In my last blog, I reflected on how, over the last several years, my life has been re-orienting more and more towards the Divine. It is true that I have been actively seeking, intentionally exploring and dedicating space towards a renewed spirituality, one with genuine care, concern, compassion and love for all people and the real struggles they faced every day. A Place To Be Spirituality Center was borne out of that sense of longing. And I hope APTB offers that feminine energy, those feminine qualities, to those who also feel the void and long for a different way. There is much work to be done in this area and we are blessed to be able to continue serving in that way.
And yet my heart has yearned for something more. Deep within is a call to the contemplative life, to a more intimate, complete surrender to the Divine Will, to become a channel for that Divine Energy to flow into the world. For me, there can be only one response to that call – yes! A Way To Be New Monastic Community is the manifestation of my inner “yes”.
Now, the Catholic tradition has a long-standing mystical path as taught in the early monastic communities, the many Saints, theologians and contemplatives over the years – as does pretty much every other spiritual tradition. These monastic communities traditionally consist of ordained, celibate men and women who align with a specific faith tradition, denomination and founder who vow to embody and live out a specific charism. In recent years, as vowed religious communities have dissolved, this intentional community model has evolved into what is called The New Monastic Community. This is a call to a life committed to contemplation, simplicity, prayer and service available to folks who assent to this call to a deeper spirituality; non-ordained, deeply faithful people - mothers, daughters, husbands, fathers, students, ministers, etc. – who long to align the entirety of their lives to the Divine. A Way To Be New Monastic Community invites those who not only feel this call but are ready to commit to and live out the core values in community.
The path of the new monastic involves making a commitment to live a particular way and practice their spirituality according to what is called a Rule of Life, which are guidelines for helping one stay on the path. The new monastic participates in a community with other new monastics who gather to offer support and encouragement along the way. A Way To Be New Monastic Community does not replace one’s faith tradition but, rather, deepens the new monastic experience of God in order better live out their faith in every-day life.
Now, many may look at these commitments, this Rule of Life, and think, “I already strive to live this way – how does the making of a formal covenant change any of that?” To some extent, this is a fair question, one I wrestled with for a long time. I am not a very public person by nature so declaring these covenants for all the world to see causes a bit of anxiety and discomfort. But somewhere along the way it became clear that I was being called to voice the intention to live the new monastic life publically. I’m learning that “…once we name something out loud, it becomes true in a way it wasn’t before.” (Kaitlin Curtice, “Trauma as a Journeying Partner,” “Trauma,” Oneing, vol. 9, no. 1 (CAC Publishing: 2021), 61–62.) So last night, before a small group of close friends and family, I made my covenant and A Way To Be New Monastic Community was formed. I pray the Divine presence live deeply within my heart and the heart of this community so that all we do manifests the Divine Presence in the world. Amen.
For more information on A Way To Be New Monastic Community, its covenants and rule of life, go to the website at www.awaytobenmc.org