Regina or the cell?

So perhaps truth could be found by withdrawing from the world. Kierkegaard thought about seeking the silence of the monastery; Copenhagen’s Franciscan friary was dissolved by reformers in 1530, but he could at least try to renounce the idle chatter of the university, which seemed to him just another strain of gossip from the marketplace, only more deluded in its lofty aspirations.

Carlisle, Clare. Philosopher of the Heart

I read the above as I was waiting for my tattoo. I have never heard any suggestion that Kierkegaard wanted to enter religious life. I have often wondered, however, how a 19th century Lutheran had so much information on monasticism and felt the need to write about it.

I like the way Kierkegaard writes! I like what he writes about! I like his conclusions! And, I think, I really like him as a person. His struggles are human. In some ways, I feel the same about Merton’s “love affair”. Rather than making him look like an apostate monk, it affirms him as a human being.

So being human is about living in the paradox of choice. The choice for Kierkegaard – the paradox of choice – was either a life with Regina or withdrawing into the silence of religion. He choose the middle ground – the single life in the world dedicated wholly to Jesus. But he remains in love with Regina. Maybe what Kierkegaard did was “create” a new form of monasticism? One in which Jesus is the only reason and only motivation? A secret monasticism, without show or display, an undercover monk, by simply being completely human.

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