Don’t Flee the World . . . Free It

May 28, 2019

Early in my return to the practice of the faith, I was defined by a genre of spiritual literature that privileged, in one way or another, the monastic path of “renunciation of the world” as the most radical Christian way of perfection. What’s called in Latin the fuga mundi, “flight from the world,” or the contemptus mundi, “contempt for the world.” The language of that tradition is pithily expressed by Thomas à Kempis: “This is the highest wisdom: to despise the world and to aspire to the kingdom of Heaven.” The vast majority of spiritual literature in the Catholic tradition was written by those dedicated to some version of this flight, e.g., nuns, monks, clerics, or laity who resembled them. This literature valorized the life of otherworldly contemplation and celibate life, privileged dedication to religious activities over secular ones, and possessed a marked ambivalence—sometimes antipathy—toward nonreligious realities like secular culture…
Source: Word on Fire Blog


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