“My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.”
The first time Abante International visited the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia was five years ago. The experience was interesting and unforgettable for several reasons; one being that we were able witness and compare the things we were learning there with the things we were studying in our discipleship and leadership sessions. Secondly, it is not every day you get to hear from a monk about his experiences, and love for God and the holy scriptures. Then we had a glimpse into the history of the monastery, where we found much commonality with our core values, as well as the importance we place on the contemplative life.
Typically, one of the first leadership training sessions we participate in is about the art of listening well. We often pair that with our first discipleship principle; know the word. It is no secret that those who listen well spend a good amount of time in silence. In order to hear what God is saying to us, we must create moments of solitude where we get away from the busyness of life and simply meditate. We find that in moments of solitude the practice of “lectio divina” (studying and meditating on the word) becomes as simple and necessary as taking the next breath. But is there more to be learned from our time of solitude?
When speaking about her experience at the Monastery, Colleague Sydney Kahle stated that she found it interesting that the monks spent the majority of their time studying the scriptures, which in itself is commendable. However, they have little interactions with the community outside of the monastery. It would be good to see how do they put into practice what they are learning from the scriptures?”
This raises a good question about how we fulfill what is expected of us in the scriptures. The monks at the monastery have an outreach they engage in outside of the monastery, where they provide home grown vegetables, fruit and homemade items to feed the needy families around. I guess the lesson here is that moments of solitude are good and expected, nevertheless, there is still a world full of hurt and need, and we are called to go out and meet those needs. What is God revealing to you during your quiet time? How do you see God at work around you? Once you figure that out, go out and join Him.