|What is a monastery?
A monastery is not so much a place set apart for monks and nuns as it is a place set apart, period. It is also a place to learn the value of powerlessness and a place to learn that time is not ours, but God’s.
Just like a monastery, our home and our duties can teach us those things. The vocation of monastic monks and nuns is to physically withdraw from the world. But the principle is equally valid for those of us who cannot go off to monasteries and become monks and nuns. Certain vocations offer the same kind of opportunity for contemplation. They too provide a desert for reflection.
The principles of monasticism are time-tested, saintsanctioned, and altogether trustworthy. But there are different kinds of monasteries, different ways of putting ourselves into harmony with the mild, and different kinds of monastic bells. Response to duty can be monastic prayer, a needy hand can be a monastic bell, and working without status and power can constitute a withdrawal into a monastery where God can meet us. This is one simple and ordinary way that the domestic can be the monastic.
-Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, Domestic Monastery