Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kinds of Monks (Pastors, Christians, Leaders, etc)

I've started reading The Rule of St. Benedict (a required text for a class on Spiritual Formation). 
The opening chapter describes 4 different kinds of monks.  The description can extend beyond monks, and be applied in many venues. 

1) Cenobites - those who belong to a monestary and serve under the rule of an Abbott
2) Anchorites or Hermits - they have come through the testing, they have passed beyond the first fervor.  Thanks to the help and guidance of many, they are now trained to fight against the devil, . . . they are ready with God's help to grapple single-handed with the vices of body and mind.
3) Sarabaites - they have no experience to guide them, no rule to try them, their character is soft as lead.  They are loyal to the world and pen themselves up in their own sheepfold, not the Lord's.  Their law is what they like to do, whatever strikes their fancy.  Anything they believe in and choose, they call holy; anything they dislike, they consider forbidden.  (Benedict calls them "the most detestable kind of monks.")
4) Gyrovagues - they spend their entire lives drifting from region to region, always on the move, never settling down.  They are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites.  They are worse than the sarabaites.


Ted said...

I have a copy of the Rule of Benedict on my nightstand. :)

Anonymous said...

I recently began reading Benedict's Rule as part of my research into the Anglican "monastic" group called the Company of Jesus. In reading the Rule I sense a large gulf separating our world from Benedict's. And given my up-bringing it is hard to read the Rule without constant condemning thoughts: "this is legalism, reject it!!" In truth, however, I know there is much good to be learned, but I must proceed slowly and humbly.