Talk to Community

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as the subject today, the monastic community today, and I'd like to draw on our experience
in Shantivanam all through these years.
Obviously it will be different from yours in many ways, but obviously also there will
be many points of resemblance, even identity, and I think it may be helpful for us to reflect
together on this shared experience.
And it begins, of course, with our founders, Father Moshina and Father Lesseau, who began
this life in 1950, and they began it in the most radical way.
It was really very inspiring in its way.
Father Moshina had been parish priest in a little town of Kolitalai, and he was offered
this land by the river Kaveri, which was largely a mango grove, vast, hooded, almost a forest.
And to begin with, they simply put three little huts, they'd been joined by a goan at that
time, three little palm leaf huts in the middle of the forest, without any conveniences whatsoever.
And it was really the most radical beginning.
Of course, according to Indian tradition, they were going barefoot, they were wearing
the simple kavi, dhoti and shawl.
They had the palm leaf huts on the ground, on the earth, and they attempted at first
to live simply by the local food.
So it was an attempt for radical simplicity, and it was too much for them, as a matter
of fact.
There were many snakes and scorpions about, or insects of all sorts, and they found to
live on, to have a bare earth like that was not adequate.
And in the same way, the food was not sufficient, and they began to get some bread from the
local town, and so on.
So they had to modify it, and then it was found to be too dangerous.
The wood was rather well known for various crimes, even murders took place there.
And so they were advised to move, not very far, it's only about half a mile away, I suppose,
but by the side of the road which goes down to the river from the village, and that is
where the ashram is now.
And I think it's worth mentioning that, you see, it really was an attempt to go back to
the source, to be totally, radically simple, and it was very deep, particularly in Father
Moshanah.
And when they started the ashram as it is, they built little huts with a concrete floor
and brick walls, and then a palm leaf roof.
And Father Moshanah said, if we begin now with concrete and bricks, where shall we end,
you see?
He was feeling this was too luxurious altogether.
And so I think we all feel this sort of radicalism, it goes back to the fathers of the desert,
this sense of going back to utter simplicity, is a very important element in monastic life,
and we all have to keep it.
And I think we all have to judge our life continually in the light of that.
For instance, when we came there, there were these three small huts.
Father Moshanah, Father Lasseur, and a guest hut, and a hut for one man would be living
with them.
And there was a very small guest house for three, all with palm leaf roofs, and a very
small refectory and library attached to it.
And it was all in the middle of a palm grove, Palmyra Palms, and there was no cultivation.
I stayed there in 1956, and it was really a wilderness.
There were little paths, thorn bushes everywhere, little paths through the thorns and the palm
leaf to, and the palms to the huts and the refectory and so on.
So that you really had the character of a desert at that time, total simplicity.
And on the other hand, when we came, as you know, I must perhaps recall, Father Moshanah
died in 1957, before really the community had been established at all.
He had several disappointments, a Tamil priest joined them, they had great hope from that,
but he didn't stay.
And then Father Francis Mayur, a Cistercian monk from Skurnban, joined them, but he also
left, and I'll speak a little about him later.
And so, Father Moshanah died with nothing achieved.
And we all feel, I think I may have mentioned it before, that that is very, very significant,
that this, he really made the sacrifice of his life for the ashram.
And again, you see, I think when we think of these things, this sort of radical simplicity,
this giving one's life, really important in a foundation.
And then Father Lasso remained, and many people came, but nobody stayed.
And he felt more and more attracted to North India and finally left in 1968.
And then I came there with two monks from Kurushimala.
And the story of that is that Father Francis, taking the name Acharya now, joined Father
Lasso and Father Moshanah in 1955, I think it was.
And this was a tremendous hope for them, this Cistercian monk with all that tradition behind
him coming, and they really had great hopes.
But he felt that they would never get any vocations there, their life was too far ahead
for anybody there.
And even now, you know, it's not really accepted in Tamil Nadu.
And on the other hand, he recognized that most vocations in India at that time, it's
changing somewhat, there are many from Tamil Nadu, but at that time the vast majority were
from Kerala.
And he went to Kerala and he was fascinated with the Siromalankara Church, the Syrian
church there, one branch of it, there are two, which had all its liturgy in Malayalam
in the local language.
And this was before the Vatican Council, so it was the first vernacular liturgy which
we'd encountered.
So he felt drawn to that.
And then I, myself, was free at that time, and I joined him and we started this community
in Kurushimala with Syrian liturgy and traditional monastic life, you see.
And I would emphasize that I came out of the Benedictine tradition, I was 20 years Benedictine
monk in England, and we always had this seven prayers a day in the Latin office, of course.
And so at Kurushimala also we started with this tradition of the seven hours of the prayer
and the study and the manual work.
And on the other hand, now when I came to Shantiwanam, we had nothing there.
We started absolutely from scratch, and it really was an extraordinary opportunity.
There was this beautiful little ashram, a lovely situation by the Kaveri River, and
just three of us there and we could decide what kind of life we were going to lead.
And that is how really the ashram has grown, from a source like that, and step by step
as new ideas, new people came, the whole thing began to develop.
And first of all, we started with the Syrian liturgy in English, which was quite unsatisfactory,
and then gradually we changed over and we've gradually formed our own liturgy with the basis
of psalms and Bible reading, we take that as a base, only two psalms normally and a Bible
reading, and then the rest has grown round that, with a great deal of Sanskrit chanting
as we saw yesterday, and also chanting in other Indian languages, and readings from
different scriptures which we find tremendously inspiring, when you read them in the context
of the Christian scriptures they have very great meaning, and then introducing this Indian
rite as you saw it yesterday, which has been approved both by the bishops and the Holy
See, it's rather important, it's one of the stages of growth which has taken place
in the church in India.
So that was how our liturgy started, but now a very important thing arose then, that
we began to see that the times of prayer, solitary personal prayer, were more fundamental
than the liturgy.
You see, as I say, I'd grown up in the Benedictine tradition where the liturgy is absolutely
primary, let nothing be placed before the work of God, as Benedict says, and we had
the seven hours of prayer day by day, and I loved it, I must say, it's a beautiful
prayer in the Latin, and I was quite happy with it, but when we came now to Shantivanam,
the Indian tradition of contemplative prayer, of meditation, came much more into our lives,
and now I consider the hour of prayer in the morning, the hour in the evening, as fundamental.
We have it at Sandhya, the time of dawn and sunset, which is considered the sacred time
for meditation, and that, as I say, to me is fundamental, this personal relationship
to God in meditation, each one has to find that unique relationship, and that makes a
great change, but I think it's also rather in harmony with the Kamaldi tradition, because
you see, you have also gone from the communal liturgical life to the hermetical solitary,
where this personal prayer is more significant, and that, of course, is one of the things that
drew us to Kamaldi. So, we see now the two hours of prayer, which can, of course, be
increased for many who can take longer times, and then we have three hours of prayer, morning,
noon and evening, and we've limited the psalms to two, the prayer doesn't normally take more
than twenty minutes or half an hour, and so it has a limited place, but I think a very
important one, I find that common prayer three times a day really keeps the community together
and keeps the whole ashram together, it really does centre the life. Though, as I say, I regard
the times of personal prayer as even more important. Now, there are two things which
concern with that. First of all, as regards the simplicity of life, as I say, they tried
a radical simplicity, which was too much at first, and then they got a certain balance,
and when we came, we had to develop the life, and one of the first things we did was to
get in electricity, and you may be interested to know, it was rather interesting, that
the head of the electricity board in Trichy, in the neighbouring town, was a Brahmin, and
we entered our name, and it was a long waiting list for electricity, but he put our name
at the top, he said, this is being done for God, it must have the first place, and that
was rather typical of the Indian attitude, and so we got our electricity, and I find
that very important, you see, I think we've got always to test our life in relation to
modern technology, I don't think we, we shouldn't simply take it, you see, without
discrimination, and on the other hand, we shouldn't reject it without discrimination,
but when it really advances the life we're intending to lead, then we should be perfectly
free to use it, and when it hinders that life, we should reject it. So we put in electricity,
and we've made it reasonably convenient now, so that we think not only of the monks,
but of the guests who come to stay, some from abroad, that it's reasonably convenient,
it's not what they're used to, but it's not too hard for them. So, you see, I do
think this is important, this continual questioning our standard of life, we shouldn't simply
accept things because other people are doing it, therefore we can do it, but we try to
relate always the way we're living to the purpose of our life, and it needs great discrimination,
I think, so it's quite small things one can discern what we ought to have and what
we ought not. Obvious things like television, for instance, you see, should you have a television
room in your monastery? They have it commodely, of course, but you have to make your choice.
And so that question of the standard of life, and you see in America today there is a very
considerable movement, I believe, towards greater simplicity. There's a book called
Voluntary Simplicity that came out some years ago, I think, which is a secular movement
towards greater simplicity of life, and it is connected also with a holistic way of living,
with ecology, with a concern for your natural surroundings, concern for the kind of food
you eat, and the kind of clothes you wear the whole life you're living. So this is part
of a wider movement, you see, and I think monks are right at the center of that. We
should be discerning how we relate to our natural surroundings, what kind of food we
have, what kind of clothes we wear, how we relate to the society in general, and to this
mode of life, you see, to which we're being called, which makes these demands. And so
often, I think, we simply tend to take either what the society gives or what our own tradition
gives. For instance, I'm told that the Carmelite sisters in India began, I hope they didn't
continue, to wear woolen habits, you see, in India because of the reason you see in
Adela. And that kind of thing can be ludicrous, you see, you simply impose unnecessary penances
on yourself which have no real meaning. So always trying to relate our standard of life,
the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the whole situation, to the real call of God in
the monastic life, and not to, either to the society in general or simply to a past tradition
which may no longer be relevant. So that was this question of standard of life, and one's
always facing it. I mean, we still have to question sort of new things that come, whether
it's acceptable or not. And then the other thing is this question of private prayer and liturgy.
And there, I think, obviously, in the Camaldolese tradition, you have a very, very interesting,
you see, combination which is unique, really, of the community life and the solitary life.
And on the other hand, I think everything depends on establishing that relationship.
And the difficulty of our life normally is we have to combine opposites, you see, because there's a
call to solitude which goes on and on and on to total transcendence, and there is also a call to
community. And I think everyone has to relate himself to those two. The most solitary monk
has to be related to the community, and the man who's living in the community has also to have
his own very personal life, his own unique relationship with God. And we've all got to
be balancing them, and it's not static. At one time we may be called to greater solitude,
at another time to more community. And I think in Camaldoli now they have rather a good
relationship. As you know, in the past there's been a tension. The hermits want to be separated,
have their life alone and reject the community, but I think everything depends really on this
balance and harmony of the community with the solitary life. You see, in our ashram we each
have a separate hut, but the huts are somewhat near together, and they're rather close to the
guesthouse and so on. So we're not very separate from the rest of the ashram, and many of the
monks now feel that we're not sufficiently separate. And on the other hand, we're beginning
to build huts in a more remote area, and we're thinking now of moving the community over to
those huts so they can have greater solitude. And we would be open, and we probably will
eventually have huts that are still more remote place, so there'll be greater silence and solitude.
And so we try to keep that openness. And as I say, I feel it should be flexible. We've not
had any hermit at present, but people can take times for solitude, maybe a few days, maybe
a week or a month, or it could be, of course, a year or more. And again, I think that has to be
related to the community and to the individual person. And there shouldn't be great openness. I
find it very distressing, you know, that these active orders in the church don't seem to have
any place for a contemplative or a more solitary vocation. We get many sisters coming to us,
especially, who've got a very clear call to contemplation and a wanting more silence,
more solitude, and they cannot get it in their congregation. They have to leave. And it seems
ludicrous to me that you have to renounce your vows to God because you want to live more
totally in the service of God, you see. They're not renouncing their vocation at all. They're
asking that they may be able to go to a deeper level of it. And some are recognizing it, but I
think it's extremely important. And that brings on this whole question of contemplation and action,
you see. We've got stupid kind of division, contemplative life and active life, whereas
really all Christian life is orientated towards contemplation, you see. It's the final goal of
Christian life. And all Christian life has a community dimension, you see. And each one has
to find his place in that. And again, there are opposites, you see. It's the vertical and the
horizontal. And there is a vertical call to be solitude, to silence, to be alone with God,
to experience this unique relation with God. And the opposite, to be open to the world, to others,
to the whole community. And we have to reconcile. If we're living the most solitary life, we've got
to be related to the community and to the rest of the world. And if we're living a community life,
we want each one to have this unique call. So it's living coincidencia oppositorum, as Nicholas
Abuser said, the coincidence of opposites. You've always got to learn to balance opposites. And it's
so much easier to go one way or another, you see, but not to live in that tension, that polarity,
you see, which is also the polarity of the male and the female and all these opposites which make
up human life. So that is the problem of solitude and community. And I think you've got a unique
opportunity here, really, of working that out. But it does need working out. It's not a simple
thing, obviously. And we've gone very little in that direction. We're much more concerned at the
moment with building a community. And perhaps I should give the background to that, you see. We
took people at a very early age, Raymond and Anthony, another brother, and they had to have
some education. And Anthony took the high school thing and then both of them took college. And
then they both did philosophy and they both went out to study philosophy. This is not good, you
know, going to seminaries and things. It breaks up your monastic life. But I don't think there's any
other way. We couldn't do it in the ashram, certainly. And that education is needed. And
also, you know, to be able to relate to the society around you. If you separate yourself too
soon before you know what the world is like, you get an unbalanced view of it, you see. And I think
it's necessary to get that experience. That's why in vocation, which is somewhat later, I believe
today vocation tend to come after 25 very often, which can be very good. So they had to be going
out like that. And consequently, we were not able to build up community life as much as I would like.
And we're doing so much more now. And that is what I hope. We can grow more and more together as a
community. And then this openness to a greater solitude should always be there. So as I say,
this is something we all have to work out in our lives, each individual and each community,
how to relate the community and the solitude. And now the next thing is this relationship to
the world outside. Now in the ashram tradition, it's extremely interesting that there's total
openness to the world. Take any Hindu ashram, and people come from all parts to it. And yet they
retain a very strong contemplative life, you see. And I think this is something we have to learn,
really. Perhaps the root of it is this, you see, that a Hindu ashram begins from a sannyasi who
has a unique experience of God. It's all focused on the experience of God. And people come there
to share that experience. And then the neighbouring people will come to bring their problems to
somebody who has got experience, you see. They believe he has an insight which others may not
have. So the whole thing centres in that experience. And that is why I think this time
of prayer, of personal prayer and meditation, is so fundamental, because each one should be requiring
this experience of God, this awareness of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, so that
he becomes a spiritual father, you see. That is really the goal. That's what our term for it,
a realised soul, they say among the Hindus. So you see, it's very interesting, again,
this opposites being open to the world. And it really is the world, you know. Poor peasants will
come along with their problems, and women will come along with their children and their family
problems, and old people and young people. And of course, in modern Hindu ashrams, people from
the West will come, as well as from India. So they're open to all these influences, and yet
the whole thing centres on an inner life of prayer, and usually of some liturgy. Though of course,
in the Hindu ashram, liturgy is much less significant. They have this bhajan singing,
this chanting, it's one of the main features. And there perhaps it's worth mentioning,
as relating to the liturgy, that this bhajan singing is very popular. What we were doing
yesterday, this Om Namah Krishna, you see, like that. You take some simple phrase and you repeat
it, and then everybody takes it up. And it goes on for hours sometimes, you know, and the repetitive
prayer has a tremendous power. Because you see, when we pray, we're trying not to be discursive,
we don't want to be going from one thing to another, we want to focus our minds. And this
chanting focuses the mind and unifies it, you see, and with all the people as well. And so I think,
you know, this is something very valuable for our prayer and liturgy. Now we have Sanskrit,
you see, which is a very sacred language and has tremendous power. And obviously that's not
very meaningful in America. But you know, I seriously wonder whether we shouldn't consider
Latin again as a sacred language which has a certain power in it. You see, I was brought up
for 25 years in the Latin liturgy and it's incredible beauty, you know, and sacredness
in that chant. And I think it's a pity that we should lose that. We needn't use it too much,
you see, we don't use Sanskrit a great deal. You have an opening prayer which sort of sets
the tone, you see, and then you have a chant at the end maybe. And I think we could use Latin
like that. And I'm told, you know, at Taizé, the Protestant Benedictine community in France,
they are developing something very interesting like that, that they have some short phrase saying
Christus surrexit, alleluia, or something like that, and they chant it again and again and the
whole people take it up. So that would be a perfectly valid way of introducing this kind
of chant, you see, which has a powerful effect on you. As it grows, you know, the chanting going
on, everybody is affected by it and it really opens your heart and mind and gives you an
experience of God, you see. So I think we ought to consider that very seriously and
it could be easily integrated in the liturgy. And for us it has a very great importance,
and a Hindu ashram is practically everything. Most of them, the whole prayer is simply a
chanting in like Muktananda's ashram, at Ganesh Puri or Sai Baba's ashram, at Whitefield. All
that is chanting together is the prayer, you see, and then times of silence, of course.
So that's really worth considering. But now, again, I go back to this openness to the world.
Again, you see, it's this combining of opposites and what attracted me to Kamaldi, you know,
they asked why we wanted to join at one time to write it down, and I said what struck me in
Kamaldi was the combination of a monastery with open to the world and hundreds of people coming
there, and an eremo where people could be withdrawn, you see. And that seems to me to
combine these two extremely well, and this openness I think is extremely important for monks. You see,
it's good to go into solitude, but ninety-nine out of a hundred, if not a hundred out of a
hundred people need the relationship to the community and to the world. And to me it's
tremendously stimulating. People sometimes say to me, don't you get sort of overwhelmed with all
these people coming and so on, but if you have your times of prayer, your times of meditation,
your times of Lectio Divina, then you should be able to take in what these people bring in. It
keeps you in constant contact with human nature, with the human reality in which we're living,
you see. Otherwise we can get separated from it and really become irrelevant to it and lose the
existential contact, you see. So I think this is very important. And again, it's different for
different people, you see. One needs more solitude and less contact. Another person really
is helped by a great deal of contact with outsiders. And both find their place in a
contemplative community. And so now this contact with outsiders, it's the local people of course
come constantly. And then in our ashram, as in all Hindu ashrams, we've got this steady
influx now of people from the West, you see. And that also is extremely stimulating because,
you see, they're all in search of God. And it's really wonderful to listen to their stories,
you know. And they go through terrible experiences very often and they've tried fasting and
watching at night and repeating prayers and so on, often in an undisciplined way. But really in the
search, you see, and it stimulates you and it helps you to realize your own vocation.
So there's a two-way traffic there all the time. You are giving something which they need,
you see. Those people in search need some stability, a tradition, some community where
they can see what they're seeking realized. But at the same time, that community is constantly
stimulated by this search for God, you see, this vitality which they bring to it. So
there again, it's very much, you see, you have always to be open to the world, to what people
are bringing to you, and yet preserving your own tradition, preserving your own inner life of
prayer, preserving your relationship to God in solitude. So it's interrelationship all the time,
this balance of offices. And now that brings us to the further question of the relation of the
Church to other religions. You see, once we begin to open to the world, we contact other religions.
In India, of course, we're surrounded by Hindus on every side, and we have to relate to the Hindus,
and that changes our attitudes in many ways. But here also in America, you see, you've got
particularly here in California, you've got Zen centers and Tibetan Buddhists and yoga centers
and so on, on every side. And we are being challenged by those because, you see, each of
these religions offers itself as a total way of life, total way of human existence and of human
fulfillment. Each one, you see, offers total fulfillment, whether it's Buddhism or Hinduism or
Sufism, whatever it may be. And many, many are finding fulfillment in those religions, and many
Catholics are. I'm told that in the Zen center, is it in Los Angeles or somewhere, or San Francisco,
the majority are Catholics, you know. And they don't find what they're looking for in Catholic
institutions. That is the problem. And most of the people who come to us from the West don't find the
kind of prayer, of meditation, of experience which they're looking for in their churches or even in
monasteries in the West. Maybe many have not gone very deeply, no doubt, and some have just rejected
everything. But it is a challenge, really, you see, and these people are offering ways of prayer, ways
of meditation, practical method. So often, we don't offer any practical method for them. Now, one of the
monasteries which has been most effective in America, I think, is Spencer Abbey, of Abbot Thomas and
Fr. Berthold Pennington, where they did some Zen meditation and transcendental meditation and
developed this method of centering prayer. And that is an extremely practical method, a totally
Christian method, but drawing on the traditions, the way, the methods of Oriental spirituality.
And so that, to me, is a very important dimension that, in our personal prayer, we can discover
methods and we are able to help other people, you see. We may be able to follow a Christian
tradition and earn ourselves, but other people are looking and they need some method. And what we do,
you know, in the ashram, we give a very simple sort of yogic method of prayer, which is extremely
simple, but it begins with sitting. And that is important, you see. We attach very little
importance to the position in prayer, but the asana in the Hindu tradition is fundamental. How you sit
will determine how you pray. If your body is tense and so on, then your mind will be tense and your
whole prayer will be one-sided. And on the other hand, if the body is relaxed and open, then the
mind is relaxed and open and you are open to God. But of course, it's not mere relaxation.
Relaxed and firm, they always say, sukha-sthira. Sukha-sthira, easy and yet firm. Which means you
shouldn't move, you see. You've got to learn to sit without moving. They often ask you to sit for
an hour without moving. It's extraordinary how difficult it is. And so they teach a method of
asana like that, and we do too, and breathing. They all say that the breathing relates the body to the
mind. When your mind is disturbed, your breath comes quickly. When your mind is calm, your breath
is regular. And vice versa. When your breath is calm and regular, your mind also becomes calm.
And so you link your breath to the mind in that way. And then we use the Jesus Prayer, you see,
as a mantra. And most people need some mantra, some words to repeat. You see, if you're doing
the ordinary meditation on the Bible, the Gospel, you reflect on it, you apply it to yourself,
see how it relates to your life, try to change your life in that way. And that is a good beginning.
But that is really only a beginning. And the next stage is you become aware that Jesus,
whom you're really talking to or you're reading about, is not a person in the past. He's present
to you. You try to relate to the presence. And then you enter more and more deeply into that
presence, and a word keeps you in the presence, you see. And that is the purpose of the mantra.
Some people simply use the name of Jesus. Some use, some, we in India, we say Om Sri
Yesu, or Yesu Om you can use. But you would obviously adapt in your own way. And Brother
Anil Das, who's developed a very effective method now of meditation, which he teaches to others,
uses the mantra Yesu Abba. Yesu as you breathe in, Abba, Father, as you breathe out. You breathe
in the whole world, everybody, everything, all the troubles of life and everything in Jesus,
and then you surrender everything to the Father, Yesu Abba. So some simple formula like that is
extremely helpful, you see. And people are looking for something like that. They don't know how to
meditate and what to do, but if you just teach some simple asana, breathing, and then some word.
And for the Christian prayer, I think the name of Jesus is extremely important. We have this
wonderful tradition in the Eastern Church, you see, which has come down all these centuries,
and it has power in it. I use the full form, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a
sinner. But most people find that too long. But one must find one's own mantra. You see, that's
very important that there's some word, some phrase, some form, which answers your particular
need, which opens you up, which focuses your person. And that's what you have to find. And
then you go on quietly repeating it. And on the other hand, you know, there's no need to be too
rigid about it, so you must always keep the same mantra. Many Hindus insist on that.
It may be good in certain circumstances, but often I think it's necessary to be rather flexible,
and when other words come, to let those words come out, and then go back maybe. But you probably
need a basic mantra, particularly when you're tired or depressed or distracted, you see. That
is when your basic mantra comes in. It goes on quietly, and it gradually calms your mind,
you see. But a mantra is extremely important, I think, for contemplative prayer. And the aim now
is very important, of course. Your asana, your pranayama, your breathing, and your mantra are
only means to calm the body, calm the mind, and be open to the Holy Spirit, you see. There's nothing
else that's open to that movement, that grace, that gift, which is totally beyond us, you see.
But that is the purpose of the discipline. And that, as I say, is the value of these Hindu and
Buddhist methods. They teach a method which brings you to that point. But what you're going to find
at that point depends on your faith, whether you're a Hindu or a Christian or a Buddhist or
whatever, you see. So that could be our method, our way. And so that is the challenge of the different
religions. And I feel today the Catholic Church and Christian churches cannot keep separated
from other religions. We have to recognize that God has been at work in all these religions in
different ways, and they're all related to Christ. And again and again, you know, today they say we
live in one universe, one world, and they're not independent, you know. The way the Hindu devotion
to a personal god, the Bhagavan, grew up two or three centuries before Christ, and how the Bodhisattva,
the one seeking nirvana who makes the vow not to enter nirvana till every soul has been saved,
these ideas of a personal god, of his mercy, his compassion, were all fermenting around the time of
the Incarnation. And they're not independent, you see. It's all part of a cosmic scheme. And Christ
comes to that center in which these things converge. And more and more, I think, we have to
see the Church as a point of convergence, you see, of these different religious traditions,
but which means we have to be totally open to whatever those traditions can give us.
So that is part of this total openness to the world.
Yes, I think those were the main points I wanted to make.
Perhaps it would be good if we could have some questions about them.
Yes, I'm sorry, I didn't mention that. That's been very interesting, you see. We started as a
very traditional Catholic community, three brothers and no men, no women. And
then, from the beginning, we received both men and women as guests into the ashram. And they
shared not only the prayer, but also the meals. That came from the time of Fr. Morsena and St.
Saul, and that is the Hindu tradition. So that we accepted from the beginning. And I found that very
helpful, you know. I do think this polarity again, that men need women and women need men.
And the monk is a man, after all, and he can't escape these needs of nature. And so we accepted
that. And then a sister came, who felt extremely attracted to the life and had great devotion to
Fr. Morsena, and would like to join us, really. But we didn't feel that we could accept a sister
into the community. And I think we were probably right, both from the situation in Tamil Nadu and
in the church as a whole. And so she decided to start an ashram beside us, just across the road,
really. And she started an ashram there, and it's grown. It's mainly, she puts up huts there,
where visitors can come. We thought at first that that would be more a women's ashram, and ours are
men. But we have women coming to ours, and she has men coming to hers, so it's become mixed.
But she has these put up, about 20 huts she has there now, all among the coconut trees. It's
beautifully set out in the shade. And many, many people come there. And of course, they come to
the ashram for prayer. They usually come for an institution, which we have, of coffee in the
morning and tea in the afternoon. And everybody sits round under the mango tree, and they share
together. Now, there's another point which we found very interesting, that you see many people
think of a retreat as you go into silence and solitude. And that, of course, is one way, and can
be very helpful at times. But there's also a retreat where you share. And most people who come
to the ashram, I've been most interested to find how much they learn from the other visitors,
guests there. Often, they just seem to meet the person who answers their need, you know.
And it's in these meetings of coffee and tea, they share with one another,
and really serious conversation and serious understanding is reached among them at that time.
In fact, to me, it's been one of the graces of the ashram that I can sit there and things happen
without my knowledge and without my will, necessarily. But you have to create the atmosphere
in which those sort of things can happen, you see. That is the point. If people feel they're
being kept out in any way or not wanting to talk, then, of course, it changes. But then again, as I
see it, it's this combination, you see, of the monastery, where you're open and you share,
and the ero remo, where you have the great solitude. So she's formed this ashram. And now
one other person has joined her permanently, and a third is hoping to join very soon,
a very wonderful sister. She's a Francisca Missionary Mary who's wanted contemplative
life for years and years and wanted an ashram, but her congregation wouldn't allow it.
And she's a great scripture scholar, too, and has been giving wonderful courses on the Bible.
But she now would like to join. So a little women's community is coming up there. And then,
as I say, all these other people come there. So now we have a very good polarity in that.
We're really open to one another. And yet, there is really a seclusion, too, you see. She has her
own group there, and we, as I say, have our own group of monks, and we want them to be a little
more separate. So again, one has to find this separation and yet community sharing.
So that's how that has worked out with us. But again, it is a matter of polarities,
and you have to work out how you can relate. You see, some have gone too far.
There was a wonderful little community I visited in Mass Blanc in Spain.
It was a mixed community, men and women, which was started by a group who had been monks at Montserrat.
And he inspired these...
Stanislaus, isn't he? Stanislaus?
Stanislaus, Father Stanislaus. He's leading a solitary life in Japan,
and he inspired these others. They were mostly simply professed or not solemnly professed,
and they left Montserrat and started this community in a wonderful about 300 acres of
forest land outside Barcelona, and had a summer living hermit life, little huts there,
and then a community, and mixed men and women. But they were having problems. I went there
four years ago, I think, and they were having problems how to relate the men and the women,
but feeling they should be more separate. And I hear since then they've had a lot of problems,
people falling in love and so on, and marriages, and that tends to break a community up.
So there again, one has to find the proper balance. But I think this is something we all
have to face, you see. The whole movement is growing now, and this whole sense of polarity
in the society and in the church, and we have really to recognize that dimension in our life
and see how we can relate to it. Well, I'd like to ask you a little
specifically about sharing worship, sharing meals, and things like that,
your experience with regard to the men and women. Sharing...
Sharing worship and sharing meals. Yes.
What kind of Godly mind are you providing? Yes, sharing worship is no problem, of course,
they all come very freely. Sharing meals, we always have silence at meals, you know,
I'm very keen on it, most people don't like it at all. But I find it very good, and for a
practical thing you get through a lot of very interesting books which you wouldn't have time
to read otherwise. And secondly, I find making conversation at meals very troublesome,
and thirdly, you see, it does bring a sort of recollection into the meal, it makes it
sound prayerful, and we always start the meal with a chant, Om Shakti, which is a very impressive
chant and puts people in the right mood. And so with their silence at meals, it doesn't
raise much problem, you see. I think it's really a rather simple solution to the thing,
because if you get a lot of talking then of course a lot of sharing will take place and
more problems can arise. So one has just to work that out.
Are there a lot of vocations in India? I have a friend who is in Kathmandu, Nepal,
the George Montague, and he's working mainly with young Indian men who want to become
Marianists. He is a Marianist, and from the way he writes, it's just almost overflowing.
They can't take anybody from Nepal, but they're not allowed to try to teach.
But they get it from India. But they get it from India. I know when I first
mentioned it to somebody who had been in Kathmandu, they said,
oh, he's doing something against the law, he's going to get caught with Jason. And I said,
oh, no. And then I let them read his letter and they said, oh, what he's doing,
he has Indian young men. And it just seems like they have vocations almost more than they can
handle. Yes, that's a bit of a problem, you see. There are a great number of vocations in India,
especially in Kerala, and now much more in Tamil Nadu, and many in Mangalore and Goa,
all these Christian-Catholic centres, you see. And there's a flow of vocations from them.
But it has its dangers, you see. They're all formed in a rather traditional Catholicism,
and they tend to form kind of ghettos, you see. They form a Catholic community,
which has very little relation to the society in which they're living, you see,
certainly to the religious traditions around them. And so I'm rather against those communities,
you see. I don't know what his would be like, but that is the tendency. They get a lot of
young Indians from South India and put them down in Nepal or in North India somewhere,
and then they form a Catholic community there, but unrelated to the Hindu society around them,
you see. And that we feel is counter-effective in the end, you see, because the church gives
this impression of being a foreign religion with its little islands in India, you see,
but not related to the whole spiritual quest of India. So that is the real problem.
But true, vocations, you see, are abundant in India. It's, as many congregations,
their main influx is from India today, you know. Jesuits, for instance, are getting a vast number.
So, but as I say, it very much depends on the kind of training you give them and whether you're
open to the whole Indian tradition, you see. We feel very strongly that if a Catholic community
wants to live in India, then they must relate to the Indian tradition, which means partly Hindu,
Buddhist, Jain, Sikh. It's a whole spiritual tradition, you see, which has gone for thousands
of years, and we have to be related to that. We have to find our place there, that is our need.
Father, when a person has a vocation from one type of culture,
and that contemplative life, really that contemplative life in that culture,
so he tries to go to another culture, he'd probably have trouble relating
in the community like that, wouldn't he, or that would be a big problem?
It can be a problem, but I think today people are discovering more and more, you know, that you can
relate, or you can come from a Catholic culture, a Christian culture, and you can relate to Zen
Buddhism, or Tibetan Buddhism, and so on, and enrich your religion. You see, this is the real
problem today, how we can, as Catholics, as Christians, within the Orthodox Catholic tradition,
we can open ourselves to the spiritual values of Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, the Hinduism, Yoga,
and so on, and enrich our own religion, and be open therefore also to the religions of the others,
you see, and that to me is really the core of the church today, you see. It's difficult for some, but
in my experience, people find it a wonderful experience, you see, they simply find it opens
them up, you see. If a person felt called to connect with black community, because he was with
the culture, the general culture of community, would it be easier for him to relate, make it open up to
the other people? Yes, but you see, a tradition is always a living thing, isn't it? It's growing
from, and we receive a certain tradition from the past, but it's an open tradition, a flowing one,
and it should be able to expand, you see. I mean, that's how I see the Benedictine tradition, you see,
it's not simply Saint Benedict, it's a whole monastic tradition coming down from the New Testament,
from the Fathers of the Desert, through Saint Basil and all the rest, canalized by Saint Benedict at a certain
time, in a certain way, and then flowing on through many years in Europe to the present, and it's,
but it's a living, growing tradition, and now we're being challenged to encounter the monastic
tradition of the East, you see. That's the interesting thing, it's a monastic tradition,
and when we meet Tibetan monks especially, but also Hindu and other Buddhist monks, we see this
kind of community, you know. You see, the most interesting experience, Pralia in Italy, you know,
it's the Padua Benedict community there, and the abbot there, with various other friends,
opened up this dialogue with other monks, and I went to a meeting three years ago, four years ago,
I think, and we had Buddhist monks and Hindu monks with the Benedictines, and that first
meeting, I was told, it was very tense, you know, the monastic community wasn't really ready for it,
didn't know what they were in for, and these people came, and all these strange happenings took place,
but apparently by the end of the week there was an extraordinary sort of understanding
had been reached, and the second time when I came, then there was really complete openness,
and the Hindu did his puja there, and the Buddhist did a Buddhist ceremonial, and we celebrated an
Indian mass, and the whole thing begins to come together, you see. Of course it needs discernment,
it's true, and people get afraid of syncretism, but syncretism is simply mixing, you see, without
discrimination, whereas what the church today is seeking, call it ecumenism, is to be
authentic Christian tradition, which is open to the values in others, you see,
and I think we ought all to have a certain openness, obviously different in many, but I think
everybody should have a certain openness, otherwise you're closing your own tradition,
you see, you're saying now we stop here, but the thing is a growth.
You see any clear difference between the dialogue that you're speaking of,
conducted in India, where you're in touch with those traditions still brought from their roots
perhaps, and here in California, for instance, where we have a kind of imported eastern...
Yes, it's very different, but you know what strikes me here, and that's why I found it at
Esalen very much, is the way people are beginning to relate to the American Indian tradition.
I think that's very important. You see, this was a very sacred country to the Indians,
those hot springs of Esalen were one of their sacred places, you see, and that belongs to the
past of America, you see, and you can't ignore your past, and that again, you know, psychologically,
people are discovering if you try to ignore your past, it's simply there and it comes up
in the most unexpected ways. It's a negative force, you see, but once you accept your past,
it becomes a creative force. So I would think some relation to the American Indian,
you see, at Osage Monastery, it's just passed in Oklahoma, and they call it Osage, which is
the name of the Indian tribe, and they, not very much, but they have created a sort of the altar
and so on relating to the sun dance. They've tried to give a certain ambience of the American
Indian tradition, so I think that is a point of insertion into traditional culture. And don't
forget, all these traditional cultures are interrelated, you see, the American Indian
has its links with the Indian culture, you know, there is a common tradition behind all these
things. What I call the cosmic revelation, knowing God in the whole creation, you see,
that is the base of all these religions. You were going to ask something?
Well, you've spoken of many people coming into the monastery in greater openness,
that way. Do the brothers ever leave? Or very often, I know they do for studies,
but other than that, do they ever go and come back?
Yes, that is an interesting point, which we've made with Kumaldini. You see, in Hindu tradition,
you have what is called parivraj, that is the way of wandering. In fact, the typical Hindu and
Buddhist monk is a wandering monk, you know. He's not supposed to stay more than three days in one
place. And the only, why the ashrams, not the ashram, why the Buddhist monasteries first grew
up was because in the rainy season, you couldn't go wandering, and so they settled in one place
for the four months of the rainy season. That became a monastery, and so gradually the monastic
tradition grew. But originally they were wandering. And still today, the typical Hindu sannyasi
wanders, but frequently he settles in an ashram, always for the rainy season he'll settle in an
ashram, and then he may settle for life, of course. So the two go on side by side. And we feel that we
should keep that tradition. And many people have tried this wandering, you know, without money.
Raymond tried it for a week once. He had a terrible experience, thought he was going to die.
But God comes to the rescue always at the last moment. And many, many have done this,
going without, and you get an extraordinary sense of divine providence, you know.
Unexpected ways people come and offer you something. Here in America it's very different.
You're taken up as a vagrant very soon, aren't you? And I don't know what you do about it.
But that you have to work out. Brother John has tried that.
But we suggested to Kamalgali, you see, that as we have the community life and the solitary life,
we should also have that third stage, the evangelical life, that you can go out
and share in some way. And we've not gone very far, but I feel very open to that, you see,
to be able to go out and share. And maybe, you see, typically in India you would visit other ashrams,
you see, you visit Hindu ashrams. Now, Raymond and Krishnadas and Namadas have all been out in
that way, visiting other Hindu ashrams. And so you enrich your experience in that way.
But there again you'd have to adjust that to a situation in America, but I think it's a valid way.
You mentioned syncretism before. I was wondering if you could say more about that, because
you've made a differentiation now, and I'm glad to hear that. How do we remain open and yet
we'll be the safeguards so we don't get caught in syncretism?
It is a problem, you see. The Hindu particularly is entirely syncretist, you see. He says there are
no differences in religion at all. That's the great difficulty. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam even,
Christianity are all one religion, you see. They differ only in externals, the cult and customs,
you see. And they even put most Sufi in their clothes. Ramakrishna is a typical example,
you see. He said, we go to the river and we take water. And one calls it pani, which is the Hindi
for water. Another calls it wellam, which is the Malayalam, Kerala word for water. Another calls
it tanya, which is the Tamil word for water. There are only names for the one reality, you see. It's
only one religion and we give it different names. Well, that is frightfully superficial, you see,
and meaningless. And another Hindu put it to us, it's like you sit down to a meal and one likes some
fish and another likes some meat, another wants some vegetables. They're all different foods,
but they all feed the same man. So religions are all different. You each choose your own food,
you see. But all that is syncretistic and childish, I think, really. But what we call it ecumenical,
in a few, you see. In ecumenism, with Christian ecumenism, the Catholic remains a Catholic,
but he opens himself to the values in the other church. He recognizes the presence of Christ in
the other church. He sees their values, their biblical knowledge, their prayer, and so on.
And we relate to that, you see, and we harmonize with ours. And so also with the other religions,
you remain within the Catholic tradition and then you open yourself. And it has to be a real
openness, of course. You see what the council said, the Catholics should recognize, preserve,
and promote the spiritual and moral values of other religions. So you read the Upanishads,
you read the Bhagavad Gita, you read the other bhakti writings in Hinduism, you see how they
relate to Christ, you see. You've got continually to be relating within. It's a living contact you
have to make. It needs great discernment, I think, but we find that it's growing everywhere. I mean,
in our ashram, we've had practically no problems that way. Most Catholics who come there find it
without difficulty. They can relate to the other religions without losing the Catholic tradition.
But an immature person, it can be, and many are caught up in a kind of syncretism, of course.
Yeah, there seems to be a movement even here in the United States, and I'm strongly,
at least, more than not frequently, in frequent times, one might hear,
there's no difference among Christian churches. Yes.
As opposed to the Catholics, you know, and all the congregational churches that follow.
So why all these differences anyway? And I really think they're being simplistic too.
For me, I find it does make a difference what my tradition is. Like you mentioned,
the past, the Indians in our country, my past as a Catholic and what that all brings in there,
where I am today, is significant. I can't throw that out. You know what I'm saying?
What I want to say is that it does make a difference which tradition I choose,
at least, and what it does to me and my relationship to the Lord as well.
Yeah, are you thinking of a Catholic who opens the door to other religions or to a person without
any religion who... Only a person without any religion.
That is another problem. That is another problem. And I think today we have to recognize, you see,
that a vast, probably a majority, or certainly a vast number of people have no particular
religious affiliation, you see, and have no religion very often, but they're in search of God.
And I think each has to follow his own path, you see. There's no doubt that some people are led
through Hinduism, through Buddhism, through all different experiences, and they have to be true
to what God is saying to them in that religion. And I've known many come through, you know, to
Catholicism through that path. But I think you have to leave people open, you see. You can't
say that... I mean, God is leading people through these different... After all, he's been leading
Hindus through Hinduism for thousands and thousands of years, you see. They have no other choice at
all. You are a Hindu, and that was God's way of salvation for you. Same with a Buddhist,
same with a Muslim. So God is leading people through these different traditions, and he's
leading people today through different traditions. I think we would say, and I understand,
that the Catholic Church is that sort of center of communion, you see. It's the center, Christ is the
center, who in principle is open to religious truth wherever it exists, you see.
Yeah, that was another statement that I was reminded of when you were talking about the
mission of the Church, according to the Diocesan Council, is to find truth wherever it exists and
claim it as your own. Yes, not to be too possessive about it,
but to recognize that in a real sense it's a common search, you see. To me,
what distinguishes mission today is that mission is always through dialogue. It's never simply
giving one thing, it's always being open to the other. God is present in the other,
he's led him so far in that way, and now we as Christians meet that other and we share,
and we receive something from him and he receives something from us, you see.
But it's a real sharing that takes place. I'd like to make that question,
part of his question, a little bit more specific relating to Christian ecumenicism.
That very interesting Benedictine nun in Kansas City, Joan, who had become a counselor and so on,
and she was working and counseling and teaching modern theology to different religious
institutions, the United Church and other churches, and she found that she went
wherever she was, to one church or another church or to the Catholics when she was there,
and this kind of what he would call sacratism, of all the Christian churches are much the same
and one simply feels communion with the particular community that one's with.
How would you answer that question, that her Catholicism doesn't seem to her to be
explicitly important anymore? Well, the question of intercommunion is a problem, you know. I mean,
I think that there are, how we had yesterday, there are occasions when one can open up the
communion very wide. As I said, the Church did say in the declaration, isn't it, on ecumenism that
communion in the Eucharist is a sign of the unity of the Christian people and also a sign of desire
for that unity, and it can on occasion. But you see, if you simply open or take all churches equal,
then the real values of the Catholic tradition, equally the real values of the Orthodox or the
Lutheran get lost. You've got to preserve the real values in each tradition, you see, that is the
point. And Catholicism is in principle open to all these values, but in practice, far from it,
we're a very limited tradition, you see. We've lost most of the Orthodox tradition, you see,
before the division we had this immensely rich spirituality of the Eastern churches,
but we've lost most of that now and we need to recover that. And then again, the Protestants,
you see, and Wesley, you see, this tremendous experience of conversion in Christ was a
marvelous thing, you see, and something Catholic in itself. Wesley was very Catholic, actually,
but inside the church, that sort of thing was very rare. So the church in practice is extremely
limited, limited by its Western tradition, by particular circumstances, by our own limitations,
but in principle, the church is open to every valiant religious experience, you see.
Where, then, falls the call also of the Vatican documents, the Vatican Fathers for the proclamation
of the Gospel, the Grigna and Paul VI document, the call to evangelization?
Yes, I don't think it's contradictory, you see. You're open to the other, but when you've
established that openness, then you can share. And then, you see, when you go to, as I've often
done, you go to a meeting of Hindus, say, you see, and we meet together and we share,
now what they want, we want to listen. What does that Hindu, we take a subject like prayer or
salvation, what does prayer, what does salvation mean to the Hindu? And you, as a Christian,
are asked to say, what does salvation mean to you? And you proclaim Christian salvation,
you see. It's a wonderful opportunity, really, and they want to hear what is your tradition,
you see. But you do it with total openness, and that I call proclaiming the Gospel, you see.
By openness, you're not necessarily saying the openness to the extent of compromising
your Christian position, are you? To the point of being compromised?
No, no, you don't compromise, you see. We make a principle, it's the same in Christian ecumenism
and in this wider ecumenism. You never compromise your own tradition, you see. You speak from the
depth of your own tradition and then try to relate to the other. The compromise is always a mistake
at every level. Which means that one really has to be knowledgeable and living his own tradition
quite well before he has the authority, in a sense, to come out and talk about it.
You have to have a certain maturity, but your maturity grows with the contact, you know. That
is the interesting thing. But there is danger in it. I mean, some people do sort of drift into a
vague syncretism, you see, which is valuable as well, perhaps very little learned of.
There's been such a resistance in the Catholic Church and in all of us, I think, to opening to this.
We need an insight into the resistance that we feel inside of ourselves.
There's a kind of psychology of opening to this kind of thing.
It's very difficult, yes. The interesting thing, you know, is Stan Grof, this man at Essendon,
you know, he's been doing all these experiments with psychology and he's found, and it seems to
be fairly evident, you know, that basic ideas of religion are present in everybody. That people
bring out extraordinary experiences from Tibetan Buddhism or from some ancient religion from their
psyche, you see, so that we all have in us how the human psyche is open to different expressions of
religious truth, you see. We all have this depth in us. We tend to narrow ourselves to a particular
tradition, but we can open ourselves to the whole cosmic revelation. God has been revealing himself
in humanity from the beginning, you see, and each has its own value. The American Indians have a
unique value, you see, and don't forget there was no other way of salvation for thousands of years.
You see, American Indians were probably here by 10,000 BC, so for 10,000 years there was no other way of
salvation for an Indian except through that God-given tradition, and it's a beautiful tradition,
you know, the idea of the great spirit who is present in the whole earth, in the water, in the air,
in everything you do, in the animals, in the trees. God is present everywhere and you've got to relate
yourself to the presence of God in the world around you, the presence in your own tribe,
the presence in your ancestors. It's a beautiful religion, you see, and that was God's gift to them
and we have to be open to whatever way God has revealed himself.
That I call the cosmic revelation, which is in the Bible, you see, before Abraham you have the
cosmic revelation, God's revelation in creation, and God's revelation in the human heart, and that
is absolutely universal. Then comes the historic revelation in Abraham, Moses, David, Christ, you
to fulfill the whole cosmic revelation and the revelation of Israel, you see. He's like Melchizedek,
his beautiful figure, you see, he belongs to the cosmic revelation, he's not a Jew, he's not a
Christian, and yet he's a saint. Melchizedek is the figure of Christ, you see, the priest who
are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, the pagan priest, you see, it's beautiful.
This is a little new, I know, in some ways, but it's spreading so rapidly and it's demanded of us now,
really, you see, that's the point. And if we stick in a limited tradition, we get left out, you know,
really you become simply isolated in the end, because this is the way the whole humanity, I think,
is growing. You see, what is so extraordinary in our experience in the ashram, we have people coming
from all five continents and from at least 50 different countries and all in search of more or
less the same thing. They're all seeking experience of God, which you can put in the terms of
realizing themselves to find their true humanity, their true relation to God, to the universe, to
other human beings and to the source of all, you see, so they're on the way to God. And that is
going through all over the world today, you see, this search is going on from every different
direction, and I feel the church is called to show how she can be a center of convergence
for all this movement, you see, of humanity today, that is the real goal.
Q. How do you think the charismatic movement in India is doing? Is it alive there? Is it a victim of the ashram?
K. Sorry, how do you...?
Q. The charismatic movement.
K. Yes, I think it's a very important movement, you know, because for the first time Catholics
open themselves to this spontaneous movement of the Spirit, and it has its adorations,
no doubt, but I think it's very authentic from what I know of it, and that the majority have
been confirmed in their faith and have discovered the Bible very often and have discovered the
Christian liturgy, the people meaning of the Mass, so I think in that sense it's extremely
I don't take to it myself, you know, that's not quite my way, but I think contemplative
and charismatic are somewhat complementary, you know, and that probably the charismatic
probably needs the contemplative dimension, perhaps we need a bit more of the charismatic.
Q. In this country frequently you've got an attention between the charismatic movement
and interest in the Eastern traditions, but that the charismatic movement will be very
fearful of the Eastern traditions.
K. Yeah, that is a problem.
Q. I don't know if there's something to do with the Protestant background.
K. Yeah, I think it is due to that, you know, very biblical Christianity, the Protestants,
but many charismatics, even in India, regard as yogurists of the devil, there's somebody
in Bangalore going around teaching that, I know, and they're very fundamentalist very
often, but there is an accident, there's no reason why the charismatic movement should
be bogged down in their travesty, it can be, don't you think?
Q. Well, partly, it's more of an emotional thing, and the emotion tends to be exclusivistic
like that, it wants to hang on to, it's like a love affair, you know, one's in love with
one particular person and then all other people are much lesser than that person, and so one
falls in love with Christ through the charismatic movement, and it's not really an intellectual
or a wisdom tradition, it comes from the heart.
K. That's the danger, I think, that it's too emotional, but it needn't be, I think,
when it matures, then you get a real, as I say, understanding the Bible in a more authentic
tradition, but it can be too emotional.
Q. Well, being said it's not very charismatic, but I mean, that Mass yesterday was totally
charismatic, but it's a deeper kind of charismatic thing which is incorporated into and included
in this contemplative and wisdom tradition, rather than being exclusively emotional and
feeling.
And of course then it's an experience, you know, these people have a strong experience
which gives them, which gives such an authenticity at the moment to that particular tradition,
and that, it's not intellectually reasoned out, it's just, well I feel, I felt a certain
thing and therefore it must be, I mean, I want to share this great feeling that I've
had with other people, so often it comes out of a goodness of heart that they become self-underling
of this, you know, out of good intention.
K. Well, another important thing in the charismatic movement is this healing, you see, that's
another dimension which has come up now, and this is very important, you see, in the New
Testament, Jesus sent his apostles to preach and to heal, and we've frankly lost that,
but they've recovered it, you see, and wonderful healings take place, and that should also
be part, I feel, of our own tradition, you see, that contemplative prayer should lead
to an experience of God, which wouldn't even be for everybody, but certainly it would be
quite normal for a power of healing to manifest itself.
Q. It's like the Catholic or Hispanic, what's happening now, it seems, is that there's a
greater interest in contemplation and support, when there are conferences, big conferences,
they have teaching on how to pray, sign the letters, so it's kind of integrating the external
worship and support through with the inner dimension.
K. So that is a maturing, isn't it really?
It started being very emotional, but I think it's maturing in many ways.
Q. And also I remember LeSaul saying that how he liked to see this happening, this book,
I remember reading, and he was kind of excited about the charismatic movement,
it's another dimension of the spirit of reading.
It's a tremendous advantage when coming from this tremendously intellectual religion that
so many of us are caught in, to be able to open that emotional side, but then it needs
the balance, the conduct, the balance between the two.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.