new monasticism/introduction

new monastcism

new monasticism

At the heart of Northumbria Community
you will find Celtic Daily Prayer (office)
and A Way for Living (rule)
both reflect the influence of the
monastic tradition in the development
of community ethos.

For while the history and development
of both ffice and rule
can be traced and documented
to the founders of the Northumbria Community,
they also bear witness to a more
noble history found within the
monastic community.

In particular it was the Desert fathers and the
early Irish monastic communities to whom the pioneers
of community would turn to give coherence
to the life they had been called but whose meaning
they could only partly understand.

They would also find instruction and guidance
from contemporary members of the monastic community
within The Society of St. Francis and The Community of Transfiguration.

Both office (Celtic Daily Prayer) and all the constituent parts of the
rule (A Way for Living) came before the establishment of Northumbria Community and they point to a vocation that both intimately embraces
while at the same time fundamentally transcends the Northumbria Community.

It was this vocation,
an invitation to participate within the monastic community
that the founders and the earliest pioneers of community were first called.

This was both a source of joy and bewilderment;
Joy because within the monastic tradition they had found
meaning and coherence and a sense of belonging.
Bewilderment because such an invitation did not usually
include those who were married and with children, whose participation
had always been strictly limited.

New monasticism is the ongoing struggle
to comprehend the full extent of that invitation and the nature of the vocation.

The Northumbria Community was established to provide companionship
on that journey and propose. A way of living and daily prayer that had already proved beneficial to those who had gone before.

Failure to appreciate this
invitation and the struggle involved
to respond, will diminish participation
in the life of the community,
reduce the office and rule
to symbols of a vocation
and leave the community
in danger of being relegated
to the post modern
mosaic of alternative lifestyles
on sale to alleviate the stress of the new humanity
in a new age.

Staying close
to our beginning
standing firm
in our vocation
and continuing
to struggle with
our invitation
will help
strengthen the
gift of community.

Alone
together.

New monasticism will demand no less
of us in availability and vulnerability
as was expected of other members of the
monastic community.

New monasticism will require of us
full participation in a new era of human
self consciousness and self determination
with ‘who is it that you seek?’ and
‘how then shall we live?’
forever on our lips.

New monasticism will provide us with the opportunity

‘to enact a fearful
hope for human life
in the midst of society’
(Stringfellow)

Such a perspective will enable a greater comprehension
of the supporting archive material.

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