Ascetic practice takes intention and support

Ascetic practices are relevant to the kinds of persons we become. Without them we can only drift, subject to whatever influences come our way. With them, on the other hand, we have the possibility of some significant control over our moral future. This is also especially true for the Christian, who can also count upon an assistance beyond him-or herself—though not an assistance that replaces our own initiative toward moral realization through planned disciplinary exercises. A philosophically clarified understanding of ascetic practices that are psychologically and theologically sound is needed if we are to understand the meaning and process of the redemption of human personality. The Saint Benedict for whom we wait must not come with a bundle of switches.

From Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks. Copyright © 2016 by Willard Family Trust. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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