I couldn’t agree more with what Thomas Merton says here.
“The monastery is not an “escape” from the world. On the contrary, by being in the monastery, I take my true part in all the struggles and sufferings of the world. To adopt a life that is essentially nonassertive, nonviolent, a life of humility and peace is in itself a statement of one’s position.”
Thomas Merton. Honorable Reader. Quoted in Thomas Merton In My Own Words (Liguori, MO: Liguori Press, 2007: 107.
A couple of nights ago over dinner my brother-in-law asked exactly that, “what is a monk?” I had to stop and think. I could get out, “a group of people who live apart.” Monk comes from “monos” a Greek word which means “alone.” Wikipedia also defines a monk as a person who practices “religious asceticism.” Either of those definitionns could apply to a number of people and not be limited to a group of men or women living in a monastic community. Continue reading “What is a monk?”