Monastic Monday: Monastic Vows/Practices Part 5: Conversion of Life

This practice is a very difficult one to just sum up and put a neat little bow on, saying this is how you do it go have fun.  This looks different for each person; it is the process of changing everything in your life to reflect the majesty and glory of God.  It is each day trying to choose the option that makes you look more like Jesus.  It is positioning yourself so that the Holy Spirit moves through you into the lives of those around you.  It is a way of life that invites the Godhead into yourself, to change you and shape you, so that your actions reflect the work and service of God.

This idea of Conversion of Life has been debated over the last 50 years or so, some believing that it was merely St Benedict’s way of saying be conformed into the life of a monk, taking on chastity, obedience, and poverty.  But as “simple” as the Rule is, I do not think our father made it that simple.  I think he wanted the monk to change his life not to conform to the Rule or the life of the monk, but to the life of God.  The life of the monk is to focus on God, an ordered life helps with that, but having an ordered life is not the goal of the monk.  Just as much as having a kid, did not make me a dad, it made me a father.  Playing with my daughter, getting down on the floor, teaching her, changing her diapers, caring for her, those things make me a dad.  It is the same for the monk, saying the Psalms, wearing a habit, or living in a monastery does not make someone a monk.  Praying the Psalms, being obedient, loving God, showing love and hospitality in the monastery, and changing your whole life around make one a monk.

So how do you convert your life to allow more room for God?  I am not sure how you do it, for me, it is prayer, daily listening/contemplative prayer.  Being active in church, serving in the church; praying throughout the day; and reading the Bible daily, these are some ways that I find converting my life to let God fully move through me. So really I think the way to practice Conversion of Life is a hit and miss process, trying to find what works for you.  If Lectio Divina really works for you, then do it.  If you cannot really do contemplative prayer without losing focus, then do not practice it very often.

Question: How do you allow God to move through you?

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About Jesse

I am a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts in Theology focusing on Church History. I am a Third Order Benedictine monk, in the Company of Jesus. I am married to a wonderful woman, we just had a baby Michaela Rose. You can follow me and be alerted of new blog post by following me on Twitter @jtalexanderiv. Or following this blog.
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One Response to Monastic Monday: Monastic Vows/Practices Part 5: Conversion of Life

  1. Sarah says:

    I believe that Conversion of Life is changing to the life of God. However, lives of chastity and obedience add to this conversion.

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