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Author Topic: The Benedictine Order and Me 2.0  (Read 7248 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: April 20, 2005, 11:37:32 PM »

http://www.stmartin.edu/abbey/index.htm

St. Martin's abbey is of the Benedictine Order, the oldest monastic Order in the Church.
They are dedicated to the daily celebration of the beautiful Gregorian mass. Could any form of worship be better?

St. Martin's also has a college dedicated to religious and intellectual education. As a monk, I could be a college professor or some other member of the faculty. Not only would I live a life of spiritual fulfillment but I'd have a great vocation to serve humanity.

Located in Lacey, Washington in the Puget Sound, no location could be better.
"The physical beauty of the 300+ acres at St. Martin's is reflective of its rich spiritual presence in the Pacific Northwest. The Abbey grounds are threaded with pleasant walking trails. Many species of wildlife roam or fly over its undeveloped acres and in the meadows near the Abbey and College buildings."
http://www.stmartin.edu/abbey/location.htm

I've put a lot of thought into Orthodox monasticism and I find it to be a little too rigid. Furthermore, I wouldn't have the opportunities to serve the world that I would have at St. Martin's.
All Merciful Savior Monastery, for example, is located on a secluded island and there are only five monks. What would there be to do besides pray and chop wood?

Please pray that in whatever I do, it will be for the greater glory of God.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2005, 11:51:11 PM »

If you're Orthodox, why would you even consider joining a Roman religious order?
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2005, 12:19:21 AM »

If you're Orthodox, why would you even consider joining a Roman religious order?

Because he's not really Orthodox - read his religion entry.
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2005, 12:29:11 AM »

Matthew,

You are deluded. I think you need to chop some wood and pray all day, for the next 20 years or so!

Anastasios
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2005, 12:44:10 AM »

I think you need to chop some wood and pray all day, for the next 20 years or so!

That ought to be just about right.
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2005, 12:57:59 AM »

I've put a lot of thought into Orthodox monasticism and I find it to be a little too rigid.

Well, if this is the case, you have to think a lot more, because I can tell you that there are almost as many differences between individual Orthodox monasteries as there are monks.



What would there be to do besides pray and chop wood?

You mean exactly what a monk is supposed to do?
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2005, 01:47:09 AM »

http://www.stmartin.edu/abbey/index.htm

St. Martin's abbey is of the Benedictine Order, the oldest monastic Order in the Church.


WRONG.
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2005, 01:49:37 AM »

As one who has had exposure to more than a few Catholic religious orders, I must urge you to reconsider.  What you may find "rigid" in the Orthodox Monastic tradition is in fact what the fathers of our Faith found necessary in order to live a life of piety and purity.  Catholic religious life, in especially the more "progressive" monasteries is anything but this.  I don't know about you- but I find "chopping wood" on a secluded island much more conducive to the humbling of the body and the destroying of the passions than any abbey might do to me. 

You obviously don't appreciate your Orthodox faith, which is a shame.  You leave the faith that your ancestors fought and died for for a "Gregorian" liturgy from the good old days- 1969.  Congratulations- you have found ancient Christian monasticism.

How many thriving Orthodox monasteries are there in the United States- and you spurn all of them for catholicism?

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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2005, 01:53:10 AM »

Oh, and by the way.  You must be impressed with their "Artwork" if I may call it that.  If their "Gospel Book" looks like that- and it contains the words of Our Lord and Savior- How will the liturgy of theirs ever impress you?
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2005, 01:58:01 AM »

Quote
I think you need to chop some wood and pray all day, for the next 20 years or so!

LOL!!! Grin

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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2005, 02:04:15 AM »

What good does chopping wood do for the world? At least the Benedictines serve society through education.
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2005, 02:14:50 AM »

What good does chopping wood do for the world? At least the Benedictines serve society through education.

You have absolutely no concept of what monasticism  is truly about. 
You refuse to listen to anything anyone says.  People have been through this with you again and again, and all you do is keep posting the same statements and questions.  Learn some humility, for your own sake.  Stop posting dead air.  Read about the lives of real monks, see what a GENUINE difference they made to people around them, and then come back and discuss monasticism, instead of being a pig-headed lout who always insists that he is right, which is the opposite attitude displayed by any true monk.
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2005, 02:31:02 AM »

...instead of being a pig-headed lout who always insists that he is right, which is the opposite attitude displayed by any true monk.

Are you not the one who is sounding like a "pig-headed lout"?
I asked a legitimate question regarding Christian charity.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2005, 04:01:09 AM »

Matthew777,

All I would advise is that you take some time to think, reflect and above all PRAY before you go any further down your latest avenue of spiritual exploration. You seem to be very unsure as to what it is you believe which is a stage I'm sure many people go through (I know I did) but you don't seem to be willing to settle down into any one belief for long - you seem to be a 'spiritual butterfly' for want of a better term.

Since I have been on this forum you seem to have changed from an OO theistic evolutionist, to an OO young earther, to an OO but ROCOR leaning Fr. Seraphim devotee, to a EO/OO, not really sure, might be old earth creationist, to, now, an RC leaning would be monastic philanthropist. I've not been here that long, and that's quite an impressive list of shifts in opinion, none of which I'd note shows any adherence to a consistent theology. Until you can sort out the fundamentals of your own faith then I would advise you to stop looking at all these superficials, like how exactly God created the earth or whether monastics are called to be in or apart from the world.

I have no reason to doubt your intentions or sincerity but, in my honest opinion, you come across as an extremely confused person. I would recommend a long talk, or preferrably series of talks, with a priest who can give you solid advice - don't be afraid to ask for help but you'd be better off asking a priest than a collection of near-anonymous, almost strangers on a discussion forum. I wish you well in sorting out your faith and will pray for your success. Needless to say, though, I feel that I cannot possibly recommend your becoming a Roman Catholic monk and I feel the reasons you give for your admiration for the Benedictines are superficial at best, at worst ignorant and dangerous.

In Christ,

James
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2005, 05:40:33 AM »

Matthew,

People are being remarkably kind to you, considering that we've been here, done this before.  Don't be lulled into complacency, I won't be - you bring out the worst in me.

The scariest part of all this is that this thread is virtually identical to one you initiated months ago, on the same topic.  At the risk of having Jennifer again accuse me of being uncharitable or bullying, I'm going to offer similar comments to those that I made then.  You identify yourself as Syro-Malankara Orthodox, but have been having this semi-public debate over joining a Russian Orthodox or Roman Catholic monastic foundation for some time now, with the Catholics winning based on what appears to be a motivation for you to further your education and become a faculty member of their institution of higher learning.  Your commitment to any one Church appears to be so elastic as to boggle the mind - being focused more on Matthew than on God or theological precepts.

As I said to you way back then, if I were the person in charge of either monastic house and I had even the slightest inkling of the fickle nature of your attachment to your faith of the moment, I wouldn't accept you into my community on a bet.  You dishonor the communities that you are considering, both Catholic and Orthodox, by the shallowness of the basis on which you purport to choose between them.

You are young and, by your writings, you are spiritually immature (think that's the line that got me in trouble before, but it is extraordinarily true) and you are absolutely uncommitted to any Church's theological praxis, otherwise you would not write as you do.  You need to pray and confer with a spiritual father before pursuing any peceived discernment toward a monastic vocation since, at the moment, you would have to lie about, at the very least, your motivation and your theological leanings to be accepted by either of the two.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2005, 06:46:34 AM »

Matthew,

You are deluded. I think you need to chop some wood and pray all day, for the next 20 years or so!

Matthew! Dude, you are so whacked!

Repeat after Mr. Miyagi !!!!

"Wax on, wax off.
Wax on, wax off.
Wax on, wax off.
Wax on, wax off"

Good Grasshopper!
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2005, 07:08:40 AM »

Matthew...bear in mind that wich ever order you join, you will be under obedience. You may get to teach, but on the other hand if the community needs wood you will end up chopping! Remeber Br. Lawrence? He worked and found fufillment in his communities kitchen, even though he hated cooking!
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2005, 11:29:30 AM »

I find all your postings very immature - whatever subject.  OK that's youth, been down that road myself and made a fool of myself.  But God is MERCIFUL and points us in the right direction eventually, IF we care to listen to advice (not mine!) but other well-wishers on this forum.  When the last monk/nun stops praying then all those wonderful welfare institutions will crumble, the world as we know it will evaporate.  It is aPRAYER that sustains the world, not social action. If you have to chose, chose PRAYER.


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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2005, 11:44:43 AM »

One wonders *why* you think that whatever monastic order *you* deem good will automatically take you.  "The house chooses the monk" not the other way around. 

Novice masters are not chosen carelessly, but to guide and winnow out those who do not have a calling or do not fit into the monastic life. Not all persons who think they have a Call to the monastic life actually do. 

You seem to think that your plans are What Will Be.  A useful thing to learn is what one wants is not always (or even mostly) what happens.  Reality is itself and does not bow to our wishes.


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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2005, 12:36:26 PM »

You dishonor the communities that you are considering, both Catholic and Orthodox, by the shallowness of the basis on which you purport to choose between them.

Perhaps I am just able to look beyond sectarianism.
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« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2005, 12:54:14 PM »

What more good can a monastic do for the world, than pray for them?  People are too busy with the rat race and trying to get to the top and pray is the first to suffer. 
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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2005, 02:37:43 PM »

What more good can a monastic do for the world, than pray for them? People are too busy with the rat race and trying to get to the top and pray is the first to suffer.

Prayer is important but that is not all the good we can do for the world. If God desires me to be more than a prayerful lumberjack, then I will heed that call.
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2005, 02:42:08 PM »

Prayer is important but that is not all the good we can do for the world. If God desires me to be more than a prayerful lumberjack, then I will heed that call.

Ah, but the question is whether being more than a prayerful lumberjack is truly God's desire, or if it's actually your desire that you're attributing to God.
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2005, 02:47:17 PM »

Matthew777,

All I would advise is that you take some time to think, reflect and above all PRAY before you go any further down your latest avenue of spiritual exploration. You seem to be very unsure as to what it is you believe which is a stage I'm sure many people go through (I know I did) but you don't seem to be willing to settle down into any one belief for long - you seem to be a 'spiritual butterfly' for want of a better term.

I believe in Apostolic Christianity though this is not limited to one church. I am willing to see that the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches share Apostolic Succession and are the body of Christ. At St. Gregorios, I have been taught to understand both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches as Apostolic and holy.

Matthew777,

Since I have been on this forum you seem to have changed from an OO theistic evolutionist, to an OO young earther, to an OO but ROCOR leaning Fr. Seraphim devotee, to a EO/OO, not really sure, might be old earth creationist, to, now, an RC leaning would be monastic philanthropist.

We are unable to comprehend God's relationship with time. He created in six days but that does not necessarily mean human days. What I find unsettling is the concept that Genesis is only an allegory and Adam and Eve are mythical figures. If they did not actually exist, then why do we have the doctrine of ancestral sin and why have they been considered saints in the Church? If we are to use labels, I am a creationist but the age of the universe is not my concern. I still love Fr. Seraphim Rose and I find that he was the best Orthodox theologian of our time but that doesn't mean that I must follow his footsteps into Russian monasticism.
In monastic life, my primary concern is how much I can serve God through serving humanity.
I've been raised in the Catholic faith, the clergy at my church are open to Catholicism, and they recomend the Benedictine Order as a traditional monastic community.
I do not have reason to consider the words of forum members where they contradict the advice of my clergy.

Matthew777,

I have no reason to doubt your intentions or sincerity but, in my honest opinion, you come across as an extremely confused person.

I would not be considering to join a Catholic Order if I had not been advised by a priest to consider it.
There is still plenty of time for me to receive guidance before I make that decision.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2005, 02:48:57 PM »



Ah, but the question is whether being more than a prayerful lumberjack is truly God's desire, or if it's actually your desire that you're attributing to God.

That is a good observation. This will take a great deal of prayer and clerical guidance.
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« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2005, 04:10:11 PM »

I don't know what this is but this is not art:

"Gospel Book
In 1976, the Abbey published a Gospel Book with illustrations by Seth Polanski and calligraphy by Tim Girvin. The book includes the major feasts of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, St. Benedict, All Saints, and St. Martin. This oversized leather-bound book with images and Gospel passages for the feasts is a true work of art."
http://www.stmartin.edu/abbey/gospel_book.htm

What the heck?
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« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2005, 04:44:33 PM »

I do not have reason to consider the words of forum members where they contradict the advice of my clergy.

I would not be considering to join a Catholic Order if I had not been advised by a priest to consider it.
There is still plenty of time for me to receive guidance before I make that decision.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.


Even if said Clergy person is in error?  Just because a clergy person tells you something, doesn't mean it is true of a good opinion.  I think my own priest is great.  He is theologically very conservative, has a sense of humor, a great preacher, rubricly strong, relatively young and energetic, but sometimes he can be snippy, too opinionated and uncharitable and other things.  He's human as well.  I'm not going to agree with him all the time, but he still is the rector of the parish.

If the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is in Communion with Rome, the of course it is plausible that one of their clergy might recommend you to join a Roman Catholic Order!
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« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2005, 04:52:28 PM »

I don't know what this is but this is not art:

"Gospel Book
In 1976, the Abbey published a Gospel Book with illustrations by Seth Polanski and calligraphy by Tim Girvin. The book includes the major feasts of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, St. Benedict, All Saints, and St. Martin. This oversized leather-bound book with images and Gospel passages for the feasts is a true work of art."
http://www.stmartin.edu/abbey/gospel_book.htm

What the heck?


Exactly!  It's freaky looking!
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« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2005, 04:57:19 PM »

If the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is in Communion with Rome, the of course it is plausible that one of their clergy might recommend you to join a Roman Catholic Order!

Elisha,

If it is, it'll be a matter of much surprise to both Mor Ephrem and to Benedict XVI.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2005, 04:57:48 PM »

Quote
Exactly! It's freaky looking

I guess if you were a resident of Berkeley you could consider that real art! Grin
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« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2005, 05:02:14 PM »



Elisha,

If it is, it'll be a matter of much surprise to both Mor Ephrem and to Benedict XVI.

Many years,

Neil

I have no idea - one reason why I made the statement - just thought it MIGHT be the case.
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« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2005, 05:12:25 PM »

If the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is in Communion with Rome, the of course it is plausible that one of their clergy might recommend you to join a Roman Catholic Order!

The Malankara Church is rather ecumenical and allows Roman Catholics to receive communion.
Deacon Gabriel recomended the Benedictines for being a traditional Order. He went to St. Martin's for college. Father Michael considers it a good possibility also.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2005, 07:15:53 PM »



The Malankara Church is rather ecumenical and allows Roman Catholics to receive communion.
Deacon Gabriel recomended the Benedictines for being a traditional Order. He went to St. Martin's for college. Father Michael considers it a good possibility also.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.



So you trust the opinions of two whittie convert priests over what your bishop Mar Barnabas might think??  There is a great need for an Indian Orthodox monastery in America, so why not be in obedience to your hierarch and ask him how you can be one of the founding members instead of jumping ship for the Roman Catholic Church?

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« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2005, 07:23:37 PM »

So you trust the opinions of two whittie convert priests over what your bishop Mar Barnabas might think??

It is ironic how the members of this forum always recomend that I seek the guidence of my clergy in spiritual matters except for when they disagree with your opinions.
I would assume that Bishop Mar Makarios would be open-minded also.
I am not strong enough of a person to start my own monastery.

If the monastery is "progressive" or "modernist" instead of traditional Catholic, then I probably wouldn't even think about joining. I'll have to visit first before I can make a decision.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2005, 07:26:39 PM »

Quote
I would assume that Bishop Mar Makarios would be open-minded also.
 

I would be VERY careful about what you assume. Go ask him first!
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« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2005, 07:51:35 PM »



I would be VERY careful about what you assume. Go ask him first!

Why should I care about what you say?:

Because he's not really Orthodox - read his religion entry.

Yes, I am a "monophysite heretic" and by your advice, I will consult my "heretical" bishop. :-

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2005, 08:07:46 PM »

Correction Matthew,

The Benedictines USED to be traditional.  Not anymore my friend.  Just look at the Art and the way they decorate their own church.  If you are too blind to realize anything past a few lines of Gregorian Chant then go ahead and be a Benedictine.  It is a shame how you spurn your own tradition to join somewhere where you have nothing in common.  If you want to be a Benedictine go right ahead, but the Benedictines of Today are a far cry from St. Benedict's original Order.  No doubt St. Benedict would have much more in common with "chopping wood" and disciplining the body (By throwing himself in the snow when the passions got to him) than getting a respected teaching position.  Instead of floating from one topic to another, get a clue and read about your own tradition

Question-  Were you raised Malankara Orthodox or did you convert?


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« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2005, 08:10:05 PM »

I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and converted to Orthodoxy in my junior year of high school.
If the Benedictine Order is no longer traditional and is full of "modernist" influence, then I would never join it. That is something I will have to look into.
I don't want a respected teaching position, I just want to do whatever I can to help people.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2005, 08:14:25 PM »

Obviously your conversion was not genuine.  Your spiritual fathers are probably acknowledging this fact now.  It was impulsive- believe me I have done some impulsive things I am not proud of.  You should have had a longer catechumenate.  Your spiritual father in the Malankara church has probably given up on your possibility of remaining orthodox.

Take Care
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« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2005, 08:19:02 PM »

Obviously your conversion was not genuine. Your spiritual fathers are probably acknowledging this fact now. It was impulsive- believe me I have done some impulsive things I am not proud of. You should have had a longer catechumenate. Your spiritual father in the Malankara church has probably given up on your possibility of remaining orthodox.

Take Care

You do not even know enough about me to question my conversion to Orthodoxy and make judgements on my spiritual fathers. This is the same pharisaical attitude that I have been talking about.
My spiritual fathers are happy with my dedication to patristics and Orthodox theology and consider the Benedictine Order to be a good possibility considering how ancient it is. If it is no longer traditional, then I will not join it.


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« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2005, 08:47:29 PM »

Matthew I am sure you know that I would advise you to seriously consider the Orthodox Faith again. However I know that is probably not what you want to hear.
The Benedictines are not what they were before Vatican II. There are now Anglican and even Lutheran Benedictines! The monastery you linked to seems very modernist but they do not provide pictures of their altar so I am not sure. Thomas Merton is a good example of what the Roman Catholic church did to monasticism. Read his early works when he was still a faithful Roman Catholic monk and then look at what happened. If you want a Traditional Roman Catholic monastery than go to Northeast Iowa http://www.newmelleray.org/index.asp?menu=home New Melleray is a few hours from where I live. Northeast Iowa is one of the most 'conservative' Catholic parts of the U.S.A. The Dyersville Basilica http://www.uvcr.catholicam.org/bsfxavier.html is also not too far from New Melleray if you ever visit and still serves the Latin Mass; it is the only cathedral I know of that serves the Latin Mass every Sunday. My sister was married at the basilica and I remember being awed at how big it is and its beauty.
Anyway I thing there are more traditional Catholic monasteries in California than what you linked to.
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« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2005, 08:51:04 PM »



It is ironic how the members of this forum always recomend that I seek the guidence of my clergy in spiritual matters except for when they disagree with your opinions.
I would assume that Bishop Mar Makarios would be open-minded also.
I am not strong enough of a person to start my own monastery.

If the monastery is "progressive" or "modernist" instead of traditional Catholic, then I probably wouldn't even think about joining. I'll have to visit first before I can make a decision.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

Don't lump me in with others please. Your bishop outweighs your priest any day.

Bp Makarios is not your bishop, Bp Barnabas is, unless you can establish that your parish is in a special status, and Bp Barnabas he is traditional and Orthodox.  I highly doubt he would allow you to join a Catholic order!

If you are too weak to join a monastery that is new then go to California and join the Coptic monastery there.

If you can't handle being away from your family and friends, then you are not called to be a monk.

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« Reply #42 on: April 21, 2005, 08:51:36 PM »



Why should I care about what you say?:



Yes, I am a "monophysite heretic" and by your advice, I will consult my "heretical" bishop.  :-

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.



If you don't care then why do you POST HERE?
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« Reply #43 on: April 21, 2005, 08:52:48 PM »



You do not even know enough about me to question my conversion to Orthodoxy and make judgements on my spiritual fathers. This is the same pharisaical attitude that I have been talking about.
My spiritual fathers are happy with my dedication to patristics and Orthodox theology and consider the Benedictine Order to be a good possibility considering how ancient it is. If it is no longer traditional, then I will not join it.


May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.


We can only judge you based on what you write.  And what you write is confused.  You should probably quit internet forums for awhile and just read some more books and talk to your bishop. Why not visit the Coptic monastery in person to get a feel for REAL monasticism?
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« Reply #44 on: April 21, 2005, 09:20:00 PM »



I guess if you were a resident of Berkeley you could consider that real art! Grin

Art who?

But I guess "art" and it's merits are a matter of subjective taste. To each thier own.

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« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2005, 09:35:59 PM »



If you don't care then why do you POST HERE?

I respect the opinions of those who do not find the Oriental Orthodox Churches to be "heretical" or "unorthodox".

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #46 on: April 21, 2005, 09:38:41 PM »

Matthew I am sure you know that I would advise you to seriously consider the Orthodox Faith again. However I know that is probably not what you want to hear.

I am dedicated to the Orthodox faith but not to rigid sectarianism. All Merciful Savior is the only Orthodox monastic community in my state and given that it is part of the ROCOR, it probably wouldn't welcome my family members to visit due to its anti-Catholic leanings. I could be mistaken and forgive me if I am.

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« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2005, 09:54:29 PM »

Quote
given that it is part of the ROCOR, it probably wouldn't welcome my family members to visit due to its anti-Catholic leanings.
It would welcome them as visitors, but would not admit them to the sacraments. For that matter, they would not admit you as a novice or to the sacraments without confession and acceptance of all 7 ecumenical councils, at the least, and would probably make you go through a period of catechumenate to boot.
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« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2005, 11:09:15 PM »


It would welcome them as visitors, but would not admit them to the sacraments. For that matter, they would not admit you as a novice or to the sacraments without confession and acceptance of all 7 ecumenical councils, at the least, and would probably make you go through a period of catechumenate to boot.

He was baptised Greek Orthodox so he could just go to confession and make a profession of faith.
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« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2005, 01:21:50 PM »

Matthew I think I would have to agree with others and tell you that it is troubling and makes us worry when you talk about monasticism so lightly. Once you become a monk you are dead to the world and your family. That does not mean you do not still love them or care about them. But from all that I have read when you become a monk you no longer are bonded to your family as you are when you are in the world. I remember Elder Cleopa told his mother, when she came to visit him, that she was no longer his mother. She said,"How can you say I am no longer your mother." Elder Cleopa responded,"When I became a monk I died to the world. If you want to be my mother again join the [I forget the name] convent." I believe the dialogue went something like that and Elder Cleopa's mother took up the monastic habit immediately and visited the Elder at various times till the end of her life. But that is seriously the way it is even when brothers join the same monastery.
There are many young men who get on fire for monasticism and think they can work and tough it out till they get used to it. Of course many of them eventually run away and forsake their monastic vows because they cannot stand the assault of the demons.
I often think about becoming a monk and joining St.Anthony's where Elder Ephraim is but I know I couldn't take it. I can barely get up and say my prayers every morning. I know that I would probably appreciate doing manual labor instead of doing the stressful school work that I do now but that is hardly a good reason to seriously consider monasticism.
Anyway Matthew I pray that all will go well for you and I think you should take Anastasios advice and go to a Coptic monastery. I think in Coptic monasteries monks partake of Communion in the Sanctuary? Am I right? anyone.
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« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2005, 01:52:47 PM »

Sabbas,

What you write is of course the ideal. Make sure you don't stretch it too far though. Do some research on contemporary monks and bishops and you will see that most of the time they still maintain contact with their families, although such contact is more limited.  Tales such as the one in Elder Cleopa's life are instructive for a purpose; maybe he did what he did BECAUSE his mother needed to hear that word, or perhaps she was harassing him.

Just some thoughts.

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« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2005, 02:34:28 PM »

Here's the deal:

I love the idea of joining All Merciful Savior Monastery and from what I have read, Russian monasticism is the most traditional and Christ-centered. On the other hand, I am afriad that they'd be so sectarian that they would hate me for being Oriental Orthodox and hate my family for being Catholic. I wouldn't want to join a monastic community that it is so narrowminded that they are not able to love anyone outside their own group.

All Merciful Savior is on Vashon Island, a secluded, wooded area on the Puget Sound.
http://vashonmonks.com/index.php
The way I envision it, it is a monastic paradise free from the evils of the secular world. At the same time, my longing to join the monastery only makes me depressed that I am not there. When I go to school, I am deperessed. When I am at home, I am depressed. The only place where I do not feel this depression is at church. And if I go there, I'd be in church in every moment of my life.

Perhaps my fears that Russian Orthodox monasteries are intolerant are unsubstantiated. If so, then there is no way I'd join a Catholic Order instead. Catholicism monasticism is not what it used to be and when it comes to the monastic life, that would be a last resort. I know that I am called to the monastic life, I know that there is nothing better in life for me. On the other hand, I am afraid of being looked down on due to sectarian differences.

I hope you understand what I mean.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

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« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2005, 02:43:55 PM »

St. Martin's abbey is of the Benedictine Order, the oldest monastic Order in the Church. They are dedicated to the daily celebration of the beautiful Gregorian mass. Could any form of worship be better?

Well, if an Orthodox Christian wished to be a Benedictine monk, he could look for Christ the Saviour Monastery (also known as Christminster) in Providence RI. It is a ROCOR monastery. Local monks follow Benedictine rule, usages and customs while profess an Orthodox faith -- the same faith held by St. Benedict. From an Orthodox point of view, Christminster is perhaps the only truly traditional Benedictine monastery in the world.

St. Martin's also has a college dedicated to religious and intellectual education. As a monk, I could be a college professor or some other member of the faculty. Not only would I live a life of spiritual fulfillment but I'd have a great vocation to serve humanity. (...) I've put a lot of thought into Orthodox monasticism and I find it to be a little too rigid. Furthermore, I wouldn't have the opportunities to serve the world that I would have at St. Martin's.

Plenty of monks were and are professors -- specially in Theological Schools, as it is natural. At Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, one can find a number of monks among the faculty. Situation is the same in many other seminaries, specially in Eastern European countries.

But of course none of the two remarks above address the real problem. The real problem is the great confusion displayed by Matthew777 in these two "Benedictine" threads, as it was exhaustively pointed out by Paradosis, Anastasios, Irish Melkite and many other posters.
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« Reply #53 on: April 22, 2005, 02:45:23 PM »

I am confused because I am afraid of being hated. If Russian monasticism isn't as sectarian and anti-Catholic, anti-OO as I think it is, then I'd be happy to be a part of it.
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« Reply #54 on: April 22, 2005, 05:08:35 PM »

Here's the deal:

I love the idea of joining All Merciful Savior Monastery and from what I have read, Russian monasticism is the most traditional and Christ-centered. On the other hand,

You love an idea. You do not love actual monasticism because you have not really lived it.

  I'm sorry, I do not want to be harsh, but you are in a dream, a fantasy. This is like single people who love the idea of being married, but they don't know what married life is really like. It's not all sweetness and a rosy glow every day all day and all night. It's dealing with each other as real human beings, not scripted dolls. I am married with children. We love each other, but there have been times of stress and sickness, of joy and sorrow, of depression and happiness, of easy times and struggle. And that is what all life is like, lay or monastic. Read the selections in "Veil and Cowl: Writings from the World of Monks and Nuns" edited by James Simpson. Read "A Right to be Merry" by Mother Mary Frances, a cloistered Poor Clare.  Read "In this House of Brede" by Rumer Godden. There are other books on this subject. The women and men who *live* the monastic life don't romanticize it, but they love it with clear understanding, not wearing blinders or rosy coloured spectacles.

Quote
I am afriad that they'd be so sectarian that they would hate me for being Oriental Orthodox and hate my family for being Catholic. I wouldn't want to join a monastic community that it is so narrowminded that they are not able to love anyone outside their own group.

I should think that *loving* someone outside their own "group" isn't the problem. Nor would they hate, I would hope. BUT *WHY* are you under the impression that they would accept you in their monastery if you are not EO? They are under no obligation to take anyone who shows up saying they want to be a monk. You keep writing as though you'll just arrive at the monks doorstep and get the habit and life will be perfect to the end of your days

Quote
All Merciful Savior is on Vashon Island, a secluded, wooded area on the Puget Sound.
http://vashonmonks.com/index.php
The way I envision it, it is a monastic paradise free from the evils of the secular world.

And why do you think that your "vision" is in anyway what Reality is like?  The monastic world  is inhabited with real people and real troubles and weather and all the things that life holds. It reads like you want to run away from where you are now. But wherever you run to, *YOU* will still be there with all your feelings and thoughts. You can't escape yourself and just being in a monastery (assuming they took as a novice which is not guarenteed) isn't going to suddenly make you perfect either.


Quote
At the same time, my longing to join the monastery only makes me depressed that I am not there. When I go to school, I am deperessed. When I am at home, I am depressed. The only place where I do not feel this depression is at church. And if I go there, I'd be in church in every moment of my life.

And eventually the depression will be there in church as well if you don't do something about it. I know something of depression. I've been there. People I love have been there. The impulse is to try and run away from it, but it comes with you. Do something about life and the depression right now! See a doctor or a counselor. There is not shame in getting help. God has given us medical knowledge and counselors who can help. (Note: Don't stay with the first one if she/he does seem a good fit. Counselors are people,too.) Pray yes, but keep paddling too.

Quote
Perhaps my fears that Russian Orthodox monasteries are intolerant are unsubstantiated. If so, then there is no way I'd join a Catholic Order instead. Catholicism monasticism is not what it used to be and when it comes to the monastic life, that would be a last resort.

Why is it "intolerant" for an EO monastery to not accept a non-EO person as a novice? If the Religious life is one of common prayer and worship, the members of a community have to be in communion.

Quote
I know that I am called to the monastic life, I know that there is nothing better in life for me.

You want to escape to a dream of the monastic life. You are nineteen, you've said. You do not know all that life might have in store for you. From what you've written your life is not so good right now. That doesn't mean it will always be that way. We cannot know the future. But what we "Know" sometimes is only what we want or think we do. How do you *know* that there is nothing better? What if you went to a monastery and found that it wasn't perfect? That things were still tough at times? Would that make it all false because it didn't match your imaginings? Read The Screwtape Letters by Lewis for some plain looks at life and peaks and troughs and living what is rather then what we imagine.

Your statements read like Depression or other distress talking. You are not the only person to have been through this sort of thing. Believe me or not, but some of the people talking to you are not trying to be mean but to get you to look at reality. Deal with life by getting help. Running away doesn't work. If you want to PM me about depression, please do so.

I hope you understand what I mean. Not in harshness, but in trying to help.

Ebor
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« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2005, 08:10:24 PM »

What if you went to a monastery and found that it wasn't perfect? That things were still tough at times? Would that make it all false because it didn't match your imaginings?

"Perfection" is found in working through hard times and becoming stronger. I expect monastic life to be hard. If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth joining. I do not long for a pleasurable life. I long to suffer for Christ. At the most, I long even for martyrdom.
The reason why I sometimes feel depressed is the amount of unfairness, injustice and evil there is in the world and the fact that I am powerless to do anything to change it. For the most part, all I can do is pray and hope for Christ to return and restore all Creation. Fr. Seraphim Rose did not have a lust for life. He felt troubled by the evils of this world and longed for Paradise. I don't need a doctor, I need more holiness in my life.
I am not worried about having to confess a "monophysite" heresy to join an Eastern Orthodox monastery. There is nothing wrong with accepting Chalcedon. I am worried, on the other hand, that they would be intolerant toward my family.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2005, 08:13:06 PM »

Matthew,

Were the fathers of the council of Ephesus sectarian? Pat John of Antioch's bishops did not even arrive at the council before Nestorius was anathematized.  Was that fair?

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« Reply #57 on: April 22, 2005, 08:18:06 PM »

Didn't Nestorius believe that Christ is two distinct persons? I don't believe that St. Nicholas was being too sectarian by slapping Arias in the face.
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« Reply #58 on: April 22, 2005, 08:50:28 PM »

I am worried, on the other hand, that they would be intolerant toward my family.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

Again, they wouldn't be good monks if they were intolerant.  Stop worrying about this.
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« Reply #59 on: April 22, 2005, 10:35:49 PM »

"Perfection" is found in working through hard times and becoming stronger. I expect monastic life to be hard. If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth joining. I do not long for a pleasurable life. I long to suffer for Christ. At the most, I long even for martyrdom.

It seems to me that you really do not have a good idea of what being a monk would be like.  It's a "paradise" away from the evil world.  You expect it to be hard.  If you become a Benedictine you might become a Professor.  At this point you really do not know if you can live that life at all.  There is no guarantee that you would be able or willing to work through the hard times in a monastery and become stronger. Plenty of people who have tried their vocation have found it to be not what they can live.  And there's no shame in that.  That's why there is a postulancy and a novitiate, to test to the person.

And do you have any idea of what suffering for Christ might entail?  It's not always the torture and a quick trip to the lions.  Patiently dealing with the day to day hardships or drudgery might be what Christ asks of a person.  Life outside a monastery isn't easy either.  Suppose God spoke to you loud and clear and said "Matthew, I want you to work for 40 years, raise 3 kids, think of others before yourself and make sacrifices for others and then take care of your spouse when she gets MS and can't walk or eat for a month at a time." 

"Any idiot can face a crisis - it's the day to day living that wears you out" - Anton Chekov


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The reason why I sometimes feel depressed is the amount of unfairness, injustice and evil there is in the world and the fact that I am powerless to do anything to change it.

You are only powerless if you chose to be.  There is plenty of Goodness in the world and there are people who are doing things make matters fair and just.  Remember that there are real human beings being treated badly or lacking clean water or vaccines or children who need shoes or glasses or to learn to read.  Find somewhat to help your neighbor.  No one human can solve the whole world.  But individuals can do their own little bits to help.  Why would you be called to solve the entire world's problems?  But maybe you are here to help with one or two or a few.

If all you see is the evil and the dreary and the sad, you are not seeing all of what God has made.  The world and nature is broken, but it's not only evil and dark.

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For the most part, all I can do is pray and hope for Christ to return and restore all Creation. Fr. Seraphim Rose did not have a lust for life. He felt troubled by the evils of this world and longed for Paradise. I don't need a doctor, I need more holiness in my life.

"Lust of life"?  God puts each of us here for His own purposes.  He gives us life and talents.  I'll wager that many are troubled by the evils in the world, but they aren't going to just give up and do nothing until the End.  Maybe you need more holiness *and* a doctor in your life.
I hope you find some clarity and help soon.

Ebor
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« Reply #60 on: April 23, 2005, 02:36:37 AM »

During my novice period, under the guidence of a spiritual father, I will find out if I am ready for monastic life. Three years is a long time, after all.
I am sorry but family life is not for me. I have no interest in that kind of life. I would rather be a eunach for the sake of the Kingdom.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #61 on: April 23, 2005, 02:44:45 AM »

During my novice period, under the guidence of a spiritual father, I will find out if I am ready for monastic life. Three years is a long time, after all.
I am sorry but family life is not for me. I have no interest in that kind of life. I would rather be a eunach for the sake of the Kingdom.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

I see a lot of usage of the word "I" in your posts, perhaps it would be prudent to just sit back for a bit and let God do his job.

R
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« Reply #62 on: April 23, 2005, 02:49:17 AM »

You are right. However, I need something to work toward.
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« Reply #63 on: April 23, 2005, 02:53:23 AM »

goals are nice, but realize they can change.

best to live each day at its best.

http://ibiblio.org/jimmy/folkden/php/music/Saints.mp3

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« Reply #64 on: April 23, 2005, 02:54:55 AM »

Well... What am I going to do after college? Monastic life seems like a worthy endeavor.
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« Reply #65 on: April 23, 2005, 02:56:40 AM »

look, im a little older than you, im about to graduate college. i've been in those shoes. i wanted to be a priest, a monk, every job on the planet (ask anastasios)

i'll just say that my goals and expectations when i first entered were completely different than they are now. Go to college, work towards a degree you enjoy, and everything will fall into place...I promise.

The important thing is to be happy.

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« Reply #66 on: April 23, 2005, 02:58:11 AM »

if i have any regrets, it's that i didn't enjoy my experience to the fullest.

You're only young once, then you have a boat load of responsibilities.

I'm not advocating partying and getting crunked.

But, make friends, meet people, do weird things ( i started fencing, and joined the clog dancing club)

And praise the lord all the time while you do it.
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« Reply #67 on: April 23, 2005, 03:15:32 AM »

Matthew,

   I am going to join some of the others in encouraging you to visit and perhaps spend a while at St. Antony's Coptic Monastery, in California.   http://www.stantonymonastery.org/   It is a true monastery in the spirit of the Desert Fathers.   It is literally in the middle of the desert.  You have to travel along a horrific dirt road to even get there.  It can be hard on your car, so drive slow when you hit the dirt road.)

   I have met monks there who I believe are truly men of God.  They live on almost nothing. -Their work is prayer. The monastery is not even a beautiful building.  For the most part we're talking converted trailers, although they have recently started to build some proper buildings.

   The monastery has many relics, including a piece of the Holy Cross and relics from Pope Kyrillos.  Also, there is a chapel with the relics of their recent abbot, Anba Karas.  I met Anba Karas once before he died and it was a meeting which left a deep impression on me. He died of cancer after a long period of intense suffering.  However, he never complained during his sickness.  Rather, he continued to praise God and help others throughout the entire ordeal.  I understand that people are already experiencing miracles through his intercession.  When I go to the monastery, I always spend time in that chapel and ask for his prayers. I always leave there with a feeling of peace.  There is a place on the monastery grounds where some of the monks saw a vision of St. Moses the Ethiopian.  There is a church near it. Again, it is not a grand building, just a sort of converted trailer. It is nothing that would impress people by worldly standards. However, the first time I ever entered it, I was struck by a feeling of God's presence, such as I had never felt in any fancy building.  Whenever, I visit the monastery, I stand at the place outside the church where the monks saw St. Moses.  From there I can look out upon the vast, open desert and listen to the wind as it blows.  I feel so near to God as I pray there.
    Please consider visiting there, perhaps during a vacation break from your schooling. It may be a bit far for you, but it will be worth it.  I understand that young men who are thinking about monasticism may spend several days there (perhaps weeks?) talking to the monks, praying, and getting a taste of what monastic life is like.  Again, please consider it.
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« Reply #68 on: April 23, 2005, 05:27:12 AM »

...The way I envision it, it is a monastic paradise free from the evils of the secular world. At the same time, my longing to join the monastery only makes me depressed that I am not there. When I go to school, I am deperessed. When I am at home, I am depressed. The only place where I do not feel this depression is at church. And if I go there, I'd be in church in every moment of my life. ....

Brother Matthew,

First off all I apologize for the personal sound of my response to your postings.

When I read your posts I think that I am reading my diary.

I am now 41 years old. When I was 17 years old I used to live the life you are experiencing now. I also believed the things that you think about monastic life, and I also used to think that joining a monastery would be the outlet that I sought for.

I am surprised by the violence that you have been treated with, by some brothers from this forum.

I understand that you are being honest and genuine in the way that you feel, in the way that you believe, in the way that you respond to the deadlock that you are facing in your life.

I admire your courage to directly confront your unworthy present you live into.

I have to tell you many things about you beliefs, which some of them are wrong, and about Christian faith, which you misunderstand in some respects. I choose not to do so. I‘ll rather tell you something about my life. This would be more useful for you.

As I told you already, I once used to think the way you think: “I am sorry but family life is not for me. I have no interest in that kind of life. I would rather be a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom.”

Today I am married with a woman that is a real angel. I was married 6 years ago. My wife is a person through whom every day God reveals Himself to me. And I literally mean every day. I am not just “happy married”. I am married in Christ. My wife was never a churchy person. We both live a -non monastic- life, we go to work, we go to movies, we do the thins that everyone else does, we have a more or less secular life. We also try to live as members of the Church. We are not special in any way. There is no incompatibility between secular life and Church life. Secular life is actually sanctified by Church life. Through my marriage, I mean through the honest and true and loving personal relationship with my wife, I unexpectedly found out that evil is not in the way that the secular world is by itself, but evil is in the non personal, non-loving, non-honest ways of life that we may live our lives into the secular world. The “evil” secular world is transformed into heaven the time we relate ourselves with someone with personal, honest love.

The “evil secular world” of non personal, non-loving, non-honest way of living can also be into a monastic life, because nobody and nothing can force you to live your life the way they want to. Neither the canons of the monastic life nor the fathers and brothers of the monastery have the power to make someone an “angel in heaven”. In the same context nobody and nothing can prevent you from living a “heavenly monastic life” of personal, loving, honest way of living into a non-monastic life.

We may as well be in heaven and then we may still feel that we are in hell. Because what makes the difference between heaven and hell is us, not the place nor “the others”. You know that Lord said: “The Reign of Heaven is inside you”. Well in that respect it deserves to spend all your life in the quest of that “you” Christ refers to, because the moment you realize this “you” then you are starting to experience “The Reign of Heaven”.

I hope that I succeeded in providing my testimony that there are many ways to live a Christian blessed life, other than monastic life. (I myself think that Monastic life is the most blessed one, but I also know from my experience that it is not the way for the many but only for few).

Brother Matthew, let me ask you for two personal favors: Do not loose your innocence/purity and never stop being honest with your self, as you are today. Do not worry much about true and false faith, be worried in being honestly faithful and the God will be with you. (That was the case with Apostle Paul who was saved not by being faithful in a true belief, but by being honestly faithful in a personal false belief and for this God was with him)

I pray that God provides that you may keep experience His blessed absence in your depressed life, so you seek for His blessed presence. I wish for you, this quest may never come to an end.
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« Reply #69 on: April 23, 2005, 06:53:29 PM »

Thank you for the advice and kind words.
I have already lost my purity which is one reason why I feel unworthy of a wife. I was a very hedonistic person in high school. I believed in Christ and the Church but I was also a total hippocrite. The amount of damage I caused myself from drugs and an unhealthy obsession with sex is deplorable. I do not want any woman to have to suffer to be married to me. Therefore, I would rather be married to God because I know that at least He can handle me. Know what I mean?
I've wanted to join the monastic life from the age of thirteen and I truly cannot envision a better way to live my life for God.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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« Reply #70 on: April 23, 2005, 08:51:15 PM »

Thank you for the advice and kind words.
I have already lost my purity which is one reason why I feel unworthy of a wife. I was a very hedonistic person in high school. I believed in Christ and the Church but I was also a total hippocrite. The amount of damage I caused myself from drugs and an unhealthy obsession with sex is deplorable. I do not want any woman to have to suffer to be married to me. Therefore, I would rather be married to God because I know that at least He can handle me. Know what I mean?
I've wanted to join the monastic life from the age of thirteen and I truly cannot envision a better way to live my life for God.

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.

Brother Matthew777,

Let me assure you that you are a pure and innocent person.

All that matters is in the heart. Take my word for that.

As for your: "feel unworthy of a wife", I was too. But finaly there is a God for us too, you know what I mean ? He may not have the nerve to handle us and He created just the right woman for us. (Just an easy explanation for His wisdom)

Do not take God for granted, He may prepairing big surpises for you. I know because he did for me brother.
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« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2005, 10:08:51 PM »

Well, I am not going to seek after a woman. If I were to marry, she would have to be kind, intellectual and Christ-centered. If that is to be, then God will have to send her.
May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
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