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Author Topic: The Benedictine Order and me  (Read 13945 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: January 18, 2005, 04:10:28 PM »



Great book!

I gave my mother The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton for Christmas.
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« Reply #91 on: January 18, 2005, 05:16:21 PM »

But have you read it yourself? Have you read any other works by monastics about looking for a call to be a monk or nun, about the difficulties of the life?  The work of prayer and obedience? 

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« Reply #92 on: January 19, 2005, 02:32:53 AM »

I'm borrowing a book from Deacon Gabriel that is on Orthodox monasticism from a Roman Catholic monastic perspective.
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« Reply #93 on: January 19, 2005, 03:47:55 AM »

A suggestion. Try volunteering at a home for the elderly, or a home where they care for mentally handi-capped people. By "volunteer" I don't mean escort them to a baseball game, I mean do the work that no one else likes to do but nonetheless has to be done by someone. You'll learn more about monasticism volunteering a week in such a place than you would in reading books for an entire year. A lot more.
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« Reply #94 on: January 19, 2005, 01:18:33 PM »

Good suggestion brother Paradosis, many should try visiting & helping at a Children's Hospital, it will bring tears of love and compassion.

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« Reply #95 on: January 19, 2005, 01:21:34 PM »

The greatest form of prayer is to volantarily perform the lowest form of work for the greater glory of God. 
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« Reply #96 on: January 19, 2005, 10:32:31 PM »

Matthew,

Hello all I am new here.  You have a great board. 

There is a Benedictine monastery near me.  The men in that community are brilliant and I mean intelectually.  One was an MD and left his career to join the Benedictines.  There is another there who is very respected in philosophy.  What I am getting at is, how are you going to join such an organization where you are, if you have left the Catholic Church (Latin)?  Are you going to be up front and tell them that you really are Orthodox and just need them to get what you need so you can later go back to the Orthodox?  I think they are going to figure out what you are up to.  I am not saying this in a mean way or trying to pass judgement.  Please consider these men are very sincere and in the name of Jesus you will need to be very upfront with your intentions.  I doubt they will admit you based off what you are telling us in your opening comments.

I am sorry if someone has already posted a similar response there were too many pages to read through.

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« Reply #97 on: January 20, 2005, 01:18:51 AM »

Please consider that this is a rather difficult situation.

Vashon Island is the only Orthodox monastery in the state. What if when I visit, I end up greatly disliking the monastery itself but still feel that monastic life is right for me? I'd very well have to consider a different option and it seems that the Benedictine Order would be the most suitable out of what is available from the Latin Church.

I would not consider St. Martin's, or any Catholic monastery for that matter, if Deacon Gabriel and Father Michael hadn't spoken favorably of it from their own experience. Please remember that they are both former Catholics and Deacon Gabriel went to college at St. Martin's.
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« Reply #98 on: January 20, 2005, 01:25:43 AM »

I'm borrowing a book from Deacon Gabriel that is on Orthodox monasticism from a Roman Catholic monastic perspective.

What book? Is it the one by M. Basil Pennington? Because I read that.

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« Reply #99 on: January 20, 2005, 01:27:24 AM »



Great book!

The Seven Storey Mountain was probably the first book I read from a Christian perspective. Thomas Merton played a major part in helping me see orthodox Christianity as something beautiful.

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« Reply #100 on: January 20, 2005, 01:32:53 AM »

Please consider that this is a rather difficult situation.

Vashon Island is the only Orthodox monastery in the state. What if when I visit, I end up greatly disliking the monastery itself but still feel that monastic life is right for me? I'd very well have to consider a different option and it seems that the Benedictine Order would be the most suitable out of what is available from the Latin Church.

I would not consider St. Martin's, or any Catholic monastery for that matter, if Deacon Gabriel and Father Michael hadn't spoken favorably of it from their own experience. Please remember that they are both former Catholics and Deacon Gabriel went to college at St. Martin's.

Why not go to St Anthony's Coptic monastery in California? That's close enough to Washington that your family could still visit you.
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« Reply #101 on: January 20, 2005, 01:37:02 AM »

Is that really close enough?
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« Reply #102 on: January 20, 2005, 01:47:59 AM »



What book?

Eastern Monasticism and the Future of the Church by Archimandrite Boniface
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« Reply #103 on: January 20, 2005, 01:52:20 AM »

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I would not consider St. Martin's, or any Catholic monastery for that matter, if Deacon Gabriel and Father Michael hadn't spoken favorably of it from their own experience. Please remember that they are both former Catholics and Deacon Gabriel went to college at St. Martin's.


But from what you said, they (or was it only one of them? I cant recall) only lived at the monastery BEFORE becoming Orthodox...I dont think it is presumptious for me to say that the normal Orthodox Christian, convert or otherwise, would not willingly join up at a Roman Catholic monastery, no matter the logistical circumstances. Your priests' experience(s) with the monastery were very important for their respective spiritual journeys, which ultimately led them to Orthodoxy, but as someone who has been communing in the Orthodox Church, no matter your background, you shoud not feel the pull to a monastery that is not of your Church. Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #104 on: January 20, 2005, 02:00:47 AM »

St. Martin's is a Benedictine monastery and college, and Deacon Gabriel and his wife attended college there.

His own words were along the lines of, "This is a very ancient monastic tradition and it wouldn't hurt to consider joining it."
He realizes how serious I am about Orthodoxy and I doubt that he would reccomend a Catholic monastic order that isn't comparable to Orthodoxy. This is exactly why I asked on this forum for an Orthodox view on the Order itself.

I'd rather pull my own hair out than join a less traditional order, like the Jesuits.
I'm no "liberation theologist"!

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« Reply #105 on: January 20, 2005, 12:36:26 PM »

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He realizes how serious I am about Orthodoxy

What is Orthodoxy to you?  How do you define in?
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« Reply #106 on: January 20, 2005, 01:55:57 PM »

Matthew,

I live in New York and my family lives in North Carolina. I do wish that I lived closer, and am moving to DC in the summer, but the past three years that I have been in New York, I have had no problem visiting my family as often as I need. I simply hop in the car and make an eight to ten hour drive.  Even if the monastery in California is 14 hours from where you live, it's still manageable.  It would be harder if you had kids but if you are going to be a monk you aren't really going to have that much time to hang out with your family anyway; you of course are still allowed to see them but it's not like they are going to be able to just drop in anytime if you are at a monastery in Washington anyway.  And maybe being away from your former life at least for a while will be helpful in your monastic development.

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« Reply #107 on: January 20, 2005, 02:25:49 PM »



What is Orthodoxy to you? How do you define in?

I do not have to define it, I believe and experience it. Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life.
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« Reply #108 on: January 20, 2005, 02:27:01 PM »

And maybe being away from your former life at least for a while will be helpful in your monastic development.

Anastasios

But I'd miss my mother.  Grin
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« Reply #109 on: January 20, 2005, 05:21:37 PM »

But I'd miss my mother. Grin

Ultimately, whether or not you see your parents while in the monastery, wherever the monastery is located, will be up to your spiritual father. Monasticism, strictly speaking, represents a radical break with the world. A monk has died to the world, his only parents are Jesus and the Mother of God. So this may be a way to test if you really do have a monastic vocation. Although I know that it is not usaully nowadays this cut and dry.
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« Reply #110 on: January 20, 2005, 06:01:10 PM »

A suggestion. Try volunteering at a home for the elderly, or a home where they care for mentally handi-capped people. By "volunteer" I don't mean escort them to a baseball game, I mean do the work that no one else likes to do but nonetheless has to be done by someone. You'll learn more about monasticism volunteering a week in such a place than you would in reading books for an entire year. A lot more.

Your suggestion is good. But the books I mentioned don't sugar-coat monastic life or portray it as easy.  They are quite clear that it is not an escape from the world to a private heaven as it were.

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« Reply #111 on: January 20, 2005, 06:19:57 PM »

Please consider that this is a rather difficult situation.

Vashon Island is the only Orthodox monastery in the state. What if when I visit, I end up greatly disliking the monastery itself but still feel that monastic life is right for me?

What if?  It might be that Vashon Island is not the monastery you are meant to go to.  Or it might mean that your feelings are not correct.  What if Vashon Island told you that you did not have a call to be there?  Sometimes a person's ideas of what is the right thing for them are not actually in line with the rest of the world.  "What I want or like" is not always the same as "What is Good or True or even "God's Will for my life".  Being able to step away from our own egos is a difficult but important step.

Quote
I'd very well have to consider a different option and it seems that the Benedictine Order would be the most suitable out of what is available from the Latin Church.

Meaning no disrespect, but this reads like you would *use* them to futher your own desires.  Other people and groups are not here for us to use.    I also suspect that the Benedictines would be able to figure out if you were not desirous of being a Benedictine for the long haul.


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« Reply #112 on: January 20, 2005, 06:35:18 PM »



I do not have to define it, I believe and experience it. Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life.

Orthodoxy is then your personal experiences and likes?  And if you cease to "experience" it?  If the feelings go away? If you go to a parish where there are difficulties or a priest you don't communicate well? 

The religious life is not one of all high points and brightness.  There are dry times and valleys.  What then?

(Lewis writes of these in "The Screwtape Letters" btw.  just another recommendatoin.)

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« Reply #113 on: January 20, 2005, 06:52:53 PM »


I also suspect that the Benedictines would be able to figure out if you were not desirous of being a Benedictine for the long haul.
Ebor

I happen to like the Benedictine order and I wouldn't join it if I didn't intend on staying there. However, monks can and do change their minds after a while. A remember a priest who became a Franciscan and then he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a Jesuit instead.
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« Reply #114 on: January 20, 2005, 07:00:43 PM »

The religious life is not one of all high points and brightness. There are dry times and valleys. What then?

The hard times would only make me stronger in my faith.

By saying that you must experience Orthodoxy in order to understand Orthodoxy, I mean that you just can't read some nineteen year old kid's opinions on this church to really take it in. Find a good Orthodox Church in your town and attend Holy Liturgy. Then perhaps you will understand how I feel.

As I said, Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life. You will never understand this without experiencing it. Wink
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« Reply #115 on: January 20, 2005, 07:05:55 PM »



I happen to like the Benedictine order and I wouldn't join it if I didn't intend on staying there. However, monks can and do change their minds after a while. A remember a priest who became a Franciscan and then he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a Jesuit instead.


As a Benedictine you would then be associated with the Roman Catholic Church, not the EO.  Yes, monks can change their mind.  But I doubt that they go into their postulancy with future changes in mind. 

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« Reply #116 on: January 20, 2005, 07:11:03 PM »

If I actually desired to become a Benedictine, I wouldn't have any future changes in mind because it would be a last resort. Wink
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« Reply #117 on: January 20, 2005, 07:22:21 PM »



The hard times would only make me stronger in my faith.

They might...or they might break it or at least wound it. It is easy to talk of hard times when they have not be known. People may not truly know what would happen in a crisis but can hope that they would be strong enough. We cannot not know for certain what *will* be.

Quote
By saying that you must experience Orthodoxy in order to understand Orthodoxy, I mean that you just can't read some nineteen year old kid's opinions on this church to really take it in. Find a good Orthodox Church in your town and attend Holy Liturgy. Then perhaps you will understand how I feel.

As I said, Orthodoxy is the fullness of spiritual and liturgical life. You will never understand this without experiencing it. Wink


I have experieced EO in my life. I have been to EO liturgies in my time (I am 48 now): Antiochian, OCA, ROCOR, Serbian. I try not to speak without any knowledge. As I have written in other places on the forum, I cannot worship in a Byzantine milieu. I have found deep worship in the Anglican Litugy, but I do not believe or say that it is perfect for every other human being. My experieces are not the Rule of the Universe; an important thing to realize.

I have also been enwrapt with a glow of surety that something is the Right Thing for me that turned out to be my own personal desires and not what was actually the right thing.

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« Reply #118 on: January 20, 2005, 07:29:00 PM »

The Anglican Church in America...Gene Robinson, Shelby Spong, danger, danger, alert, alert.

...I'm sorry, man. I just had to get that out of my system. Smiley

I dig C.S. Lewis though.
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« Reply #119 on: January 20, 2005, 07:53:01 PM »

The Anglican Church in America...Gene Robinson, Shelby Spong, danger, danger, alert, alert.

...I'm sorry, man. I just had to get that out of my system. Smiley

I dig C.S. Lewis though.

Those are people you have read of (and it's John Shelby Spong, now mercifully retired). They are not the *only* Anglicans in this country or the world. One should not judge all on the notoriety of one or two.

No disrespect, but I submit that your experience with Anglican Christianity is limited. There are Benedictines in the Episcopal Church, for instance, as well as many devout Christians who are not showing up in the papers.

What works of Lewis have you read, if I may ask?

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« Reply #120 on: January 21, 2005, 03:12:25 AM »

Matthew,

Grow up.  Until you do you won't understand that the world doesn't revovle around you and your silly conception of it. 
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« Reply #121 on: January 21, 2005, 12:49:36 PM »

That there are 9 pages devoted to this thread give it a credibility that is amazing, considering that the premises and contradictions being espoused by Matthew are among the most bizarre that I have ever read on any EO/OO/EC or even RC board.

Having already been accused by Jennifer of "bullying" Matthew, I won't belabor the point, but this young man continues to demonstrate that he has no concept of who he is or what he wants to be, only that he wants to "have it all" and do so on his terms, the remainder of the Christian world be damned. Those here who know me from elsewhere on the net can, I hope, attest to the fact that bullying is not my stock in trade, but I don't mince words either.

Let's see,

Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Russian Orthodox monastery, although he has no experience with Constantinoplian/Byzantine Orthodoxy and doesn't want to confess as a heresy that which he doesn't believe to be a heresy and is concerned that a community of 3 might be too intimate, but it's close to home and he'll otherwise miss his mother

Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Latin Catholic monastery, although he doesn't believe in all of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but it would afford the opportunity of a degree without the onerous financial burdens of doing so through ordinary means and might give him the eventual opportunity to teach in a Catholic university setting, and besides, it's close to home.

Uncharitable as anyone may view it, I repeat my earlier belief that Matthew is emotionally and theologically immature.  He has no idea what he wants to be or how he wants to go about it and he is in definite need of spiritual direction.  Alternatively, Matthew is a user and/or an opportunist.  He is prepared to use the Russians, the Benedictines, and even his own Church to obtain for Matthew what Matthew wants from life, whenever he finally decides what that will be.  Meanwhile, he is using this forum and its members as a sounding board to toss out his continuously vacillating opinions and priorities, like floating test balloons, to see what will fly as he tries to piece together not his life but a plausible argument that he can advance to whichever monastic institution he ultimately decides to bless with his presence.

I, for one, see no useful purpose in continuing this dialogue, which mainly seems to be about how Matthew can justify himself in the world's eyes as a Catholic/Orthodox hybrid.  There are other folks out there who, in their own minds, have successfully accomplished this.  We of both Churches know them.  They found their own little ecclesiastical jurisdictions, serve obscure liturgies in their family rec room, wear elaborate vesture, anoint themselves with titles that would make the Ecumenical Patriarch or the Pope of Rome look like street-corner preachers by comparison, and style their ecclesia with any combination of nomenclature that suggests their ambivalence of belief, commitment to everything and nothing.  We call them vagante.

My apologies for the diatribe, but this is beyond the point of logical discussion.  I second Nectarios in his suggestion that Matthew grow up.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #122 on: January 21, 2005, 01:22:42 PM »

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That there are 9 pages devoted to this thread give it a credibility that is amazing, considering that the premises and contradictions being espoused by Matthew are among the most bizarre that I have ever read on any EO/OO/EC or even RC board.

I must agree with you Neil. Despite what may seem to be 'bullying', Matthew777's quest is unreal.
I really do not think that any monastic order could take him in, Oriental, EO, or RC. I do not think he understands that his acceptance in orders is not like being accepted at a college. I have a friend who is preparing to enter an ROCA monastery; he has been in preparation for over a year and has longer to go yet.

Our friend should be discussing this (ALL of this) with his priest first.

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« Reply #123 on: January 21, 2005, 01:26:50 PM »

Given that this thread is 9 pages long and not really worth discussing publicly anymore, I am going to shut it. However, given that some people have made some final observations about Matthew, I think it's only fair that we let him respond, and then I will close the thread.

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« Reply #124 on: January 21, 2005, 02:05:34 PM »

I agree 101%, there are many confused thoughts and logic floating about.

And I thought I had issues......

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« Reply #125 on: January 21, 2005, 02:41:56 PM »

What works of Lewis have you read, if I may ask?

The Chronicles of Narnia and Mere Christianity.

I love the Anglican Church but not what liberal Anglicans desire it to be.
Before I converted to Orthodoxy, I considered joining an Anglican church but was afraid that there would be too much influence of liberal theology.

I hear there may be a schism of conservative Anglicans and I sincerely wouldn't blame them.
The rise of liberal theology is not unique to the Episcopalian Church but is a problem prevailing in other mainline Protestant denominations as well, especially the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.
The attempts of liberal thinkers to replace Christian morality with "liberated" sexuality and the deity of Christ with an "enlightened" theism does not and should not make the honest Christian faith of the traditionalist members of these churches any less worthy of my respect.

I understand that the trend of liberal theology in the American Anglican Church is a minority in world Anglicanism and that as a whole, this is a good church that deserves my respect.
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« Reply #126 on: January 21, 2005, 02:49:06 PM »

Mathew777,

One thing confuses me.  You say that you are afraid of the influence of "liberal theology", yet much of what you have espoused to believe here falls under that very category, particularly your own little brand of Universalism.

I'm confused as to what you consider to be "liberal" versus "conservative" theology.
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« Reply #127 on: January 21, 2005, 02:52:52 PM »

Mathew777,

One thing confuses me. You say that you are afraid of the influence of "liberal theology", yet much of what you have espoused to believe here falls under that very category, particularly your own little brand of Universalism.

I'm confused as to what you consider to be "liberal" versus "conservative" theology.

I was thinking the same thing!
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« Reply #128 on: January 21, 2005, 02:58:43 PM »

You say that you are afraid of the influence of "liberal theology", yet much of what you have espoused to believe here falls under that very category, particularly your own little brand of Universalism.

I do not believe in universal salvation, salvation comes only through the atoning blood of Christ.
However, I am willing to give the members of non-Christian religions the benefit of the doubt in their own religious experience and respect and appreciate what we do share in common.
I will tell them that the truth they experience in their faith is fully revealed in ours but I do not find it productive to tell such a man that his belief arrives from Satan.

Mathew777,
I'm confused as to what you consider to be "liberal" versus "conservative" theology.

The distinction isn't as much between the words "liberal" and "conservative" as it is between "traditionalist" and "revisionist".
That which is traditionalist is the Christian faith that is taught in the New Testament and the fathers of the church and has been passed down without corruption from the beginning of the faith.
That which is revisionist seeks to find a new understanding of our ancient beliefs that does nothing more than replace them entirely. The two great examples of revisionist thinking floating in the world today is that Jesus was merely a revolutionary Jewish peasant instead of the Son of God and that the sexual morality of the Bible is outmoded by the "moral complexities" of 21st century life.
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« Reply #129 on: January 21, 2005, 03:38:00 PM »

That there are 9 pages devoted to this thread give it a credibility that is amazing, considering that the premises and contradictions being espoused by Matthew are among the most bizarre that I have ever read on any EO/OO/EC or even RC board. 

I understand that my line of thinking may sound contradictory, I am actually getting rather confused myself.  Smiley

Having already been accused by Jennifer of "bullying" Matthew, I won't belabor the point, but this young man continues to demonstrate that he has no concept of who he is or what he wants to be

The truth is that at this point, I do not know who I am or who I want to be but I just started college and I have plenty of time to find out.

only that he wants to "have it all" and do so on his terms, the remainder of the Christian world be damned. 

It is not my desire to take advantage of people for my own personal gain. I would rather conform to a group and work toward the betterment of the whole than to worry about my own self.

Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Russian Orthodox monastery, although he has no experience with Constantinoplian/Byzantine Orthodoxy and doesn't want to confess as a heresy that which he doesn't believe to be a heresy

If they gave me proof of it to be heresy, I would confess my "monophysite" heresy.

is concerned that a community of 3 might be too intimate, but it's close to home and he'll otherwise miss his mother

My only concern is that the monks would judge me for my past, but I trust that whatever decision they make concerning me will be the right one.
Now concerning my mother, it is not the fact that I would miss her too much. It is the fact that I should always be close enough to take care of her if she ever needs me. One thing you do not know is that my father is an alcoholic and a rather dangerous person. But then again, this is perhaps too personal to share with you. Wink


Matthew is a Syro-Malankar Orthodox, who is considering joining a Latin Catholic monastery, although he doesn't believe in all of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, but it would afford the opportunity of a degree without the onerous financial burdens of doing so through ordinary means and might give him the eventual opportunity to teach in a Catholic university setting, and besides, it's close to home.

As I have said before, if I feel after visiting Vashon that it is the right path for me, I will work to pay for the rest of my schooling. I am already paying my way for college right now and I am doing just fine.
However, if I do not happen to like Vashon, I will consider joining Saint Martin's because
A. I have visted the monastery before and I was rather impressed.
B. Father Michael and Deacon Gabriel have spoken favorably of this as a possiblity.

Furthermore, this isn't a matter of what I can get from St. Martin's but what I could potentially give.

Uncharitable as anyone may view it, I repeat my earlier belief that Matthew is emotionally and theologically immature. 

Four years of college and three years of the novice period should be enough time to become emotionally and theologically mature.

Meanwhile, he is using this forum and its members as a sounding board to toss out his continuously vacillating opinions and priorities, like floating test balloons, to see what will fly as he tries to piece together not his life but a plausible argument that he can advance to whichever monastic institution he ultimately decides to bless with his presence.

This is not my way of crafting an elaborate plan to take advantage of people.
This is just one avenue to help me make sense of my thoughts.

I, for one, see no useful purpose in continuing this dialogue,

Given that the purpose of this dialogue, to probe the Benedictine Order from an Orthodox perspective, has not been followed, I see no useful purpose in continuing this dialogue either.  Wink

this is beyond the point of logical discussion.

Agreed. But that is not necessarily my fault.

Thank you and have a nice day.
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« Reply #130 on: January 21, 2005, 04:18:03 PM »

Having already been accused by Jennifer of "bullying" Matthew, I won't belabor the point, but this young man continues to demonstrate that he has no concept of who he is or what he wants to be, only that he wants to "have it all" and do so on his terms, the remainder of the Christian world be damned.  Those here who know me from elsewhere on the net can, I hope, attest to the fact that bullying is not my stock in trade, but I don't mince words either.


It's "bullying" because telling him off makes you feel good.  Your real intention in telling him he is spiritually and emotionally immature is not to help him.  It's to "smite the sinner," i.e. make yourself feel better. 

Really, why does everything in these discussions have to be about tearing people down? 
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« Reply #131 on: January 21, 2005, 04:19:47 PM »

Quote
Your real intention in telling him he is spiritually and emotionally immature is not to help him. It's to "smite the sinner," i.e. make yourself feel better.

I don't get that at all from Neil's posts, Jennifer. I get exactly what I expect from him, pure and honest words that pull no punches. 

He just has the cajones to say what many of us are already thinking in public, and, while that may not be exactly charitable from your point of view, if Matthew is allowed to post what he considers to be the Truth, surely Neil can post what he considers to be the truth?
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« Reply #132 on: January 21, 2005, 04:39:10 PM »



It's "bullying" because telling him off makes you feel good. Your real intention in telling him he is spiritually and emotionally immature is not to help him. It's to "smite the sinner," i.e. make yourself feel better.

Really, why does everything in these discussions have to be about tearing people down?


That is your perception and it would be fine if you said, "it seems to me that you enjoy tearing people down" or "it seems from your posts that you feel good smiting the sinner" but instead you make a direct claim that cannot be substantiated.

On the other hand, I can see the wisdom in your position that we should not tell people they are theologically lost or immature in that that is probably not the best way to help people along, and you might even argue that it's not our job to help people along (although I probably wouldn't go that far).

All in all, this thread has wondered enough. I'm closing it now. Have a good day everyone.

Anastasios
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