Monastic Cell

The psalm exhorts us: “Be still and know that I am God.”  In response to this inspired word of God, 4th century Egyptian monks were moved to live this teaching very concretely, by keeping to the enclosure of their monastic cell.  At New Melleray Abbey, we monks likewise ardently desire to enter into an experience of solitude, and strive to cultivate in our monastic cell that stillness of heart which fosters contemplative union with God.  For us, the cell is a crucible where, afflicted by various thoughts and desires, we struggle, die and are raised up to new heights of prayer and intimacy with God.  It is in the stillness and apparent emptiness of our cell that the truth comes home to us – our salvation in Jesus Christ is a grace; a pure gift and an endless surprise.  Though starkly simple and plain to look at, our cell is a place where we discover, (to use an ancient expression), “the antechamber of heaven.”