The spring 2021 Christian in the World lecture, Developing the Monk Within in a Time of COVID: What Monastic Life Can Teach Us About Coping, is a panel discussion on how living with COVID-19 restrictions has been, for some, a time to discover their inner contemplative, their “monk within.” Br. Israel Sanchez, O.S.B., moderates the panel discussion with Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B., Br. Thomas Buttrick, O.S.B., and Mount Angel oblates Suzanne Kaufmann and Maizie Redner.
The original presentation was livestreamed from Mount Angel on May 8, 2021. It is available to replay on the Abbey’s YouTube channel.
The fall 2020 Christian in the World series explores Dante’s Divine Comedy, an allegory about the soul’s development from being stuck in sin to being free. The three lectures, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, are presented by Fr. Stephen Rowan, STB, PhD, and are available to view on Mount Angel’s YouTube channel.
Notes from Fr. Stephen Rowan
Dante was a Christian in the World. In his case, it was the world of the 13th-14th century Florence, Tuscany, and northern Italy. His great text, the Divine Comedy, is a window into his world, showing us characters whose actions earned them a place in one of three states of life after their time on earth: Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise.
If that were all it is, the Comedy would be of interest only to antiquarians or curiosity seekers. But the Comedy is also a mirror reflecting into our own times, showing how Christians in the world can find themselves — even now — under conditions that are very much like Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise. Our age, no less than Dante’s, is plagued by avarice, envy, and pride; like Dante, we have seen abuses of power in state and church; we, too, have wondered how we and our society can become “unstuck” from a tangled up state of soul and find a way out.
Dante’s Comedy is a way of speaking — an allegory — about the soul’s development from being stuck in sin to being free; from being lost to finding its true home; from fumbling in the dark to living with love in the light. It is, in the end and all along the way, a hopeful journey.
With a little guidance about Dante’s themes and style of storytelling, the Divine Comedy, which Dante intended to be a saving message for his own time, can serve the same purpose in ours.
– Fr. Stephen Rowan