Freeman, Brendan, OCSO. Come and See: The Monastic Way for
Today. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey has a "come and see" program where young
men discerning the monastic way of life can visit. This book titled
Come and See depicts a perspective inside the mind of a
The author is Abbot Brendan Freeman, OCSO, the abbot of New
Melleray Abbey in Peosta, Iowa, since 1984. At the outset of the
book, Abbot Brendan states that the current vision of monastic life
is not something new, but goes back to the Desert Fathers of the
fourth century. However, it is also new because it is rooted in the
soul that never grows old.
The abbot is to create a climate of meaning in the monastic life
that makes sense. Abbot Brendan says that Jesus told His disciples
to "come and see" where I live. He could have said to come and see
where you live, where your real life is being lived.
Monastic life is not some esoteric or Gnosticway of viewing the
reality of life, according to the author. It is a treasure that
lies deep within the heart, a universal spirituality that is a
common inheritance of all who seek God. Because there is a desire
in our hearts to seek God and a desire for ultimate meaning, each
of us has the heart of a monk. This statement alone should speak
powerfully to oblates.
Among the great themes of monastic life found in the Rule of
St. Benedict that Abbot Brendan focuses on are silence,
solitude, community life and prayer. An interesting point he makes
is that an ancient notion of the monastery is that it is much like
a hospital. It is a place of healing the soul, the spirit and the
Abbot Brendan's insights will enable the reader to better
understand what keeps a monk going, why he lives the way he does
and what he is seeking.
Thomas J. Rillo, oblate