Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

8/20/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The early monastic movement bears similarities to the ecclesial movements of this millennium which Saint John Paul, Benedict and Francis promote with enthusiasm. Increasingly the members of these lay movements, and the clergy which have grown up in their midst to serve the mission, are becoming one of the key resources the Holy Spirit is using for the new missionary age of the Church.

Even though he was regularly summoned to leave the monastery by the needs of Church and State, Bernard was above all a monk, a man of deep prayer, communion and contemplation. It was that sincere devotion which made it possible for him to have wisdom to offer the Church in a critical time in her history. I believe we need Bernard's for our own time, a time with so many parallels to the turn of the Second Millennium. We need monks for the Third Millennium of Chriistianity. The ecclesial movement which we call western monasticism led to the birth and flourishing of the academy, the arts and the emergence of what later became known as Christendom. From its earliest appearance, the monastic movement was a lay movement. From the midst of the community men were chosen for ordination in order to serve the members and the broader mission as it participated in the overall mission of the Church.

Bernard, Monk, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, and Model of the Christian life and vocation. - Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

Bernard, Monk, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, and Model of the Christian life and vocation. - Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/20/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: monks, monasteries, St Bernard, monastic, missionaries, holiness, Saint John Paul, Pope Francis, Pope Emeritus Benedict, prayer, contemplative, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - On August 20th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church we remember the great Monk, Abbot and Doctor of the Church named Bernard. He was born in 1090 to a devout Christian family, a seedbed which fostered several other saints now included in our memory in the family of the Universal Church.

In the garden of the domestic church of the Christian family, the young man who would come to choose the name Bernard at his profession of vows, was able to cultivate a heart within which to hear the Lords call to a special way of following Jesus, the Monastic Life.

He credited much of his early devotion to the witness of his holy mother. In 1112, he entered the Cistercian community at Citeaux, where he was later joined by thirty one of his friends, including four of his brothers and an uncle.

Bernard's love for the Lord, deep prayer life, sincere and contagious devotion and demonstrated leadership, became clear to the Abbott. He sent him to found a monastery in Champagne. In time, Bernard became the Abbot of the monastery of Clairvaux. That monastery became the motherhouse of 68 new monasteries by the time Bernard died on August 20, 1153.

Bernard lived an extraordinary life as a disciple of Jesus Christ and loyal son of the Church. His preaching and writings led to a renewal of the entire Church at a critical time in history. His prophetic counsel was sought by the leaders of both Church and State, as that times own version of militant Islam threatened to engulf the Holy Lands oof Christianity.

His ability to expose, oppose - and then correct - the creeping heresy within the Church of his hour, keeping her strong for her saving mission, was one of his greatest contributions to Church history.  His beautiful insights on Mary, the Mother of the Lord, are still cherished - and form the foundation for so many people in their daily prayer and devotion. This man was clearly a contemplative and a mystic.

Even though he was regularly summoned to leave the monastery by the needs of Church and State, Bernard was above all a monk, a man of deep prayer, communion and contemplation. It was that sincere devotion which made it possible for him to have wisdom to offer the Church in a critical time in her history. I believe we need Bernard's for our own time, a time with so many parallels to the turn of the Second Millennium. We need monks for the Third Millennium of Chriistianity.

The ecclesial movement which we call western monasticism led to the birth and flourishing of the academy, the arts and the emergence of what later became known as Christendom. From its earliest appearance, the monastic movement was a lay movement. From the midst of the community men were chosen for ordination in order to serve the members and the broader mission as it participated in the overall mission of the Church.

In this sense, the early monastic movement bears similarities to the ecclesial movements of this millennium which Saint John Paul, Benedict and Francis promote with enthusiasm. Increasingly the members of these lay movements, and the clergy which have grown up in their midst to serve the mission, are becoming one of the key resources the Holy Spirit is using for the new missionary age of the Church.

Saint John Paul II gave an address in 1980, during the fifteenth centennial commemoration of the birth of St. Benedict, in which he affirmed the extraordinary contributions of the great father of western monasticism. He recalled St. Benedict's age as a time when "the Church, civil society and Christian culture itself were in great danger."

He noted of the saint that "Through his sanctity and singular accomplishments, St. Benedict gave testimony of the perennial youth of the Church. He and his followers drew the barbarians from paganism toward a civilized and truly enhanced way of life. The Benedictines guided them in building a peaceful, virtuous and productive society."

The contemporary West has rejected its Christian roots and embraced a new secularist form of neo-paganism. What Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called the "Dictatorship of Relativism" is the bad fruit of a rejection of the very existence of any objective truth at all. Without the acknowledgement of the existence of truth, there can be no true freedom.

Given the current state of our moral decline, we need to view the West as mission territory.  Over the years of Pope Emeritus Benedict's service, he regularly spoke of monks and their essential contribution to the Church. In an address given in 2007, he zeroed in on the monastic life as a gift needed for the whole church.

As a revert to the Church, one who returned after wandering away as a very young man, I spent 21 months in a Benedictine monastery shortly after coming home. There, I began what has become a lifelong journey of prayer and found my insatiable hunger for theology. 

I also studied the early fathers of the Church. I was taught by a wonderful monk. He was the first of several monks who have graced my life with their gift of holy presence, making Christ so palpable by their interior life - one which overflows in a genuine transfigured humanity. 

From my encounters with monks, living immersed as they do in their unique and vital vocation, I learned that no matter how much formal theological study they have, it is their depth of prayer which makes them the best of theologians.

So it should be with all theologians - one cannot give away what one does not truly have.

It is out of the storehouse of grace that monks and theologians are able to help the faithful in their pursuit of the longing of every human heart, communion and intimacy with the God who has revealed Himself. We find, in the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the "human face of God" in Jesus Christ.  What is necessary is to encounter Him, contemplate that beauty and be transformed by the encounter.

A part of monastic life and spirituality is also labor, immersed in prayer. Monks support themselves through hard work, dedicated to God and caught up in the ongoing redemptive work of Jesus Christ in and through His Church. They follow a Rule, a Way of Life. Yet, even in that, they peel back the deeper mystery and remind us that all work done in the Lord participates in His ongoing work of redemption. Too often, people mistakenly believe that the monk retreats from the world because of its "corruption".

In fact, the monk retreats (in differing ways in accordance with their particular monastic response) precisely in order to transform the world by his prophetic witness and powerful prayer. The dedicated monk is an essential part of the Lord's plan for the Church.

The Church is what the early Fathers called the New World, being recreated in Christ. We who have been baptized never again leave the Church. We actually live in the Church and go into the world to bring all men and women home.

Monasticism in the first millennium gave us the fountain of theological wisdom which still inspires the Church. Those who went into the desert became the great teachers, fathers, confessors and prophets. Their prayer and witness kept the Church in the Divine embrace so that she could effectively continue the redemptive mission of the Lord. In the second millennium, their work and witness continued.

Sadly, the Church had been torn in two with the first split, East and West. In the East, the Monks continued to be a resource for the kind of theology which brings heaven to earth and earth to heaven. From their ranks the great Bishops of the Church were chosen and the Church was continually renewed.

In the West, the great Monasteries of Europe became the beating heart of the emergence of Christendom. The extraordinary intellect exhibited in the emerging theological tradition birthed in the monasteries enabled the Church to contend with daunting challenges, welcome them without fear, contend for the faith and offer the claims of Truth Incarnate.

Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

-----
Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More U.S.

The Prophetic Connection Between the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is no accident that the March for Life always falls within the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is prophetic.We have been thrown together in a common defense of life in a western culture which has lost its moral compass. Our Marching together ... continue reading


Early Christian Deacon and Martyr Vincent Calls Us to Heroic Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture Watch

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Deacon Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the ... continue reading


Caught in the act: Telephone scammers get comeuppance from plucky woman Watch

Image of Becoming pro-active, Rachel Fitzsimmons decided to take action in an effort to spread awareness so that others do not fall for the swindle.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Telephone solicitors threatening phony legal action are the bane of many people's existence. They typically prey upon "old-timers" who still have landlines in their homes and are home in the evenings. Rachel Fitzsimmons, of Denver, Colorado received such a call ... continue reading


Is Israel beholden to Obama? Should the president be able to hold the American people hostage via threat of veto? Republicans and Israeli prime minister say no! Watch

Image of Benjamin Netanyahu is set to speak before a joint session of Congress on March 3 about keeping nuclear capabilities out of the hands of Iran.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On March 3, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before the a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a move which is as much a show of support for Israel from the Republican dominated legislature as it is a rebuff of President Obama. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Upset over private donations, Liberal protestors barged in on the Supreme Court Watch

Image of Members of 99rise during a protest.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the Supreme Court opened on January 21, a rare disturbance broke out which caused seven protesters to be removed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chief Justice John Roberts was about to announce the day's opinions when a protester stood up and began shouted: "We ... continue reading


The First Right is the Right to Life. It is Time to End Legal Abortion on Demand Watch

Image of The great human rights movement of our age is the struggle to restore to the Civil and positive law the legal recognition of the fundamental Human Right to Life. It is already a fundamental human right, and one which can never be taken away. This Right to Life is the foundation of all other rights. It is the first solidarity issue. The child in the womb is our innocent neighbor. It is wrong to kill any innocent neighbor. We know this and we have perpetuated the lie for too long.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

No one with integrity any longer argues that the little girl or little boy killed through procured abortion is not a human being. When the abortion occurs through miscarriage we properly enter into the mourning of the mother over the loss of the one we call - her ... continue reading


Archbishop Josť H. Gomez: OneLife LA and 9 Days for Life Watch

Image of Archbishop Gomez - In granting a legal right for some people to take the lives of others, the Supreme Court in effect decided that human rights are granted by government - not by God. That gives the government the final say - not only in defining what is right and wrong, but also in deciding who gets to live and who does not. There are many injustices in our society, but the most fundamental is the one our society rarely acknowledges - the routine taking of innocent human life every day through abortion.

By Archbishop Josť H. Gomez

Roe v. Wade continues to shape American consciousness and public life. At the political level, from debates in state legislatures to federal questions about health insurance, our country is clearly still divided over whether to allow abortion and what limits ... continue reading


The Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Must Include Our Youngest Neighbors in the Womb Watch

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Remember his words,

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this day when we remember the dream and honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we must continue his work and not succumb to the counterfeit agendas which seek to leech upon his noble memory. There is no doubt that any positive or civil law which ... continue reading


Roe v Wade, Doe v Bolton: The Deception Continues

Image of

By Catherine Contreras

The abortion lobby, their media lapdogs, and pro abortion politicians have been able to continue the deception that there is a "right" to take innocent human life in the womb because of a scam perpetrated by the United States Supreme Court in 1973.  On ... continue reading


Filing for bankruptcy, St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese owns up to sexual abuse lawsuits Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Taking responsibility for myriad abuses of the past, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has filed for bankruptcy. Archbishop John Nienstedt of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese says that the financial reorganization will help pay each of its ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:14-20
14 After John had been arrested, Jesus went into ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:29-31
29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time has become ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 25th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Thomas
January 25: Carmelite Latinpatriarch and papal legate. Peter was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter