What I don’t think most people fully realize about Monasticism, especially when we look at people like Anthony the Great ( 251 – 356), Mar Awgin, a Syrian monk, introduced the monastic rule in Mesopotamia, Basil of Caesarea (c. 330-379) and his sister, Macrina and then with Benedict of Nursia, the rise of monastic living was a revolt against the empire and the empire during this period taking over the Christian movements. Bishops sell out to the kingdom for their own personal advantages and control. Monastic life became not a life of solitude but one where they created “safe houses and safe land” separate from the empire at the time. They still worked in the surrounding communities and taught and cared for the sick and poor. But the key to their formation was because of the empire. Back to Mar Awgin, an Egyptian who introduced monastic life to the Syrians, was based on the life of desert mothers and fathers. Of course, Egypt is just one big desert. Many of the monks were married in various communities, sorta like a commune.
Given the turmoil in the church and government, we see today, will see new forms of monasticism in our society? I wonder, if monastic living in our society takes on new identities as time evolves, as technology takes hold more in people’s lives, as technology changes our understanding of what it means to be a human being and the difference being a human makes. Then will we see in the souls of humans a new form of rebellion?
Schism will be a symptom of this evolving change, the economy will change, and we will see a different perspective or view of understanding capitalism. I think the current state of capitalism will fade away, and an additional focus will be placed on people, the planet, well-being, and social prosperity. Still, many of us will watch this happen from the other side because it will take that long.