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Scott P. Richert

Why Steven Hepburn Is Becoming a Monk

By April 13, 2010

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As I announced a few weeks ago, the moderator of the Catholicism Forum, Steven Hepburn, has decided to enter a Carthusian Charterhouse as a postulant. No decision to enter the religious life is an easy one, but the decision to enter a contemplative order, to spend the rest of one's life in prayer and in the pursuit of union with God, is particularly momentous.

In a column on the website of the Guardian, Steven offers a glimpse into the thinking behind his decision and asks a question that I think most people, even many Catholics, have:

If "by their fruits you shall know them" is a test by which we can determine the authenticity of a Christian vocation, then what does contemplative monasticism produce exactly?

Steven's answer, like so many of his answers to questions in the forum, is spot on—and one more reason (as if I needed more) why I'm going to miss the wisdom and understanding he has shown as moderator for the past 16 months.

Yet his answer also shows how we will all continue to benefit from Steven's faith and devotion. To find out how, you'll have to read his column on the Guardian's website. And while you're there, make sure to leave a comment, wishing Steven well in this new stage in his spiritual journey and uniting your prayers to his.

Comments
April 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm
(1) MJK says:

I never understand why folks who have such a calling or vocation find it necessary to sort of justify themselves to those who question the value of the contemplative.

It’s as if the secular world is all that there is to life. In most instances, the secular, mainstream world can become drop right insufferable. I find the question about the value of this vocation on its face specious. In fact, I think there’s too much concern about the opinions of others and wish this fellow godspeed. There are some many truffles that define today’s existence, which are simply distractions. Mr. Hepburn may wish to forgo such distractions and go beyond the mundane…all the best!

April 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm
(2) Steven Hepburn says:

I was invited to write the article by the Guardian and after clearing it with the novice master I did so. Not so much to justify myself as to bear witness to a mostly sceptical audience, the Guardian being a left wing secular journal.

April 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm
(3) Sheila says:

I am happy for S. Hepburn. He is answering God’s call. I have spent about an hour reading his commentary and the comments:)) Very interesting. I now will have more spiritual food in getting St. John of the Cross, looking at the site Philakalison on Prayers of the Heart, the Jesus Prayer and this particular quote:

Monks must be as trees which exist silently in the dark and by their vital presence purify the air.

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