Man Vs Wild is a survival television series hosted by Bear Grylls. He navigates remote locations and teaches strategies on how to survive in the wild. The show taps into every man’s primal passion for the wilderness. St. Benedict would be a fan of Man Vs Wild but he might call it Monk Vs Wild. Why?
Men originated in the wild. Benedictine monks originated in the wild. St. Benedict first lived in a cave.
Like Adam who was made “of dust from the ground” (Genesis 2:7) in the wilderness. Jesus, the new Adam, battles Satan in the wilderness for 40 days. St. Benedict lived in the wilderness, a cave and a mountain, when he began the Order of St. Benedict. Adam was created in the wilderness to shamar the garden. Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till and keep it.” St. Benedict establishes the Order in the wilderness to shamar, to till and keep, the faith revealed by Jesus Christ and his bride, the Church.
Benedictine monks live in the wilderness. Benedictine abbeys are often built in mountain and desert places.
Like Moses, Benedictine monks meet God in the wilderness. Acts 7:31-32, “When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him [Moses] in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight; and as he drew near to look, the voice of the Lord came, ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’”
Like John the Baptist, Benedictine monks proclaim Jesus Christ from the wilderness. Mark 1:3, “John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Like Christ, Benedictine monks battle the devil in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights…”
Imitating Christ, Benedictine monks pray in the wilderness. Luke 5:16, “He withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.”
Dying with Christ, a Benedictine monk offers up his life in the wilderness. John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.”
St. Benedict makes his monks watchmen in the wilderness. “Let him keep watch over his own soul, ever mindful of that saying of the Apostle: He who serves well secures a good standing for himself (1 Tim 3:13). He must show every care and concern for the sick, children, guest and the poor, knowing for certain that he will be held accountable for all of them on the day of judgment.” –RB31:8-9
A man’s mind is like a wilderness. You can battle the devil by guarding your thoughts. St. Benedict says, “Day by day remind yourself you are going to die. Hour by hour keep careful watch over all you do, aware that God’s gaze is upon you, wherever you may be. As soon as wrongful thoughts come into your heart, dash them against Christ and disclose them to your spiritual father.” –RB 4:47-50
St. Benedict would be a fan of Man Vs Wild. On the other hand, Bear Grylls, would probably be a fan of Monk Vs Wild. Watch him make the Sign of the Cross in this episode of Man Vs Wild.