The cloistered contemplative life is ordered exclusively to prayer, the one force that Our Lord said could dispel certain demonic strongholds. The early Christians were aware of this. In looking at the early monastic literature, one of the principal motives which drew men into the desert was to battle with Satan, and this in imitation of the Savior who entered the desert to battle with Satan. And their battles were not merely personal. They were trying to bind the demons, to tie them down so they could not go into the cities, where the people lived, to tempt them. So they saw themselves as soldiers, indeed, officers in the Lord’s army engaged in a real spiritual warfare, fighting back the demons so they could not enter into society.
This is what contemplative communities should be, centers of prayer to fight back the demonic. Entering the cloister has always been seen metaphorically as entering the desert, far away from the distractions of the world, and as a place where one fights the demons within oneself—but also to fight back the forces of evil as they attack the Church and society. We are all in the midst of this spiritual warfare, but the fighting is particularly intense in the cloister. If they win the battle within their own souls, within the cloister, then the demonic strongholds will be broken and we can more easily overcome the devil’s influence in our families and in society and successfully.
Now that is the responsibility of all Christians, to pray. But the contemplative life is exclusively ordered to and organized around the ministry of intercession. And because of their consecration to that work, their prayers are especially efficacious.
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The Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel is a monastic, cloistered Roman Catholic community founded in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Wyoming near Yellowstone National Park. In the solitude and silence of the mountain wilderness, the Carmelite monks of Wyoming seek to perpetuate the charism of the Blessed Virgin Mary by living the Marian life as prescribed by the primitive Carmelite Rule and the ancient monastic observance of Carmelite men.
Blessed with an abundance of young, orthodox, manly, prayerful vocations in a joyful community life, the Carmelite monks know that the Lord Jesus is calling souls to follow Him along “the narrow way” of traditional monastic religious life in the enclosure. The Carmelite monk may aspire to be a lay brother who sanctifies his day through manual labor in an agrarian way of life or a priest who celebrates the Sacraments, gives spiritual direction, and preaches retreats to the monastery’s retreatants. Once mature in the spiritual life, a Carmelite monk may aspire to become a solitary anchoritic hermit-monk in the mountains, alone with the Alone.
To support their growing community, the Carmelites Monks of Wyoming launched Mystic Monk Coffee. The monks roast and blend coffee as a form of manual labor and to raise funds to build their monastery.
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Admont Abbey (German: Stift Admont) is a Benedictine monastery located on the Enns River in the town of Admont, Austria. The oldest remaining monastery in Styria, Admont Abbey contains the largest monastic library in the world, as well as a long-established scientific collection. It is known for its Baroque architecture, art, and manuscripts.
The abbey’s location on the borders of the mountainous Gesäuse National Park (the name Admont derives from the Latin expression ad montes, (“at the mountains”) is of unusual scenic beauty.
The library hall, built in 1776 to designs by the architect Joseph Hueber, is 70 metres long, 14 metres wide and 13 metres high, and is the largest monastery library in the world. It contains c. 70,000 volumes of the monastery’s entire holdings of c. 200,000 volumes.
The ceiling consists of seven cupolas, decorated with frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte showing the stages of human knowledge up to the high point of Divine Revelation. Light is provided by 48 windows and is reflected by the original colour scheme of gold and white. The architecture and design express the ideals of the Enlightenment, against which the sculptures by Joseph Stammel of “The Four Last Things” make a striking contrast.
The abbey possesses over 1,400 manuscripts, the oldest of which, from St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, were the gift of the founder, Archbishop Gebhard, and accompanied the first monks to settle here, as well as over 900 incunabulae.
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Trappist monks brew some of the tastiest- and strongest- beers around, but what really separates their beer from most is that the beer is not sold for profit.
Trappist monks, a group of monks that make up a branch of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, have been brewing beer since the Middle Ages. Because the Cistercian order requires monasteries to remain self-sufficient, Trappist monks often sell their homemade beer to the public.
To sell Trappist beer, however, Trappist brewers must adhere to strict guidelines. First, the income from the sales of the beer must go back into the monastery and pays living expenses and maintenance of the monastery. Also, any excess profit must go to charity.
Trappist beers must also be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery under the supervision of monks, and the beer making production should back seat to is the monks. You’ll find imitation beers, such as Ovila (which is produced in Northern California) labeled as abbey beers, but these are brewed by commercial brewers and aren’t considered Trappist beers.
The rarity and hand-crafted taste of these brews also makes them highly sought after by connoisseurs and enthusiasts.