Tuesday, January 13, 2004

We should all be monks

For Advent, my pastor recommended all in the parish read a book called "The Mountain of Silence," which is a sympathetic look at the spirituality of monks in Cyprus and Mt. Athos. I heartily recommend it.

One thing you must understand about monks: they aren't weird. They aren't some sort of freaks. Rather, monasticism is a way to live more fully like Christ. It is a time-tested method for theosis, for sharing in the divine nature. Monks are not weird; if they are good monks, it is they who are sane and we who are weird. The regular cycle of prayer, silence, and work is a training regimen for spiritual perfection, and we all are supposed to seek spiritual perfection: You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt 5:48).

So, what are we who are not monks to do? May I suggest adopting a bit of monastic discipline in your own life? Here are a few rules that Mrs. Athanasius and I have made in our house: 1) No television unless it is the weekend, or one is working out. (Of course, since we work out a lot, this is not much hardship. It is harder on me, since I am home on MWF.) 2) Read scripture together. We have begun to read the epistle for the day at the dinner table.

These are just a few simple rules, but already they provide the house with much more silence, and they also bring us together to pray and listen to the word of God at least once a day. The change has been remarkable.

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