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Coptic Orthodox Church
Monastacism vs. Marriage
edited December 1969
I just have a simple question...but I know there will be many complicated answers to it...well monasticism vs. marriage...is one greater than the other or is it that that way for some people and other way for others?
This is a verse that I recently came across...
"Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is goor for then to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, the should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion."
so...this is the way i look at it....if you can stay unmarried...that's good... That will make it easier to really concentrate on your relationship with God.
But if staying unmarried will cause you to sin...then it is better to get married....
I guess it just depends on the person...
I hope I answered your question! I can't wait to hear how others will reply...it's an interesting question...
A priest once told me that the ideal is to be a virgin your entire life, to live a life of purity without sex. This doesn't mean that sex within marriage is wrong, but it is certainly not as pure as a life of celibacy. A life of a monk and a life of celibacy are not for everyone, however. True, it is great to be a monk, but there are some people who serve better and accomplish higher levels of spirituality as a married person. I think it all depends on what is right for you. Personally it is my belief that a monk (or a nun) leads a life more aligned with God's ideal. But, it is not for everyone and I don't think God intends that path for everyone. There is something to be said for being married, living in a community and doing God's work that way.
a monk/nun is a person who devouted his/her life to christ and as many have stated - being dead from the world.
there is nothing mentioned about monastisim in the gospels, but there are verses that opened to the door of monastisim.
for example the verse, "if you want to be perfect, sell all that you have, give to the poor and come follow me" - which was the verse that moved the heart of saint anthony who became the father of monastisim.
when God created the world he created a man and a women - that is why there is marriage - there is nothing wrong with marriage - thats how life always was, but the idea of monastisim came later which became another way of life.
both the married people and the monks are the childern of God - but married people have many responsibilities in the world like family and work, and then give time for their spiritual life, but monks are people whom their whole life is devouted to the spiritual side of life - living a complete life of prayer, fasting and worship.
to be a monk is not easy and the monks are very holy people, that is why they are very much respected.
remember that many great saints were married - we are all one in the eyes of Christ.
God bless you
can you imagine a world of all married people? can you imagine a world of all monks and nuns? nope! the world needs both.
howa marriage and moancticism (spelling) are too seperate live. one can't be considered greater than other in my personal view. because both have different qualification different demand...and just like being a monk is a telent being also a faithful husband is a talent, because of the request of honesty and commitment required. Either way, God won't like you any more or any less "But let everyone according to his talents"
I agree...its hard to think of them on the same level, they're so different and yet both treasured in God's eyes.
right on psalmist
very well said
take care and God bless
guys wats the point of marriage?? the partners help each other to reach their goal- heaven.
u can still be married and live a life of great worship to our king
or u can live a life of solitude with god - take ur pic
wow marianne gr8 q. and good stuff guys all wise answers good stuff
if you marry... good Job... if you choose monastic life... good job...
*they are both by the will of God... thus the best for you*
Excellent topic. Thanks for bringing it up. All the answers above are great and it is hard to add anymore to it, but I will give two stories from the desert Fathers that might help.
1) St. Anthony
When he was growing Old, the devil tempted him by putting thoughts into his head that there is no-one greater than him, then God sent him an angel to tell him about Anba Boula and that the sky rains because of his prayer and the earth is not worthy to be walked on by him.
2) St. Arsanious, the teacher of princes.
This man was a great saint, he used to be an instructor for the kings sons (Maximus and Demadous) and left all his money, power, comfort to live in the desert with Anba makkar. He also was tempted but he asked God in prayer to show him those who are greater than him. God answered his prayers and to the contrary of St. Arsanious's belief, He (God) didn't show him another monk, but took him to a palace and he observed a King and Queen. St. Arsanious was amazed and confused, how can a married couple, even king and queen, be better than him, who is unmarried and lives in the desert. When the king and queen saw him, then took his blessings and told him that they were excepting him. After they left the main area in the palace, they took him to thier private quarters where they took off they royal attire to reveal that they were wearng rough clothing under it, they only ate from what they produced (they worked in weaving baskets) only two servants were close enough to them to know these things about them and they (the servants) would go out with the baskets at night, sell them, buy the food they need, give the rest of the money to the poor and bring back the supplies and food to the king and queen. So, though on the outside they seemed like they liven a life of riches, they were living the life of monks.
I hope these stories help. (I LOVE Stories of the saints)
On Mount Tabor, Moses (a married man) and Elijah (a celibate man) were with Christ. When we pass we will be going to Paradise which is called Abraham's Bosom, a married man, even monks will go there. Marriage and Monasticism are absolutely equal, they are both gifts from God.
u cant use the phrase "giving one's life to the lord" to prove that being a monk is better than being married.
first off, our lives are gods to begin with and we should give our lives to him anyway, thru marriage or becoming a monk. our devotion to god on earth is a thank u not something that is asking anything in return.u wont get anything in return by just having the title monk
so life in marriage or in a monastery has the same aims. ur expected and measured with the same rod. ur role is to lead a pure and god-worshipping life, if u do this, everything else is irrelavent.
if you've got anymore saints stories, plz share, i love them!!
take care and God bless
Personally, I don't think you guys should think too much on this topic now. I mean to say, everyone goes through this monasticism vs. marriage phase in their lives but then we have to remember that it is not what we want but what our Lord wills. I believe that if God wills for you to do something, it'll happen his way as he sees fit. I read this beautiful story from "Stories from the Egyptian Desert" that I'd like to share. It will clear up my view on this:
A Greater Love
Have you heard about Michael?
Then you don’t know of Monk Evlogious.
It’s ok; I mean to tell you what happened to him.
While he was making his own plans, God was working secretly to secure his future and fulfill His will in him.
Michael was a student in Medical School. Marian was going to the same school, even attending the same classes. Michael’s heart was attached to her. Many times he wished the day would come when they would get married and she could share his life. In their home, Christ would come, fill their hearts and bless their thoughts. They would raise their children as an acceptable gift. Through one body, they could reach together one mind and one heart, fulfilling one goal. This was their love to Christ. He dreamt about that day, barely able to wait for it to come.
At the same time, Marian was visiting a monastery for nuns in Old Cairo. She used to spend her vacations there in spiritual retreats. She sat with the mothers, telling them about the stumbling blocks she faced in her school and the absence of Christ from some students.
She wished for a life of solitude. She waited for the day when she could lock herself up in a small and simple cell. How this cell would be nicer and bigger than the most luxurious house that a man can offer her.
She will watch in her cell until the time for the midnight praises. She will rarely go out from her cell, reading, praying, meditating and studying. She waited for that day, but her studies and her family did not give her much of a chance for all of that now.
Every now and then, Marian told herself, “When this day comes, I will leave for the monastery without coming back. I will stay there to enjoy the spiritual comfort and drink from the spring of wisdom and virtue. I will leave the world to those who can live in it.”
Michael could not tell Marian how he felt towards her before he finished school. When the day came when both of them finished the final year, he was encouraged to tell her about his desire to marry her. She was happy and her shyness could not hide it. But as if she had already prepared an answer, “Please discuss this matter with my father of confession.” She told him his name and church. He served in a church in Shoubra.
Michael went to meet with him. The priest told him about her desire for monasticism from many years ago and her frequent visits to the monastery. He added that he blessed the decision, especially that the mothers in the monastery feel comforted towards her desire.
Michael was shocked. He went home, straight to his room. He closed the door and prayed while crying. He did not know what to do. He had made many plans and placed great hoped on that matter. Although he wanted to win her very much, he did not want to stand in the way of her sacred desire lest he is blamed or judged.
He prayed a lot and he was really comforted in these prayers. He got an idea to go and talk to her father and hear his opinion. He found him sad and confused; he was not able to persuade his daughter to change her mind. He tried with different methods but failed.
Michael knew, from her father, that many had proposed to Marian earlier. She refused, saying that the time is not suitable yet.
Marian’s father was happy when Michael offered to help with that issue. Both of them tried again to convince her but she was totally captive to the idea of monasticism. She was dreaming of the monastery and the monastic life in a way that expelled any idea about marriage or a family.
Time passed by and Marian decided that it is time to leave the world and go to the monastery. She chose a Sunday morning as her last day in the world.
Michael was affected with her decision. Whenever he was alone, he thought about her departure to the monastery, trying to find a reason why she would ‘die to the world’ as she told him once. He asked himself again, “Why does she have to leave the world now, when she is still young. She is a fresh rose just opened to the world. Why would she deprive herself of many pleasures?
What is there in a monastery that is better than marriage and all of the joyful things in the world? Couldn’t she love Christ when she is married?” He was tired with all these thoughts.
He stopped eating and talking to others for days. He decided that he needed to visit her in the monastery. He did not want to influence her decision this time but to understand from her, why she acted like this.
In the monastery, he could not meet her. The Mother told him not to come again. She spoke to him about the salvation of his soul and how he should care about his eternity. She asked him to pray for Marian if he really loved her.
He never thought about marrying anyone else. He asked everyone he met, priests and monks, about that matter. A monk advised him to spend a few days in a monastery. There, he spoke with the fathers about his problems and troubles. He was comforted a little. Few issues were clearer now. He slept for a well for the first time in a while.
A couple of months later, he returned to Al-Natron Valley. He loved them and they loved him. He visited them more frequently. He felt the fathers’ love and their kindness. He also loved the monastic stories that they narrated to him or he read in the ‘Paradise of the Fathers.’
The following March, during the Great Fast, he was able to take a week off from work and he spent it in the monastery. He considered that week to be the happiest time of his life. He prayed a lot and talked with many experienced fathers. The fathers felt that he was a blessed young man and chosen instrument for the monastic life. He also felt a monastic baby growing inside him. This baby started growing with more readings and many trips to the monastery.
He stopped following Marian’s news. He did not care much when he heard that her family had moved to a different city. He prayed, one time, that God may guard and deliver her soul, preparing her for the Kingdom.
The thought of monasticism filled his life. It has become the bridge that he would cross to the eternal haven.
Finally he decided, together with the fathers in the monastery. He started his new life with joy and happiness. Whenever he remembered his story with Marian, he laughed inside. He thanked God who was leading him in His way of salvation. He thanked him for her departure to the monastery. It was one of the reasons that led him to his current life. He totally forgot about her.
In his second year being a monk, while he was working in front of an oven, they told him that his family has come to visit him. When he finished what he wasd doing, he went to the guesthouse. He saw from far a man, his wife, and their young girl. He could not recognize them.
He was surprised to see it was Marian, her husband Sami and their child Margaret who was three years old.
She told him what happened, bravely and simply. She left the monastery in her second year. She discovered with the help of the mothers there that monasticism was not her way. She did not reveal everything to her father of confession before going to the monastery, and she was captive to the idea itself.
She thought it was not wise to spend her life in the monastery fruitless. It is better to live a normal life in the world and bring more fruit than living in the monastery by forcing herself.
One year passed since this visit.
When she went to visit him a second time with her husband and daughter, Father Evlogious could not see them. It was the day when he wasn’t to leave his cell.
She knew then that it was not appropriate to disturb him with her visits. She left him a small note with her name on, asking him to remember her always in his prayers.
In his cell, Father Evlogious read the note, tore it up silently and stood up to pray for them.
...I love this story... lol anyway.. Like I said before, just don't worry about this now. Leave it up to God. I also heard something very nice that we should always remember to say in prayer (even though I forget a lot ;D) You should always say: Lord Clear my path and lead me in the path that will lead me to You. If you see a desire in my heart that is not befitting in your sight, remove it and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Not as I want Lord, but as you will.... God bless you all.. pray for me..
Verey nice story I remember I read it befor several years ago and I think it was in the book for a monk from the baramos monestry
(I love this monestry)or may be a similar one.
thanks for making me remember this story.
let's say Gog lead our life as your will.
pray for me.
o gosh, wow Mariam... that's an awesome story!
first time i read it!
thanks for sharing ;D
take care, God bless and Pray for me
WOW :o mariam thanx alooooot for that thank u wow that a awesome and a half story wow that was reelly something thanku agen
and if any1 has a story they wanna share feel free i look very forward for reading em
WOW MARIAM...THAT WAS B.E.A. UTIFUL it really make you think, does it not?? thanx for that
yah i read that book not long ago, and yes ur memory serves u well emprocious (i wrote hos erof before, lol, i nead to read better)
its very nice, the cover is unbelievable. there are many famous storys that ppl will take from this particular book, have any of u read the article "it is war monk", it was in the mag sent by cal monastery. that story too was from that book.
the cool part is they are all tru storys or atleast based on them
Yes, I happen to own that book; which Marian (Awad) took from me before I even read it
Back to the topic: Who ever said the narrow path didn't have branches? (I know it's narrow but come on now ;D)
excellent way to think about it Servantof Jesus
awesome story!! I think that's really interesting...
we should just leave everything to God and His will.
Very nice story...
Question: If you had a choice between the two, which one would be best to follow?
another thing: how can u tell if u truly desire a monastic life, or if u only want to be there for the praise that you would get? (thinking back to the story...)
I'm actually glad that this topic is being discussed. it's come up at me a couple of times
I'd choose to be married than be a nun, I want kids, 4 of them
. The way I look at it, I can still lead a Chrisitian life and help raise little Christians to love God too.
Also God doesn't ask for your profession He just wants ur heart...offer that to him and He's the happiest Daddy ever.
hehe love4all has a planned lyf already ok having kids but 4 kaman u alredy chose thats funny
good stuff sinfulservant that was nyc
good stuff psalmist that was good
id like 2 be married wif kids- always pictured maself liek that but then u c da monks an nuns and how theyre jus full of peace, its so beautiful
love4all those little christians might themselves become lil monkeys...(k ppl if you don't know thats where the name monk come from...the desert monkies who live in solitude...no joke)
righteous thinking love4ll.
hehe i thought u were joking and i used to say that but as a joke nyc to c i was rite thnx 4 dat