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Why the old monasticism is growing

1 June 2009

There’s quite a lot of talk of the “new monasticism”, but the old monasticism still has its attractions.
Why Religious Orders Flourish: The Political Housewyf:

The article that the Opinionated Catholic cited talks about a religious order of an entirely different character than those my local paper prefers to highlight. Like many other orders going back to the roots of monasticism, the Clear Creek Monks are more traditional. They celebrate mass in Latin, wear traditional habits, do a lot of prayer, sing Gregorian chant, and work hard on their monastery grounds. The latest newsletter I received from them talked about how the economic downturn had negatively affected donations to their monastery. Still flooded with young men answering God’s call to be monks, the brothers have set about building simple sheds and such to house the new vocations.

Perhaps the same may be said of Orthodox monasticism. In the 1960s people spoke of the monasteries on the Holy Mountain as if they would disappear within the next couple of decades. Books were published, documenting what was thought to be a dying and disappearing way of life. But the predictions proved premature, There has been a revival of monasticism, not only on the Holy Mountain, but also in places that were forcibly secularised, like Russia and Romania. And the popularity of films like Ostrog (The Island) shows that the monastic vision still inspires people.

For myself, I think there is a need for both, and I still think that the new monasticism will flourish best in the presence of the old.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 1 June 2009 4:45 pm

    If I weren’t married, I would join a monastery. I’ve met other converts that feel similarly. At first I attributed it to overzealous convert-itis, but actually it comes as a natural result of a particular kind of conversion.

    I think these people would have been monastics if raised in the Church. It just appears that they have excessive zeal because of their conversion.

    Paul says some have the gift of being single, it’s just that these folks got married before they realized they had the gift. Who could have revealed such a gift to them but the Holy Spirit and without the Holy Chrism were their eyes not blind to that light?

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