It is hard to imagine a time or place more opposed to the gospel than fifth-century Ireland.
Recently I spent a week at a monastery. I didn’t interact a lot with the monks—it’s a cloistered community, and its members don’t often come to the guesthouse area where I stayed. I saw them at church seven times a day; otherwise I was mostly alone, either walking the grounds or in my room reading or praying. Reading, mostly.
Benedict instructed that a novice's street clothes should be kept. Every morning for the rest of his life, the monk confronted two habits.
I see the monastery sign and drive past. I know two monks there, and I've been grabbing at every possible lead. But I'm too ashamed to turn in.
As a graduate student, my father visited the Abbey of Gethsemani. His experiences there entered him in some permanent way.
Must we lose monastic communities before we realize how profound their presence is in our lives?