"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

Contrary to some popular misconceptions, the monastery was not a compound to which the pure withdrew, safe and secure from the vicissitudes of sin and temptations that batter life in the world. Neither was it a means by which those who sought holiness could squelch desire. Rather, the monastery was a school of charity, where desire was redeemed and love redirected. The monastery was the site of a divine pedagogy whereby desire underwent not annihilation but rehabilitation. The monastic life was not about the suppression of desire but the healing or transforming of desire that had been bent, distorted, deformed.

[monasticism: Daniel M. Bell Jr., Economy of Desire]

Posted by Jeff on 02.28.2012


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