Religion Magazine

New Monastics

By Ldsapologetics

With the self unattached to external contacts, he finds the joy which is in the self. With the self engaged in meditation of Brahman, he attains endless joy. Bhagavad Gita 5.21

Brahman is God in Hinduism and this bit of Hindu scripture is about recognizing the spark of divinity within each of us and that when we focus on God all else fades away and we enjoy pure bliss and joy in God's love and presence.

And here we have Jesus teachings us why those who are rich love their riches more than they love God.

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Gooda]">[a] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?b]">[b] No one is good but One, that is, God.18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Matthew 19:16-22

And something similar in Alma 39:14

Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you.

The alternative is to deny the material world in favor of the spiritual one. Celibacy is one such endeavor that monks of both eastern and western faiths practice. 

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:12Jesus suggests that if we can follow this part of the monastic lifestyle that we should but this teaching is not for everyone. Paul describes it as a gift.I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 1Corinthians 7:7-9I think the larger point is that avoiding sex, fasting and shying away from the material is to the soul what sensory deprivation is to the mind. It clears a wide open field within allowing the divine to fill the clearing.When we sacrifice the material we allow the spiritual to come into focus.We would do well to experiment with what new monasticism can do in our own communities. We could have new ideas, new opportunities and new beginnings if we take that chance.
New Monastics

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