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Do Monks Bite?—A Visit to a Monastery with My Kids

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I recently took my kids on a homeschool field trip to a monastery, where we sampled a little taste of Catholicism. The conversations went something like this:

“Isn’t this a beautiful place, girls? Maybe we’ll see some monks.”

“What are monks? Do they bite?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Wow! Crypts are awesome. Can we light a candle?”

“Not for $2.25. Remember, be reverent and respectful. Tiptoe. Whisper. Don’t touch anything. Try not to breathe.”

“What is that lady doing?”

“She has come here to pray.”

“Why did she have to come here to pray?”

“She feels close to God here. It’s a quiet place away from distractions. The Bible says a lot about getting away to a quiet place.”

“But is she really closer to God here?”

“No. God is wherever we are. He has made His sanctuary inside us.”

“Is that like sanitary?”


“I can’t believe she came all this way just to pray.”

“Remember, be respectful. Catholics are wonderful people.”

“Are they Christians?”

“Some are. Just like some Protestants are Christians. Some really know and love Jesus.”

“Oh. What’s that bowl of water for?”

“That’s holy water. You dip your hands in it when you come in. It makes you clean.”

“Can I try it?”

“No! It harbors bacteria.”

“But I thought it makes you clean.”

“Never mind.”

“Why do they always have Jesus on the cross?”

“To remember his death, which is very important. But I’m glad He’s no longer there, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. Is that a monk?

“That would be a monk.”

“Do monks ever go shopping?”

“Not for video games. Just for food and toilet paper, I think.”

“Why do they live here?”

“They have devoted their life to serving God.”

“I want to demote my life to serving God.”


“I want to serve God.”

“Me too. But we choose to serve God in the worldly places, where the people are. Our love for God is shown in the way we treat bossy bosses, and mean teachers, and bratty sisters, and moody moms, and slob kids who leave their clothes on the floor….”


“… and telemarketers, and slow waiters, and tailgaters, and grouchy old  men….”

“Monks are lucky.”

“They never marry and have kids.”

“Never mind. But I still like monks.”

“Me too.”

“Who is that old man?”

“They call him ‘Father’ so-and-so. I think he’s the priest, kind of like the dad to all these monks, which are called ‘brothers’.”

“Do we have a priest?”


“Pastor John?”

“No. Our priest is Jesus.* But He is our brother too.”

“Cool. Our priest is our brother. And God is our Father?”

“You got it, girl.”

*See Hebrews 4:14; I Timothy 2:5


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