For three decades, Monastic Practices has been a valued resource for English-speaking aspirants to monastic life. In this revised edition, updated and expanded, Charles Cummings, OCSO, explores the common practices of the monastic life in order to rediscover them as viable means of leading persons to a deeper encounter with God. How do monks and nuns occupy themselves throughout the day? Have they modernized their lifestyle or is it still cluttered with medieval customs? Could any of the monastic practices be of use to those outside the monastery? A certain wisdom is necessary to know how to use such practices and how to give oneself to them until they lead one to God.
After long monastic experience, Cummings shows us how the ordinary things we do constitute our path to God. In the art of living life, he argues, we are always beginners, searching for God through our concrete circumstances and actions.
Charles Cummings, OCSO, is a Trappist-Cistercian monk and priest of Holy Trinity Abbey, Huntsville, Utah. He grew up in northern Minnesota and joined the monastery in 1960. He has a master's degree in formative spirituality and has been engaged in writing, editing, teaching, counseling, chaplain ministry, and monastic interreligious dialogue for most of his monastic life.
"Fr. Charles Cummings's revised Monastic Practices is an insider's guide to life in the monastic world. Although specifically directed at monastics, it offers secular readers much worthy of pondering value. Drawing on his lifetime in a Trappist abbey, Fr. Charles offers a richly austere, very beautiful volume. For many topics, Fr. Charles provides both the historical practice and the ways in which it has been modified more recently, assisting someone living in community to understand some of the more mystifying customs, or a secular reader to comprehend something of the way monks adapt to the changing world. The meditative bits that appear scattered throughout-discussion of silence, the quality of the cell, and the presence of death-add to the overall balance between instruction and reflection, history and now, individual and community that make Monastic Practices a distinctive and valuable contribution to the body of monastic literature."
Marjory Lange, Western Oregon University
"The author's personal, conversational style are very engaging and it is obvious that he has a mastery of the subject, having lived it since 1960. Whether you have a monastic library or are looking to build one up, or you wish to the book to someone who is seeking to deepen their spirituality, you can't go wrong with this book."
Karl A. Schultz
"The revised edition of Monastic Practices continues to be useful for forming human lives, monastic or lay. In re-reading, I have found myself deepening my own understanding and renewing my own commitment to these fundamentals of our life. I continue to be grateful for the wisdom and charm of this book. Thank you, Fr. Charles."
Cassian Russell, OCSO, Cistercian Studies Quarterly
"As an aspiring monk, I found the first edition of Monastic Practices to be a treasury of both wisdom and practical information for living the monastic life. Each chapter covers an aspect, beginning with `Sacred Reading' and concluding with `From Death to Life.' And now, as a professed monk of several years and vocation director of New Melleray Abbey, I am excited to have the opportunity to recommend the new edition of this fine book to the next generation of aspiring monks."
Br. Paul Andrew Tanner, OCSO, New Melleray Abbey, Peosta, Iowa