It is a short but very valuable reflection on the role of monasteries in our contemporary culture and politics, and a reminder that monastic life is not a retreat from the world, but a retreat for the world. The monastery walls are, in this sense, culturally and politically porous and are agents for redemption on the world at all levels, including the material. It provides a follow up to comments made in 2011 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the indispensability of monasteries in improving the cultural environment.
James KA Smith has on his blog Fors Clavigera provided with a succinct yet incisive reflection on the monastic life via a painting by the 17th century painter Gaspar de Crayer, entitled Saint Benedict Receiving Totila, King of the Ostrogoths.
Smith’s reflection can be found by clicking here