“Precisely because cloistered religious do not live “absent” from the world, nothing that regards man can be foreign to them, particularly when it regards wounded and suffering humanity.”
These are the words of Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, OFM, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Writing in the latest edition of L’Osservatore Romano on yesterday’s Pro Orantibus day –an observance dedicated to those called to cloistered life – Archbishop Rodriguez stressed that it is this deep relationship with Christ which gives contemplative cloistered life “extraordinary apostolic and missionary efficacy”.
“If one thing characterizes the consecrated life, and in a special way the wholly contemplative life, it is the recognition of the living presence of the Lord in our lives and in our history,” he wrote. “And if it is true that only a contemplative disciple can hand on the Good News, then a life entirely devoted to contemplation is by its very nature evangelical.”
He added: “Whoever has chosen a wholly contemplative life, by living in communion with Christ in a particularly profound way, shows us what we truly need in order to live a true, authentic and fulfilled life.”
Furthermore, he went on, the contemplative “offers a response, rooted in spirituality, to our search for the sacred and for our longing for God, while he or she points out the path toward the transcendent.”
“As cities built on a mountain and lights placed in a candelabra,” he said, “those who devote themselves to a wholly contemplative, cloistered life visibly prefigure the goal and end towards which the entire community of the Church is journeying.”