You do not have to be a Brother or Sister within the Community of the Passersby to be a member of this website, and participate in the forums. Application is only for those who wish to apply to become a Lay Monk/Nun within the Order. If this is what you are seeking, read on:
First and foremost, the Rule of Life must be read thoroughly. After that, simply contact us using the contact form here and include the information asked for on that page.
The Rule of Life for
The Brothers and Sisters of the
Community of the Passersby
The goal of The Community of the Passersby – hereafter referred to interchangeably as ‘the order’ is to know ourselves and the spark of God within us. In silence and stillness we are able set aside our illusions and seek God above all things. The Community of the Passersby is a community of wandering monks- brothers and sisters.
We are called to the outskirts to seek God in the desert silence of our hearts. We seek to be imitators of Thomas (the Twin) as he was of his teacher, Jesus. We too seek to live lives of simplicity as well as oneness with all and offering to be a source of unity in these challenging times for the world.
Our order welcomes all people who seek to live a deep and radical practice of the spirituality presented by Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas and seek to build on that foundation through contemplation and service to God, humanity, and nature. That said this order is both active and contemplative with the world as our monastery. Our order is a living experiment in dialogue, fellowship, and peace between the sacred, humanity, and all nature.
The spirituality of our order is inspired by the simplicity suggested by St. Francis as well as the deep mysticism of the Sufis inspired by Rumi. The Gospel of Thomas is a document coming to us from the deserts of the Middle East, and belonging to a sect of early followers of the teachings of Jesus. We hope to keep alive this simplicity and passion in this modern age.
Reception into the Order
Each applicant to the order shall be at least twenty-five years old with a knowledge of beyond a cursory knowledge of the Gospel of Thomas. The order is not for those only beginning on the Thomasine path as they are not ready to make the commitment required to be a brother or sister in the order. An applicant simply makes the request to join the order and fills out the application and spiritual biography and submitting it to the Order Guardian. There will then be further contact and dialogue with the applicant to get a feel for the sincerity and legitimacy of the request.
First vows are Novice vows and are for the period of one year. After that point the applicant can decide whether or not this is a permanent vocation for them.
Property and Money
The Order shall keep no real property, nor shall any brother or sister in the order receive payment for their teaching or ministry. We have received freely and we freely give. Our monastery is the world and our ministry is spread out and diverse.
The vows the Thomasine brothers and sisters take are vows of simplicity, contemplation and service. There are also other vows made that reflect upon how the Way of Life will be approached. All of these will be disclosed to the applocant. These vows are made upon the acceptance into the order. If at any point a member of the order seeks release from these vows, he or she simply need request it from the Order Guardian, and it will be granted and the other members notified.
• The Vow of Simplicity
The vow of simplicity is a vow to live a life free from materialism to stand with those who may be less fortunate, social justice causes, and for the environment. This vow stands as a call to detachment from excess and to identification with those who are poor. We stand in the tradition many great seekers of God in many faith traditions in our companionship and identification with those who are oppressed and the downtrodden of society. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is inside you and outside of you.” (Saying 3) This simplicity allows us communion with not only with humanity but with all of nature. Our approach is sacramental in that all of nature can be approached as a conduit through which the Divine Presence may be found.
• The Vow of Contemplation
The Vow of Contemplation is the commitment to the inner aspect of our religious life. It is a call to the brother and sister to spend time daily in absorption in God and contemplation on the Gospel of Thomas as well as other sacred texts that can aid in our deepening understanding of the Gospel. It is in silence where one most often finds peace and the voice of God can best be heard. Without these foundational practices the well of charity will run dry. We can only do what we do by the living spring of God’s spirit within us. Contemplation and meditation should be a staple of the member’s life. It is in this silence that peace is planted, watered, and grown. The fruit of silence is peace that is offered to the whole world.
• The Vow of Ministry
Ministry is the fruit of our vows of simplicity and contemplation. The brothers and sisters of this order are called to offer their lives as an offering for others. For some this may be in teaching the way of Thomas. For others this will be in serving those who are sick, lonely, impoverished, or hurting. For others it it will be acts of social justice. Each person is expected to serve according to his or her own gifting, but it is expected that they will serve. All our service is offered up to God, and is in reality a serving the Divine in people and nature. It is also a commitment that one will be a benefit to the order serving others in its name. While each form of ministry is independent and its sole responsibility lies with the brother or sister, one should always remember that the actions of the brother and sister reflects upon this order. This vow is also a commitment to keeping the rule of life and staying in regular contact with the brothers and sisters of this order, and supporting this order with its needs.
The Spirituality of a Brother or Sister
The goal of the member is personal awareness. This is expressed based upon the gifts in the member’s life dependent upon the moving of the Holy Spirit, our Mother, as well as the common life with the brothers and sisters in the Order.
• Rituals and Sacraments
The Order has no universal rituals nor sacraments. A person is welcomed into the order after acceptance and approval of their application. In the same way if there is a local Thomasine community and a person wants to accept the way of Thomas as their own, the brother or sister serving that community will announce their acceptance of the Thomasine way. There are no other rites or such required.
• Examination of Conscience
The brothers and sisters in the Order should seek a life of consecration. One of the means in the pursuit of the set-apart life is through daily examination of conscience, laying aside ones faults, turning away from them and returning full heartedly to the Beloved.
• Personal Prayer
Daily the members spend quality time in contemplation, holding to the light our community, our families, friends, and the world with thankfulness. This form of prayer is the moisture that waters the heart of love toward the Beloved.
• Denying the Self
We who in this life have been given so much, should always be ready to bring our wants and desires into subjection to better offer a surrendered heart to God and a compassionate heart to the needy. Seeking the Divine above all things, there are many times when the self must be denied. In dying to the lower self, the greater Self of God can be experienced. Self-discipline is an aid in the spiritual life akin to training that one may do great things. Spiritual Direction can be very useful in exploring this topic.
If possible a brother or sister should from time to time engage in a personal retreat to energize one’s spirit-giving oneself the chance to rest and recuperate.
One should always seek to grow in spiritual understanding. The gift of the Gospel of Thomas and other sacred writings are a holy offering of those of ages past. They share their narrative of the sacred path to be and how they journeyed on it. Through prayerful study, we delve into the depths of our own spirituality. The purpose of the scriptures is not to formulate arguments but rather to deepen one’s love of Divine and to be of benefit to one’s neighbour.
The founders of many great religions and their students served as servant leaders for future generations. We too must bear the Sacred Presence in our hearts and seek to serve that of God-in the poor, the oppressed, the outcasts, and all of nature. For some that may be in teaching or ministries within the religious community, and for others it may be working with the less fortunate either in works of mercy or social justice. In fact, there are many ways of committed service, and the brothers and sisters are reminded that we must not be so heavenly minded to be of no earthly good.
Ours is not an Order of strict dogmas and fundamentalism but rather one based upon a heart to know the Beloved within ourselves and the whole world. We look to our path and are willing to learn from others in our quest for depth and growth. The Community of the Passersby is an order for those who seek a contemplative life in the world balanced with service to the those in need.