IN A MONK IN THE WORLD WE ARE LEARNING THE TEACHINGS AND PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN MONASTICISM AND HOW WE CAN APPLY THEM TO OUR LIVES OUTSIDE THE MONASTERY WALLS.
Last month we learned the first of three primary Benedictine vows: Obedience. Second in our study is Conversatio Morum often translated: Conversion of Life.
By this vow the monk recognizes that he is not yet fully the person God created him to be, that he is on the way to knowing himself as one loved and created in the divine image whose call is to be as Christ in the world but who has not yet arrived. ~ Elizabeth Canham**
Most of my life I have been resistant to change; change in lifestyles, living situations, jobs, etc… Not until my late 40’s was I able to embrace change with joy, seeing the change as a God given adventure with a purpose for my benefit.
Saint Benedict, writing to his monks in 6th century Italy, encourages them to embrace change and growth, to be transformed by the Spirit inwardly and outwardly.
As Christians we are called to continued spiritual growth. The vow of Conversion builds on this calling us to root out our vices and faults; to cultivate virtue and contemplation; to repent from worldly sin, and apply a lifelong process of discipline and spiritual formation.
With conversion we concentrate on the kind of person we want to become remembering there are no instant conversions. This is a lifelong marathon not a daily sprint. Not focusing so much on what must be removed but by adding in new healthier habits the negative ones will naturally fall away.
In this season of Lent what better time to embrace the Conversion of Life?
Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants by Dennis Okholm
How to be a Monastic and Not Leave your Day Job by Br. Benet Tvedten
The Rule of Saint Benedict edited by Timothy Fry, O.S.B.