In Matthew 19:12, the passage is specifically addressed to people who have experienced some kind of calling to become ascetics. It is not for everyone and only a few can do it. Although ascetics could either be born with this characteristic or were made this way by others, there is only a handful that was called to really serve the kingdom of heaven. It also implies that those who can should be able to answer the call of God to asceticism.
In another passage, 1 Corinthians 7:6-35, the views of apostle Paul regarding the ascetic life favors those who are single. He wishes that all were like him but he is open minded enough to consider that each one is unique and has been given a specific gift from God. His views regarding singleness and marriage is that everyone can still serve the Lord and that there is no sin in being either. Paul emphasizes that it is ok to be married or single as long as one is serving God. However, he believes that it is better to be single if one is to devote himself to the Lord for this would give his undivided time to the Lord only. If one is married, his interests are divided with one’s husband or wife.
In the story about Anthony, the first Christian monk, his experiences can become the basis for the right way to live an ascetic life to completely devote oneself to God. Saint Anthony’s realization started when his parents died. He decided to follow Jesus’ evangelical counsel which states that one should give all their property to the poor and follow God to have heavenly treasures. His experiences can be described as full of conflicts, both internal and external. He was tempted by the devil with women, laziness, and boredom. He was also beaten before he went back to his devotion. Wild beasts like snakes and scorpions were also part of his external conflicts. Despite the hardships, Saint Anthony was able to overcome everything. After a long period of solitude, people believed that he became insane. However, when he finally came out, he was healthy and enlightened. Everyone was surprised.
Anyone can become a monk or a nun. It has a lot of benefits. It could give anyone enlightenment and genuine happiness that can’t be found with any worldy pleasures. The journey will also be an exciting one. However, the main point of ascetism is to find inner peace and devote oneself completely to God. This in itself is enough reason to do it.
There are also a lot of reasons why one should not become a monk. One of the reasons is that one would lose touch to people and the world. It is also better if one is part of the community and can help others, especially the poor. Being detached may give one a sense of enlightenment, but they would be detached from the problems of the real world.
Christian Ascetism is a great way to completely devote oneself to God. However, I think this would be detrimental to one’s devotion because the real people that needs help and guidance are out there in the community. It is better to go out and aid them rather than just pray by yourself in a solitary confinement.