A Monastery of my Own Making…


“God help me! I am the weakest of the weak,” groaned Alleyne. “I pray that I may have more strength.”

“And to what end?” she asked sharply. “If you are, as I understand, to shut yourself forever in your cell within the four walls of an abbey, then of what use would it be were your prayer to be answered?”

“The use of my own salvation.”

She turned from him with a pretty shrug and wave. “Is that all?” she said. “Then you are no better than Father Christopher and the rest of them. Your own, your own, ever your own! My father is the king’s man, and when he rides into the press of fight he is not thinking ever of the saving of his own poor body; he recks little enough if he leave it on the field. Why then should you, who are soldiers of the Spirit, be ever moping or hiding in cell or in cave, with minds full of your own concerns, while the world, which you should be mending, is going on its way, and neither sees nor hears you? Were ye all as thoughtless of your own souls as the soldier is of his body, ye would be of more avail to the souls of others.”

“There is sooth in what you say, lady,” Alleyne answered; “and yet I scarce can see what you would have the clergy and the church to do.”

“I would have them live as others and do men’s work in the world, preaching by their lives rather than their words. I would have them come forth from their lonely places, mix with the borel folks, feel the pains and the pleasures, the cares and the rewards, the temptings and the stirrings of the common people. Let them toil and swinken, and labor, and plough the land, and take wives to themselves——”

“Alas! alas!” cried Alleyne aghast, “you have surely sucked this poison from the man Wicliffe, of whom I have heard such evil things.”

“Nay, I know him not. I have learned it by looking from my own chamber window and marking these poor monks of the priory, their weary life, their profitless round. I have asked myself if the best which can be done with virtue is to shut it within high walls as though it were some savage creature. If the good will lock themselves up, and if the wicked will still wander free, then alas for the world!”

~ “The White Company”

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5 Responses to A Monastery of my Own Making…

  1. Tom says:

    She showed him that the sword hath two edges and the greatest is servant to the rest.
    By my kilt, I’m glad to have found you. May I lurk, perhaps to stammer a bit?
    -a Bibleater

  2. Joe Putnam says:

    Hey Shotgun,
    Good post man. The lady learned from her window what the Morning Star proclaimed as he gave plowboys the scriptures in their “vulgar” tongue. The modern *professing* church is in a monastery, and figuratively castrated when it comes to opposing evil and helping their kin. The name of their monastery? St. Arminius’ Abbey of the Rapture.

    • I’m selfish here because when I read the above passage I applied it to myself.

      I stay shut in (figuratively, but too often literally); shut in with my books and literature from old Europe. Reading about pleasant friends and better times while seething about our current situation. And too often, I keep that part of me (which I think is the best part) locked up and masked; it’s easier to let someone publicly blaspheme than it is to call them on it, for example. Family reunions and Thanksgiving go a lot smoother if I let all the liberalisms and praising of mixed-couplings go by unanswered.

      I’d cloistered myself in a monastery of my own making. Or, in less flowery jargon: I hide my light under a bushel, out of reflex and a sense of self-preservation.

      …but no good Saxon knight cares over-much for self-preservation, especially in a world with fair maidens in need of rescuing. :)

  3. Faust says:

    I need to read that book.


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