ONE of the advantages of the monastic life, created by vows, is that it

is wholly in keeping with human nature such as God created it. Men

differ in their spiritual complexion more widely even than they do in

mental caliber and physical make-up. All are not fitted by character

and general condition for the same 'career; we are "cut out" for our

peculiar tasks. It is the calling of one to be a soldier, of another to

statesman, because each is best fitted by nature for this

particular walk of life. The born poet, if set to put together a

machine, will, in the majority of cases, make a sorry mess of the job,

and a bricklayer will usually prove to be an indifferent story-writer.

So also one is called to be a good Christian, while his brother may be

destined for a more perfect life. If there are vocations in the natural

life, why should there not be in the supernatural, which is just as

truly a life? If variety of aptitudes and likes determine difference of

calling, why should this not hold good for the soul as well as for the

body and mind? If one should always follow the bent of one's

legitimately natural inclinations, no fault can reasonably be found if

another hearkens to the voice of his soul's aspirations and elect a

career in harmony with his nature.

There are two roads on which all men must travel to their destiny. One

is called the way of Precept, the other the way of Counsel. In each the

advantages and inconveniences are about equally balanced. The former is

wide and level with many joys and pleasures along the way; but there

are many pitfalls and stumbling blocks, while on one side is a high,

steep precipice over which men fall to their eternal doom. Those

destined by Providence to go over this road are spiritually shod for

the travel; if they slip and tumble, it is through their own neglect.

Some there are to whom it has been shown by experience--very little

sometimes suffices--that they have, for reasons known alone to God,

been denied the shoe that does not slip; and that if they do not wish

to go over the brink, they must get off the highway and follow a path

removed from this danger, a path not less difficult but more secure for

them. Their salvation depends on it. This inside path, while it insures

safety for these, might lead the others astray. Each in his respective

place will be saved; if they exchange places, they are lost.

Then again, if you will look at it from another standpoint, there

remains still on earth such a thing as love of God, pure love of God.

And this love can be translated into acts and life. Love, as all well

know, has its degrees of intensity and perfection. All well-born

children love their parents, but they do not all love them in the same

degree. Some are by nature more affectionate, some appreciate favors

better, some receive more and know that more is expected of them.

In like manner, we who are all children of the Great Father are not all

equally loving and generous. What therefore is more natural than that

some should choose to give themselves up heart, soul and body to the

exclusive service of God? What is there abnormal in the fact that they

renounce the world and all its joys and legitimate pleasures, fast,

pray and keep vigil, through pure love of God? There is only one thing

they fear, and that is to offend God. By their vows they put this

misfortune without the pale of possibility, as far as such a thing can

be done by a creature endowed with free will.

Of course there are those for whom all this is unmitigated twaddle and

bosh. To mention abnegation, sacrifice, etc., to such people is to

speak in a language no more intelligible than Sanskrit. Naturally one

of these will expect his children to appreciate the sacrifices he makes

for their happiness, but with God they think it must be different.

There was once a young man who was rich. He had never broken the

Commandments of God. Wondering if he had done enough to be saved, he

came to the Messiah and put the question to Him. The answer he received

was, that, if he were sinless, he had done well, but that there was a

sanctity, not negative but positive, which if he would acquire, would

betoken in him a charity becoming a follower of a Crucified God. Christ

called the young man to a life of perfection. "If thou wilt be perfect,

go, sell what thou hast, give to the poor, then come, and follow me."

It is not known whether this invitation was accepted by the young man;

but ever since then it has been the joy of men and women in the

Catholic Church to accept it, and to give up all in order to serve the


Scoffers and revilers of monasticism are a necessary evil. Being given

the course of nature that sometimes runs to freaks, they must exist.

Living, they must talk, and talking they must utter ineptitudes. People

always do when they discourse on things they do not comprehend. But let

this be our consolation: monks are immortal. They were, they are, they

ever shall be. All else is grass.