The Radical Choice of Monastic Life

This weekend I am at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, MN at a National Benedictine Vocation Conference. Today included very engaging presentations by Sr. Joan Chittister. She spoke quite energetically about the vitality of Benedictine life for today’s world. As she was recounting the original reasons that Benedict left Rome to begin a new way of living – it was all to similar to today’s world.

In Benedict’s day as well as our current culture, men and women are seeking new ways of relating to each other, to God and to our world. It is rather radical to step away from the familiar and the culture we are born into to embrace a new life.

It struck me rather forcefully that monastic life is founded on building peace in our relationships, despite our differences, rather than fighting, defensiveness and competition. Benedictine monasticism is founded on humility  as knowing our place with creation rather than over creation. It is founded on stewardship, working with creation for continued existence rather than overpowering creation with our wants. It is founded on living in community rather than an “I can do it on my own” attitude. And, of course, the cornerstone is prayer, both communal and individual, rather than the cornerstone of consumerism.

Monastic life is a radical choice for us today. Our challenge is to present our monastic life as vital, energetic and relevant. I believe some women want to live in the world today in a new way.

Are you that woman? Are you willing to embrace the essential in a world full of too much stuff? Are you willing to Seek God in a new and bold way? Where do you want to channel your energy for life?

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