Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Monks I Love

I believe that one of humanities most benevolent and expressive desires for God comes in the life of a Catholic monk. A life that is essentially based on work and prayer (actually, one might say mostly on prayer since contemplatives consider the work they do a form of prayer) this unique vocation demonstrates the validity of the tested Christian tradition, especially in a Catholic context. To willfully inundate yourself in an environment that focuses internally on the perpetual search for God speaks volumes of those blessed with such a vocation.

Following the rule of St. Benedict, Cistercian monks begin their day very early with morning Vigils; continue on to mass, after which comes the morning work session. They pause for lunch, continue to a brief prayer moment and begin the afternoon work session. In the evening comes Vespers and another prayer service before retiring. Each monastery has its own specific schedule, but most follow a daily routine similar to the one just explained.

For me, monks prove that God exists. Could lunatics and megalomaniacs, unrepentant objectifiers and double-crossing tricksters pursue such a life? I think not. These individuals have found something profound (or "Something" has found them) that they feel more complete living as a monk in a monastery than as anything else.

You have seen the imagery a thousand times before. Those black and white tunics accompanied by scowls that make contemplation the focus of the monk, amid fields of grass, sky, and sunlight. I can't put my finger on it, but there is something about a monk and the simplicity of nature that go very well together.

In this account, I must also mention the cloistered and Benedictine nuns. They, too, exhibit the same sanctifying characteristics as their bretheren monks, and are no less vocationally gifted.

Terry has a great post on a wonderful monk with a profound spirituality. I had not heard of him until I read the post which focused on him. How on earth did I miss this guy? Give it a read. You wont be sorry.

Also, visit A Day in the Life of a Trappist Monk. This beautifully constructed website covers just about every aspect of Trappist life, as well as the history of the abbey these monks maintain.


**Picture of silhouetted monk from Self Knowledge

**Monk in the fields from A Day in the Life of a Trappist Monk

**Picture of cloistered nuns taken from The Catholic Sun's Photostream


Terry Nelson said...

Thanks for the link, and thanks for this post.

kris said...

well, you know how I feel about Trappists and Trappistines... that's my gig :O)

Love the photo up top, reminds me of Mepkin- looks like Mepkin!

Tom in Vegas said...


The first picture was taken at Mepkin Abbey. I've made the necessary notations at the bottom of the post.

Tracy said...

Great post Tom!

Jaimie said...

Beautiful post, very heartfelt. I am going to take a look at some of those links.

Berenike said...

You might like the blog

vultus christi

written by a monk.