29 – A Church or a movement, a community that is closed becomes ill. It has all of the sicknesses of isolation

Ever since the beginning of Christianity, certain men and women have been called to offer themselves entirely to God: they leave the world to dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer, fasting and penance in intimacy with the Lord. Many obtained such a fame of sanctity that they ended up attracting multitudes – their example awakened in many others the desire of imitating their lives of perfection. Small communities thus originated; and these became the starting point for the great religious orders of the future.
Regrettably, however, it is not unusual for some people – who lack supernatural vision – to consider this holy recollection as some kind of egoistic cowardice. They fail to understand the value of the oblation of contemplative souls in sustaining the evangelizing action of the Church. But, the Church knows well that the inaction of a missionary would be just as culpable as the abandonment of the contemplative life on the part of those called to such a sublime vocation.
In light of these principles, are certain generalized statements that strike a blow to the contemplative life reasonable, helpful, or even desirable?

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors

I – Supremacy of the Contemplative Life over the Active Life
II – The Significance of Contemplative Life for the Apostolate

I – Supremacy of the Contemplative Life over the Active Life

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, many founded religious families which the Church gladly welcomed

Saint Anthony of Padua

The active life was instituted for the contemplative life

John Paul II

The cloister does not ‘isolate’, but places in the heart of the Church, who manifests the pre-eminence of contemplation over action
The life of the religious contemplatives proclaims the primacy of God

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life

The monastery is a place where God can be sought more freely
A contemplative monastery represents what is most intimate to the Church - its heart

John Paul II

Religious devoted to contemplation are a reason for pride for the Church, and contribute to the growth of the People of God
Contemplative vocations are very necessary and enrich the entire life of the Church. This life neither excludes from the Church nor impedes efficacious apostolate

Benedict XVI

The religious have at their disposal a wisdom that the world does not possess
In a world growingly incapable of silence, the charism of the Charterhouse is a precious gift
Your place is not on the fringes – you are in the heart of the Church

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Communities entirely dedicated to contemplation hold an honorable place in the Mystical Body of Christ

Paul VI

Cloistered religious are a sign of the presence of God

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Nothing sweeter than to turn one’s gaze to the heart of the divine treasure

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life

Cloistered contemplatives conform to Christ Jesus – a unique way of sharing in Christ’s relationship with the Father
In contemplation, one fulfils to the highest degree the First Commandment

John Paul II

The life of the cloister nuns is an anticipation of the contemplation of God

II – The Significance of Contemplative Life for the Apostolate

Pius XII

Nuns participate in the apostolate of love for neighbor through example, prayer and penance

Paul VI

Cloistered religious are in solidarity with the entire Church

John XXIII

The primacy in the service of God corresponds to the cloistered religious

Congregation for the Institute of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life

Cloistered religious should not be considered as excluded from the Church

John Paul II

Even some Christians, more sensitive to concrete compromise, consider contemplative life as an antiquated activity and even useless

Pius XII

Contemplative nuns possess an entirely apostolic vocation

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Great importance in the conversion of souls – the contemplative life

Benedict XVI

Deep bond between pastoral service and the contemplative vocation
The prayer of contemplatives sustains the fervor of the priesthood
An apostolate of greatest ecclesial and redemptive value – example Saint Theresa of Lisieux: the ‘Patroness of the Missions’
You accompany the apostolic mission of evangelizers, your collaboration in the new evangelization is particularly important

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life

Cloistered nuns are the missionary heart of the Church

John Paul II

St Thérèse of Lisieux - model of missionary commitment and patroness of the missions

Pius XI

Contemplatives draw down from heaven a shower of divine graces, without which evangelical laborers would reap a scanty crop

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life

The faithful should learn to honor the specific role of contemplatives
Bishops are the chief guardians of the contemplative charism

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