but we moved to establish a still point of work where we can take route where there is of their there
it was once is the perfect doris who said give me a place to stand that i will move the earth he had this terror of everything shifting everything relative and so up there's not a paralyzed i'm just shifting i'm just trying to hold on in the middle of a number eight earthquake
but if we can find that solid place for good of then then we can start being a movers and shakers
bob scott peck says the substance of love his steadfastness is just fidelity is just being there day after day just showing up his debt and being trustworthy there and going through the hard and the dark places in
coming out on the other end
a offer says the key moment a breakthrough in community by his disillusionment could i not longer just projecting my ideal ship but this person and that person should be and relating to those projections but really relating to those concrete pump
persons and to the wounded problematic we that is rendered their and and not running away and staying there
ah taylor says that this monastic stability has his direct counterpart in a matrimonial stability it's very same thing of in some respects in other respects a trailer different but this thing of a lifelong fidelity through thick and through
the through sickness and health
the benedictine our stability is about to a community of people read into a place in this sense it is a marriage by which the members of the monastic family bind themselves to each other for life such a vow is directly translatable to any other relationship of love but especially to family love to be a hug
xpand daughter mother brother or by is to live in a lifelong relationship to others so this is the challenge and again so much militates against it so this is a roy virtue or we can only wear in the paschal mystery and so on so
benedict invites us to hear this word and again this work raises and stuff let us arise than at last for scripture stirs the up say now is the our to rise from sleep and when we rise then to be there thus never departing from
his school but persevering in the monastery according to his teaching until death we made by patients share in the sufferings of christ and so deserve to have a share also in his kingdom so it is call it is suffering and death jesus was nailed fear to that cross and were nailed to
that up community to that other and to be there faithfully to not run away
there's a very up
well just psychological level to this so many people get into this mobility nodding a healthy sense of a dynamic business interests of fleeing from one thing to another and of bouncing from one spirituality to another from one therapy method to another up from one hole
who pushed start to another but to come back home and to be able to stay there finally of that's the good news and it's just ultimately theological because god is here between bumped up suppose there's supposed inside my heart with
she's the only all my can have there is darkness well at the heart of that darkness does god because god is here maybe they're also but if i can't find him here i won't be able to find him there even if it's sunny over there and there's a happened party apparently but if i'm not abe
will to encounter in here in that inner darkness i won't be able to encounter in their you that outer light this is a wonderful quote from i'm anthony bloom the to as to the wall sites
what is it then to be stable it seems to me that it may be described in the following terms you will find stability at the moment when you discover that god is everywhere and that you do not need to seek him elsewhere
the god is here and if you do not find it here it is useless to go in search for an elsewhere does it is not god who is absent from us here it is we who are absent from god here it is important to recognize that it is useless to seek god somewhere else he
cannot find god here you will not find god anywhere else
challenge and we just have to live a
dsl it's to teach us to sit still because it has to be a basic invocation and of petition of our time
the preyed on her intentions to a teaching me to sit still
rc granddaughter sit in your room as in paradise it's all here the walls will teach you everything you need to know
so this is the second bow my heart is fixed oh god my heart is fix song fifty seven
so that's what hearing the word beach to we then built our house on that mood and we find me a chain stability
however if we are just stable fixed this can get it kind of bogged down of stuck in the mud a moribund even so there has to be this counter punctual
reality and paul to the christian life and to the monastic life and that in this mysterious third bow which in the latin is condor subs your moral at which they translated into did st john's version there as
conversion of life so it's directly related to our metanoia our conversion that basic of disposition apart and response to that basic cry of our lord repent
but it gives us the dynamic in our life it means that every day we open up our life a new to whatever will come today for the market specifically in that context of the monastic community the monastic needs which will be different today than yesterday of the ongoing challenge of life for 'em
married couple it'll be in the new adventure of today for a person single in the world the same but it's that other value that wants to bring in the spiritual the pneumatic the energy of the force towards the new
and this gets us into that other very very deep archetype of the journey
a ts eliot says we must be still and still journey
so it sad paradox of both and embraced here in listening to the word which gives us stability but which also moves us on it's both and especially as we hear that word in the spirit and so here we relate to that fundamental archetype of humanity
of the journey all those journey he said fuck the odyssey the area to all these ah
tribes that move from one place to another of our own greatest and only novel in america could use some scholars is what it said huckleberry finn is that wonderful tale of a boy with a black slave the and they travel and it's the journey down the river
the teachers than everything up then you have a journey of the don tree in the divine comedy attorney way down into the depths of hell and then up through purgatory into the light but this journey archetype is fundamental and we need it to give a dynamic too
i love going christian scripture scriptures all this series of of journeys starting out from our father and faith abraham who sets out leaving his son who's fatherland motherland and journey forth to the promised land and then moses takes up this theme again in israel in exile
takes it up to the returned to the promised land it's like some kind of you to takes up the same theme again and again and then jesus in luke his whole earth the ministry has presented as this journey as is passover journey to jerusalem
and then then the book of acts this breaks forth and boobs beyond this little holy bad into the whole world and paul the apostles journey out and of so we have to live our journey
and that's done in the spirit and that again i think corresponds rather nicely to this third person in the at trinity who is of the dynamic force we walked in the spirit indeed we run in the spirit and so the up the rule invites assault
so to this dynamic dimension of the life
having our loins girded therefore with faith in the performance of good works but as walked in his pads by the guidance of the gospel that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom it's all here is wonderful trinitarian but were walking by the guidance of the gospel also the abbot all of us that's that first
a listening of obeying and then we returned to the kingdom
and so it's an ongoing walking dead some we'd better do it now while we still have time
ron wyden you still have the light of life so now it becomes is running and find me it's running that's not just urgent of in a kind of almost scared since but as we heard this text before as we advance and are there despite and faith or
hearts expanded we run away of god's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of long so this is finally of when it comes to this running and where are we running well we're running back to the kinda back to the primordial father the primordial first person of the trinity
mother who then having uttered this all forth then fulfills at all
and so the whole thing has a trinitarian dynamic to it and this directly corresponds to all of salvation history which has this train tributary dynamic to all the liturgy now bug genie the great benedictine the illusion of a long time important voice in vatican two he now
note this trinitarian dynamic duo of salvation is required everything comes forth uttered from the father but through the word with all is according to the a wisdom of god and in the spirit from the very beginning number the spirit mysteriously hovering over the waters
and then of we are now what in this phase with the incarnation and suffering death and resurrection christ of returning through christ through the were in the spirit to the father and again and again this of new vocation this doxologies is there in
the up pistols of paul in one way or another in the whole shape of what's happening letter to the hebrews we now with our high priest gone before we in the spirit return with christ into the bosom into the ineffable mystery of the father word and
the silence and this reflects the ultimate mystery of it all the inner light of the trinity because we know that our salvation history and liturgy which is this offering of the gifts and of christ and of are all live in the spirit of the applications to the father
this then of this an hour and visible sign artistry salvation history literature eucharist of the inner life of the trinity where everything comes bubbling forth from the just to a miss are limitless creativity of the first person and it comes forth in his fullness
such that of such an infinite fullness that it's established as another persona of the son who rejoice in the father is mutual rejoicing exaltation is in its fullness the third person of the spirit so are coming for rejoicing
returning this a circuit and session was dynamic within the life of the trinity is expressed in his elder visible sign of our lives our flesh our body art history of far better g and hopefully our vows and it's all this return to the kingdom in the spirit