What is “New Monasticism”?

Beverly Lanzetta Interviews, Lectures, Meditations, Study

In a recent radio conversation, I was asked by the hosts to describe what I mean by “new monasticism.” Below is an excerpt of the first few minutes of the audio recording. If you would like to listen to the entire 50 minute conversation, press “play”.     ~Beverly


“BEDE Griffiths—Benedictine monk and Hindu-Christian sannyasin—once remarked that the monk of the future would be in the world. Monasticism is a way of articulating the depth and intention of a spiritual life. The traditional monk devotes his or her life to God, the Ultimate, and gives up many things. He or she takes vows to live a life of moderation, love, equanimity, obedience, chastity, etc. But there is a movement around the world of new monasticism, especially in Europe, Australia and the United States, which is based on the idea of taking the monk’s deep contemplative commitment and transposing it in the world. It is a way of affirming to yourself and also to your community that this—the Divine, Holy, Absolute—is the center of your life.

What initiates or sustains, and allows passion for life to come forth? One powerful act is making a commitment or vow. We can have a private encounter with the divine or a private moment of awe in nature, but when we say to the world, “I am taking a monastic vow,” it has a different efficacy. The idea of the monk in the world is that the deep contemplative life is not only for those who live in monasteries. It is an archetype that is intrinsic to all people and all of us have a monastic dimension.”


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