From his youth Lax experienced a love of God that would not abate, calling him toward both solitude and engagement with others.
Beverly Donofrio had just been “looking for a monastery to join, for Christ’s sake.” She had closed her laptop, having bookmarked religious communities she might write to, then had fallen into a deep sleep. During the night she was raped at knife point in her home in Mexico.
I see the monastery sign and drive past. I know two monks there, and I've been grabbing at every possible lead. But I'm too ashamed to turn in.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading this strange book called The Spiritual Meadow, written by sixth-century wandering monk John Moschos. One of the last stories in the book was as relevant to my daily existence as any story I have read in a long time. I have only the vaguest idea what it means, but I do know it’s another weird monk joke. And this one was aimed directly at me. The story goes like this: In the ancient city of Antioch, the church had various kinds of social services. “A man who was a friend of Christ” used to gather supplies and give them out to people in need.
Monastic vows sound familiar to anyone who's been to a wedding. In both marriage and celibacy, we promise to be faithful.
The April 4 issue of the Century offers Ruth Burrows's witness to her life as a contemplative Carmelite; it also includes an homage to a community of students shaped by their experience with Trappist monks, which in turn shaped Faith Matters writer Stephanie Paulsell in her faith and thinking. Yet Carmelite, Benedictine, Trappist and other monastic communities find themselves in a precarious place these days, with many of them closed or closing. Must we lose these Catholic (and Protestant) communities before we realize that they are a profound presence to those of us out wandering in the world?