2000 Years of Deception and Error, 8 A: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus by Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

You will not notice the preaching of and assurance of forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ and spending an eternity with our Saviour, when you read the beliefs of any of these Benedictine sites. They will often sound very spiritual, but their goal is not a faith walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, reading God’s Word and being guided by His Holy Spirit. Instead, is a pagan system—an ascetical, mystical approach of works to God, but not the God of the Bible.

First some Bible verses, then I will give the information I found regarding Benedictines, who I thought of as harmless, until I did this research. Not that the men and women are harmful, but the doctrine they believe and promote is from Satan and his kingdom of darkness. It blinds them and keeps them from the Light and Life of the true God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

God’s WORD

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
—Isaiah 59:2

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”—Acts 3:19

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”—Ephesians 2:8

“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”—Ephesians 2:9

The History of Benedictine Monks and Nuns
The largest number of Benedictines are Roman Catholics or members of one of the churches of the Anglican Communion, although they are occasionally found in other churches such as the Lutheran church.

There are three groups of Benedictines: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists, all adhere to the Rule of St. Benedict as their inspiration in the monastic way of life.

Benedict of Nursia (born in – died c. 547) was born in Nursia, Italy around 480 AD, and founded the Benedictines in 529 AD in Monte Cassino, Italy.

Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, which Benedict of Nursia wrote in the sixth century for the communities of monks he founded in central Italy. The Benedictine Rule he wrote became the founding principle for Western monasticism and was adopted by women around the seventh century.

Monte Cassino is the site where Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery around 529. It was constructed on an older pagan site, a temple of Apollo and devastated by the Goths. Benedict smashed the Apollo sculpture and destroyed the altar, but rededicated the site to John the Baptist. Benedict never left after he was established there.

The Rule of St. Benedict can be simplified to “pray and work,” it is said, but it is not prayer as the Bible teaches. More on that later. In the sixth century AD, Benedict combined teachings and ‘wisdom’ of ancient monastics with his concern for daily living for his monks.

“Benedict’s concerns were the needs of monks in a community environment: namely, to establish due order, to foster an understanding of the relational nature of human beings, and to provide a spiritual father to support and strengthen the individual’s ascetic effort and the spiritual growth that is required for the fulfillment of the human vocation, theosis.”

In the Prologue of The Rule, Benedict sets forth what he calls the main principles of the religious life: “the renunciation of one’s own will and arming oneself “with the strong and noble weapons of obedience” under the banner of “the true King, Christ the Lord” (Prol. 3). He proposes to establish a “school for the Lord’s service” (Prol. 45) in which the way to salvation (Prol. 48) shall be taught, so that by persevering in the monastery till death his disciples may “through patience share in the passion of Christ that [they] may deserve also to share in his Kingdom” (Prol. 50)…”

Following are some items the Rule of Benedict covers:

Chapter 6 deals with silence, recommending moderation in the use of speech, but by no means prohibiting profitable or necessary conversation.

Chapter 7 of the Rule of Benedict, divides the virtue humility into twelve degrees or steps in the ladder that leads to heaven.

(1) fear of God
(2) repression of self-will
(3) submission of the will to superiors for the love of God
(4) obedience in difficult, contrary or even unjust conditions
(5) confession of sinful thoughts and secret wrong-doings
(6) contentment with the lowest and most menial treatment and acknowledgment of being “a poor and worthless workman” in the given task
(7) honest acknowledgement of one’s inferiority to all others
(8) being guided only by the monastery’s common rule and the example of the superiors
(9) speaking only when asked a question
(10) stifling ready laughter
(11) seriousness, modesty, brevity and reasonableness in speech and a calm voice
(12) outward manifestation of the interior humility.

Chapter 39 and 40 regulate the quantity and quality of the food. Two meals a day are allowed and two dishes of cooked food at each…Flesh-meat is prohibited except for the sick and the weak…

Chapter 49 treats of the observance of Lent, and recommends some voluntary self-denial for that season, with the abbot’s sanction.

Cistercians
The Cistercian life was a return to a literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict and the Constitutions of Cîteaux. The first Cistercians settled in 1098, in Citeaux, France, in a remote burgundian marsh (or cisterna in Latin), and determined to live simply and to balance in their lives, common prayer, personal reflection, and manual labor. For guidance they read the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers, and the documents of centuries of christian monasticism.

The Order of Cistercians wear a white habit with a black scapular/apron, hence the name White Monks. Today there are several types of Cistercians: Common Observance O.C., the Middle Observance, and the Strict Observance (Trappists) O.C.S.O. There are also Cistercian nunneries.

Trappists The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance O.C.S.O
Trappists are a contemplative Roman Catholic religious order that follows the Rule of St. Benedict. The order began as a reform movement at the Abbey of Notre Dame de la Grande Trappe (hence their informal name) in 1664 in reaction to the Cistercian Monasteries who were not strictly observing their practices. They have a women’s branch, Trappistines.

The Trappists live a life of prayer (Lectio Divina and forms of meditative and contemplative) and penance. To the extent that it is practical, they are expected to remain silent throughout the day and most especially at night. “Strict Observance” does mean stricter silence, certain situations excepted…Meals are usually taken in contemplative silence. The Trappists received greater attention in recent years because of the life and writings of Thomas Merton.

Some Benedictine/Cistercian/Trappist beliefs in their own words.
Prayer
Benedictine prayer embraces the liturgy, lectio divina, quiet prayer, and the many individual calls that wind their way in and out of a day. Prayer is not a stand-alone element of monastic life. Our prayer and our life of conversion intertwine all the way along the journey…Without it, prayer can become a thing-we-do, instead of a person we are becoming…

A Primer on Monastic Spirituality
It is not enough to merely go through the external practice of these observances. In order that you may be united with God in and through these observances, you must realize the significance of what you are doing. The few pages of this Primer will give you the basics, all you need to begin profitably. In time, you can gradually embellish your doctrinal understanding through more comprehensive reading and by means of reflection upon your experience of this life. Before immersing yourself in lengthy volumes about monastic and contemplative life, be sure you master the first simple and basic principles set down in this Primer.

Monasticism in the Cistercian Tradition is a way of Christian love, a specific form of loving life in Christ. We love God in others and in God’s Self. Therefore, we monks live and love community and prayer. We love each other by forming community. We form community by loving God in praying together. Our love toward each other creates community. Our love for God creates prayer. We are a community of prayer. In our tradition, we build a life of prayer and community on three foundations. Let us look at the meaning of each of these.

Mutual Service in Manual Labor
1. Monastic Work
2. Work and the Spirit
Shared Liturgical Prayer
1. The Liturgy
2. On the Practice of Liturgical Prayer
Meditational Scripture
1. Mona – One, Alone
2. Lectio Divina: Theory
3. Lectio Divina: Practice
4. Reading
5. Meditation
6. Prayer
7. Contemplation
8. Prayer in the Heart

to be a Monk
Monks have always believed that happiness is to be found within, in the depths of the heart. So monastics have always sought true happiness in the moral-mystical sphere of right conduct, deeper knowledge of, and union with Reality. Lover and prayer, good deeds and contemplation: these are the elements, variously understood, of monastic life in all ages and cultures. Hence we can say, in broadest terms: to seek one’s happiness in a personal love relationship with the Absolute is to be a monk at heart. Or ahian, to stake your life on the belief that consummate union with ultimate Reality “with all your heart and all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength” is the greatest possible fulfillment in life–this is already to be a monk in spirit.

Monasticism is a very ancient human phenomenon. It began in the East. There were Jain monks in India as early as the 2nd millenium before Christ. Brahmanism gave birth to many monastic movements. Buddha died in the first quarter of the 6th century B.C. and in subsequent generations his philosophy was embraced by Far Eastern peoples. In the Western world there was practically no develed monasticism before the Incarnation. The Essenes and Qumran, dating from the century before Christ in Judaic circles, seems to be the closest, though faint, foreshadowing of Christian monasticism. The monasticism of Western Civilization is a Christian phenomenon.

to Be a Christian
In the history of Western man, to be a monk is first of all to be a Christian.
What does that mean? It means that the Christian monk receives Jesus Christ
as God Incarnate and the unique source of all grace, salvation and holiness.
For the Christian monk, Jesus is the Origin, medium and End of monastic life,
indeed, of all life.

Perfection in love and divine union are seen by the monk as effects Christ
the Savior accomplishes in him. More deeply, complete mystical union
with Jesus is the direct object of monastic life: because this union is
consummate union with God. Becoming one body-person with the Lord
Jesus, the Christian monk is gathered into the eternal generation of the
Son from the Father. Likewise, In Jesus the Son the monk returns to the
Father in the Spirit of Love which eternally unites the Father and the Son.
That Spirit has become the life principle of the risen body of Christ,
including all his members. A monk has a specific life-style. But at
levels deeper than lifestyle the Christian monk is simply a Christian:
a man in Christ, a man being deified by participation in the divine Jesus.

My Comment
It is amazing to me that monasteries and Roman Catholic Parishes, whether 1500 years ago or currently, are so filled with immorality which devastates and destroys lives of folk who seek to know God and follow Jesus. It is also very amazing to me that the same ideologies and practices that have been in the monastic community for almost 2000 years, are part of what we call the emergent church.

God’s WORD

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”—Matthew 6:23

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

“Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“—1 Corinthians 6:9–11

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”—Ephesians 2:10

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”—2 Corinthians 5:7

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