The “cell” of our personal relationship with God
Monastic life is often described as consisting in the renunciation of the world. Properly understood, the statement may stand, but its starkness may lead to misconceptions. The caricature of the monk as a world-hater, unfortunately supported by evidence from monastic literature itself, misses the point. The separation from ordinary society effected by withdrawal to the desert, or by the cloister, or by vows, is ideally less a quarantine than an opportunity. Nonetheless, the break with conventional human society is genuine, and these stories depict the tensions which can a rise from the decision to choose the monastic alternative.
This is true, also, for persons who are not monks. It is not easy for us to integrate the movements of our spiritual lives and values into our families, our workplaces and the rest of our "inhabited world." At the same time we must avoid letting the values and behaviors of a materialistic and often profane society deflect us from the "cell" of our personal relationship with God. By guarding this cell we learn to manifest what happens there in the way we live. It is stewardship of the sacredness of our lives.
David G.R. Keller
Oasis of Wisdom, p. 56