Christ the Ideal of the Monk (Marmion) | Centenary Edition

The Cenacle Press at Silverstream Priory

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This centenary edition features:

  • A new foreword by Dom Xavier Perrin, Abbot of Quarr
  • Entirely re-typeset text
  • Corrected references
  • New translations of all of Marmion’s Latin quotations

“Every vocation, even the simple Christian vocation, comes from God. Our Lord Himself says ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father draw him.’ But it is God’s love for us—and as we are born miserable, it is His merciful love—which is the origin of this call.” 

A work which goes to the heart of the Rule of St Benedict, this classic of the Irish Benedictine Blessed Columba Marmion has fed generations of God-seeking souls. Capable of touching the heart of anyone drawn to the monastic virtues, it is a book which grounds every aspect of the religious life in the person of Christ. “All the Divine mercies towards us have for their first principle this invitation to share, by adoption, in the Sonship of Christ Jesus,” writes Abbot Marmion. “The monastic vocation itself only aims at perfecting this adoption, at making it more extensive, by a deeper participation in Christ’s grace, by a more finished imitation of the Divine Model.”

Drawing on centuries of tradition and monastic literature as well as decades of personal experience as a monk and father of souls, Abbot Marmion presents monastic observance in a way which is both accessible and profound. In the foreword to this new edition, Abbot Xavier Perrin says of this book: “Full of wisdom and simplicity, it provides an almost complete commentary on the Rule. One feels in it the power of the Gospel and the real grandeur of monasticism. It is able to give to monks and nuns, oblates and friends of monasteries, as well as to many Christians, a renewed trust in Christ and in St Benedict’s sure guidance.”

Blessed Columba Marmion (1858–1923) was born in Dublin, Ireland. Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Dublin, he subsequently discerned a call to the monastic life and entered the Abbey of Maredsous in Belgium. After profession, he served as assistant novice master at his monastery, and in 1899 was appointed Prior of Mont César in Louvain, where he taught theology to the young monks. He became widely regarded as a retreat master and traveled across western Europe serving religious communities of all orders in this capacity. In 1909 he was elected Abbot of Maredsous, and consequently returned to the monastery of his profession. His trilogy of Christ the Life of the Soul, Christ in His Mysteries, and Christ the Ideal of the Monk, based on retreat conferences, became extremely popular, were translated into many languages, and received praise from numerous Popes. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.

Praise for Christ the Ideal of the Monk

The centenary of Abbot Marmion's Christ, the Ideal of the Monk is an apt occasion for any monk (really, any Christian!) to become familiar with one of the greatest spiritual works of the early 20th century. In his noble yet simple style, he directs the soul through a two-fold movement of "abnegation" i.e., where we separate the heart and the body from worldly attachments, and then, onward, to find our way to union with Christ through the Church's most perfect prayer, the Opus Dei - the Divine Office. This treatise for monks and believers alike can only be rivaled by St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life and St. Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul.-Fr. Gregory Schweers, O. Cist., Our Lady of Dallas Cistercian Abbey

Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, by Blessed Columba Marmion is one of the surest guides to understanding thoroughly the vocation of the religious life. It is a gift to the Church that Blessed Columba's conferences are once again available in print. The material beauty of the present volume produced by Silverstream Priory reflects the rich spiritual treasure of the conferences. Since the teaching of Saint Benedict of Nursia, the Patriarch of western monasticism, is the basis of all subsequent forms of religious life, Christ the Ideal of the Monk is an excellent source of teaching and inspiration for all religious, and for all those who wish to understand more fully the high calling of the vocation to the religious life.-Mother Maria Regina of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, F.L.M., Foundress and Superior of the Filiae Laboris Mariae


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