Laypeople seeking a monastic life in the modern world

This is an interesting article published in this months U.S Catholic that I thought I’d share and see if anyone else finds it interesting!?  It rings a bell with me and I wonder if I’m not the only one?  I don’t mean that I agree that oblates and/or third orders are the future of monastic life, but that I identify (to a certain extent) with the desire to seek a more contemplative life – which is why I’m interested in becoming a Secular Franciscan.

5 thoughts on “Laypeople seeking a monastic life in the modern world

  1. This reminds me of a weekend on Monastic Living Outside the Walls which was held in Douai Abbey some years ago. It was an interfaith event where speakers shared a range of secular religious life. I was interested in the range of ways we were introduced to at the time but have not followed it up,

  2. Thomas Merton once famously told his brother monks that they were not contemplatives but introverts!
    While it is true that many monks are contemplatives, the contemplative life is possible for everybody without being connected to a monastic community or spending time in a monastery.
    In Matthew 6.6 Jesus tells us:

    “…whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

    Eloi Leclerc in his beautiful little book “The Wisdom of The Poor One of Assisi” writes:

    “Francis had resumed his solitary meditations. On the small paths under the pines, the vivid light of spring was gently filtered and became extremely soft. He loved to reflect and pray there. He said nothing, or almost nothing, for his prayers were not of a set formula at all. He listened more than anything else and was content to be there and to pay attention.”

    This is a very good example of how we, as Secular Franciscans, may learn how to become contemplative and in this way fulfil the requirements of our Rule, to let prayer and contemplation be the soul of who we are and do. The paths under the pines were Francis’ private room. He listened and paid attention. Our prayer room may be anywhere, where we are content to be there and to listen and pay attention.

  3. Matthew 6.6 is spot on. As is Francis resuming his solitary meditations……he listened, he was content to pay attention to his surroundings. The contemplative life springs from the depths of ones being and is a gift. Unshackled, free in mind and body to reflect and pray. For the past week or so a blackbird has been visiting our lawn several times a day plucking out food to feed the young ones in their nest in the hedge. Mother nature, beauty, simplicity, peace, a contemplative experience.

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