Why Every Home is a Monastery Part 2: Patriarch Bartholomew on Marriage and Monasticism

Fr. Moses

Many people think monasticism and marriage are very different vocations and very far from one another. Years of knowing monastics and being a part of the extended community of a monastery has taught us differently. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in his book Encountering the Mystery gives a lovely and thought provoking description of monasticism and marriage, he says:

“Thus monastic chastity is completed in love, just as the sacrament of marriage is consummated in love. It is, therefore, unfortunate that centuries of negative connotations ascribed to the monastic way have contributed to a devaluation of marriage, as if the celibate life were somehow more pleasing to God or more spiritually fulfilling than marriage.”

and also:

“For the Church Fathers, love cannot be achieved without abstinence; chastity is impossible without charity. Human passions must be raised heavenward by means of spiritual discipline and ascesis. Even the most passionate love becomes divine and blessed. There is no aspect of human life and no quality of human nature that cannot be transformed and redirected, through prayer and ascesis, into a divine purpose and spiritual goal. In this regard, monasticism is a way of love, which is no less and no better than the way of the Christian Gospel, no different from or better than the way of marriage. Human beings are made to love; they are created in the image and likeness of God, who is communion.”

There are many lessons that families can learn from monks and that monks can learn from families. After all, the family is the primordial institution which all other relationships are mirroring. Every relationship in the Church, be it the relationship of the married couple, the single person who is a part of the community he or she belongs to, or the monk in the monastery, each is made up of individuals that are gathered in Jesus’s name to make a family; to be the body of Christ.

As the family

Monastics are wonderful examples because their lives are meant to be structured so that they have removed the cares of the world, the unnecessary problems and distractions and have focused solely on Christ. It is easy for the rest of us to get distracted and forget we are all called to be saints.

Finish with Why Every Home is a Monastery Part 3: St. John Chrysostom’s Answer

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: