Becoming a *Monk in the World* with Roy DeLeon

Roy DeLeon is a fellow oblate with me at St. Placid Priory in Lacey, WA.  Roy is also trained as a yoga teacher and invites people into the physical poses of this practice as an embodied way of praying with the psalms and other scriptures.  Roy will be offering a weekly movement prayer as a part of the Advent 2011–Birthing the Holy: Becoming a Monk in the World online retreat (November 27-December 24, 2011).

Leave a comment below and enter for a chance to win a free signed copy of Roy's wonderful book Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life.

A monk in the world

The young monkfish asked elder monkfish: “what is water?” Elder: “It’s all around you and within you. You are swimming in it. It’s what keeps you alive. There’s no you without it.”

At another space and time, a similar conversation between this monk wannabe and a priest: “I’m disappointed I can’t be a monk anymore.” Priest: “The world is your monastery. Wherever you are is your cell.”

At my Benedictine oblation in 2002, I was asked, “What do you seek?” My answer was, and still is, “God.” But how does one seek that which is around you, within you, that which is your ground for being? Thus this world monk's journey began.

With all the worldly duties and temptations, it’s a continuous struggle to stay and live in the Presence of Love. My practice includes embodying Benedict’s Rule, delivering my oblation commitment of obedience, stability, and continuous conversion, regular holistic prayer (deep awareness in body, heart, and spirit, of Love’s Presence), carrying his cross (that of compassionately recognizing the human condition) and following Christ (that of being Love to all). I desperately long to experience the world as the monastery, to find God wherever he is. This is what this monk in the world’s journey looks like. And always I begin again and again. When this worldly pilgrimage reaches its fullness, hopefully my life would have been a living prayer to justify my final exhale with the word “Amen.”

—Roy DeLeon

Roy has a gift for storytelling and guiding others in embodied ways of praying that are spacious, expansive, and help to cultivate a deep compassion for oneself and the world.

Find out more about Roy's work at his website.  Join us for the online Advent retreat and bring your body's prayer to your own Advent journey of becoming a monk in the world!

22 Responses to "Becoming a *Monk in the World* with Roy DeLeon"

  1. Mary B. says:

    Thank you for sharing these lovely thoughts. It reminds me of a time when I said to a priest that I felt I didn't pray enough because I spent so much time working. He simply said, "Let your work be your prayer." While certainly we need times of quiet, coming to know the world as our monastery allows us to see God present in every moment and every activity. I am looking forward to the Advent retreat!

  2. I'm fascinated by oblates and how they seek to integrate monastice practices into regular life. Thanks for this post.

  3. Nadine Tatum says:

    A lovely meditation. As a strong introvert I have always felt a pull toward a contemplative life but have never felt called to a strictly monastic life. I have been strongly influenced by Henri Nouwen's book Out of Solitude, which talks about cycles of solitude and engagement, and how each informs and strengthens the other .

  4. Patricia C says:

    It seems that so much of our time is spent in "searching for God," as if God were someplace so far beyond us that God might as well be unreachable. And yet, the God who longs to be in relationship with each of us is so present in the ordinary, so accessible in the everydayness of our lives. To be a monk in the world is to know that wherever I am, whatever I am doing, God is present. Our work, our care of our families, our prayer, our laughter, our work, our play – all are ways to encounter the living God. To have our lives be a living prayer is indeed to know God.

  5. Barbara Lindquist Miller says:

    Roy's guidance for incorporating the body in prayer is an essential element for countering the media images of the human body used for profit. Each of our bodies are holy temples of the Creator. Expressing that gift of grace through bodily prayer confirms daily the sanctity of our physical presence in the world.

  6. Sally says:

    I make my oblation at Our Lady of Grace Monastery on All Saint's Day this year. It is helpful to hear your comments on your way of being a monk in the world. The guidance of others who are on pilgrimage to God makes the way less lonely and the path more clear. Thank you.

  7. So many of our women recovering from addiction are searching for a spiritual connection and they have what they seek. By the grace of God they become awake and realize their oneness with the God of their understanding.

  8. Tracy says:

    Life as a living prayer – that is the beautiful goal. A partnership of our own effort and the in-breathing of the One to whom we pray. Amen!

  9. amy watson says:

    Thank you so much for having a giveaway. I would love to win. It sounds amazing.

  10. Kia ora, manaakitia koe, bless you. I am living in New Zealand, on a small Benedictine based community, we have been here two years now, and exploring being here and part of the wider community, being a monk within, and without, trying to peacefully remain in 'loves' embrace is my quest, and my mosts difficult task in life, so i would appreciate your book immensely.

    Haave a wonderful time today, Susannah

  11. Briana says:

    As a Benedictine woman, I too am called to seek God. While some days (like today) it is challenging, other days God's presence is so evident that God seems to be shouting at me to "pay attention." While it is true that God is present everywhere and at all times, I can become so focused on the minutiae of the day that I forget to take a breath, look up, and just notice.
    I am reminded of the first line of St. Benedict's rule, "Listen, my child, to your master's instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart." We are called be in a posture of attending, of paying attention to God in whatver way God chooses to reveal Godself. Thank you, Roy, for that reminder.

  12. Amber Andreasen says:

    I stumbled upon Roy's book on Amazon a month or so ago and had added it to my wish list, so I'm very excited he will be a part of the Advent retreat!

  13. Grace says:

    I found that description of being a monk in the world helpful, particulary this part: "carrying his cross (that of compassionately recognizing the human condition) and following Christ (that of being Love to all)."

  14. Tim Yerrington says:

    The challenge is definitely not God being present to us, but rather our being present to His presence throughout our ordinary and everyday life. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Thank you for reminding me of Love's presence who is Jesus the Christ.

  15. Christine says:

    " And always I begin again and again." What a beautiful way to encourage ourselves and others to be — fully in the present and accepting — so essential. Thank you!

  16. Rebecca says:

    "hopefully my life would have been a living prayer" — I am humbled by this beautiful phrase and all of the comments already left here. Only recently did I find "Abbey of the Arts" and am very grateful for having found such a community that Christine has gathered here.

  17. Al Roehl says:

    I just returned from my weekly yoga and feel refreshed and then I read your wonderful stories of how big God is and am curious and feel we share a common Spirit filled journey.

  18. Laura says:

    Looking forward to your leading us for portions of the Advent retreat–thanks in advance!

  19. I'm off to read more about your book. I think it will go on my wish list!

  20. Thanks all for the heart-filling comments. 'See' you all in about a month. I know you are all with us in Spirit, but let me share another story:

    Mom was saying goodnight to her little girl: Goodnight, hon. I'll turn off the lights now.' 'No, mom, I'm scared.' 'Don't be. God is here with you.' 'But mom, I want a God with skin.'

    Join us in this holistic advent journey.

  21. Travis says:

    I've always been fascinated by monasticism and sometimes wishes that I could be a monk. Thank you for this post; I suppose I don't have to join a monastery in order to do so.

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