Archives For Monasticism

 

Herbert Workman’s book, The Evolution of the Monastic Ideal (1913), is a classic work

that not only introduces the history of Christian monasticism, but also provides an account of the theological forces that guided this tradition.
 

We are pleased to offer this book as a FREE PDF ebook to download.

[ DOWNLOAD NOW ]

via Archive.org

 

From the book’s preface:

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Living, Loving, Dancing, Praying, and Contemplating
 
A Review of 
 

In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir
Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O.

Paperback, Ave Maria Press, 2018.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Richard Goode

 

If one is looking for a guide to explain contemporary monasticism, Br. Paul Quenon offers the strongest of résumés. He is, for example, the embodiment of Trappist stability, having been a monk at Kentucky’s Abbey of Gethesemani for 60 years. As a novice he studied under none other than Thomas Merton. Br. Paul is also well published, receiving such accolades as “Best Spiritual Book of the Year” for his work. Beyond these facts, he is adept at painting a verbal picture. In the pages of this book, for example, we see the darkened Gethsemani church as the monastic choir prays Vigils at 3:15 am, an Office that the community has honored every day since its founding in 1848. Moreover, he portrays a modern Cistercian community respecting its centuries-old practice of “Ora et Labora” (prayer and work).

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Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

  

Divinations: Theopolitics in an Age of Terror (Theopolitical Visions)

Daniel Bell

Cascade Books Continue Reading…

 

Rooted in Scripture
and Monastic Tradition

 
A Review of

Benedict’s Daughter: Poems
Philip C. Kolin

Paperback: Resource Publications, 2017.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
 
Reviewed by Frederick W. Bassett
 
 

Benedict’s Daughter is Philip C. Kolin’s eighth and most recent book of poems. The mere titles of these earlier books, such as The Wailing Wall, Deep Wonder, Emmett Till in Different States, demonstrate his deep and wide-ranging poetic efforts. In a special way, this latest collection expands his poetic interests in Benedictine spirituality by shining light on the journey of his long-time spiritual director, a Benedictine Oblate named Midge in the poems.

In the midst of a gifted academic career (more than 40 books, over 200 scholarly articles, plus countless poems), Kolin wrote Benedict’s Daughter as a poetic tribute to Midge and those who live according to St. Benedict’s Holy Rule (“ora et labora,” prayer and work).
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Thomas_Merton

Sunday is the birthday of Thomas Merton, born 31 January 1915.

Merton was a monk who not only wrote elegantly about contemplative life, but also was a gifted poet and social critic. Here is an introductory guide to some of his best books. I’ve included an excerpt, where possible with each of the books.

 

1. The Seven Storey Mountain

 

Merton’s bestselling autobiography of how he found his way to monastic life. This is the most familiar of Merton’s books, but if you haven’t read it, it is a great place to start.

 

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Allowing Grace to Move us Forward
 
A Review of 

Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship with a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life
Colette Lafia

Paperback: Sorin Books, 2015
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Paul D. Gregory
 
 
Our lives are filled with numerous starts and stops, ups and downs and thrilling and devastating experiences. For most of us, the view from the summit is sublime and easy to negotiate. However, how do we handle the disappointment and loss that invariably arrive at our doorsteps? Some are able to quickly adept on their own, while others spend days, months and yes, sometimes years, learning how to survive the valleys. For many of us, the challenges life throws at us can be overwhelming, shattering our beliefs in friendships, family, as well as God.  Colette Lafia’s book entitled Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship with a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life beautifully tackles these issues.
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An Antidote to Sin?

A Review of

Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins: Learning from the Psychology of Ancient Monks

Dennis Okholm

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2014
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Julie Lane-Gay
 
Despite constant occurrences of politician’s sexting employees, NFL players assaulting women and Wall Street tycoons cheating investors, sin remains fascinating, and ubiquitously destructive. The litany of lousy things people do to each other, and to themselves, continues to need our attention.
 
Dennis Okholm’s, Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins: Learning from the Psychology of the Ancient Monks is a study of sin, of what the Catholic church and many others, refer to as the cardinal sins: gluttony, lust, greed, anger, envy, sloth and vain glory. These seven aren’t just the most common; they’re the parents from which all other sins originate. More specifically, Dangerous Passions, Deadly Sins is a look at the seven sins from parallel perspectives: that of early monks, namely, Evagrius (4th C.), Cassian (5th C.) and Gregory the Great (6th C.), and that of current psychologists.

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Three volumes of Thomas Merton’s Journals have been deeply discounted for Kindle… starting at 99c!

I’ve been reading Entering the Silence, and really enjoying his stories of life in the monastery.

Thomas Merton (Monk, Mystic and Poet)

Entering the Silence: Becoming a Monk and a Writer (The Journals of Thomas Merton #2)

Only 99c!!!

Run to the Mountain: The Story of a Vocation (Journals of Thomas Merton #1)

$3.79

Learning To Love: Exploring Solitude and Freedom (Journals of Thomas Merton #6)

$3.79

*** NOTE: Prices stated are for The United States, prices outside the US may vary. Sorry.
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A Parable of Community


A Review of

The Rule of Taizé

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2013.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Erin Zoutendam.

 
The question at the heart of the publication of a book such as The Rule of Taizé is not whether we should read it, but why it was published at all. Surely the rule of a monastic community in rural France, a rule intended to order the lives of about a hundred monks, coincides very little with the lives of those of us who, instead of praying and laboring, commute to work, buy groceries at big-box stores, and collapse onto couches at the end of the day to tap and scroll on tiny screens. Even the most pious of us are hardly eager to hold all our possessions in common.

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Chris SmithIn 2013, we are encouraging our readers to mix up their reading habits, and read (or re-read) classics in addition to new books, such as the ones we review here in the ERB.

Broadly speaking, a classic is any book that is not a new book, or in other words that is worth reading five, ten or even one hundred years after its initial publication. ERB Editor Chris Smith has an article on The Huffington Post website arguing for reading a mix of classics and new books in 2013.

We’ve asked a number of noted writers to pick the classics that they often return to, and we will be running these lists as a weekly feature on our website through 2013.

This week’s post in the series is by ERB Editor, Chris Smith.

Writers on the Classics:
[ #1 – Shane Claiborne ] [ #5 (Last Week) – Ragan Sutterfield ]

Chris Smith is the author of five books, including The Virtue of Dialogue: Conversation as a Hopeful Practice of Church Communities (Patheos Press 2012) . He is currently finalizing the manuscript for a book entitled Slow Church, co-written with John Pattison (forthcoming IVP Books, Late 2013).  John and Chris blog about this new book project on Patheos.


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