Early monasticism was a way of
life commonly described as "peregrinatus," a wanderer or pilgrim,
who abandons security for a journey which is extremely costly, and yet whose
reward is ultimately everlasting life.
This way of life was
romanticized in the "Way of a Pilgrim." But the monk's journey was
not a matter of many miles, but his spiritual journey is measured from his
leaving the influence of the world to becoming a servant of all men.
The early spiritual writers
had a name for this kind of journey: it was called "white
martyrdom." This undramatic way of life of Christian sacrifice involves
many daily deaths and simple denials but produces a character transfigured
by the presence of Divine Love.
It is a journey which
celebrates God's love for man and the joyful awareness of God's intervention
in every area of man's life.