Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monastic and Parish Life Truly Seperate but Equal

Rigidity and frigidity should not be misunderstood for order or some fained attempt at purity. Understanding the similarity and distinction between marriage and monastic orders is imperative as each are in fact closed systems. They grow side by side in the church each nurturing the faithful and offering God a broken heart and contrite spirit. Each have committed to advance the cause of The Kingdom within the distinct boundaries of their calling and obligations. A church community should not try to impose monastic ideals to parishioners while monastic communities shouldn't have active outreach programs designed to establish a make shift parish. Each system should be a safe haven for its members. In married life too often couples are given rules for living that are incompatible with marriage and create undo stress and conflict. The wife becomes a 'refusing wife' while the husband becomes a resentful authoritarian. Monasteries begin to function like 'religious' communes and less like prayer centers. Priests tend to over reach in their role as confessor and attempt to be spiritual fathers dictating the lives of their parishioners wrongfully in detail. Likewise spiritual fathers of the monastic order too often attempt to over-pastor pilgrims as a parish priest ought. Parishes exist as open systems making no restriction on parishoner or any visitor. The monasteries however though self and provide a safe haven they are closed and self contained. They are under no obligation to recieve guests/pilgrims.

1 comment:

Jeff Burke said...

I have just been reading George Florovsky's Christianity and Culture. He has much so say about monasticism, esp. it's genesis. He argues that in the beginning there was no monastic ideal, that the monastic life was seen as the Christian life. It was seen generally in the context of community, and not eremetic. He also speaks of how the church has compromised its ideals, by allowing activity that falls short of the ideal. He might argue that there should not be a distinction between parish life and monastic life. I don't know, just a thought!