Friday, July 28, 2006

A Monk's Pilgrimage

Tolstoy "left behind his family for an ascetic's wandering." (Tolstoy Park p.54)

Monastic spirituality has been one of the precepts of the emergent movement. In part it indicates a silencing of the wind.

The noise of the world has exceeded our limits of understanding. On each corner is an advertiser with hands uplifted begging for money; for the poor, the hungry, the corporate executive to increase his stock portfolio and buy a new condo.

We have become overburdened with things. And the more we own the more time we spend just keeping it fixed. Like today, my lawnmower will not start. I have to call a repairman and a lawnmower service to mow my grass. Yesterday it was the computer that died. You get the picture.

The wedding of spirituality and the U.S. religion do not mix, though many think they are synonymous. This is the weakening of the American character, a statemate with the status quo.

Unfortunately, church is played the same way. If you "ain't growin" something is wrong with the preacher. But what about the av erage service of a growing church. 30 minutes standing full of praise hymns, a great rock solo, and a happy sermon. After a while one wonders 'what is this all about?'

This is where the monastic spirituality fits. Some people have tired of the gimmicks, the jump up and down songs, the fake advertisements, and the meatless sermons. They instead long for a place where one in silence can listen for God without the latest news, where even the weather is a champion of the spirit.

Yes, monastic spirituality is a longing for God. It is a quieting of the bombastic spirit of our day, a running away from a diet of Fox News and Cnn News. It is a longing for much more silence and wisdom, thus, like Henry Stuart of Tolstoy Park, moving to Alabama to finish his days, it is park of a monk's pilgrimage.

Why are you drawn to the contemplative life?

Thanks Aimee.


At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AIMEE......In the silence there is a gift. The gift opened reveals a chance to be alone with God and to simply love being in His sacred Presence. One person has said 'The solitude is not lonely and the silence is not empty...they are full of God.'

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOISE, NOISE, NOISE.........No wonder we hunger for the silence that frees us. The noise grabs us and leads us here and there...tells us what to think and what to buy and what to desire, etc. The silence consoles and caresses. No wonder Christ loved to go pray in the silence of the desert night! 'Lord, in the stillness, teach us that it is not our lips that matter but our hearts.'

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEING NOT SIMPLY DOING.........Our society places a lot of emphasis on what we do...our jobs...our hobbies...our activities, etc. The spiritual side of us longs for the 'being' of ourselves. Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going? In the silence, wisdom has a chance to answer our questions and remind us God deserves our 'being' as well as our 'doing.'

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

INSIGHTS NOT SOUGHT......So many times, in silence, there comes to us an insight that we never had before...a new way of seeing something...a feeling about a hope of ours or a plan. These are not sought directly....but there they of understanding that God sends and we 'hear' because we have chosen to seek Him in the desert. "Come awhile."

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MONASTIC SPIRITUALITY.....To live in the spirit of the monastic life is to love all the things of God and ponder them in silence. Psalm 111:1 "Blessed is that one who delights in the ways of God." Christ taught us to guard our hearts for out of them comes what we do and who we are and what we desire. To guard the heart is to fill it with the things of God....He will teach us the way.

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DRAWN TO PRAYER.........It is the grace of God...the invitation to come to Him...the hunger...the longing...the reaching up and out.... Prayer is our response. It is a gift to finally 'hear' God calling and inviting. 'Lord, we love Thee and we realize that Thou hast FIRST loved us and called us.'

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IN THEE.......Psalm 83:4 "...the sparrow has its house...the turtle has its home...and so, I in Thee, O Lord." This is where the soul longs to home with its God.

At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GIVING UP.......Some pople, speaking of someone who went to be a monk, expessed concern about all that he was giving up. For those who love God, the monastic life is not so much a 'giving up' as a 'reaching for.' The treasures of a life that is God-centered...silence that is prayerful...the 'wealth' of spiritual riches....where do we stop? Merton was deeply aware of this and wanted to tell the world about it. Not the negative, but the positive. He would be saying, probably, "You speak of 'giving up'....I would remind you that the monastic life is a 'reaching for' God and the treasures that He gives to those who come to Him."

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MORE SILENCE AND MORE WISDOM.......Great thought and well expressed. The fountain of Wisdom is always flowing but we are not always in its flow. We are here and there...doing this, doing that...too busy...too active to sit down in quiet and give Wisdom a chance. I find that I do not spend enough time in the flow of wisdom, my hands cupped to catch and drink and be blessed. Is that Wisdom's fault?

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HIS DOING.......Psalm 117:23 "This is the Lord's doing and it is wonderful in our eyes."
In the life of the monastic, inside the enclosure and also outside in the world, the little things are not overlooked but rather taken and lifted up to God. In an early morning walk today, I heard a beautiful song of a bird and said: "O God, let that be part of my prayer as well." When we reflect in silence on the goodness of God and His marvels, He fills us with gratitude for all His works. Our hunger to be close to Him is one of these wonderful works and we thank Him for it.

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WISDOM and the MONASTIC......Psalm 106:43 "If you are wise then you will understand and keep to His ways...O the mercies of our God!" It is a great gift to have the wisdom and desire to seek the things of God. This seeking is the heart of our calling. Our prayer is a joy, not a task. Our seeking Him is not a labor...Under His wings we are not captured, but comforted. The call of the monastic is simply this: 'Come near, for I am calling you.'

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


day by day I call -
don't you hear my beloved?
to My heart...come in.

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEEK..............Psalm 104:4 "Seek the face of the Lord for Him and find strength." Those of us 'outside the walls' are also 'monastics' if we remember to seek Him daily. He is not hard to be found...He does not hide from those who search for Him...He waits in love...In fact, He knocks at our doors. In His hands, He carries a gift of strength for each one and for each day...not tomorrow, but today.

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOISE OF THE WORLD.........To find a little place of stillness and find a time of listening and come to God in awe and listen to the stumble not in the see the Light and to be feel the hand of God upon your shoulder and to know you are in His Presence hear the heartbeat of find shelter under His see your name written on His hands... The monastic calling is not restricted for ONLY those in the enclosure but for ALL.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

*****the silent prayer to Him -
we send heavenward with love;
the words are not missed.
*****in His presence blest -
our most loving thoughts ascend;
so to find our joy.
*****sacred time of prayer -
looking to the gracious One;
precious time with God.


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