248.4 T, “Tales of a Magic Monastery”

27 Jun

295807 Over the weekend I met a man who was in the process of becoming a monk. He had applied to be a monk at one monastery but had not made it through the admittance process and so he went to another monastery and was accepted to begin there. The man talked a lot about what it would mean to be a monk and about all of the different parts of the monastery: the rooms, the country, the grounds, even the library. While he was talking I found myself thinking of my limited experience with monks. I’ve never known any monks. I’ve only ever met a friar, Brother Ed, who was a teacher in my high school. But that’s far from the same thing as a monk.

I found myself thinking of Thomas Merton and of the Monks of New Skete and I finally found my mind wandering to a book I read many years ago after discovering it on the bookshelf of a friend, “Tales of a Magic Monastery” by Theophane the Monk. Like many books like this I try to pray and meditate on a question or worry that is heavy on my heart. So yesterday I decided to read this lovely book again.

Much like Jesus, Fr. Theophane uses parable and story to teach. I am always drawn to works like these which ignite something in me. I remember reading some of the stories and having a really deep thought or thinking “YES!” And reading this book yesterday I recognized the stories but this time reading didn’t have the same reactions. And I had so many God moments reading this book, thinking so often, yes, I get it! I get! God I get it!

I hope I get it at least.

Most of the stories involve an interaction with a monk. A person attending a retreat asking the monk for guidance or simply a monk interacting with another monk. Some of the stories are fantastical and others allegory. Some a few pages in length others just a paragraph.

My favorite is when the Buddha visits and writes trivia all over the walls and the monk realizes that to be a real Christian you must go into the heart of Jesus. That all of the things we remember and all of the pieces of “trivia” are secondary to being close to God. I like that a lot and I think it’s a good reminder.

This is a little new agey so I won’t recommend this to everyone but I think it’s worth a look and worth a read to anyone looking for some thought provoking words. I always feels moved when reading this book and always feel my heart being guided to some stories more than others.





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