What is MONASTICISM?
The New Testament is addressed to laymen. Everyone is,
first of all, a layman. Bishops were not born bishops. The Holy Father, our
bishops and priests were laymen first.
Husbands and wives are laymen first, and husbands and
wives second. The entire New Testament is primarily addressed to ALL as
Monasticism is a way of life wherein laymen lived the
fullness of the Gospel in an environment where both the men of the world
and the men of the Church are hostile to the teachings of Christ.
Monasticism is, sort of, an extraordinary medicine for an extraordinary
illness in the Church.
The goal of monasticism is the same as the Gospel's
goal; i.e. knowing one's true self BUT away from all the false compliments
and flattery of the men of the world.
Monasticism is lived in a "mystical desert."
It is in this desert that the passions of anger, impatience, hatred, pride
and sadness are starved to death thus preparing us to edify others.
One who flies to the desert is akin to a man escaping
from prison to be free, so that he may liberate others from the
imprisonment of sin. He lives again the life of martyrdom that the
Christian religion is meant to be. Laymen made up the bulk of those who
went to the desert.
Monastic life is tough because the Gospel was meant
only for a tough breed, but it is like starting a fire; at the start
everything is smoky, smelly and eye- tearing. Then comes the cooked food
and the fasting wherein the soul feasts on God.
In the first centuries of the Church, whenever a
traveler or pilgrim would inquire, "Where are the Christians..."
they were always referred to the direction of vast Christian communities
living in the desert. After the bloody persecutions, Christians lived in