"The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world - the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches - comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever."

I John 2:15-17

In the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, Christ’s invocation to his disciples to take up the cross and follow him became the mission statement for many Christians who chose to abandon their worldly ambitions and walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the ideal monk. Monastics of this period fashioned themselves into "athletes for Christ" and abandoned all secular diversions to live like Jesus - poor, chaste, and obedient. Although the monastic community initially set itself in opposition to the orientation and accommodations of the Church and the depravities of this world, their ascetic philosophy occasionally came to dominate institutional Christianity and, through the missionary work and scholarship of medieval monks, the hearts and minds of the world.
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,

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