A Bellicose Monk?
No, I’m not Hrabar, the old Bulgarian monk who wrote a text in the 9th or 10th century defending the slavic orthography. Nor do I seek to emulate Friar Tuck, or the character from a popular danish song that Jean-Jacques Ampère talks about in his book Voyages & Poésies (“Trips & Poetry”; Paris: Didier, libraire-éditeur; 1850; p. 489).
In fact, I had the idea of using such an expression before my friend Google revealed to me that it was not completely original. I admit that at first I felt a pinch... ( Ah, pride!) But then, I was reassured in a way: it wasn't that silly after all!
But nevertheless, some explanations are needed...
Me, a Monk?
By definition, a monk is “a man who is a member of a religious order and lives in a monastery”. (1)
I’m not a member of any religious order to which I have made any vows. However, in a way, I’m certainly a “religious” person: I’m fervently attached to God and his Word, I believe in the person of the Lord Jesus-Christ and in the work he has done, and I try to live according to the commandments that he gave us.
I don’t live in a monastery, but I enjoy solitude and tranquility. I must say that I don’t take pleasure in the “popular” things (fashion, outings, having a drink in a noisy pub...). In fact, honestly, I often wonder why I even attend social events, and most of the time, I don’t know...
I like routine. It gives me a certain feeling of security.
I definitely have a contemplative nature. Moreover, I like books and... Gregorian chant!
Yes, in my soul, I’m a monk.
Why a Bellicose Monk?
Bellicose: favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars.
All those who know me would unanimously say that I’m anything but bellicose. I certainly don’t like quarrelling, even less fighting. I can be stubborn at times about an idea. But waging war? Don’t even think about it! On the contrary, I’m kind and accommodating.
Besides, the occurrence of the words bellicose and monk together in the same expression seems nothing less than an oxymoron. The contradiction is obvious, or it shows how the monk fails to control his temper.
However... Could it be that a monk can be nothing but bellicose in the spiritual realm?
In his Epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul says:
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (2)
The monk, through his contemplative nature, scrutinizes the invisible. He sees life’s common and ordinary circumstances from a different perspective: he understands them as battles to be fought. He sympathizes with his fellow men in their misery, which spiritual bondage has produced, and he is ready to take arms – spiritual arms – to free and protect his own people.
Yes, a monk must be bellicose.
Through the years of my Christian life, the Spirit has shown me this spiritual battle. I admit that I am not the most fearsome fighter, but I train myself... And I want to stand in the gap to protect my spouse, my children, my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in the Church...
Yes, I’m a bellicose monk!
Eleazar, the bellicose monk
(1) Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003.)
(2) Chapter 6, verses 11 and 12; Holy Bible: New Living Translation. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013.)