The spiritual Fathers and Mothers met to discuss the monasticism in the life of the church. Much of the discussion ranged around the monasticism of East and West. One Father gave the opinion that monasticism was only possible within a cenobitic setting. Another raised the question of what rule should be followed; and so the discussion went on.

Eventually, one Father rose to his  feet and spoke, “Fathers and Mothers, I find it interesting that those who are not monastics often have the most clear opinion on how we should live this way of life, while those who have been in the desert nearly twenty years are still questioning, still seeking, still searching. As for the other things that are evolving in this discussion, some have a specific calling to follow: a path that could be described as either “Eastern” or “Western”, but do you not get it after all this time? – For some, they just go far beyond this initial question in their practice and experience. For them, it was due to church politics because of which our first Fathers and Mothers went into the desert. They simply reach a point in God where absolutely none of this exists. For them, it is a disturbance of their solitude to be drawn into such battles.

The Cenobitic Life is one path, but not the only one. Every man and woman is essentially a solitary. They enter this world alone and leave it alone, but never less alone.

One cannot ever stop solitary vocation, because it is the movement of God in a person’s soul calling them to be alone with Him. If the existing structures stop the person answering this total gift and offering of themselves, the day will come when this movement of God in them becomes so strong and powerful they simply rise up and – led by the Holy Spirit – go to a place where it is possible.

The monastic rules like the sayings of the Fathers, and other writings, along with Holy Scripture are important and necessary to our way of life. However, let us not forget the first Fathers had one simple rule: “Sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” While we have added so many things to this over the centuries, many long for a return to the purity of that rule.”

Father Richard

(English grammar & punctuation slightly corrected from the original)