WHAT IS A CHARISM?

The following items I found in a book by the late Father Anthony Delisi, OCSO, a monk of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit.  He writes in this book about Cistercian charisms, What makes a Cistercian Monk? His book is taken from a series of weekly Chapter meetings he presented to monks from 2003-2004. He offers these refections to Lay Cistercians to help them define what it means to seek God in the world and not in a monastery.

What is a charism? He defines a charism as that something that makes a monk. The following areas of formation, leading to transformation, are charisms that monks try to have in themselves. Some of them are:

Foundations of the Cistercian Monastery

  • Nothing is to be preferred to the work of God
  • Faith in the rule of St. Benedict
  • Respect and Love for one another
  • The Stability of the Rule
  • Respect your Elders, Love the Young

Charisms of the Strict Order Observance Cistercians (OCSO)

  • Early Rising
  • Encountering the Presence of God Especially at Divine Office
  • The Psalms as Song and Prayer of the Monks
  • Lectio Divina
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Silence in Contemplative Prayer
  • Why do we need solitude?
  • Treasuring Cistercian simplicity
  • Living by the work of our hands
  • Embracing the torch of obedience
  • Stability and Community
  • The gift of celibacy
  • Living in Community
  • Amore Christi–the love of Christ
  • Conversion of manners (life)
  • Humility
  • Patience
  • Balance

Not all of these charisms are appropriate for Lay Cistercians, but many of them are.  We use five: silence, solitude, pray, work, and community as cornerstones and try to implement the rest of them as we can.

See: https://thecenterforcontemplativepractice.org for my blog on contemplative practice.

See www.trappist.net to see the Monastery of the Holy Spirit and look under Lay Cistercians.

UIODG

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