Study of some kind forms part of the life of most monks, because reading, writing and study are aspects of any day in the monastery as required by the Holy Rule.
The opening prayer for the feast of SS Theodore and Adrian, Archbishop of Canterbury and Abbot of Christ Church, Canterbury celebrated in England on 19 September reminds all Christians of the importance of continuing their studies, and refers to “you sent from afar … Saint Adrian to foster holy learning.”
Catholic monks, nuns, sisters, and indeed everyone can profit from a good habit of daily reading, study and reflection. The tradition of monastic learning and study is called “sapiential” because its goal is both truth and wisdom. All religious, whether monks, nuns, friars, or sisters, will study their order’s Rule, Constitutions, and history during the novitiate. They will also study Scripture, which is a lifelong process. Benedictine monasteries read the Rule every day, covering the entire rule three times each year. You can read today’s reading in the left sidebar of this page.
Truth …. is a personal knowledge of God and Creation. Theological truth encountered in theological research, study and reflection is not irreconcilable with scientific truths according to Catholic teaching.Fides et Ratio, Encyclical Letter, John Paul II, 14 September 1998
Wisdom …. is a personal knowledge of self in the light and experience of one’s encounter with God and transformation by God.
It is impossible for anyone to know everything there is to know. Therefore, there is always something new to learn. Many monks take their Scriptural studies to a deeper level, such as a formal doctorate. Other monks will study other aspects of theology, philosophy, or prayer. This can include studying prayerful arts, such as icon painting or music. Sometimes a monk needs to study something to help him with his work in the monastery.
Ealing Abbey is very fortunate to have a well-stocked library to help with studies. The librarian buys a number of new books each year. Most monks will usually have a number of books in use at any one time.
Further Reading about Study and Monks
Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimus educationis, Pope Paul VI 28 October 1965
Love of Learning and the Desire for God: Study of Monastic Culture, Jean Leclercq, 1982
The Return of the Benedictines to London, R. Kollar, 1989.
© Ealing Abbey, copyright 17 February 2018