Skip to content

Shop Catholic - Buy 1 Get 1 50% OFF - FREE Shipping $60+

Fr. Dwight Longenecker Asks: Why Monks?

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes
The words 'monk' comes from 'monos' or 'alone'. In other words, 'alone with God'.

You thought monks were just cutting themselves off--doing something radical and a little bit misanthropic. In the meantime they were doing something beautiful for God. Hidden away in the desert, they are cultivating the power of prayer and planting the seed of God in the world.

To all our readers, Please don't scroll past this.

Deacon Keith Fournier Today, we humbly ask you to defend Catholic Online's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If you donate just $5.00, or whatever you can, Catholic Online could keep thriving for years. Most people donate because Catholic Online is useful. If Catholic Online has given you $5.00 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the volunteers who bring you reliable, Catholic information that their work matters. If you are one of our rare donors, you have our gratitude and we warmly thank you. Help us do more >

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker
Standing on My Head (gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/)
10/28/2011 (9 years ago)

Published in Vocations

Keywords: Monks, monastic, monastery, religious order, prayer, Fr Dwight Longenecker

P>GREENVILLE, SC (Standing on my Head) - The words 'monk' comes from 'monos' or 'alone'. In other words, 'alone with God'. Nobody but me and God. Everything else and everyone else given up for God. Alone with God. God alone.

This example was first set by the desert fathers in the early fourth century. Christianity had become fashionable. The emperor and his mother embraced the faith. People were converting in order to be part of the inside circle. So St Anthony took off to the desert to live in a cave.

The desert fathers of Egypt therefore set an example of renunciation. They deliberately walked away from the power, the privilege, the prestige, the prosperity and the pride that could have been theirs. Instead they lived in caves, did quiet, repetitive work, kept silence and learned to pray.

Now the thing I have always loved about the monastic founders--whether it was St Anthony of Egypt or Pachomius or Benedict--is that they didn't set out to start a 'movement'. They just did what they had to do.

They were faithful to their vocation and calling. That others joined them, and that a movement developed was not only an unexpected growth, but often an unwelcome one at that.

Furthermore, they changed history, and that is also something they didn't set out to do. Anthony and Pachomius and Benedict went out to mind their own business, work hard, pray hard and study and be true to themselves and their God.

They ended up preserving classical learning, laid the foundation for a new christendom, and established a refuge for what was left for civilization, thus planting a seed for a new civilization.

You thought monks were just cutting themselves off--doing something radical and a little bit misanthropic. In the meantime they were doing something beautiful for God.

Hidden away in the desert, they are cultivating the power of prayer and planting the seed of God in the world.

------

Fr Dwight Longenecker is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and Chaplain to St Joseph's Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. Read his blog and connect to his website at www.dwightlongenecker.com  

---

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. A former Evangelical, he studied at Oxford and was ordained as an Anglican priest in England. He was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church in 1995 and ten years later, ordained a Roman Catholic Priest.He is a prolific writer, sought after speaker and dedicated blogger. Connect to his website and blog at dwightlongenecker.com

Free Online Catholic Classes for Anyone, Anywhere - Click Here

Never Miss any Updates!

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

Free Online Catholic Classes for Anyone, Anywhere - Click Here
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!