The Monastic Path
The GCC Monastic Path is designed for clergy members who have discerned a “call” to solitude and contemplation. Some have said this path may be what the original GCC Hermitage of the Heart referred to. However, the Monastic Path differs in structure and intent. Those who choose the Monastic Path make a commitment to a contemplative, “vowed”, spiritual life, rather than simply a solitary practice or a practice of active service. While the GCCM has its own curriculum, the Monastic Path resides within the GCC, and all potential monks must first fulfill the requirements to be received as a Deacon within the GCC before being accepted as Novice Monks within the Monastery.
Because the GCC Monastic path requires a great deal of deep, personal discernment, clergy on this path work closely with the Abbot to modify the AODA curriculum as needed to better fit into their more contemplative practices. Due to the private nature of much of this discernment work, projects and final reflections will be evaluated by the Abbot, with final approval decided within the Grand Grove.
As a new path, the GCC Monastic Path offers many opportunities for clergy input and suggestions to facilitate the continued development of the program.
Meditation in the GCCM Curriculum
Within the GCC Monastery, Monks will have the opportunity to learn contemplative and other meditative practices within the monastic community through weekly Group Meditations. Every week a different form of meditation will be practiced, led by the Abbot or other Monk, and conducted over Zoom, and will usually last from 30 to 60 minutes. Through this weekly practice, Monks will experience and practice the following:
- Contemplative Meditation: The Abbot or other Monk leads the group into a silent Contemplative practice.
- Sacred Reading, commonly known as Lectio Divina: Much like “Evening Lection” and Discursive Meditation, but follows a distinct structure consisting of four steps or “movements”:
- Lectio: Slow, prayerful, attentive reading of a short passage, noticing any physical, spiritual, emotional, or other reactions to the text.
- Meditatio: Reading the text again and choosing a word or phrase to meditate upon, listening for what stirs within.
- Oratio: Listening for ways the things that are stirring within connect to everyday life, in essence, a prayerful response to the reading.
- Contemplatio: Prayerful silence and attentive listening ultimately leading to opening up to receive and rest in the Divine.
Texts will be chosen from a variety of sources, including required and suggested reading materials.
- Healing Meditation: The general AODA community will be offered, through a posting in the AODA Forum, the opportunity to send confidential requests to the GCCM for energetic healing and support, for themselves, for others, for a particular place or thing, whatever. Once a month, the Monastic community will meet to send healing prayers in response to these requests through meditation.
- GCCM Community Meetings: During Community Meetings, the first part of the Meditation time will be spent in Community Sharing, addressing any concerns, and sharing successes and suggestions. It offers a way for GCCM Monks to connect on a more personal level and get to know each other and the community better. This will lead into a meditation or contemplative practice, chosen by the leader of the meeting (the Abbot or other Monk) or suggested by another member of the Monastic Community.