“Twenty-one years I have prayed and meditated with monks in the abbey, hours and hours of the day and night.  And yet; was God alive for me?  Was he real and living for me?  I hope that I do not shock or scandalize anyone: he was really unknown to me.”

A Trappist Monk from Holland

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As one who spent a decade living in a religious community, I can attest to the accuracy of this account.

Truth is: many in religious life take solace in community, seek comfort, avoid the untidy world outside, flee the responsibility to grow fully, to learn, to seek the depths of existence – spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, psychological.

If there is a tragedy in the Church today, I contend it is our not living fully while having a faith and a narrative that seeks that we do, and fortifies us for that task.

In this I am reminded of Karl Rahner’s words:

In the days ahead, you will be a mystic, i.e., one who has experienced God, or nothing at all.

Christianity is not a system of social justice: it is not a guide to public policy, nor a quaint ceremony, not a philosophy of life, nor a moral code, a habit, an ethical system, a political vehicle to “change the world.”  It is Truth and it is to be lived so we might be who we are made to be in our fullest and in our better (not perfect) self.

I end with the words of Irenaeus in the hopes that you will read them, hear them and live accordingly:

The glory of God is the human being fully alive, and the life of the human consists in beholding God.

Live fully, please.  It will make life far better for you and for all.  Do not let anyone diminish Christ and faith – ours as it is expressed, or the faith of any other person.


Note – The opening quote is from Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust and this post is inspired by his insightful observations.

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We are in need of evangelists and you are one.