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Suggested Reading

Book Review

Freeman, Brendan, OCSO. Come and See: The Monastic Way for Today. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.

Saint Meinrad Archabbey has a "come and see" program where young men discerning the monastic way of life can visit. This book titled Come and See depicts a perspective inside the mind of a monk.

The author is Abbot Brendan Freeman, OCSO, the abbot of New Melleray Abbey in Peosta, Iowa, since 1984. At the outset of the book, Abbot Brendan states that the current vision of monastic life is not something new, but goes back to the Desert Fathers of the fourth century. However, it is also new because it is rooted in the soul that never grows old. 

The abbot is to create a climate of meaning in the monastic life that makes sense. Abbot Brendan says that Jesus told His disciples to "come and see" where I live. He could have said to come and see where you live, where your real life is being lived.

Monastic life is not some esoteric or Gnosticway of viewing the reality of life, according to the author. It is a treasure that lies deep within the heart, a universal spirituality that is a common inheritance of all who seek God. Because there is a desire in our hearts to seek God and a desire for ultimate meaning, each of us has the heart of a monk. This statement alone should speak powerfully to oblates.

Among the great themes of monastic life found in the Rule of St. Benedict that Abbot Brendan focuses on are silence, solitude, community life and prayer. An interesting point he makes is that an ancient notion of the monastery is that it is much like a hospital. It is a place of healing the soul, the spirit and the heart.

Abbot Brendan's insights will enable the reader to better understand what keeps a monk going, why he lives the way he does and what he is seeking.

Thomas J. Rillo, oblate
Bloomington, IN