Foundation of monastic life today

Monastic community in the cloister walkMan was made to be incessantly bound to God, his Creator. All the same, at the very beginning man abandonned God. This separation from God has a continuous inner effect on every man and destroys his original integrity, his inner unity. Among the fruits of this unity are peace, a still and deep joy and mildness. These gifts make man pleasing not only to God, but also to other people, the animals and the rest of nature. Separation from God, on the other hand, brings about tension, misunderstanding, wars and permanent restlessness. View of the monastic complex from the pastures in the WestThese phenomena are the consequence of Original Sin. Baptism does not remove the consequences of Original Sin completely, but it shows a way to deal with it and gives man strength and support to follow him. For this reason, the aim of monastic life is to completely restore man’s integrity with God. This can only occur gradually, step by step, because men are led by their habits in everyday life.

As the father of monasticism, St. Benedict shows us the way leading to the restoration of this integrity: there are two states inside us: the all-embracing closeness with God, and everything that remains, i.e. separation from God. Gathered monastic community for the liturgyAll of us know that we often do things that, deep in our hearts, we disagree with and do not desire to do. The monastic solution to this state of things is to shift between these states so often that we get used to life with God as the only true state, and thus restore our integrity with God. To accomplish this there are proven means contained in the teaching of St. Benedict: regular and frequent prayer (“Ora”), in the form of common prayer and as private prayer, physical work (“Labora”), and finally the meditative spiritual reading (“lectio divina”). The Cistercian reform of the monastic life in the 12th century consists in the realistic and redeeming balance of these basic pillars of monastic life.

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