Review: In Praise Of The Useless Life: A Monk's Memoir by Paul Quenon

In Praise Of The Useless Life is an exposition on what life in a monastery is like from the eyes of a monk who has spent decades in the "system". The book details the benefits of such style of living and what it can contribute to the society.

Anyone who wants to know how monks live and the atmosphere and politics around Trappist monasteries would like this. Fans of Thomas Merton would learn a thing or two about him from someone (the author) who was a student to him decades ago.

Learning about the practical realities of dedicating your life to God behind the walls of a monastery was most illuminating. The advice in the book seems practical and it shows how to make the most of such a life and why it is a high vocation to pursue for those inclined. Those of us not sworn to such high calling can also learn a thing or two about the value of silence, prayers, music, humour, etc from the wisdom contained in this book.

"Life, fully lived, expresses some kind of creativity. Some lives are written with beautiful penmanship, with well-honed skill expressing more than mere literal meaning, communicating the unique person as individually as a signature does. For other people, life is lived in a hurry-up state; it gets cut-and-pasted. Could there be creativity in tearing along and getting through it all anyhow? Will God smile at the fancy dance and see how cleverly we came through the scramble without losing the thread of meaning?"


In Praise Of The Useless Life: A Monk's Memoir by Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O. is available to buy on all major online bookstores. Many thanks to Ave Maria Press for review copy.


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