A good monk would never study God. Rather, a good monk would experience God and call the experience theology. Monastics in early Christianity thought of theology as a way of knowing God. In fact, you might think of monastics as people who seek their true identity in knowing God.
Monastic theology is built on the structure of a ladder with four rungs. Reading scripture is the first step for a beginner. After much reading of scripture, that knowledge must be digested through meditation at the second rung.
The third rung is prayer, asking God for knowledge and understanding. Contemplation, the fourth rung, is beholding God in an experience of the divine that is purely mystical. This is how the monk comes to know God more fully.
We can follow this course of knowing God as present day monastics. Take each rung slowly. God never hurries or skips a step. Take time to read the Bible without questions or analysis. Then take the scriptures of your heart up the ladder with you.
Be still and know God.
Calvin Wulf is a writer, spiritual director, and retreat facilitator who lives in Colorado with his wife Lisa. He has a passion for Christian spiritual formation drawing from the ancient spiritual traditions of the Apostles, and Christian sages through the ages. He is also a vowed oblate of the contemplative monastic Order of Julian of Norwich.
TAGS: Christian Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, Christian Meditation
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