Thursday, July 24, 2014

Our Lighter Side

When monks or nuns gather for recreation, are their conversations exactly like those of people "in the world?"

I doubt it.  Monastics are pursuing the common goal of living totally for God.  I cannot imagine them having to work too hard to keep their talk from drifting toward immoral or mean spirited topics, because their minds are not centered on such things. 
It is different, isn't it, out here in "the world?"  Conversations we encounter often meander into less than Godly territory.  In can be tough not to find ourselves swept along, like a piece of driftwood bobbing in a muddy river. 

I have reflected upon possible differences between the chatter of a monastic recreation and the talk engaged in by, say, co-workers gathered for lunch.

In a group of individuals who are bent upon serving God with every attitude and word, are we likely to hear, for instance:

Suggestive humor?
Language laced with "4 letter words?"
Using the Name of the Lord in vain?
Prayer requests that include sordid details?  
Mocking people, whether those persons are present in the gathering or not?   
Criticism of one another?  
Snapping at others?
Putting others down? 

It is something to think about.  Is it okay to have fun?  Sure.  

May we laugh?  Oh, I hope so!  Or I am personally in big trouble.

But there are ways, and there are ways.  

While I cannot change the conversations of those around me, I can choose how I personally participate.  

For me, thinking of nuns at Recreation helps me keep watch on my ways.

To continue with a look into 'recreation,' click this line

Photos in this post in US public domain


  1. Actually, recreation in a monastery is quite "normal." The only real rule is that the sisters are discouraged from breaking off into pairs, as that fosters a spirit of particular friendship. Groups of three or more are the norm. The sisters usually bring darning, knitting, or rosaries if they make them. Topics of conversation were usually centered around things happening in the monastery—work, visitors, etc. In the community I was in for nearly two and a half years, Sunday evening rec was extra long and devoted to games. We had canasta, Scrabble, Clue, etc. and you just joined your preferred game. Or there'd usually be a table where several sisters worked on a jigsaw puzzle. There were also snacks for Sunday rec, including our favorite—popcorn! Whenever we had a special guest, or a new aspirant, we had a "circle," where all the sisters formed a circle and chatted with the guest of honor, who sat at the "top" of the circle.

  2. Thanks for your perspective, Leticia. That's helpful coming from one who lived it on a daily basis! I've been included in several monastic recreations during retreats in the cloister (sounds like I was actually a guest in the 'circle' you described!) but have never actually lived inside. Thankfully most of my "out here in the world" conversations are with family members and friends who want to live Godly lives. But I do occasionally find myself in gatherings laced with gossip and that sort of thing. It can be tough!


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