Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/9/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The monk becomes aware of his resurrection in the Risen Christ.

For many of our readers, the Monks of Mt Carmel are known for their absolutely wonderful "Mystic Monk Coffee", one of the ways they support their sacrificial life for the Lord. I encourage all of our readers to order it, drink it, and with every sip pray for these mighty men of God. However, there is so much more to their way of life. That is why this article is only a "teaser". I was so moved by the Monks of Mt. Carmel, I have more articles to come.The monastic life is one of the greatest treasures of our Church. There is some very good news! The monastic life is undergoing a great resurgence in our day.

The Monks of Mt. Carmel are a seed of the Springtime of the Catholic Church for the sake of the world.

The Monks of Mt. Carmel are a seed of the Springtime of the Catholic Church for the sake of the world.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/9/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Vocations


CODY, WY (Catholic Online) - As a budding theologian my favorite definition of a theologian was offered by a monk of the fourth century, Evagrius of Pontus. He wrote in his reflections entitled "Mirror for Monks": "The Knowledge of God is the breast of Christ and whoever rests on it will be a theologian". The Image evokes the beloved disciple John, the author of the fourth Gospel, depicted at the Institution of the Eucharist, the "Last Supper", with his head on the chest of Jesus the Christ. His Gospel narrative was the last to be written and is the most theologically reflective. Clearly, John was a theologian. He learned that theology in the school of prayer.

That has been proven by my own personal experience of monks. As a 'revert' to the Church, I had the privilege of spending 21 months in a monastery as a very young man. There, I began a lifelong journey of prayer. 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 immersed in their unique and vital vocation, no matter how much formal theological study they have (and many are the greatest scholars the Church has produced), I have experienced that their depth of prayer makes them the best theologians. It is out of that storehouse of grace that they are able to help the faithful find the longing of every human heart, communion and intimacy with the God who has revealed Himself fully, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, as the "human face of God" in Jesus Christ. 

That is precisely how I experienced Fr. Daniel Mary of Jesus Crucified, the Prior of the burgeoning monastic community in Wyoming formally called "Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary". I had an absolutely delightful conversation with him recently. I hope it is only the first of many. His love for the Lord and the Church was contagious.

This is clearly a monk who "rests his head on the breast of Christ." As a result, he is filled with the very life of God. It was the Apostle Peter who reminded us that we have been are "partakers of the Divine Nature".  (2 Peter 2:1)  In a very special way, Monks have always enfleshed the truth which that profound biblical passage opens up for those who walk through life with the eyes of faith.

The great lay theologian of the Orthodox Church, Olivier Clement once reflected on a letter of Anthony the Great, one of the most celebrated among the first monks of the unified Church of the First Millennium. He wrote " the monk becomes aware of his resurrection in the Risen Christ. The Spirit brings to birth in him the glorified body. 'The whole body is transformed and comes under the power of the Holy Spirit, and something I reckon is already granted to it of that spiritual body it will become at the resurrection of the righteous' (Anthony the Great, Letter I, 4) By transfiguration the monk becomes the priest of the world, and the world regains around him its original lucidity and meaning."

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.

The monastic life is one of the greatest treasures of our Church. There is some very good news! The monastic life is undergoing a great resurgence in our day. This is a new missionary age. The Holy Spirit is at work! We need monks and mystics to help us in the task of setting the Church on fire once again with a love for the Risen Savior, so that she can win the world.

Monasticism in the first millennium gave us the treasury 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. That is, after all, the mission of the Church.  

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.

The "father" of western monasticism Saint Benedict is a great example of the patrimony of western monasticism. He was born around the year 480 in Umbria, Italy. He is the co-patron of Europe (along with Saints Cyril and Methodius). As a young man, Benedict fled a decadent and declining Rome for further studies and deep prayer and reflection. He gave his life entirely to God as a son of the Catholic Church. He traveled to Subiaco, the cave that became his dwelling and the place where he communed deeply with God. It is now a shrine called "Sacro Speco" (The Holy Cave).

It is still a beautiful sanctuary for pilgrims. Among them was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI. Just before his election to the Chair of Peter he visited that very place to entrust his priestly ministry to the Lord. It is NO ACCIDENT that he took the name Benedict when he said "yes" to the call to the Chair of Peter thereafter. He signaled his vision for the Re-Christianization of the West.

St. Benedict lived a life of prayer and solitude for three years and studied under a monk named Romanus. His holiness drew other men and women and soon, twelve small monasteries were founded. He later traveled to Monte Cassino, where he completed his "Rule for Monks." From those Benedictine monasteries, an entire monastic movement was birthed which led to the evangelization of Europe and the emergence of an authentically Christian culture. This led to the birth and flourishing of the academy, the arts and the emergence of what later became known as Christendom.

It is in this trajectory of God's loving plan for His Church that the Monks of "Carmel of the Immaculate heart of Mary" come to us at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium. These are real monks and real men, passionately and courageously in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and dedicated to renewing in our day the great treasury of monasticism. As I spoke with Father Prior Daniel Mary, the bell rung in the background calling the brothers to prayer, one of the many times of prayer which animate and inspire their life. He continued speaking with me, sharing with enthusiasm the beginning of their community, obviously filled with the joy which is a gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Prior Daniel Mary grew up on a ranch in Cody, Wyoming, only six miles away from the new property the monks are hoping to purchase. There they will build the "New Mount Carmel for America" on 2,500 acres. He dreamed of establishing a monastery in Wyoming as a younger man. He knew that the beauty of the land, the rugged simplicity and faith of the people, and the challenge of the times required such a place.

He was quick to tell me that, contrary to the naysayers, vocations are not a problem for these monks. They receive 200 inquiries a year. However, they know that their calling to live the radical monastic life, in fidelity to the original vision of the Carmelites, is a specific calling. The monks who are living there are happy, healthy and courageously eager to live that vision. I will be writing much more about the elements of that vision in future articles.

For many of our readers, the Monks of Mt Carmel are known for their absolutely wonderful "Mystic Monk Coffee" which is one of the ways they support their sacrificial life for the Lord. I encourage all of our readers to order it, drink it, and with every sip pray for these mighty men of God. Buy it HERE. However, there is so much more to their way of life. That is why this article is only a "teaser". I was so moved by the Monks of Mt. Carmel, I have more articles to come.

We will examine their way of life, their vision for the future, their worship and the implications of their role as a prophetic sign of God's unfolding work for the Church. Stay Tuned!  Visit their virtual place of peace and worship on the world wide web. While there, read of their wonderful vocation and mission. Listen to their chant, order their coffee. Oh, and visit the "New Mount Carmel Foundation" site.  Look around. Mark my words, when the history of the Third Millennium is written, this monastery will be one of many where historians recount the rebirth of Christendom. 

Now, picture that absolutely beautiful monastery, built and filled with holy men chanting the Divine Office, offering the Holy sacrifice of the Mass and bringing earth to heaven and heaven to earth by their life, for the sake of the Church and the world. Then reach deep within and make it a reality by giving. These men are what my dear part Irish mother called "the real McCoy". We need them. We need to help them!

Finally, pray for Fr. Daniel Mary. You will soon be reading some of the stories this wonderful holy man shared with me because I want you to be encouraged in an age of despair. The Church of Jesus Christ is in the beginning of a New Springtime. This wonderful order of monks are seeds of a genuine renewal which has only just begun.  

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Vocations

Napa Institute: Where Leaders Turn for Formation

Image of (Napa Institute/Facebook)

By Caitlin Bootsma

Many of us benefit from the example and outreach of men and women who are leaders in our Catholic faith. These faithful servants help propel our knowledge and love of the Lord, be it through their witness, their virtue, the ministries they run or-in the case of ... continue reading


'You trust in the Lord, and you trust where he's leading you.' Want more religious vocations? Improve your family life, nun says

Image of

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

As the Church brings the needs of the family to the forefront with the upcoming Synod this fall, one Dominican sister says it is no surprise that Pope Francis should also dedicate this year to the consecrated life. Rome, Italy, May 18, 2015 / 02:51 pm (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


CAPUCHIN FRANCISCAN FRIARS PROVINCE OF ST. AUGUSTINE

Image of

By Ambassadors of Christ

Much has been written about and many homilies have lamented the vocation crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States.  Religious Orders which used to have large classes of  novices each year now go for years without a new entrant. Dioceses which used ... continue reading


Nuns watching soap operas and the 'terrorism' of gossip: Pope Francis and Naples' religious Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris (CNA/ETWN News)

In a wide-ranging, off-the-cuff speech to priests and religious in Naples, Pope Francis addressed various challenges of consecrated life, emphasizing above all the importance of poverty and resisting gossip. ROME, ITALY, March 21 (CNA/EWTN News) - "For me there is a ... continue reading


Faithlessness Breeds a Guilty Conscience Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - Don't judge me.  How many times have you heard this? It is a fascinating phenomenon that the more a person or a culture strays ... continue reading


Gaudete Sunday is a Blueprint for Consecrated Life - Year of Consecrated Life Watch

Image of SOLT Sisters on the day of their Perpetual Profession

By Fr Samuel Medley SOLT

I remember the day I started smiling and have not been able to stop since. I was a novice. It was the moment, in a 15 day silent retreat where I discovered in a way that was, at that time and every moment since, beyond my comprehension, how I am tenderly, ... continue reading


What is the Burning Question in Priestly Formation?

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley SOLT

The Word will never be given you without giving you also a mission.  It will make you aware of the suffering of the people right next to you that you didn't notice before.  It will open your eyes and see the world differently, and make you act differently in ... continue reading


Pope opens Year for Consecrated Life with call to joyful witness

Image of

By (CNA/EWTN News)

At the opening of the Year for Consecrated Life, Pope Francis issued a challenge to consecrated men and women, inviting them to lives of courage, communion, and joy. VATICAN CITY, November 30 (CNA/EWTN News) - Nearly 50 years after Vatican II's decree on the Adaption ... continue reading


Tuesday, December 2 - Homily: A Year for Consecrated Life Watch

Image of May we all, consecrated and lay, ask Our Lady to lead us and show us how to live our lives for Jesus.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father reminds us that we are in the first days of the Year for Consecrated Life announced by Pope Francis, comments on the great good that consecrated life brings for the life of the Church, and encourages us all to support consecrated life by our prayers and by ... continue reading


We Need Monks for this New Missionary Age Watch

Image of 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

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Monks are a seed 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 ... continue reading


All Vocations News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 19:15-29
15 When dawn broke the angels urged Lot on, 'To your ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 26:2-3, 9-10, 11-12
2 Probe me, Yahweh, examine me, Test my heart and my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:23-27
23 Then he got into the boat followed by his ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 30th, 2015 Image

First Martyrs of the See of Rome
June 30: The holy men and women are also called the Protomartyrs of ... 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