God Seekers

Several years ago a group of us were gathered at St. Joseph Abbey in St. Benedict, Louisiana for a four day silent retreat called “Into the Stillness.” Father Thomas Perrier came to address the group to offer a summation of the life of a monk. His way with us was always congenial, like we had been friends for years. Instead of presenting some kind of austere monastic life removed from regular people like us, he shared a sense of oneness of calling between the monks who resided there and those of us who came for silent retreats.
In his most inviting manner he said what it means to be a monk is “one who seeks God.” Wow, in a few simple words he was telling us that we who are also seekers of God are simply “monks in the world.” Suddenly any artificial barriers between the life of monks inside the monastery and that of us monks outside the monastery disappeared.
Being with Brother Ephrem Arcement this weekend reminded me of that sense of common purpose. He is a seeker of God who happens to wear the traditional Benedictine garb. We are seekers who happen to wear other garb. He is seeking to find God throughout his day, not just in periods of prayer. And we are seeking to find God wherever we walk in the world, not just in a few moments of formal prayer.
Contemplatives, as I wrote in my first book, Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture, are “people who live normal, stressful lives, except that our first priority is practicing the presence of God.” And the people who participate in our School for Contemplative Living are at heart so much like the monks across the lake.
“We live in a monastery without walls, a monastery of the heart. We are seekers of God and seekers of a life centered in cultivating heartfulness, radiating loving-kindness, and bringing God’s presence with us as we serve the world, each in our own unique ways.” (From the introduction of Monks in the World).
So maybe you aren’t interested in being a monk. No problem, most people aren’t. Maybe you are not drawn to monastic values per se, no big deal. But if you are also a God Seeker like us, I want you to know there are contemplative communities all around the New Orleans region who will welcome you if you want to join us in finding our True Home in community. Come seek with us.
Final note: Please pray for us as we gather on June 14 to begin filming a documentary on this contemplative path, and watch for my next blog from my next book: “The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere.”


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through Amazon.com; and of a blog on Wordpress.com, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (www.thescl.net), adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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