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    Do Monks Bite?

    August 21, 2010

    My girls and I have taken up letterboxing. I recommend this as a great way to spend time with your kids while getting exercise, getting artsy, and getting fresh air outdoors. Our most recent hunt led us up a country road to a monastery, where we sampled a little taste of Catholicism. The conversations went something like this (more or less):

    “Isn’t this a beautiful place, girls? Maybe we’ll see some monks.”

    “What are monks? Do they bite?”

    “I don’t think so.”

    “Wow! Crypts are awesome. Can we light a candle?”

    “Not for $2.25. Remember, be reverent and respectful. Tiptoe. Whisper. Don’t touch anything. Try not to breathe.”

    “What is that lady doing?”

    “She has come here to pray.”

    “Why did she have to come here to pray?”

    “She feels close to God here. It’s a quiet place away from distractions. The Bible says a lot about getting away to a quiet place.”

    “But is she really closer to God here?”

    “No. God is wherever we are. He has made His sanctuary inside us.”

    “Is that like sanitary?”


    “I can’t believe she came all this way just to pray.”

    “Remember, be respectful. Catholics are wonderful people.”

    “Are they Christians?”

    “Some are. Just like some Protestants are Christians. Some really know and love Jesus.”

    “Oh. What’s that bowl of water for?”

    “That’s holy water. You dip your hands in it when you come in. It makes you clean.”

    “Can I try it?”

    “No! It harbors bacteria.”

    “But I thought it makes you clean.”

    “Never mind.”

    “Why do they always have Jesus on the cross?”

    “To remember his death, which is very important. But I’m glad He’s no longer there, aren’t you?”

    “Yeah. Is that a monk?

    “That would be a monk.”

    “Do monks ever go shopping?”

    “Not for video games. Just for food and toilet paper, I think.”

    “Why do they live here?”

    “They have devoted their life to serving God.”

    “I want to demote my life to serving God.”


    “I want to serve God.”

    “Me too. But we choose to serve God in the worldly places, where the people are. Our love for God is shown in the way we treat bossy bosses, and mean teachers, and bratty sisters, and moody moms, and slobbish  kids who leave their clothes on the floor…”


    “… and telemarketers, and slow waiters, and tailgaters, and grouchy old  men….”

    “Monks are lucky.”

    “They never marry and have kids.”

    “Never mind. But I still like monks.”

    “Me too.”

    “Who is that old man?”

    “They call him ‘Father’ so-and-so. I think he’s the priest, kind of like the dad to all these monks, which are called ‘brothers’.”

    “Do we have a priest?”


    “Pastor John?”

    “No. Our priest is Jesus. But He is our brother too.”

    “Cool. Our priest is our brother. And God is our Father?”

    “You got it, girl.”

    3 thoughts on “Do Monks Bite?

    1. WillyWonka says:

      (Jesus) is nowhere presented as the relection and image of God more accuratley than in his suffering and death. Without exception if our Jesus is one other than that which was crucified, its a self serving Jesus which we have projected out of the fancies of our own mind. These Jesus’ are manful and attractive and beguiling, however great the imagination, it falls short of the Jesus crucified. Are we not rather a people like those of old who desired a king who would come down from the cross and we will believe him rather than be required or invited to join him on it. How many of us that talk about the cross really in our hearts desire that he come down from it.

      -Sermon by Art Katz

    2. Faith says:

      Dear Mr. Katz,
      Thank you so much for your very excellent comment. I greatly appreciate it. I have felt for a long time that Catholics have a better understanding of the theology of suffering (both of Christ’s and ours)and see its value more than many Protestants (see the post entitled, “Chainsaw Lady.”).

      May God Bless you richly, dear brother!

    3. willywonka says:

      : )

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