Monasticism, literally being a hermit, has come to describe the way of life pertaining to people living in seclusion from the rest of the world. These people are under religious promise and subject to a fixed rule, as monks.
The basic idea of monasticism is total isolation from the rest of society. The method they have adopted, no matter what the precise details may be, is usually organized asceticism. If the ways of monasticism were taken in a broad enough sense it may be found in every religious system that has attained a high degree of ethical development, such as Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions, and even in the system of the communistic societies at our present time. Throughout my learning in class, I have come to understand that the monastic way of life is an ascetic one, but I do not believe saying the earliest Christian asceticism was monastic is correct.
Considering the circumstances in which the early Christians were placed, for the first century or so of the Church’s existence the idea of living apart from the congregation of the faithful was out of the question, it was seen as nearly impossible. However, I find myself certain that monasticism, when it came, was little more than a group of ideas previously in solution among Christians. For asceticism is the struggle against worldly principles, even with such as are merely worldly without being sinful. The world desires and honors wealth, so the ascetic loves and honors poverty.
If he must have something in the nature of property then he and his fellows shall hold it in common, just because the world respects and safeguards private ownership. In like manner he practices fasting and virginity that thereby he may repudiate the license of the world. none