If our mission here is to evangelize and spread the good news of the Gospel to the people, do monastic orders then seem futile? Most of the monks and nuns would make amazing Sunday school teachers and evangelists especially to our dying youth who need it the most. Why do such amazing servants take monastic orders when they could be saving millions of souls? Instead, they are hidden away in cells feeding their already healthy souls. I understand repentants who want to make up their lost time with God. Although St. Paul was a “repentant,” he became one of the most influential of the disciples. Also, I understand that the monks and nuns serve from within the monastery to those who go to the monastery, but the people who need the most help are not those who visit the monastery.
If we emptied out all of the monasteries into the world, to what avail will that accomplish? Those individuals whom are perceived to have the grace of God in living a monastic life while in the world are chosen as bishops or pastoral priests in various communities outside the monastery and out of the country. Part of what makes some monastics so amazing is their continuous spiritual nourishment while in the monasteries. The monastic era began during and after a heavy period of mass persecution in Egypt in the early centuries. Rather than just move on and give up on the call, many of the bishops and monastics who were exiled into the desert preserved the church through their profound theology expressed in exquisite letters which were sent to the congregations empowering them to protect the faith and the faithful. "A monastic out of the monastery is like a fish out of water." Monastics need to be in the monastery. This is their calling; to pray on behalf of those in the world. One solid prayer can shake a mountain. Although, the monastic orders had not yet been established, Elijah the Prophet proved to be an ascetic man who was all too familiar with the desert and a life of celibacy, zeal, and contemplation. When he prayed, the rain ceased and only returned at his command. What power is this? What was seen in the wilderness when people first witnessed John the Baptist? He too was an ascetic man whose ministry was barely six months; yet, he paved the way for the Messiah and led many to repentance. What helped to make him the man he became was probably the nearly thirty-three years in the desert and not the few months in the world. The desert has been a teacher to many of our great fathers.