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THE MUSINGS OF A MONK

“Well, my brother, after a somewhat guilt ridden adolescence caused by my strong sexual drive being in conflict with the vestigial Jansenistic prohibitions of the east coast Irish Catholic Church----according to which moving from a simple kiss to the intimacy and delights of a French kiss brought me from a state of venial sin into the damnation of a mortal sin just by one reckless thrust of my tongue----not to mention the shame of confessing in the darkened holy, confidential confines of Saint Raymond's confessional every Saturday afternoon that I had again pursued the pleasures of sexual ecstasy by masturbating in the closet, or while taking a shower, or while watching a luscious actress on some afternoon TV show while alone on the couch of our living room after high school classes, and before the rest of the family came home----anyways, after all this teenage angst, I realized that I was never able to convey to the priest behind the confessional screen nor to anyone else for that matter how hot and imaginative and delicious and personal the delights of my masturbation were and how I could not understand how something which felt so good could be so bad----well, after all that confusion of feelings, I, as a young man of twenty years old strongly then attracted to a beautiful young woman and wanting to know her intimately yet fearing damnation if I did dare to know her carnally outside of marriage, I decided one night under a starry sky alone on a beach that I did not want to continue existing in this life where my Flesh & Spirit were being torn apart----frankly, I looked at the personal death of suicide as a romantic albeit dramatic option----I imagined my just simply walking out from the sandy beach swimming straight out into the Atlantic Ocean and not stopping----swimming out into the vast ocean always had for me the strong appeal of returning to the Natural Mother of us all----but then, still standing at the edge of the waves, I grabbed hold of another option----I thought of the honesty of my daring to choose wholeheartedly a life of dedicated hedonism as did the legendary Don Juan in Mozart’s beautiful opera, and I remember that option had an even stronger appeal to me than drowning in the cold Atlantic, for it would simply be a matter of my accepting the existential truth of my natural stallion hormonal urgings to copulate with the opposite sex----to yield completely to the yin/yang resolution in which 1 + 1 = 1 and harmony is achieved----then the horrible conflict of my Flesh & Spirit would cease----I would simply and courageously choose Flesh, and in my embracing Flesh, in my celebrating the erotic----like Hugh Heftner----I would become free----yes, there on that cold and lonely night such a radical choice made good sense to my existential, philosophical, so curious mind-–-especially since it was in charge of a then still innocent body yet to know in the Biblical sense of knowing any woman at all----I mean I had kissed and felt up a few girls, but I was still then a virgin and never had even seen a woman completely naked nor ever had intercourse with one----and after all a philosopher is obligated to get to know everything at least once in life----EGO HOMO SUM NIHIL HUMANUM ALIENUM PUTO----I remember smiling at being so clever to make such a outstanding choice----choosing life over death----knowing over ignorance----but then all at once another option suddenly made itself known----maybe because my Godmother was praying for me at that very moment----or perhaps only because it was such a superabundantly beautiful starry night that I happened to be standing in----but I remember I suddenly felt the presence of God, and my Spirit just about leapt out of my body----and the thought came to me that I could free my self from this agony of the dichotomy of Flesh and Spirit by choosing Spirit!----by giving my life to God completely and seeking Him only in prayer and fasting and meditation----SOLUS DEUS----yes, as a monk away from the ordinary world safe within the holy walls of an Abbey and wholly committed to the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience----there renouncing my Body and choosing the life of the Spirit, I, as I once read in the biography of a saint, I could find the mystical ecstasy of becoming a flame at the tip of a candle----I think it was in Chesterton’s biography of Saint Francis of Assisi----yes, he became at last “a flame at the tip of a candle”----or was it his book on Aquinas, “The Dumb Ox”?----maybe it was Saint Thomas who became “a flame at the tip of a candle”----well, anyways, looking back today from this station of my agedness----I just turned seventy years old----I do believe that if that night had been blanketed with clouds instead of brilliant with celestial glory, I probably would have chosen then and there the call of my Flesh----I chose, however, yes, feeling that great surge of grace under those glorious stars----or maybe it was my Aunt Julia’s prayers that made it be such a starry, starry night----well, anyways, I consciously and willfully chose to give myself body and soul completely to God and to seek Him within a monastery----to seek the Spirit of Spirit----the Spirit of all life and creation----to walk away from the world and seek Spirit as a monk----all these years ----yes, it is what I did----which is what I did----and knowing now what I know and living what I live now, I have no regrets----no regrets----does a flame regret no longer being a waxy candle?----no, no, it does not----no, no, it does not.”


czaja36@yahoo.com


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by Lapwing





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