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Friday, 19 June 2015

Great Article on The Benedict Option

Interesting, as last week I was discussing with someone the need to go back to the model of the monasteries.

In the Middle Ages, saints not only set up religious foundations, but viable lay communities, such as Fountains. The Jesuits did the same thing in the Americans with the missions.

Hundreds of  lay workers made Fountains one of the economically most successful wool industry in England. We know the missions and the Jesuits were suppressed because of success.

Benedict wanted people to work as a community. Prayer and work grow together.

If one was in the wool trade in England, one was against the government in many ways. Fountains was part of the local economy for centuries before the government got involved. The land supported the community, and the community benefitted.  Benedictine economics involved a spirituality.

More on that later...

Work and prayer, prayer and work....but remember the only real moral high ground according to Christ is poverty.

I highly approve of this effort to consider the BenOp.

Please read and consider this.

St. Benedict’s solution was revolutionary for its time because it recognized that neither the life of work nor the life of prayer can be pursued independently of the other. Giving credence to Benedict’s insight in our time demands radical efforts to develop new institutions where work and other mundane activities can serve as both a means of cultivating the virtues and as a preparation for the Gospel.

One of the reasons Henry VIII destroyed the monasteries was to plunder their wealth. But, he destroyed entire lay communities as well as the religious ones.

There will be a new series here coming up on Ignatian and Benedictine (including Cistercian) communities.

Watch this space.

Communities vary according to time and custom

No culture, no civilization lasts forever. Society on the earth is always temporal.

As Christianity is no longer a European preserve, one many have to look towards the East for Christian models which are new.

I shall be examining these points next week.

BTW, I disagree with both J. Bush and Santorum on their comments on this encyclical of Pope Francis. Have they actually read it? I am reading it right now and it is very long and very complex, and quotes the Pope Emeritus extensively. So far, it is quite Catholic. And, an echo of Tolkien's Mordor vs. The Shire---But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

I wish the Pope had mentioned elliptical cycles and solar cycles, instead of global warming.

One small line from it is very true...."Authentic human development has a moral character."

And another great paragraph....

Furthermore, when media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches. True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences. For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.

And a reminder of Catholic social teaching, which we cannot ignore. I think some Catholics confuse political views with those of the Catholic Church.

And, wow, do I agree with the Pope's reference to food waste. One-third of the food is wasted. That is grossly sinful, and I see it here in the States. The notes were left from the Pope Emeritus, btw. And the two are spending two weeks together at Castle Gandolfo.