Essence of the Monastic Life

Background of Monastic Principles:

The Lord Christ chose to live according to a specific way during His life on earth. He chose to live as: a poor, celibate, and obedi ent. In the same way, the monk chooses to live according to the example of the earthly life of the Lord Christ. The monk chose Christ the poor, the celibate, and the obedi ent. In other word the monk does not choose poverty but Christ the poor. He does not clioose celibacy but Christ the celibate. He does not choose obedience but Christ the obedient. In summary he lives as Christ lived. He lives according to the example of the Lord and for the same rea son for which Christ lived imitating Him in poverty, celibacy, and obedience.

The monk devotes is entire life as a response to the calling of the Lord Christ and to be a partner in the style of His life. The monk adopts the life of poverty, celiba cy, and obedience. The grace of the Holy Spirit accompanies the monk in his monas tic life. The Lord Christ lived the same life and said to the Father: iAnd for their sakes I sanctify Myself,! John 17: 19. He called the chosen from the Father through His love to follow His traces. They followed Him and are partners in the way of His life. These monastic principles are not expressed only from outside as an appear ance or empty shape but rather it is an early expression for the rooted inner change of the monk and his view of God and his walk towards Him. It carries the power of the new life. The monk does not return to his old life but rather walks in the newness of life.

The goal of these principles is the union with God. It represents a mystical wedding in the way of denying the self. God looks for this instant of union and love between Him and His creation from the day He cre ated the man. Adam refused the union with God. This is the reason behind Godis choice of a private nation. He chose the Israelites as a bride: iAS the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoices over you,i Isaiah 62:5. But, Israel was not faithful until the end. Since that time every union with God became a mysti cal love between the soul and God. It is a true wedding in which the soul offers itself for Him and nobody else. The monk choos es obedience, poverty, and celibacy as a promise for a mystical spiritual marriage with God. The promise is not enough but rather the faithfulness in fulfilling that promise. The monk promises to be for God in absolute faithfulness. God is the One that is faithful forever and His love is beyond expression. The monk lives in this matrimonial life in inner joy and in an end less patience in patience that is a sign for his faithfulness, as he does not live for him self but for another. This patience is rewarded by eternal life for the monk: iBe faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life,i Revelation 2:10.


Who is the one that keeps these principles?

The free only can adopt obedience.

The mature only can keep his abstinence.

The renouncing one only can live poor.

These principles help the monk to be a vessel of complete love towards God if he walked in them faithfully and in complete love towards God that cures the heart and lightens it with an unspeakable joy.

© 2017 St. Peter & St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church - Santa Monica, CA