Posted by: Peadar Ban | July 24, 2012

Cosmas, or the Love of God

Do an internet search, and just use the word Trappist.  You may be surprised at what you find.  The third entry, recently, was a link to a place which sold Trappist beer.  There are about as many Trappist this and that sites (including several for caskets) as there are sites directing one to Trappist monasteries, monastic life, monks, prayer, religious life and, simply, Trappist monks.  One might well be excused for coming away from their search with the idea that the Trappists are some sort of multi-national conglomerate.  And, one may rightly assume there is more than a little bit of truth in that.  They are, after all, a Catholic religious order following the Rule of St. Benedict, whose overriding admonition to his monastic “children” can be found in their motto “Ora Et Labora”, “Work and Pray”.  Work is first.  This can be a problem for some, perhaps many, who are not as well acquainted with the deeply spiritual nature of the reason for “work” in the Catholic monastic tradition.

“Cosmas, or the Love of God” is a book, a novel, which follows a young man’s journey into the monastic life in a Trappist monastery, and what he finds out there about life, holiness, sanctity and the sometimes very, very difficult path we all have to walk.  It is a tale about learning how sanctity doesn’t mean perfection. Cosmas believes that he has a vocation to become a Trappist monk, but the reality of monastic life disappoints him: fellow monks are irritating; the life of the monastery seems worldly; his own weaknesses appall him. Cosmas or the Love of God is an exquisite tale of one man who teaches us all what it means to be holy in a fallen world. Along the way, the reader is asked to understand that we are all on the same road; the road as the Irish song says to “god knows where.”  Along that road, we might learn through this book, even “labora”, work, becomes “ora”, prayer when everything is done for the “love of God.”

The Christian Book Corner happily offers this and a number of other novels and books about monasticism, monks and the struggle for saintliness, the goal of every Catholic and Christian.


  1. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this book. I’ve read a different book, “The Man Who Got Even With God,” that followed the life of a Trappist and I enjoyed it.


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