Authentic religion is not intended as a vending machine for people to “get things” from higher powers and God the supreme power. Real religion is intended to bring human beings into the experiential knowledge of God through union with God. God being infinite, that is a tremendous aspiration! Obviously it cannot be managed in a short time.
As a consequence, in every true religion there have been people throughout its history that have devoted themselves exclusively to the quest for God. In truth, the “body temperature” of a religion can be determined by the number of its monastic adherents. In the East it has been in the millions–Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian.
As Abbot Dom Columba Marmion wrote in Christ the Ideal of the Monk:
“Never forget this truth: a man is worth that which he seeks. Are you seeking God? Are you aspiring towards him with all the fervor of your soul? Though presently in the condition of a ‘creation,’ do you seek to raise yourself by uniting with the infinitely perfect Being, the Creator? Are you seeking the creature: gold, pleasures, honors, satisfaction of pride–that is to say, yourself–under all these forms? Then, however great you may be in the sight of men, you are just worth as much as these creatures. You lower yourself to their level, and the baser they are, the more you debase yourself. A simple monastic who, seeking God, spends his life in humble and obscure labors in order to accomplish the divine will, is incomparably greater in the sight of God–whose judgment alone matters, for he is eternal–than a man who has heaped up riches or is surrounded with honors or lives only for pleasures. Yes; a man is worth what he seeks.”
In this section of our website we shall be posting books and articles from both East and West on the value of the monastic life in hope that those who aspire to it will be strengthened in their resolve and that many others will be inspired to desire it, as well.
To begin with, we offer these edited books by Swami Sivananda Saraswati, both for online reading and as PDF downloads:
Podcasts on Monastic life by Abbot George Burke:
Light of the Spirit Monastery
For those interested in leading the monastic life at Light of the Spirit Monastery, first you should read the page about our monastery. If you wish to proceed further, contact us using our contact page. Serious applicants should read and answer Questions For Monastic Aspirants.