What is Emerging?
During the past several years, according to a variety of surveys, there has been a notable decrease of Christians attending religious services and a lesser decrease in other religious traditions, yet still a decrease. We are familiar with the quote from Isaiah; God says, “Behold, I am making something new!” (Is. 43:19). Have you often wondered what it is that God is making new as a result of the decrease of people attending religious services? Last month we were invited to reflect on the fact that what is emerging is a new interest in contemplative prayer among ordinary people and perhaps a new way of being. A new way of being that has been seen on the horizon for several years, and is now coming into full bloom, is a movement called the new monasticism: an interspiritual and contemplative way of living in the 21st century. Yes, it appears that God is making something new! For “The Spirit of God is not bound; it reveals itself in the lives of everyone” (IATW #41).
Many of our 21st century mystics were precursors of this new way of living the monastic life. They include Bede Griffith, Wayne Teasdale, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, Raimon Panikkar, Llewellyn VaughanLee, Beverly Lanzetta, to name a few. Brother Wayne Teasdale’s vision of this new monastic life was crucial to its development.* He actually lived his life as a committed monastic without a monastery. He coined the word interspirituality to describe this new movement which is basically a phenomenon of wisdom traditions sharing resources with one another. In other words the new monastics may come from different faith traditions, but what links them is a total life commitment to the development and maturation of one’s spiritual life. Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko compiled a manifesto that explains in detail the beginning of this movement and also answers questions around who, what, when and how.** They see this movement as a new universal framework for a contemplative life in the 21st century. They describe the new monastics as ordinary people with ordinary jobs. They are not interested in imposing a new and fixed rule but rather want to commit to a daily practice of putting aside egos and exploring what it means to create a world that works for all.
Ilia Delio OSF also has written of the emergence of a new type of global interspirituality and a new type of religious person emerging through the deepening of love and compassion across religious traditions. These persons are grounded in meditation, are earth-centered and are in search of community, identity, wholeness and God — not looking above, but in the other.
We invite you to join us in pondering this new interspiritual monastic way of contemplative living. How does this movement inspire/challenge you? What practices help you put aside your ego and create a world that works for all?
What does this movement mean for the future of Loretto? The future of Loretto Link? If you would like to share your reflections with us, we would be happy to receive them. Thank you.
* “The Mystic Heart,” 1999; “A Monk in the World,” 2002, by Wayne Teasdale
** “The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto of Contemplative Living,” 2015, by Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko