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.

Tom





**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

6 comments:

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...

Kris-

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.