Monday, August 5, 2013

Lest we forget how difficult monastic life can be....

One of the dangers of learning about a subject through reading, without obtaining a firsthand experience of the subject, is that it is easy to get a false sense of the true nature of the subject.  In religious circles, for example, there are stories floating around the internet from frustrated converts who became Catholic, Orthodox, or a particular brand of Protestantism by reading their way into that church, without getting a real sense of what the church was like through personal experience before entering it.

I confess that I am guilty of having an overly sentimental view of monastic life because I have read about it, but not lived it.  A life of silence and prayer seems appealing when the maelstrom of life reaches a fever pitch.

This article about a story from Sicily should cure me, and anyone who reads it, of that overly sentimental view:  "Criminal serving his sentence with monks pleads to be sent back to prison....because monastery life is too hard."

(Thanks to Matthew Dallman for the link, and for noting the appropriate nature of the article's last line: "Nobody at the Santa Maria community was available for comment").


  1. It is love that makes all things easy. I am a Catholic who "read" my way into the Church. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. Why? Because I love the Church. Have bad things happened to me during the 40 years that I have been in Catholic Church? Yes, of course, but the Mass and the Eucharist and Confession make it all worth it.

    A monk without love will suffer greatly, but a monk who loves God and loves his vocation will find heaven on earth.

    P.S. Watch out for the Daily Mail. It is a tabloid-style rag out of England with no love for the Catholic Church.

  2. I was just talking with my daughter who is your age. She reads the Daily Mail and really likes it. She says it is no more anti-Catholic than most of the media. (She was reading the story about the man who shot his wife in Miami [near our old neighborhood -- friends of friends] -- and posted the photos of his wife's body on Facebook.)

  3. The news media's relationship with the Catholic church is strange. On the one hand, they give the Catholic Church a lot of attention - much more than any other religious group, it seems like, even here in "Luther-land" of the upper Midwest where there are as many Lutherans as Catholics. Some of it is positive - witness the stories about the priest at the Missouri car crash. But, I agree, much of it is also unfortunately very hostile.