Friday, October 17, 2008

Monasticism and modernity

A short, pithy yet surprisingly sympathetic account of the Clear Creek Benedictine monastery in Oklahoma appears in the online Slate magazine recently. I'm not sold on the theological urgency of the Latin rite liturgy, to which this new monastic community takes a shining. Though aesthetically, I see the appeal straight away. And because of the aesthetic appeal, there are spiritual benefits that outweigh the benefits of the post Vatican II Catholic mass celebrated in the vernacular.

The intriguing reference in this article to groups of families uprooting themselves to go and live near the monastery is fairly instructive. With all the doom and gloom associated with the so-called economic "crisis" (Note: if you want to see what economic crisis really looks like, go visit the Gaza strip or a Lima, Peru shantytown), this development of a virtual mini-economy that is self-sufficient and centered on the manufacture of crafted goods is very important. What many people instinctively think of as an ideal way of life never-to-be realized is in fact very real, once the discipline of self-sacrifice and the limits of an agricultural (and therefore cyclical) way of life is embraced.

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