Spirit and Standards

The Eros of Repentance

The Eros of Repentance

Certainly, Christians in the world cannot live precisely as monks. They can however live in accordance with the spirit and standards of monastic life. This will aid them greatly in preserving their own inner unity and balance while living in a troubled and anxious world.

— Archimandrite George Capsanis, The Eros of Repentance:

Four Talks on Athonite Monasticism

Here is one of the most concise statements of the rationale behind Lay Cistercian spirituality, coming from an Eastern Orthodox monk of Mount Athos, Greece.  Those  who  embrace the life of a Lay Cistercian, or Benedictine Oblate, or some other form of monastic associate, are not so much “monk-wannabe’s” as simply those Christians who recognize that the spirit and standards of monastic spirituality provide laypersons with charisms and practices that can help them to grow in grace as Christians. The goal is to grow closer to God — and hopefully find a measure of “inner unity and balance” as well.

Mysticism and the Divine Feminine: An Interview with Mirabai Starr
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Pentecost and Ecstasy
Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • sue

    Dear Carl,

    This quote and comment draws my attention away from my spiritual lustfulness and invites my “spirituality” through the low, unassuming door of humility.

    Very grateful, very needed,

  • http://AJposts.com AJ

    Very cool. I find the monastic lifestyle to be alluring, but my only problem with it is that there are so many people out there who need our help and love, and if we are always secluded, then we won’t be able to help or love them. Any thoughts?

    • Carl McColman

      The reason why monks live in community is due to the recognition that the Christian life must include love of neighbor — for monastics, their “neighbors” are their fellow monks as well as all who receive hospitality from the monastery. And monks love their neighbors primarily, although not exclusively, by praying for them. Meanwhile, those who live outside the cloister dwell in a different “neighborhood.” If you are discerning a possible vocation to monastic life, do keep this in mind; all Christians are called to love our neighbors, but who those particular neighbors are — that will be determined by the shape of our unique vocation.