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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!

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22 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. “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.

  3. ” 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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).”

  6. 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!

  7. 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.