Vocations in General

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Contemplative Life

By Sister Mary Francis Hone, OSC

  • Do you find yourself increasingly centering your life in God?
  • How do you want to use this one lifetime you have?
  • What do you hope to do for the world?

"The Catholic Church is indeed eager to act as is shown in its many ministries. At the same time she is no less devoted to contemplation."

Within the Archdiocese of Boston there are consecrated persons dedicated to contemplation of God. Their form of life ranges from traditional monastic life in community with varying degrees of solitude, to a balance of contemplative prayer along with a limited ministry.

Each has the foundation of an ordered life of prayer according to the original grace of the Holy Spirit received by its respective founder. Since the degree of union an individual has with God effects the entire collective consciousness, contemplatives deepen the mystical life of the Church and the world precisely through their personal growth in union with God. This being so, the gifts of the Spirit must still be actualized or social in their effects. So, what does the consecrated contemplative really, actively, concretely, yes, materially, do for the Church and humankind when they dedicate themselves to prayer? After all, faith without works is dead, isn't it?

In the economy of salvation consecrated contemplatives proclaim the reign of God by the commitment of their entire energies, physical, psychological and spiritual, to becoming more credible witnesses to Jesus’ own communion and never ceasing intercession with the Father. Through the primacy given to daily Eucharist and liturgical prayer they offer continual praise to God to whom they lift up the world in the nameof the entire ecclesial community, and intercede for the apostolic and missionary endeavors of all those who evangelize in a more direct manner in the field of the world. Of necessity, this level of dedication requires a centeredness that precludes other possibilities. This commitment in faith to the limitations of life in community demands continual personal growth in penance, service, self-giving, loving interaction and care for one another, and acceptance of every human frustration, struggle and pain. Joyful fidelity to this form of life is a graced sign of the reality of God’s Presence at a time when humanity thirsts for hope. Monasteries also offer a quiet space where people are welcome to fill their longing to spend time with the loving God who waits for them in the depths of their own hearts.

In discerning a call to a contemplative form of life you might try answering questions the questions at the beginning of this message.

  • How do you want to use this one lifetime you have?
  • What do you hope to do for the world?
  • Do you find yourself increasingly centering your life in God?