By Sr. Claire Agnes, OES
One who is practicing a monastic life should behave in such a way, that when others are a witness to their behavior they notice a distinction between the monastic and regular society. As Monastics we are to give up or limit worldly items but this also includes certain behaviors such as the use of foul language or intoxication by drugs and/or alcohol.
We are called as Monastics to build others up regardless of faith and not tear them down. All behaviors we engage in should be pleasing to the Divine. We are in essence to harm none while going about our daily lives. We are to listen with compassion and love all indiscriminately.
As Monastics we are called to be separate from society while being in it. It is necessary to follow the vows put forth in the Rule of Life both in words and deeds. This includes the following:
Listening: The vow of listening exists so that we may develop a stillness within each of us. We are to approach all things with a calm silence and compassion. This means that when approaches a situation where they harbor ill feelings or are upset. A Monk or Nun is to come at the situation with kindness, compassion and stillness of the mind. In order to focus on the Divine and develop this skill regular prayer, meditation and reflection are required.
Stewardship: This is considered to be things such as charitable works but is not limited to this. Stewardship should be such that all of our actions are to serve others. This is to say that we as Monastics are to behave with a kind and generous spirit, helping others whenever possible. Not just during set volunteer hours
Simplicity: The vow of Simplicity requires that all the professed renounce an excess of material possessions. This is to ensure that we as members of the monastic community focus on and being with the Divine.
Celibacy: This particular vow is optional within this monastic Order. The Monastic Monk or Nun remain single, unwed and without a partner. It is thought that these types of relationships take away the focus which is to be on the Divine. By not engaging in them we are in essence married or in a relationship with our chosen Deity.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.