Do you know anything about monks?


#1

Im being curious.Why cistercian monks?what causes a person to become a contemplative monk?what’s there purpose?Why aren’t they priests?


#2

Monks live the monastic lifestyle--contemplation, silence, and prayer. They are cloistered, which means they live in a monastery or abbey away from the world. They are not trying to run away from the world but embracing it in a different way. They pray for the needs of the world and intercede for us. Their purpose is very useful. Monks are allowed to become priests, but in religious life, you are at the will of your Superior who speaks God's will for you. You oblige in humble obedience to your call and vows that you take. Religious do not choose their call. God calls them to that way of life. Think of the religious priesthood as a call within a call--they are religious first and priests second. I cannot think of a religious community that allows their members to choose to become priests. The Superiors have to first decide for the religious whether it would be beneficial to the community. Monks are referred to as brothers in community whether they are priests or not.

The Cistercian order is the contemplative branch of the Rule of St. Benedict. All Cistercians--monks and nuns, are enclosed in a monastery or abbey. The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labor and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.

The term Cistercian (French Cistercien), derives from Cistercium,[2] the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. The best known of them were Robert of Molesme, Alberic of Citeaux and the English monk Stephen Harding, who were the first three abbots. Bernard of Clairvaux entered the monastery in the early 1110s with 30 companions and helped the rapid proliferation of the order. By the end of the 12th century, the order had spread throughout France and into England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life exactly as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially field-work, a special characteristic of Cistercian life.

Here is more history of the order:

newadvent.org/cathen/03780c.htm


#3

[quote="DaughterOfMary6, post:2, topic:250512"]
Monks live the monastic lifestyle--contemplation, silence, and prayer. They are cloistered, which means they live in a monastery or abbey away from the world. They are not trying to run away from the world but embracing it in a different way. They pray for the needs of the world and intercede for us. Their purpose is very useful. Monks are allowed to become priests, but in religious life, you are at the will of your Superior who speaks God's will for you. You oblige in humble obedience to your call and vows that you take. Religious do not choose their call. God calls them to that way of life. Think of the religious priesthood as a call within a call--they are religious first and priests second. I cannot think of a religious community that allows their members to choose to become priests. The Superiors have to first decide for the religious whether it would be beneficial to the community. Monks are referred to as brothers in community whether they are priests or not.

The Cistercian order is the contemplative branch of the Rule of St. Benedict. All Cistercians--monks and nuns, are enclosed in a monastery or abbey. The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labor and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.

The term Cistercian (French Cistercien), derives from Cistercium,[2] the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. The best known of them were Robert of Molesme, Alberic of Citeaux and the English monk Stephen Harding, who were the first three abbots. Bernard of Clairvaux entered the monastery in the early 1110s with 30 companions and helped the rapid proliferation of the order. By the end of the 12th century, the order had spread throughout France and into England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life exactly as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially field-work, a special characteristic of Cistercian life.

Here is more history of the order:

newadvent.org/cathen/03780c.htm

[/quote]

Doesn't God call everybody to be religious?You mean their purpose if manual labor and self sufficiency?Don't the Amish have the same purpose?


#4

[quote="DaughterOfMary6, post:2, topic:250512"]
Monks live the monastic lifestyle--contemplation, silence, and prayer. They are cloistered, which means they live in a monastery or abbey away from the world. They are not trying to run away from the world but embracing it in a different way. They pray for the needs of the world and intercede for us. Their purpose is very useful. Monks are allowed to become priests, but in religious life, you are at the will of your Superior who speaks God's will for you. You oblige in humble obedience to your call and vows that you take. Religious do not choose their call. God calls them to that way of life. Think of the religious priesthood as a call within a call--they are religious first and priests second. I cannot think of a religious community that allows their members to choose to become priests. The Superiors have to first decide for the religious whether it would be beneficial to the community. Monks are referred to as brothers in community whether they are priests or not.

The Cistercian order is the contemplative branch of the Rule of St. Benedict. All Cistercians--monks and nuns, are enclosed in a monastery or abbey. The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labor and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.

The term Cistercian (French Cistercien), derives from Cistercium,[2] the Latin name for the village of Cîteaux, near Dijon in eastern France. It was in this village that a group of Benedictine monks from the monastery of Molesme founded Cîteaux Abbey in 1098, with the goal of following more closely the Rule of Saint Benedict. The best known of them were Robert of Molesme, Alberic of Citeaux and the English monk Stephen Harding, who were the first three abbots. Bernard of Clairvaux entered the monastery in the early 1110s with 30 companions and helped the rapid proliferation of the order. By the end of the 12th century, the order had spread throughout France and into England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Eastern Europe.

The keynote of Cistercian life was a return to literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict. Rejecting the developments the Benedictines had undergone, the monks tried to replicate monastic life exactly as it had been in Saint Benedict's time; indeed in various points they went beyond it in austerity. The most striking feature in the reform was the return to manual labour, especially field-work, a special characteristic of Cistercian life.

Here is more history of the order:

newadvent.org/cathen/03780c.htm

[/quote]

This was very interesting information about the cistercians that I did not know. Thank you for posting and for posting the link, I must look at that soon (I dont have time too now). :D


#5

[quote="valentino, post:3, topic:250512"]
Doesn't God call everybody to be religious?You mean their purpose if manual labor and self sufficiency?Don't the Amish have the same purpose?

[/quote]

There are several types of religious vocations that God can call someone too, this is just specifically one of them. Just as God can call someone to marriage, there is also this, the monastic life, as well as single life.

I would probably guess that their main purpose is prayer but that they also value manual labor and self sufficiency (unless I am mistaken so please someone correct me if I am). I don't know much about Amish but I don't think it would be the same at all.


#6

[quote="valentino, post:3, topic:250512"]
Doesn't God call everybody to be religious?You mean their purpose if manual labor and self sufficiency?Don't the Amish have the same purpose?

[/quote]

No, not everyone is called to a religious vocation. There are some that believe this because of what St. Paul wrote, but the Church says otherwise. There are many different vocations--priesthood, religious life, marriage, and consecrated single life (think consecrated virginity).

The monks have a duty to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. They attend daily Mass in the chapel, too. Their apostolate is prayer and the work is manual. Religious believe that work is physical prayer because they contemplate and pray while working.


#7

[quote="aliciaswain, post:4, topic:250512"]
This was very interesting information about the cistercians that I did not know. Thank you for posting and for posting the link, I must look at that soon (I dont have time too now). :D

[/quote]

You're welcome. :)


#8

[quote="DaughterOfMary6, post:6, topic:250512"]
No, not everyone is called to a religious vocation. There are some that believe this because of what St. Paul wrote, but the Church says otherwise. There are many different vocations--priesthood, religious life, marriage, and consecrated single life (think consecrated virginity).

The monks have a duty to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. They attend daily Mass in the chapel, too. Their apostolate is prayer and the work is manual. Religious believe that work is physical prayer because they contemplate and pray while working.

[/quote]

I didn't say a religious vocation I said aren't everybody called to be religious.The question that i was answering was"the priesthood is a call within a call."they are first religious then they are called to be priests.You'll have to back to the poster where I asked this question to understand what I am saying.


#9

Your question is a little confusing, though. Do you want to know why religious priests are answering a “call within a call” or something else? Not everyone is called to be a religious, so I’m having trouble understanding. Sorry. :shrug:


#10

+For a number of years I lived in southern Virginia here in the United States . . . and on a trip to northern Virginia on family business I discovered the Cistercian . . .** Holy Cross Abbey . . . about sixty miles outside of Washington, D.C. . . . :) . . . Sheltered by the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . and nestled alongside the historic beautiful ever-flowing Shenandoah River *. . . the . . . **Holy Cross Abbey *. . . is an abbey of the . . . **Order of the Strict Observance . . . (Trappists) . . . and it is there the Lord introduced my soul to the extraordinary *Holy Rule of St. Benedict* . . . I downloaded the below quote regarding these Cistercians from their website . . .
[INDENT]:coffeeread: "Cistercians dedicate their lives to seeking God according to the sixth-century Rule of Saint Benedict, living the vows of obedience, stability, and conversion of life in the monastic School for the **Lord's Service*. Their desire is to grow ever more deeply in the love of **God, and of their fellow men and women in *Jesus Christ. The monk is a man of pray:gopray2:er, living in solitude, apart from society, to worship **God through praise, thanksgiving, and intercession in the celebration of the Divine Office and the daily Eucharist. Like every Christian he prays with Christ, who unites all to Himself **in faith and love, transmitting our pray:gopray2:er and lives into **His perfect communion with the Father. Contemplative monastic life in community reflects this sacramental reality in the ordinary daily round." [/INDENT]

Abbot Robert Barnes, OCSO, shares on their website a quote from Pope John Paul the Great:

[INDENT]"When Pope John Paul II spoke to the Abbots and Abbesses of our Order in September, 2002, the Holy Father **described our monastic vocation as [/INDENT]
*[INDENT][INDENT]
'witness to the high ideal of the unconditional love of God, and response through a love that mystically embraces the whole of humanity in prayer*.' ” [/INDENT][/INDENT]
[INDENT]"Pray:gopray2:er is the life of the monk. Periods of spiritual reading and manual labor, alternating with the Liturgy of the Hours and the **Eucharistic
Celebration, take place within that all-embracing spirit of pray:gopray2:er." [/INDENT]

With all the activities in Washington right now . . . . . . taking our country . . . further . . . and further . . . and further away . . .from the Great Kindness and Goodness of the Presence of our Holy God with us . . . and the Holy Light of the Pathways of His Shepherding Love . . . it’s a real comfort and strengthens my faith to know that . . . community life in and with God . . . continues to flourish nearby . . .

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
saith the Lord."
Isaiah 55:8

. . . may the Divine Assistance :highprayer: remain always with us . . .

:compcoff: Link to the Monastery: hcava.org/pages/about.html

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Blessed Lord+
. . . thank you Blessed Holy Mother Church+

[/RIGHT]


#11

[quote="DaughterOfMary6, post:9, topic:250512"]
Your question is a little confusing, though. Do you want to know why religious priests are answering a "call within a call" or something else? Not everyone is called to be a religious, so I'm having trouble understanding. Sorry. :shrug:

[/quote]

I'll begin afresh.Im told cistercian monks are called.How can a person be called to a life of constant prayer?For the whole 24 hrs.they don't speak to each other.They do hear sermon's by fellow monks but they just sit and listen.They work 5 hrs a day in silence to support themselves but that's it.I can understand a priestly vocation where they are speaking the word,ect.How would a person know he's suppose to be a quiet,lonely monk?What kind of a person is this before he becomes a monk?And again I think its easier to say i could be a monk than actually living it.


#12

[quote="valentino, post:11, topic:250512"]
I'll begin afresh.Im told cistercian monks are called.How can a person be called to a life of constant prayer?For the whole 24 hrs.they don't speak to each other.They do hear sermon's by fellow monks but they just sit and listen.They work 5 hrs a day in silence to support themselves but that's it.I can understand a priestly vocation where they are speaking the word,ect.How would a person know he's suppose to be a quiet,lonely monk?What kind of a person is this before he becomes a monk?And again I think its easier to say i could be a monk than actually living it.

[/quote]

Well, you have to understand that no one just chooses this vocation. God calls each of us to a vocation that He chooses for us when we are formed in the womb. There is no specific definition of who is called to what vocation, so I cannot tell you who would be called to Cistercian life. I imagine it is someone who appreciates hard labor and prayer. Living that life is an extraordinary grace.

I'm sorry if I didn't answer your question. :blush:


#13

I was just wondering.I asked a monk once"why are you a monk"?His answer"I don’t know,I guess i was chose tobe".Since I believe it was you that said God choses us to be a religious ,or to be married,or to be single.Ive asked people in the past why they are married and I don’t remember any of them saying"i was chosen to be married."Many times they say "I don’t know,or I fell in love,or they give some other answer."Why is that?Does God call people to a certain way of life and they don’t either know it or they don’t know why?


#14

[quote="valentino, post:13, topic:250512"]
Ive asked people in the past why they are married and I don't remember any of them saying"i was chosen to be married.

[/quote]

Our culture promotes the expectation that almost everyone will get married. Its the default setting; it is considered "normal." So if someone doesn't consciously choose otherwise, marriage is very likely where that person will end up.

[quote="valentino, post:13, topic:250512"]
Does God call people to a certain way of life and they don't either know it or they don't know why?

[/quote]

I suspect so. This is why the discernment of vocation is so important, and sometimes difficult.

To quote from one monastery's website:

A vocation involves three parties: God who calls, the person who is called, and the Church which, guided by the Holy Spirit, determines whether the call is genuine. In our case, the Church is represented by the Abbot and Community. The testing of vocation is an interplay of human and divine freedoms and, of necessity, it takes some time.

pluscardenabbey.org/becoming-a-monk.asp

Certainly there are individuals who begin on the path of religious life or to becoming a priest, only to realize that they were mistaken to do so. And a casual reading of the threads here show that there are a sizable number of people who feel they missed their religious vocation when they were younger, and are now seeking to pursue it when middle-aged. I think the discernment of vocation is a serious and difficult thing.


#15

The Trappist Monks were the ones that used to keep complete silence. But they longer longer do; only a handful of their abbey/monasteries still do. The Cistercians Monks never had the complete silence (like the Trappists). But both are contemplatives & they live & work within the enclosure. Benedictines for the most part do not keep any enclosure & do apostolic works as well as domestic works. Anyone who is a Priest in any of the 3 above orders might be asked by the Superior to offer Holy Mass (or administer the Sacraments) in a local Church.


#16

Not all Monks are contemplative, and not all Monks are cloistered.

And, many Monks ARE Priests.

Even the Trappists (Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance) are no longer silent. They do talk among themselves, but limit that talk rather significantly. They do not engage in just "social chit-chat".

Thomas Merton was a Trappist Monk, and a Priest. He went out into the world a great deal (he died in Thailand), as a part of the specific work that he was assigned to do by his Abbot.

Contemplative religious (men and women) pray for those on the outside. Remember that all of them came from the outside world, and today, most of them had college degrees and professions before they became Monks.

Kentucky Educational Television has done a couple of lengthy stories on the Abbey of Gethsemanie (sp) and on the various Monks there. The Abbot was a parish priest for many years, one of the Monks was a physician, several had been married and their wives died, there were former school teachers, mechanics, carpenters, etc., etc. Several had been in the military. They almost all came to the Abbey in their mid 30's or older (only one had come in his early 20's).

Not one of them was attempting to "run away from the world".

I myself may well go to the Abbey if my wife dies before I do. I have multiple pensions (including Service Connected Disability and free medical care through the Veterans Administration), so I would not be a financial drain on the community. I would likely never be ordained a priest (I am far too old), but I am a licensed Psychologist and a very experienced Rehabilitation Counselor, so I could be of service to the people that come to the Abbey for guidance and counsel. I would love to be able to devote my declining years to service to God.


closed #17

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