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Benedictine Monasticism: The Goal PDF Print E-mail

The life of a monk is concerned with the one thing necessary: quaerere Deum (to seek God). He lives in the Monastery, submits to the authority of the Abbot, and follows the Rule of Our Holy Father Benedict. Monasticism is the most ancient manifestation of the religious state in the Church, which itself has always been held to be the highest and most privileged means to the universal end of the Christian religion. 

Through the three vows of Obedience, Stability, and Conversation Morum a monk pursues the perfect fulfillment of the Gospel precepts. He sacrifices the lesser goods of this world in order to make room for Christ above all and before all, who is Goodness Itself. The monk accepts Christ's words to the rich young man: "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." (Matthew 19.21)

The monk seeks here and now that union that Jesus Christ shares with the Father. The monk leads a celibate life as a means to this union. This is an eschatological sign of his exclusive dedication to God, the infinite Good. This union grows through prayer and charity, and the daily joys and sufferings of life in this valley of tears. In prayer the monk spends time with the one he loves. In as much as the neighbor is made in the image of God and redeemed by Christ's Precious Blood, the monk practices Christian charity towards his brethren for the sake of God and in God. A similar dynamic occurs in marriage.

The monk seeks God exclusively. Detached from all creatures, he gives himself totally to the Creator. For the sake of Our Lord, he renounces the highest natural goods: marraige, children, and free will. The monk makes an oblation of his whole being to God, intellect and will, body and soul.

As monks called to such an exalted vocation, unworthy though we be, we hope in the words of Our Holy Father Benedict to  "persevere in fidelity to God's teaching in the monastery until death so that through our patience we may be granted a share in the sufferings of Christ, and so receive a share in His Kingdom." (Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue)