Sunday, December 7, 2008
The Monastic Life, an opportunity for the Church
"The monastic life and its meaning in the Church and the world today"was the theme of the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Monsignor Pierre Raffin, Bishop of Metz, France, tells us that the decline in the number of monks and nuns in the world
has an impact on the development of monasticism.
Monasticism was born in the East and developed greatly in Western Europe, and while for some years it has become less important in Western Europe and the East, it has taken root in new cultures in Africa, Asia, and also on the American continent. At times, the encounter of monasticism with these new cultures is not always an easy thing, and we can say that in this area we have not found the answers yet and we continue to look for them.
The monastic life is a free and personal choice of life, but no less radical, which is not always obvious.
"It's more complicated to live this radicalism in a world of consumerism where before entering a monastery people have been accustomed to a life of comfort. ... Having your car, your cell phone, your computer."
"There then must be a break with all the conveniences of the modern world, which are not bad in themselves, and then in its place, an asceticism, a break from that which is very important."
But what can these monastic congregations bring to the church today? Msgr. Raffin did not hesitate to answer: their place is central and unique...
"Historically speaking, the monastic life has been the first form of religious life, from which even today all other forms of consecrated life follow, and precisely because of their greater radicalism, they should stimulate and inspire these other forms of religious life."