written by a guest of the
Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California
which is a community of men of the
Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists)
Finding a Cistercian path without starting by passing through the gate of the enclosure is not easy. Nevertheless there are those of us in the world but not of it who believe that this is a way that will draw us into union with God. Perhaps the task of those of us drawn to be associated with various houses is to find our way onto and along the path and then mark it out for other non-monastic clergy and laity. Perhaps this is a part of the Spirit moving, wanting to make this way available in the world for those who need it. Of course, it may be that the path cannot be followed in the world. Those of us who try it may fail. But I donít believe that. We will find a way. This site is dedicated to exploring that possibility.
Please note that I, the writer, sometimes process what I see and hear roughly by questioning or critiquing an event. This is my way of incorporating new ideas or experiences. There is no disrespect intended in any part of this material. As an effort to protect the monk's privacy I have omitted names and in most cases photos of the men's faces. I am a lover of the life, of the men and of the place. I believe they also struggle, as I do, to fully live out the excellence of this way. This site means to honor them, my spiritual family, and this my spiritual home.
[ONE YEAR LATER] Looking back, my vision seems hopelessly naive. There are many people pursuing what fourteenth century Benedictine writers referred to as "the mixed life", combining monastic spirituality and disciplines with life in "the world".
Other Related Sites
For a discussion of combining Trappist spiritual practices with daily living in the world, try http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trappist/ , a discussion group of which the Vina guest is a co-owner/steward.