NOVICE:

People nowadays don’t usually consider that monks can provide a useful contribution to society by living in seclusion and by their prayers. They appreciate charitable activity, accept to some degree the efforts of missionaries, but appear to consider the life of concealed prayer as too exotic.

Such an opinion, without faith, is of course understandable. In order to understand the praying or contemplative monastic orders, the following two biblical passages are important: in the Old Testament, Exodus 17:8-13 tells the story of Moses praying while his kinsmen are fighting in the battlefield. As he ceases to pray, due to exhaustion, his men start losing the battle. However, supported by his assistants, he manages to continue praying, his soldiers start to be successful once more and they eventually win. The monks are therefore the Church’s contribution, supporting everybody by their prayers, whether carried out by the bishop, priest or mission ministry. Then in the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 12:13-31, the apostle Paul explains that all those who are baptised are Christ’s body and also particular members of it. Each member has to perform its destined task and monasticism in that perspective is the Church’s part of the whole, contributing through prayer. From this point of view, the faith of the monks is a useful contribution to the whole Church’s work in society.

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