July 15, 2009

It's a Small (Capuchin) World

It's a small world. Today I and fellow Capuchin blogger Br. Tom realized that we had met each other in person on the Feast of the Portiuncula, August 2, 2007 in Assisi. I just found my journal from the trip and confirmed it.

I also found in the notebook a hilarious post-it note, a little artifact of the trip. It reads, in fine blue sharpie:

Assisi Free Day Things to Do/Shopping List

Tau Crosses for John
Medals (?)
Check email


Jeanne said...

The modern monk's to do list!

Pia said...

Has it already been two years since you came?? Wow!

Qualis Rex said...

Br Charles your list left off:

- Buy "authentic" crossbow from local souvenir shop
- stand out of the way of cross-faith "peace marchers"
- scratch you head and wonder what St Francis would have thought about Santa Maria degli Angeli

Anonymous said...

We are not Monks!

Brother Charles said...

I hate that phrase!


ben in denver said...

Of course mendicants are not monks. That is what makes the movements begun by Sts. Francis and Dominic so important for the life of the whole church.

But I think that most lay people simply do not know what a monk is. I've never met on myself. There aren't any in Denver, although ther are some near Canon City and near Aspen.

I beleive that for the typical lay person their idea of what a monk is has been formed by movies and stories. They think of Friar Tuck, who must have been a benedictine, because there were not any franciscans yet when those Robin Hood stories take place. But Friar Tuck sure acts more like a mendicant than a monk, and he is invariably dressed more like a franciscan than a benedictine in the movies.

So I think that people are not wholly to blame for their own misconceptions.

Not to mention the fact that there are Capuchin Clares who are proper nuns, and not mendicants.

How confusing is that?

You don't know how lucky you are to just be confused for a monk, in Colorado Springs, where your brother friars run an apostlate in the Citadel Mall, the kids sometimes call them "Jedis" because of some other movies ;-)

Brother Charles said...

Good points. I just always bristle against the "we're not monks" line, because in my experience it is usually used as a way to excuse ourselves from the ordinary obligations of the religious state in general.

Paul A. Zalonski said...

In the Denver area there are only two true monasteries that I can think of: the Trappists and the Benedictine NUNS (Virginia Dale). Holy Cross Abbey in C. City has been closed and there is no OSB community there.

"We're not monks" is used as a cliche and as an excuse for those who don't want to live according to vows, Rule and constitutions to which they professed. Please don't think I am being overly harsh in criticizing some friars' (nuns') manner of living. I am in favor of living an authentic life with a measure of goodness and fun, but the excesses are often too flagrant and will burn out in time. The question is how much time will it take for the flagrant religious to "move on." So, when I hear "we're not monks" often hear "leave me alone, I want my entitlements" or we live in a contemporary society and I need these 'things' for MY ministry."

Even as a diocesan I find the excess of the secular priests and seminarians to be too much many days. AND, I find it contrary to the teaching of the Church as articulated in the works of the current pope and the last 3 popes.

OK, so let me ask Friar Charles, why does the sign in front of your church employ the word 'monastery' and not 'friary'? It seems to me that the nomenclature of the Capuchin friars is rather imprecise according to what you indicate, no? Unless I've missed something.

In the USA friars typically live in priories (if you are Dominicans) or friaries (if you are Franciscans); if you're in Europe or Latin America it seems easier because there the friars of all stripes use the word convent.

So this comment may be off post and too idealistic but how do we understand contemporary religious life that is coherent and clearly identifiable viz. the religious life to which your various readers belong?

Brother Charles said...

Plenty of us would like to get rid of that "monastery" title, which isn't official on anything I have ever seen; it's just what the used to say in the olden days.

Anonymous said...

Father Charler, the use of the term "monastery" in some of the Capuchin houses and parishes, while harkening back to the "olden days," still conveys a sense of history, tradition, and the sense of separation of religious life from the secular world. To that extent, I am glad that it is still used in those places where it derives from a long and rich history,in some cases going back more than 100 years and originating with the founders of the Capuchin order in the united States (even if it is not official.

Your post and the comments about the obligations of the religious state raise another issue which I have always found difficult to understand, and that I am throwing out here even though it might be controversial to some: that of members of religious orders who have their own cars, apartments, and sometimes secular jobs, wear nothing indicating their religious state in life, and living and working seperate and apart from their religious community. I am not talking here about a hospital or nursing home chaplain who might live at the facility to provide spiritual care 24/7, but those who live with all the trappings of the secular life while still being, at least nominally, members of a religious order.

Brother Charles said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for putting out the order side of the issue regarding the "monastery" nomenclature.

On the other question, I think you are quite right. If there is little in the way of life, habits, and practices of religious to distinguish their lives from secular life, what good are they as a sign of the arriving Kingdom of God? Even more, if religious life is basically North American middle class life (minus marriage and children, obviously) but with all the rest of the entitlements and distractions, why would anybody be attracted to it as something different?

Religious garb, too, is a real issue. Cucullus non facit monachum, the 'cowl does not make the monk,' of course...but it makes a difference what you wear. It's a very different experience to ride the bus in a religious habit than it is in secular clothes.

Anonymous said...

Okay people, I was just joking when I stated "We are not Monk" I thought brother Charles would laugh, but not post my comment, but I do see that it has lead to a good conversation which supports my believe that God uses everything for his own good.


Brother Charles said...

I did laugh, brother. ;) It just touched a pet peeve!

Anonymous said...

To me, it is no coincidence that the orders that have maintained the characteristics of the religious state (community living and prayer, wearing of a habit, adherence to the teachings of the Church) are the ones that continue to attract the most vocations.