The Monk Within
Beverly Lanzetta, author
The Monk Within is written for the person seeking a deeper, contemplative orientation to daily life. Yearning for inner realization of divine wisdom, this "new monk" draws on four interlocking themes: embodied spirituality grounded in the sacred web of life; the mystical path of the feminine, inspired by women's monastic communities; the archetype of the monk that is the deep truth of every person; and the interdependence of the world's wisdom traditions, expressed through interfaith, interspiritual dialogue.
Lanzetta (Nine Jewels of Night), former professor of theology at Villanova University, delivers a stimulating and encouraging vision for new monastic movements in this fine book. Adapting ancient monastic tenets, Lanzetta details how these long-known practices can help to integrate “all aspects of contemporary life—work, family, friendship, and sexuality—into the sacred dimension of being.” Lanzetta’s most useful advice is on how to cast aside worldly distractions to concentrate on “the permanence of silence, love, and truth.” While she provides some practical meditation tips, her wide-ranging volume’s most lively sections are her introductions to the spiritual journeys of devoted ascetics St. Augustine, Gandhi, and Thomas Merton. Through their examples, Lanzetta urges those who wish to embark on a life of spiritual solitude to commit themselves to gratitude, obedience, and poverty (which is not just giving away money, but includes divesting oneself of “superiority” and “willfulness”). Finally, she recommends readers take vows of advocacy for current movements toward nonviolence and social justice. Written in an engaging tone and sprinkled with relatable parables, Lanzetta’s book of wonder, contemplation, and selflessness will be indispensable for readers interested in monastic spiritual practices. (BookLife)