Saturday, November 5, 2011

Monastic simplicity

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.

These photosof Multnomah Falls were taken in 2009.

The leaves start changing colors and falling. It is a time for reflection on changes, transformation. I’m reading the Orchards of Perseverance, Conversations with Trappist Monks.

The author, David Perata, cited Thomas Merton who “outlined the prerequisites... for monks aspiring to spiritual life:

1.to recognize truth about himself-face his own false identity -means simplicity in the sense of sincerity, a frank awareness of one’s shortcomings

2.to overcome the temptation to excuse himself and to argue that he is not what he is-simplicity in the sense of meekness, ; self-effacement, humility

3.must strive to rid himself of everything that useless, unnecessary to his one big end: the recovery of Divine Image, and union with God. Simplicity takes on the sense of total and uncompromising mortification.

a) Of the lower appetites: hence, simplicity in food, clothing, dwellings, labor and manner of life

b) Of the interior sense and intellect-means simplicity in devotions, studies, methods of prayers...etc...

c)Of the will-the most important task of all.” It calls for obedience. Simplicity-”trustful obedience of a child to his father”. The obedience to the abbot branches out to charity towards the other monks.

There is a realization when the novice “begins to sift through his psyche and explore the region of his mind and soul, revealing that his true self is not at all what he perceived it to be...like a person suddenly stripped down to nothing as a result of a natural disaster like earthquake...”

This is the challenge of “conversion of manners or fidelity to monastic life... a conversion of the senses from the material world to the spiritual...it’s not simply an exchange of priorities....such a transformation cannot be willed into existence by sheer thought or determination.”

Merton’s advice can be a guide to change one’s life, to live a full life... can be my guide...the emphasis on simplicity...maybe not to the monk’s simplicity but a beginning simplicity. I can practice charity in many different ways. Charity in the sense of respect and love of the others, those who are different from we are.

10 comments:

Alyce said...

I thought that was Multnomah Falls. I've enjoyed all of my visits there. And that is some deep thinking to go along with those photos!

Trish said...

Those are very striking images. The book sounds interesting, too.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Lovely shots. I do recall Alyce posting photos of this place - looks so peaceful...we live in a condo so did not have to shovel snow.

Lisa said...

Those are lovely photos - and how nice that you were able to find some photos to go along with your reading.

My snapshot is here.

Kristina said...

Beautiful photos and great wisdom...ahhhh simplicity =)

Louise said...

What lovely waterfall shots. I always love a waterfall.

Marie said...

Beautiful photos!

storygal said...

Love the photos of the falls.

Michael Higgins, someone I know, has studied and written about Merton.

edgar calvelo said...

Thank you.
Thomas Merton is a Trappist monk and had a lot of published works.
What does Michael Higgins think of Merton?

Lady In Read said...

lovely photos and a wonderful post to go with it... I am adding Multnomah to my list of places to visit.. I love waterfalls(McArthur Burney is currently one of my favorites.)