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Posts Tagged ‘monastic’

72750_1603573401531_4403968_nDoes the Lord’s command about ceaseless prayer that men ought always to pray (Luke 18:1), apply only to monks or to all Christians in general?

If it applied only to monks, the Apostle Paul would not have written to the Christians in Thessalonica “to pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).

The Apostle repeats the Lord’s command, word for word, and issues it to all Christians without distinction, whether monks or laymen.

St. Gregory Palamas lived a life of asceticism for some time as a young hieromonk in a monastery in Beroea. The elder Job, a well-known ascetic whom everyone respected, lived in that monastery. It happened that, in elder Job’s presence, St. Gregory quoted the Apostle’s words, asserting that ceaseless prayer is the obligation of every Christian and not just for monks.

However, elder Job replied that ceaseless prayer is the obligation of the monk only, and not for every Christian. Gregory, as the younger of the two, yielded and withdrew in silence. When Job returned to his cell and stood at prayer, an angel in great heavenly glory appeared to him and said: “O Elder, do not doubt the truthfulness of Gregory’s words; he spoke correctly and you should think likewise and pass it on to others.”

Thus, both the Apostle and the angel confirmed the commandment that all Christians must pray to God without ceasing.

Not only without ceasing in church, but also without ceasing in every place and at all times, and especially in your heart.

For if God does not for a moment tire of giving us good things, how can we tire of thanking Him for these good things?

When He thinks of us without ceasing, why do we not think of Him without
ceasing?

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Through our baptism we are called to be ministers in Christ’s church. Some are called to be Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious, and the most noble of all orders, the Laity from which all orders come. We are all called to a holy vocation, a royal priesthood. No office or position is greater. We all serve Christ’s church on our path to salvation.

There are various types of Religious. The Holy Spirit gives each Order a specific charism so that the church may be served and strengthened. For some time I have felt a call to monasticism. You might be curious as to what exactly monasticism is or Monastic Life. In a monastic vocation an individual feels called to renounce worldly pursuits and to devote ones self to spiritual work. The craft of the monastic can vary from Science to crafting beer. Yet, for Benedictines their core work is prayer. Following a moderate rule of life monastic’s pray the Liturgy of the hours, sometimes called the Work of God.

The Church for centuries has recognized the importance of monastic prayer and have called their work the “prayer engine of the church.” While many people attention is directed to things of this world, the monastic’s offer up prayers for the world. They are the beacons of light that shine in an often dark world. Monasteries are set like a city on the hill; offering refuge, healing, and direction to a sick and dying world. Through the centuries many have forgotten about Religious life, this is especially true in the Anglican/Episcopal Church. Religious life disappeared after King Henry VIII banished Religious life from England when he broke away from Rome to secure an another wife. Benedictine life did not return to England until 1904 and in the United States until about 65 years ago.

The Church says only about 4% of Christians are called to Religious life. Through spiritual discernment I was drawn to a Benedictine community. I have been in relationship with the Abbot for about 2 and a half years. The Abbot and I believe that the Holy Spirit is calling me to be part of that 4%. It is a path to salvation that is built on structure, discipline, and prayer; of dying to self and becoming the man God called me to be at my baptism. Like all of us conversion is a work in progress. Mine will just be a bit more visible.

This past May I entered the religious community of The House of Initia Nova (New Beginnings). It is a Benedictine Community whose Mother House is in Houston Texas. They have lay members and religious all over the world. They also have a few who live in community at the Genesis Abbey.

I am currently in my postulancy. In this time I get to try on this life, and see if it fits. At the Abbey I was figuratively stripped of my garments, and clothed in the tunic of a monk. My name was changed to signify a new life in Christ. My new name and the black clothing is a continuing symbol of the renunciation to the world, and a new continuation in my life with Christ. For many my name change has been somewhat a struggle. To many I will always be Kirk, to other Kirkus, and that is ok.

After my postulancy I will enter the novitiate and from there into Professed life. Each step requires commitment and inward change. Some of the steps will be represented by some exterior change, an external symbol of an internal grace. It is my prayer and hope that over time my life and the symbol of my monastic life will become a blessing for me and for you. It is something that will be a slow progression in our life together. I do not want to be a distraction from our worship life together. Praying the daily office, and serving at the altar of our Lord I will continue as I always have.

If you have any questions regarding religious life, lay orders, or my call please feel free to ask. Thank you all for your continued support, love, and prayer.

Pax

Br. John-Paul, p/OSB (Kirk Broyles)

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When the Holy Spirit established the Church on Pentecost, those who followed Christ were given a way to praise God and work toward salvation together, instead of struggling alone.

Every  Christian should be working toward salvation (which means “coming closer to God”), but some men are called by Him to put all their effort into knowing Him. They love praying to God and studying His Word so much that they live their lives totally dedicated to God and His Church.

Monks live away from the rest of the world in communities called monasteries. Brothers often live in the community of the faithful, but living their life to a strict spiritual rule.

The most important job of a monk is to pray, both privately and communally (“as a group” or “together”) by reading the holy Hours, participating in frequent (sometimes daily) Liturgy, and observing all the other services and feasts in the cycle of the Church. Monks often go to Church several times a day, every day!

While we are at school and at work, or enjoying free time, make sure that praise is always offered to God. Day or night, a monk somewhere in the world is singing to God or praying silently. That means the Apostolic Catholic Church is always at prayer.

Monks pray for us. They pray in our place when we are doing something which keeps us from saying our own prayers, and they pray on our behalf by asking God to grant salvation and health to every Christian, and the world. (They do this every day, even if we don’t pray ourselves because we’re too young or too sick – or just busy.) Because of monks we are always remembered before God. What a great gift!

Because monks spend so much time praying and studying, they have a very special wisdom with which to interpret the world in which we live today. Many people call on monastics to ask for advice and guidance, or to learn more about the orthodox Apostolic faith.

The second job of a monk is to teach the True Faith, Holy Tradition, and an orthodox lifestyle to all of us, both formally (in sermons, lectures, or writings) and informally, by their example.

Many monastics become experts in a specific areas: Scripture, the writings of the Church Fathers, the lives of the saints, liturgics (that is, how and why our religious services are conducted), iconography, music, etc. With the blessing of their Abbot, they may travel to speak, or write and publish books and newsletters on topics important to the Church. If several brothers share the same area of expertise, the monastery itself may host retreats or lectures for those interested in learning more.

Monks will often mentor (“oversee and guide”) the studies of others, and help them to grow spiritually and academically so they can work for God, too.

Parish priests and other lay people may ask a monk to be their Spiritual Father. He hears their confessions and guides their spiritual growth and development, but absolution is always given by a priest, or monk who is also ordained a priest.

Participating in the full cycle of Church services, praying privately, studying the Scripture and the writings of the Church Fathers and teaching occupy a great deal of a monk’s day. But in addition to their full-time efforts in praying and teaching, many monastics work “part-time” to support their monastery.

Individual monks may write icons (that is, holy pictures that tell stories about Christ and the saints) for use in our homes and Churches or create beautifully-written passages of Scripture (called “illuminated calligraphy”), if God has given them that talent. Others may translate Scripture, music, or the writings of the Church Fathers from Greek, Russian, or Serbian into English for our use, or from English into a different language (like Aleute or Japanese) for missionary use.

A monastery might sell candles, incense, or other religious items (like rosaries), which certain monks spend part of each day making by hand. Frequently, monastic communities operate a book store or collect and sell items used in Church services or in our icon corners at home, since many parishes and families visit them.

Some monks may be assigned the tasks of planting and tending the monastery’s orchards and gardens, preparing food for the community and its visitors, and doing the cleaning and washing for everyone, so that others may do different types of work.

The whole monastic community works together to do God’s work. Monks and brothers work toward salvation together, by praying, studying God’s Word and teaching it to us and to others, and working hard to support the Church and the monastery where they live

May the peace of the Lord be always with you

adapted from http://www.theologic.com/oflweb/inhome/monk02.htm

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