Practical Discernment

Practical Discernment

Br. Christopher on Practical Discernment: "What is the Meaning of Life?  Even if many people today could not give an explicit answer to this question, it is inevitable that every one of us, shaped by our own personal experiences and life history, will form underlying attitudes toward the world which will, in turn, shape the course of our lives.  Often these attitudes are unspoken and unexamined, but nevertheless have their unconscious effect on all our decisions and relationships.  
Our Cistercian forebears highly valued Self-Knowledge as the first step of the spiritual life.  So how can we bring our hidden inner attitudes to consciousness?  I suggest setting some time apart for honest reflection on the following points:
Actions:  What do you actually spend your time on?  How do you spend your day? What part of your day do you look forward to the most?  What part do you like least?  What do you spend your free time on?
Thoughts:  What do you think about?  What are your concerns?  On what are your thoughts prone to return frequently?  
Goals: What are your motivations? What do you wish for/long for?  What are your goals, your ideals, your dreams? 
 The more we know about ourselves, what our real priorities and concerns are, the more we can bring them to God, compare them to the Gospel message, and allow Him to progress us on the way to our true life of Love and Happiness in Jesus Christ.

With love from your brothers of New Clairvaux!
#philosophyoflife #selfknowledge #monks #trappist



Cistercian monastic life gives primary place of chanting the Opus Dei or Divine Office in community as well as personal time spent in sacred reading which fulfill the monk's sacred duty of seeking God.


Cistercian monastic life allows rooms for guests because all guests are to be received as Christ.  We never know if we have entertained angels.

Life in Common

Cistercian monastic life is communal:  We share all things in common as did the early Christian community so as to live in greater charity and union with Christ.