SMC205- Oct 17

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University of Toronto St. George
St. Michael's College Courses
Giulio Silano

SMC205H1F St. Bernard is great preacher of Saints In Praise of the New Knighthood- spiritual handbook for them to use as they go around Jerusalem – Knights Templar Some Monks not straight forward to describe Monasticism arises early in the life of the church- people refer to St. Anthony as father of first monks, true in some sense but not chronological. St. Anthony (250-354) and becomes a monk as a teenager, monk for 80 or so years, becomes a monk by being preceded by another- he is considered the greatest. In the story of his conversion, he is a teenager, parents died, must take care of sister, possible before monks there are nuns from this but it is hard to say who has priority of this. Who was first? Work Monk- comes from “one” meaning one who is alone- the vocation to live as a hermit as quintessential monastic condition. Christian monasticism begins in Egypt because in 4 and 5 century Egypt was heartland of Christianity so many important things in Christian history happen in Egypt. Read bible by considering influences… - Monasticism begins in Egypt desert – people go off and take part in specific lifestyle - From relatively early, what is solitary life about or is it common life? - Anthony is great example of solitary life - Another who is – St. Pachomius – he too is Egyptian, he is younger than Anthony but dies same year (354)- the common life kills you quicker vs. solitary life which gives you a longer life. You should seek happiness from some monk - St. Anthony – life spoken through St. Athanasius- writes life of Anthony – Deacon of Nicaea becomes bishop of Alexandria, champion of Orthodoxy several times in exile, Creed dedicated to him - Athanasius describes Anthony as a young man faced with question of what to do with his life, question creeps up on him, rich young men goes to Jesus “what should I do?” Anthony as orphan in position of needing to decide what to do… - Anthony lives in a tomb for 25 years – looks younger when he comes out, means monk can place self outside of time – they wanted him out so he could profit from what he learned in solitude - Crowds grow for him, so he feels he should move further out in dessert where crowds cannot find him - On one hand he wants solitude vs. other hand of being followed - Sayings of the Desert Fathers- tension between the work and desire for solitude and the obligation to have at least guidance of monks – so elder monks must take responsibility for formation of younger monks - The relationship is not institutional – in the desert any subjection is optional Pachomius – child of pagan parents, drafted to Roman army as young man, transported through Thebes while visited by Christians and offered food – he then says he will become a Christian and a monk even – he makes this commitment during transportation and service. After serving, he becomes a monk. He believes that other formations of monks are wasteful, so he wants institutional structures of monastic life. With the formation of monasteries, the division of monks into numbers of 10 supervised by those in charge… Pachomius dies in 50, not very long monastic life compared to Anthony but by end of it there are many monks living that way. Cenobitic- means common life- those who live the common life opposed to monks who live solitary life Benedict – 150-200 years after other monks. He is from West, born in town outside Rome, parents are Christians but want him to be educated so he is sent to Rome where he is scandalized by immortality of Rome, decides he wants to become a monk, starts monastic life and read Anthony’s life as a solitary- a community of monks calls him to come be their abbot but he is too strict. – Benedict’s life is recorded by Pope Gregory the Great – “Search for examples of holiness in his hometown” – all we know about Benedict comes from the Pope’s account – Gregory’s time- monks of Monte Casino plausible that from them Gregory learned stories about Benedict form them The Western Monastic Rule (Benedict’s) – because of the intervention of authorities- Charlemagne and son and grandson pushed rules – becomes the rule by which western monks must live – if you are a monk and in Western catholic tradition you are probably Benedictine monk – rule written after potential poisoning. The Rule is recognized to be humane and moderate, less strict and particular than other documents… - Benedict learned from own experience and his life is long lasting and exemplary for others - Crucial importance of monks in shaping Western Christianity 6 to 18 century –h th MONKS ARE NOT MARGINAL, until after 18 century – figures who help explain conversion of Western Christianity. The monks go out and preach. The monks were the great preachers of Christianity, by the end of the process Christianity is the religion of all of Western Europe. - Monks are also the teachers, 5 to the 11 centuries – preservers of books, texts, all work of the monks- instructors of Christian secular figures The rule presents you with the notion of authority and community which become important way beyond the boundaries of the monastery. They probably affect the way you come to see Christian experience, through the lens of this particular experience. Move from choice of single person who thinks they are called to Christian moral life – to something that is defining for structures and piety of Christians- (via monks) BENEDICT’S TEXT- must be read entirely – read by monks 4 times a year communally while they eat – it is a text to be internalized by participants in the act of Christ – which is an interesting approach – this is different from other sectors that only have texts for Superiors – Benedict on the other hand wants monks to memorize and internalize this short yet crucial text Text is successful because short, can apply to equally small community and equally large- can have monasteries of just a few and some of thousands all living under same rule – this is because they are free to develop other things to help them make the rule- rule makes principle and general structures- then also certain customs done under specific community standards. The rule is the overriding document framing the relationship between monk and superiors Benedict hopes by and large the abbot will be elected by monks but on the other hand he wants checks just in case the monks make a bad choice- so if at the end, the monks pick wrong, perhaps the bishop or local noble will intervene and put a stop to it – so in so far you can trust it Benedict is aware of people being able to pervert everything and so he wants the possibility of prevention and correction if the case need be… Kenosis – “self-emptying” – to what extent can this text make sense with taking kenosis seriously? – in essence we see people wanting to speak “Bible” – internalize scripture to such the extent you could describe it as such – you got out of the way so God could speak in you which is evident in the words spoken – thus not just matter of reading the people to say the things you want to say… What is the crucial form of prayer monks speak of – COMMUNAL PRAYER – SINGING- recite all songs once a week – this is what the psalm says they must do – PRAYER OF THE HOURS- take to heart, get together in chapel at set times of the day from middle of the night on and at each moment they often sing a specific text… Benedict sets it up for them in effect make Western Church prayer of all clerics – curiously no mention of the Eucharist Prayer of the Church – is prayer, not Eucharist – it is the prayer of the church th th Monks are lay people! The clericalization of monks does not happen until 11 or 12 century so the assumption is the most of the monks will not be priest. Benedict says what happens to a priest once he comes in he is embarrassed yet should not get any additional superiority – fear priests may not submit to abbot authority You cannot be a Christian unless participation in liturgy- problems faced early on in terms of priest Issue- Francis experienced call to conversion but resisted ordination even till end of life – he accepted ordination as deacon however How these people relate to structures of the church is an interesting question because in some sense they stand outside hierarchical structure and divisions the clerics are making
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