When a man mortifies his carnal desires, putting to death the works of the body through the spirit, carrying the mortification of Jesus in his body until he returns to the state of a child, unaware of carnal love, then he is converted and becomes like a child. The nearer he comes to this state, the greater he is in the kingdom of Heaven, superior indeed to all the ascetics who have not attained such a degree of self-restraint.
The Rule of Saint Augustine
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
The Rule of Saint Benedict
Lectio Divina – Not Just A Practice But A Way of Being
~ Lectio – Meditatio – Oratio – Contemplatio ~
The Rule OfSaint Benedict
The MonasticA Dedicated Life of Love
CreedsFoundations of Beliefs
Read the Bible in A YearUnderstanding Our Faith
Daniel's 70 Weeks ProphecyThe End Times
The Seven Feasts of IsraelKeeping the Feasts
Seek the healing of your passions which will allow you to see clearly, and to attain contemplation of Being. Monks, lovers of Wisdom seek apatheia, a state where they can control their passions; this state of peace brings them to prayer and contemplation; then their deeds will rise up to Heaven and become deeds of light.
If your understanding is pure enough, your body holy, and your deeds undefiled enough, you can bring forth Christ himself.
The Oblate's Prayer
O Loving God,
I ask your blessing this day
on all the Oblates of Saint Benedict
and those with whom we are affiliated.
Help us to become people
of prayer and peace.
Though scattered far and wide,
help us to be together
in the spirit of your love.
Give us hearts wide enough
to embrace each other
as well as those
whose lives we touch.
Enable us to listen and to learn
from each other
and those around us each day.
May we be models
in our homes, neighborhoods,
of wise stewardship,
dignified human labor,
and reverence for all living things.
Above all, O God, may our presence
be a constant witness of justice,
compassion, and hope to all. Amen – OSB
Let Us Pray:
Lord; I lift up all of my followers to you, all those who directly or in-directly follow me and/or my teachings, I lift up the name of everyone of them, known and un-known to me, everywhere, all those who have ever seen, heard, spoken of or read, in part or full, any of my sermons, spiritual messages or any other formal or informal teachings that I have offered and made available.
I lift all these people up to you Lord and I pray that your eternal blessings will be forever upon them, their children and their children’s children. I pray that your loving hands will heal their hearts, comfort them in sorrow, and edify them always. I pray that my words would be none other than your words made Holy and sanctified through you – Jesus Christ our Lord; and that your words would land on open hearts and minds, always, in readiness to be integrated into their being that they may live in truth and light, and as a reflection of you Lord.
I pray that each day they would remember you and serve you, that each day they would remember to talk to you as they would each other, and that each day they would see you in the world around them, even when it is not always beautiful.
I pray that as I faithfully shepherd your flock, you would continue to give me wisdom and strength, and the insight I need into your word so that I can successfully lead your people into your Holy Land.
Lord, let each day be a new day, let each day be refreshed with your breath of life that we may all enter into your Glory, reflecting you Lord throughout our lives and drawing more unto you.
Each day I offer myself as a living sacrifice for your honour and glory, for your heavenly work, releasing all grip and hold from and of the world.
If nothing else Lord, let me never fail you as your servant – a servant of The Most High.
Becoming a Monastic - Step by Step
Steps to Becoming a Monastic - Preparation - Making a Way
Steps to Becoming a Monastic
The Autonomous Monastic
Firstly, congratulations on deciding that you want to take your walk with God, The Divine to a deeper level. Although we are autonomous, we are knitted together through traditional Christian beliefs from the mainstream church. Although many Religious will not recognize you as a Monastic because you haven’t followed the traditional route, don’t take it too much to heart.
Many people cannot enter a monastery simply because they are either:
Have Adult Children
Are Too Old – (Which often means you are 45yrs of age or older)
Have Inheritances They Want to Keep
Have Family Commitments – (Nursing a sick parent) etc etc
So the traditional Monastic Christian life is not available for everyone, and although many of the above can be addressed, it may not be so for all; so we are then left with a handful of people who love the Lord our God with their heart and soul, feel a deep stirring within which many would say is a calling and yet not permitted, or not catered for, in order to fulfill that calling, which I think is very sad, and at the end of the day, you are either called or you’re not!
With all that in mind, I felt to share this part of the website to enable the autonomous individual to be able to change their life, deal with their stuff and start to live a God centered life in a much deeper and much more meaningful way than what the average Christian does, and that is not meant in a negative or judgemental manner. We all walk the same wheel of life, we just stand on different spokes of the wheel, it is up to us, as individuals to ascertain how close to God we need to get.
For me, personally, I have to be right up to God’s face, and not any further away, hence my level of commitment and devotion.
So how do we get there?
Here are just a few steps which you need to consider in order to make your Monastic journey successful.
Decide with God if you are called to be a Monastic which means taking VOWS
Decide with God if it is appropriate or not for you to go into a Monastery
If you need to go into a Monastery, you need to speak to your Bishop or Priest
If you are not going into a Monastery keep reading
Things You Need to Do:
Familiarize yourself with your church creeds and catechism, every Monastic has a belief and you need to know what yours are.
Invite the Lord into your life, although this could be seen as a Pentecostal theme, I find it is a really beautiful way to start your journey, after-all it is the Lord that you are serving and aiming at being like. There is a prayer on the Monastic page for you to pray. I suggest you play some quiet music, perhaps light some candles (safely) and permit yourself to wind-down in readiness to invite the Lord into your life and heart whilst asking and receiving forgiveness of your sins.
Ask for guidance – Always ask for guidance and be prepared to hear what you don’t want to hear and prepared to act on what you don’t want to act on!
Sit down and think about your life, think about how much time you currently give to the Lord and how much time you currently give to the world; then devise a plan, a Daily Routine which will enable you to spend more time with the Lord. You need to think about Prayer/Devotions/Divine Liturgy/Lectio Divina etc and you need to be realistic. You will find many things need to go in order to make time for your Monastic journey. The whole idea of becoming a Monastic is to draw away from the world into an inner world of solitude and devotion to God. Draw up a plan AND STICK TO IT. Feel free to use my Daily Routine and if necessary to adjust it for yourself. That will get your prayer life going, but don’t just assume it is ok, check with the Lord, ask God, you must pray about it, you may be told to increase the hours, or you may be shown another way of fulfilling your prayer life – this is about the Vows of Obedience and Stability.
Clear out your home, everything but necessities if you can, you are working towards your Vow of Poverty/Simple Living.
Work towards sorting out how you are going to manage the following:
Marriage – If you are married, you will still be making a Vow of Celibacy, talk to your spouse he/she may want a divorce! You CANNOT leave out this vow, it is not an option, it is deeply rooted in you denying your flesh in-order to further your spirit. If you are not prepared to make this vow, the Monastic life is not for you, yet it IS for you because you feel God has called you; but you can’t be a full Monastic if you don’t take the Vow of Celibacy. The whole worldly/fleshy idea is against the Monastic concept. If you do all else but take your vows you are semi-Monastic, which is still an achievement in itself and certainly not to be laughed at, it just means you have one foot in each camp. Vows and no vows is what separates the Oblate from the Monastic, the Oblate is working towards the ultimate achievement of a vowed Monastic life but has not yet made that decision to make all the vows. YET………..for me it is not a decision that we make but that we chose to comply with knowing that we are called to be a Monastic.
Dependants – Dependants may still require much of your time and input, or they may require you to work full-time in order to provide for them. This is an important aspect that you need to look at carefully and work out how you are going to mange it when the Lord is now your number one priority.
Adult Children – Adult Children often have children, so like the above, you will need to work out how you can manage your time and perhaps finances in relation to your grandchildren.
How Old Are You? – Do you need to sort out retirement plans or how or who will look after you if you become ill, or where you will live etc.
Debts – You need to work out how you can get out of debt, debt is always an underlying concern which, even though you may think not, will draw some of your attention away from the Lord as debts always sit in the back of your mind; and as long as you have debts, you are anchored to the world.
Inheritance – Traditionally, you wouldn’t be accepting any inheritance or you would be giving it away on entering a Monastic community. Your home and inheritance need NOT be a distraction, and the idea of the Vow of Poverty/Simplicity is once again about stepping out of the worldly arena of material and monetary gain and into a life of simplicity. Simplicity is about having what you need rather than what we often want which is usually superfluous homes and belongings. It is hard to say you have taken a Vow of Poverty/Simplicity if you have thousands in the bank and two or three homes or a million pound property! The Rich Monastic! The two just don’t support one-another, once again, if you are not prepared to let go of your belongings and money, are you really prepared to walk the Vow of Poverty/Simplistic Living? Once again, this could separate the Oblate from the Monastic.
Family Commitments – If you have family commitments such as lookin after a sick relative, how is this going to be managed? How will this affect your time with the Lord?
Vow of Silence – This Vow isn’t always taken, the Vows of Poverty, Obedience and Celibacy seem to be the main Vows taken in the traditional Monastic setting, yet, I feel the Vow of Silence is paramount to the Monastic walk. It isn’t about not speaking, although I do recommend a silent time each day. Mine starts from 9pm or when I read Compline and remains until 9am the next morning, during such time I try to not converse, if I am asked a question, I will answer it, but I try not to strike up conversation during this time. But even more important than this, I believe it is about what you say. The Vow of Silence is about minding your tongue, it is about taking control of your tongue and not speaking too much, not talking negatively about people, not gossiping, maybe this is why it is often left out. It is about taking responsibility for what is coming out of your mouth, lest your mouth simply be a reflection of parts that are normally hidden! Just as we are what we eat, we are also that which we think on, if we fill our heads with goodness, goodness will come out of our mouths.
These are all real life situations that need addressing, the idea of training yourself as a Monastic isn’t just about spending a bit more time in prayer and calling it that, it is and always will be a HUGE commitment, the question is ARE YOU READY TO MAKE IT? If you aren’t, PRAY and NEVER run away from your calling, if the Lord has told you you are called to be a Monastic, you need to be prepared to meet these challenges head on.
I left my spouse of nearly 20yrs, children, pets, home, belongings, country, family EVERYTHING in order to follow God, not because I wanted to leave but because God asked me too; and how can you deny that which gives you the very breath of life. My life is not my life it belongs to the Lord, He gave His life for me and I have given my life for Him, although I have not been martyrd, I have been and am, what they call a white martyr, someone who has sacrificed their life, died to the world, to themselves, for their calling, without bloodshed.
Are you called? and are you ready? you are about to go on a roller coaster of ups and downs of highs and lows of happiness and tears as you take off your worldly cloak and encloak yourself in the love of Chirst. It will be worth all the heart-ache and all the sacrifice as long as you follow the lead of Christ and not yourself.
I have NO regrets, and you won’t either – Happy Journeying and don’t forget, I am always here for you, all you have to do is email me – email addres is in the header.
Blessings Love and Light to All My Brothers and Sisters who are Brave Enough to start the Journey into The Monastic Way of Being.
An Invitation to the Lord
My Lord, God and Saviour
I am aware that I have not lived my life as you would have liked me too. I am also aware that my life, up until now has created a separation between us.
I am truly sorry for all the bad, negative or un-Godly things that I have done, thought or even spoken over the years and I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.
I ask from my heart that today would be the beginning of a new era, a new life, a new me; a me that can understand and appreciate that I am part of you and you are part of me.
I understand that your death and resurrection reflects my own need to die to my old ways and be resurrected through you; and I realize that as I grow into a greater understanding of who I am in you, that I will naturally and instinctively become a reflection of you.
Lord; I invite you into my life as my teacher, healer, counsellor and prophet and invite you to become my guide in order to draw me closer to you; teaching me your ways and helping me to understand your truths and apply them to my life.
I commit my life to you and offer myself as a living sacrifice for your use as a servant of the Most High.
Please fill me this day with your Holy Spirit, anoint me with your precious oil and sanctify me; that your Spirit would flow through me and out of me as the Eternal Waters of Life.
~ My Spirit & Soul ~
The Solitaries - Know where You are At
Know Where You Are At
Solitaries is an umbrella term often used to describe several levels or states of immersion into God. If we divide the solitaries into levels, it will enable us to see clearer, what has, for many, been a very confusing subject. I do not profess to know all, and I do not profess my explanation to be the only and best explanation, but it does, at-least offer some clarity all-be-it on a basic level. As always, no matter what we are discussing, we rarely find that the subject-matter is clearly black and white, there are always shades of grey and we need to remember that. Terms are not for any other purpose than to help to identify others or self.
So the following triangle is divided into five (5) sections, we can view each section as a step closer to God and a step further away from society and community style living in order to be set aside for God’s purposes with minimal distraction. The main purpose being called to a devoted life of prayer, intercession and contemplation in order to aid society, both small and great to further the Kingdom of God.
Christianity as a Whole – Outside the Solitary Life
Section 5 – The first section from the bottom we could say represents our Nuns and Monks, some are more active in their ministry others are more contemplative, here I would put the contemplative monastics who are more removed from society than their fellow actives. These monastics live in a community set purposefully aside for them, they often work, eat and pray together with less solitary time, these are not Hermits but could still be said to be solitaries with more reduced contact with society other than when or if they are open to the public.
Section 4 – The second section up we could put another set of Nuns or Monks, in particular the Carthusians, who still live together in a community building ie: a Charter House or cluster of hermitages; they may work and eat separately whilst still coming together perhaps three (3) times a day for prayer. These are what we could call Semi-Hermits or Semi-Eremitical.
Section 3 – The third section up we could put the Hermits whom, like some of the Desert Fathers live in what is called a Skete, which is like a small community, they have completely separate dwellings in the same area but out of ear-shot of one-another, living completely separate or solitary lives having withdrawn from society. These are not Recluses, and they can and do still receive visitors, often people looking for wisdom and guidance on Spiritual matters.
So all the above, live in some form of spiritual community with varying degrees of contact with society.
Section 2 – The fourth section up, is where I would place myself, a person who lives alone, but may also live with a companion, the companion is often someone who is being taught by the Hermit as opposed to being there to fulfil emotional needs. The companion may be there part-time or full-time, but either way, there will be minimal contact between the Hermit and the companion with the Hermit spending many hours with God alone. These Hermits have withdrawn from society but will still receive some visitors, often these are people who need ministering too or have come for Spiritual guidance making the visit more of a ministry than a social gathering. This Hermit will still take a journey if necessary and will still interact to some degree when considered necessary. This Hermit lives a life alone for solitude with God.
Section 1 – The fifth section up, the tip of the Ice-Burg. This type of solitary, although still a Hermit, is more likely to be termed a Recluse or by some, an Anchorite; being a person who has completely retreated from the world and whom has only rare contact with society. Some Recluses or Anchorites, are attached to their Abbey or Monastery and live in one room. On entering that room, the door may be bricked up so that they cannot leave. There is often, said to be three (3) windows or openings to the room, one is said to face or adjoin the Church or Abbey so that they can hear and partake of the Eucharist, the second opening is said to be on a different wall, this opening is so that they can receive food, and the third opening on a different wall again is so that he/she can on occasion, speak too or minister too a visitor, but this is often said to be not a frequent occurrence. The Recluse/Anchorite usually has one or two helpers who empty the trash or fetch things for them etc.
The triangle, or the levels, to some degree, reflects the dedication to oneness with the Lord that the individual has attained, BUT it does not mean that all whom consider themselves Hermits are truly Spiritual people, as always, judge, if you must judge, the tree by its fruit, nor does it mean or suggest that the Recluse is more spiritual than everyone else, it is simply a stage they are at.
In an ideal world, I do believe we are all called to work towards being a Hermit simply because if the world was full of Hermits, we would still have holy and spiritual contact with one-another, but the focus for each one of us would be on God and there would not be the distractions that worldly pursuits bring us. But as we do not live in an ideal world, we still have a place for non-Hermits, we still need committed people who are still heavily into society in order to preach the gospel on a larger scale. The Hermit is said to preach the gospel in silence, through the evidence of his/her spiritual life.
Much negativity has been given to the term Hermit or Recluse, with both being reduced down to those who either have Mental Health Issues (of which we all have from time to time in varying degrees) or those who have people issues, this is so wrong and such a shame, the Desert Fathers are great examples of Hermits, so let those who need too, change their attitude from negative to positive and see the Religious/Spiritual Hermit or Recluse as they are, people who have an incredible love and commitment for God, and for serving the Lord, many of which have taken vows either privately of publicly; the three (3) evangelical counsels – Poverty/Obedience/Celibacy and live consecrated lives. Let it be known that the Eremitic life has not come from or out of the Coenobitic life, on the contrary, it is the Coenobitic style of living that was born from the Eremitical style of living. It takes a very strong person to be a Religious/Spiritual Hermit or Recluse, we don’t separate ourselves because we don’t like people, or because we think we are better than the rest, our separation is a calling, a gift, and a HUGE sacrifice on our part, often meaning we have to sacrifice family and those that we love in order to spend that time interceding for others and for the world.
Commitment always comes with a price, there is no snatch and grab in the spiritual world, or of the gifts or fruit of the Spirit; everything we have and receive is because of the Grace of God, because we were deemed worthy to have it; not worthy because we earn it but worthy because of our faithfulness.
Let us all walk our walk in the way that the Lord directs us.
My Daily Routine - An Aspect of My Living Plan
A suggested Daily Routine
|12.00 Midnight||Liturgical Devotions: About Today/Invitatory Psalm
Go back to sleep
|3.00am – 5.00am||Liturgical Devotions: Office of Readings
Other Devotions: Personal Prayer/Meditation/Reflection/Discourse with God
|6.00am – 9.30am||Liturgical Devotions: Lauds
Study of Spiritual Texts including Lectio Divina
Liturgical Devotions: Terce
End of Silent Time
|9.30am – 11.00am||Mindful Walk and Tidy Up|
|11.00am – 12.30pm||Eat – Raw Food
Liturgical Devotions: Sext
|12.30pm – 3.30pm||Attend Appointments and Healing Sessions
If no Appointments or Healing Sessions – Free Time
Liturgical Devotions: None
|3.30pm – 6.00pm||Mindful Walk
Eat – Raw Food
|6.00pm – 7.30pm||Liturgical Devotions: Vespers
Other Devotions: Personal Prayer/Meditation/Reflection/Discourse with God
|9.00pm – 12.00 Midnight||Time of Silence (9pm)
Liturgical Devotions: Compline
|Friday||Friday is Preparation Day for Confession
The Sabbath Commences from Sunset Accompanied with Fasting
|Saturday||Saturday is the Sabbath Day
The Breaking of the Fast Happens just Prior too/or as the Sunsets, Marking the Ending of the Sabbath and the Commencing of Celebration Sunday
|Sunday||Sunday is the Celebration of Our Risen Lord and the First Day of the Week|
Expectations as a Monastic - Maintaining the Temple
Expectations – Not Written Commandments
The following expectations are just that, expectations that I feel are good guidelines for Monastics to live by. This does not mean that they will stand firm for everyone. You are autonomous beings, and with a right heart, you will do what is right with the Lord. This isn’t a get out of it clause; this is giving you the liberty as a committed individual to pray about the expectations and see what the Lord says to YOU.
I.E. If you have been in a horrendous accident and you use make-up to cover up your scars because it lifts your confidence, I would expect that the Lord would be happy for you to continue using make-up; if you just wear a face full of make-up because you don’t like your looks and/or because you have worn a mask since your teens – deal with it! This is part of your journey, deal with the issues you have over your appearance, you are who God intended you to be, if you are good enough for God – what is your problem? Make-up is still being of the world, and it costs money, you have left the worldly life behind and you do not need a mask. On the other hand, if you are applying a very minimal and neutral addition to your face as opposed to a mask, I would imagine that is ok too, but as always it comes down to being open to the Lord and what He wants for your life. This same attitude goes for all the expectations. For each one of them, especially the ones that grate on you, the ones that you are really against, check out your motives, your attitudes, your stuff!
It is Expected that You:
Maintain your physical health to the best of your ability by ensuring you take adequate daily exercise such as a gentle walk and that you;
Look at your Diet and choose to eat healthy foods, there is a section on Raw Food – HVE (High Vibrational Eating), which I believe is the way Monastics and those devoted to a spiritual life should go – Back to the beginning – The Genesis Way! I have put links on the website to Raw videos to help you to achieve this to the best of your ability.
The other expectation is that you choose to abstain from Living to Eat and start to embrace the idea of Eating to Live. Traditionally, Monastics eat twice a day – twice a day! I eat twice a day without snacking.
It is Also Expected that You Abstain From:
Alcohol – Except when using wine for Holy Days and the Eucharist etc
Drugs – whether swallowed, sniffed, smoked or injected (this does not include prescription drugs prescribed by your medical Doctor)
The Remainder of the Expectations are to do With:
- Dress Code – We don’t wear a traditional habit, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t if you would like too, but we do have a dress code, we dress simply and appropriately because we want to set ourselves apart from mainstream fashion and the world. We wear flowing Kaftans or if you want too, a robe; we don’t need more than three for going out and three for everyday use at home, if they are the same three, that is fine too; traditionally, monastics had two robes/habits, this comes back to simplistic living. I have a black Kaftan I used to wear whenever I went out, especially in the winter as I could put warm undergarments on with it, I say used to wear because I wasn’t in a wheelchair, since needing to use a wheelchair, I have found that I have needed to find something with less material in order to not have to worry about my Kaftan getting caught in my wheels. I also have a white/cream Kaftan I wear to Church. On a daily basis, I have two or three Kaftans that I wear around the home simply because they are easy to wash and dry and more practical than a flowing one. I wear warm boots in the winter and simple shoes or sandals in the warmer months. Simplicity is key!
I was given the following instructions for the dress code from the Lord.
Kaftans Need To:
- Cover the chest so there is no cleavage showing and not much chest.
- They must reach below the ankle bone.
- If they are above the ankle bone but no shorter than below the knee, trousers or leggings MUST be worn, so that there is nothing on show other than the feet. (It was important that the ankle bones were covered).
- They need to be a lose fit, not clingy or figure hugging.
This is a photo of my black Kaftan, I have the same one in white/cream. I wanted my formal ones to be dressy because I wanted to look nice for the Lord when out in public. Priests wear beautiful garments when they are robed for their calling, and I feel it is appropriate that we too are dressed for our calling whilst not being too extravagant and not loosing sight of our Poverty/Simple Living Vow. I managed to purchase all mine in a sale which was perfect, it permitted me to have beautiful Kaftans at a low price.
- Make-Up & Splash On’s – We don’t wear make-up because the Lord loves us as we are, keeping what was said earlier in mind, so that is between you and the Lord, we don’t wear perfumes and aftershaves because they are unnecessary chemicals; we use quality essential oils instead which are natural and beneficial to your entire being. Taking things one step further; I don’t use deodorant other than a natural crystal stick, I wash with a fresh lemon instead of soap, lemon is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic to say the least, it is a powerful cleanser and it is not drying to the skin and is natural; I also use minimal shampoo and conditioners and do not use other hair products, no mousse, no gel etc.
- Diet – As mentioned previously, we eat a predominantly Raw Vegan diet. You are not expected to completely turn over to a Raw Vegan lifestyle over night, but some do. You could start off by including at-least 50% of your daily intake of food as Raw Vegan and then work on increasing that to 80% – 100% intake of Raw Vegan; whether you believe it or not, a Raw Vegan Diet DOES affect your spiritual awareness in a positive manner, it also cleanses your body of damaging toxins.
- Taking Your Vows – You may take all your Vows at once, you may take them one at a time, that is between you and the Lord; but what ever Vows you take, you need to be prepared to honour them. It is required that you speak your Vows before and too God as an Oath in a ceremonial setting which you can set up yourself, upon completion of the ceremony you will place a silver or gold ring upon your finger, that has been cleansed and blessed, this is in recognition of your Vows and as a ring of marriage to Christ. I use my middle finger of my right hand because that is what I felt led to do. I believe it is the most appropriate finger being the longest finger on the hand as it is said that if you raise your hand upwards to God, it is the first finger to reach up to God and therefore, it creates a quicker connection to God. I use my right hand because we traditionally use our left hand for marriage in the world.
Daily Conduct - Walk in Love
How we conduct ourselves is important, our behaviour, our attitudes, the things we speak, the things we think, they are all direct projections of what we hold inside. When we are good, we project goodness out, when we are bad, we project badness out.
As a Spiritual Being on a Spiritual Quest to be more Christ like, it is our responsibility to heed our actions and words. It is often so much easier to blame some-one else or some-thing else than it is for us to take responsibility for our behaviour.
Walking a Conscious Path involves walking a Path of Love which isn’t always easy. As a Monastic, you are expected to be able to conduct yourself appropriately at ALL times, not just when you feel like it.
We are here as a living example for others, we are here because we feel we are called to a deep relationship with God. Let us all ensure we do not take our eyes off the goal, and remember to aim high. How we conduct ourselves will not only reflect upon our relationship with the Lord, it will also reflect upon us as individuals, we need to be a living testimony of Christ.
Our Daily Devotions are intrinsic to our walk because that is the time we can take our problems to God, that is the time we can gain strength to see us through the day, through the night. Our Daily Devotions are constant reminders that we ARE on a Spiritual Path and we need to make sure we don’t fall from the path.
As a Monastic we are expected at all times to behave with courtesy to others, to be respectful of other people’s views, other people’s feelings even when they aren’t respectful of ours. To have a giving and charitable heart. To look for daily opportunities to help others and support them in their difficult times. To show love willingly and especially to those whom least expect it and to live a life full of gratitude and praise.
The Sanctification of Christ
Sanctification comes from the verb to sanctify. Sanctify originates from the Greek word hagiazo, which means to be separate from or to be set apart from. In the Bible, sanctification generally relates to a sovereign act of God whereby a person is set apart by God for a specific divine purpose, sanctified can also relate to a place or thing.
In the book of Exodus 29:43 God sanctifies a place of worship. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. Even a day can be sanctified as seen in Genesis 2:3 where the seventh day is set apart as a holy day of rest. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (From the Internet)
The Sanctification of Christ or Sanctified by Christ refers to us being sanctified or set apart by the Lord; and it also refers to how we live, each one of us choosing to live our life in a sanctified manner. The Sanctification of Christ is a two-fold gift, Christ’s gift to us by cleansing us and setting us apart, and our gift to the Lord by remaining holy and acceptable through living a sanctified life.
Our attitude is everything as reflected in a quote from Charles Swindoll:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes – Charles R. Swindoll
There are normally 3 – 5 Vows, we take all five vows, they are:
Poverty – The Vow of Poverty/Simplistic Living – Traditionally, in a monastic residency, this means giving away ALL your possessions and just remaining with the bare necessities for life, your needs being met by the monastery. Traditionally; taking the Solemn Vows, meant giving away all your property and any inheritance. Traditionally, taking what is called the Simple Vows, permitted you to keep that which you already had in the way of Estates or other Inheritance etc but you were not permitted to make use of them. I grant you the integrity to discuss this with the Lord and get rid of that which you do not need and that which is superfluous.
Chastity/Celibacy – The Vow of Chastity/Celibacy – A single person will make a Vow of Chastity, a married person will make a Vow of Celibacy. The Lord instructed me that a married couple could commit to reduced sexual relations, being not more than once a MONTH, for their first year, then a year later, they will practice and uphold complete celibacy. Keep in mind, this alone could lead to a divorce!
Obedience – The Vow of Obedience is in relation to following God’s Laws, God’s Commandments, God’s expectations for your life, it is also about committing to do as asked my the Lord even when you don’t want what is being asked of you. The Vow of Obedience also pertains to your own self-discipline and personal conduct.
Silence – The Vow of Silence is not a Vow to literal Silence as some think and others hope! it is a Vow of Silence from gossiping, of speaking un-kind words and harsh, angry words, it is a Vow of speaking all things good instead of all things bad. The Vow of Silence is about gaining and maintaining self-awareness fostered by the engagement of conscious conversations and interpersonal ethics. This Vow also supports silent time, I take between 9pm or the reading of Compline, until 9am, this time I try to remain silent and not foster conversation, but I will answer a question.
Stability – The vow of stability requires you to make a life commitment to The Lord.