This Monastic Moment: The War of the Spirit and the Rule of Love

By John W. de Gruchy

A reflection on this current period and a call to embrace the opportunities God has given.

ISBN: 9780718896829


Kairos is used in the New Testament to signify a pivotal moment in history: a critical time of judgement and opportunity where chaos must be faced and one must change their ways before it becomes irreparable. Confronted by the Covid-19 pandemic and mandatory isolation, John de Gruchy felt a similar need to adapt and respond. In doing so, he found a deepening in his desire for authentic humanity, genuine community, and the opportunity affirm his conviction that true humanity is rooted in God, wisdom, and the struggle for justice.

Mixing theology, history, anecdote, spirituality, social commentary, and practical suggestions, This Monastic Moment reflects on this period, and argues that now is the opportune time to embrace the opportunity God has given to receive the coming kingdom in greater fullness. This urgency echoes St Benedict of Nursia’s call to ‘listen’, ‘wake up’, and ‘run’ while there is still light before ‘the darkness of death’. With consideration given both to contemplation and action, to prayer and justice, de Gruchy’s own personal pilgrimage provides the tools to embark upon, or aid, your own.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 152 mm
Pages 228

Trade Information LGENPOD

About the Author

John de Gruchy is Emeritus Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Cape Town, and is currently an Extraordinary Professor of Theology at Stellenbosch University. He has written numerous books, most recently Bonhoeffer’s Questions (2019), The End is Not Yet (2017) and a book of his meditations: No Apology: Faith, Hope and Love in a time of despair, doubt and violence (2016).



Prologue: Listen to the Spirit
1. Into the African Desert
2. Into Europe’s Dark Ages
3. In a Reforming World
4. In This Time & Place
Epilogue: On Writing a Rule

Index of Names
Index of Subjects
Index of Scriptures


Endorsements and Reviews

A rich and apposite account that informs, transforms, and forms the reader. De Gruchy’s insights will help you discern the mystery that is God, the power and vitality of the church, and the value of the monastic life today. Read this book and formulate a rule to navigate the wilderness of life. Learn from pilgrims who have trod the road before and are now at the covenanting community of Volmoed. Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town

In This Monastic Moment, de Gruchy has offered people a chance to stop, look, and listen – three fundamental monastic activities. The reader is offered a chance to step into a wisdom tradition drawn both from monasticism and Africa that has much to offer the restless hearts of twenty-first-century men and women – a wisdom that takes them on an adventure to discover the God of life. . . . A book well written and worth reading. Abbot Robert of Ampleforth Abbey, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

In a frightening and fragmenting world, many are asking how Christian faith can resist and counter the divisive tendencies that threaten life on earth. With a wealth of theological insight, historical knowledge, and experience living in a present-day community in South Africa, de Gruchy highlights how awareness of the monastic tradition can resource contemporary experiments in new forms of community, spirituality, and lifestyle. A most timely book. Keith Clements, Former General Secretary, Conference of European Churches

Taking us on a historical and ecclesial journey, de Gruchy invites us to appreciate monastic life as God’s gift to the church. Jesus’ call to follow God and witness to his love brings disciples closer to their deep identity and makes them brothers and sisters of all. Keeping God and the world in their hearts is their prophetic message and a source of inspiration to serve. This is the challenge of This Monastic Moment. Brother Alois, Prior of Taizé

Monastic traditions are long and many-sided. Like all real change, the strands begin in withdrawal in order, paradoxically, to engage their moment. This Monastic Moment is a rich historical, exegetical, and theological treatment that beautifully moves this living heritage toward our critical moment. The whole comes together in the final chapter, crafted with compelling insights from Bonhoeffer and Merton. De Gruchy offers a superb, detailed account of – and fund for – our own withdrawal and engagement. Larry Rasmussen, professor, Union Theological Seminary, New York City