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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Monasticism and Escapism

I was recently asked the following concerning monks: Isn’t the monastic life simply a form of escapism? Isn’t it better to be in "the world" and overcome, rather than hide from, its many temptations? While these seem to be reasonable questions, I’ve come to believe that it is the world that is guilty of escapism. It has escaped reality – the reality of life’s purpose; the reality of mortality. I'm more guilty of this than anyone else. All the time, I catch myself living as if my existence is limited to my earthly life; this is reflected in how I spend my leisure time, and in the trivial things that I value. Nuns and monks are merely heeding the Christian call to deny themselves (Matt 16:24), to pray ceaselessly (1 Thess 5:16), to renounce possessions (Luke 14:33), and so on. Such pursuits are anathema to a world that has separated itself from true life.