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

…judges Francis’ idea on contemplative life

  • The monastery is a place where God can be sought more freely

Whether in a place apart or in the heart of the city, the monastery, with its distinctive architectural form, is intended to create a space of separation, solitude and silence, where God can be sought more freely in a life not only for him and with him but also in him alone. (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi sponsa, no. 5, May 13, 1999)

  • A contemplative monastery represents what is most intimate to the Church – its heart

A contemplative monastery is a gift also for the local Church to which it belongs. Representing the prayerful face of the Church, a monastery makes the Church’s presence more complete and meaningful in the local community. A monastic community may be compared to Moses who, in prayer, determined the fate of Israel’s battles (cf. Ex 17:11), or to the guard who keeps the night watch awaiting the dawn (cf. Is 21:6).The monastery represents what is most intimate to a local Churchits heart, where the Spirit always groans in supplication for the entire community and where thanksgiving rises unceasingly for the Life which he sends forth each day (cf. Col 3:17). (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi sponsa, no. 8, May 13, 1999)

  • The monastery is a place where God can be sought more freely

Whether in a place apart or in the heart of the city, the monastery, with its distinctive architectural form, is intended to create a space of separation, solitude and silence, where God can be sought more freely in a life not only for him and with him but also in him alone. (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi sponsa, no. 5, May 13, 1999)

  • A contemplative monastery represents what is most intimate to the Church – its heart

A contemplative monastery is a gift also for the local Church to which it belongs. Representing the prayerful face of the Church, a monastery makes the Church’s presence more complete and meaningful in the local community. A monastic community may be compared to Moses who, in prayer, determined the fate of Israel’s battles (cf. Ex 17:11), or to the guard who keeps the night watch awaiting the dawn (cf. Is 21:6).The monastery represents what is most intimate to a local Churchits heart, where the Spirit always groans in supplication for the entire community and where thanksgiving rises unceasingly for the Life which he sends forth each day (cf. Col 3:17). (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi sponsa, no. 8, May 13, 1999)

  • Cloistered religious should not be considered as excluded from the Church

It is not because monks and nuns are separated from other people that they should be considered as isolated and excluded from the world and the Church; rather, on the contrary, they are present to them ‘in a more profound manner within the familiarity with Christ’ (Congregation for the Institute of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. Instruction Venite Seorsum, no. III, August 15, 1969)

  • Cloistered nuns are the missionary heart of the Church

Cloistered nuns fulfil that mission by dwelling at the missionary heart of the Church, by means of constant prayer, the oblation of self and the offering of the sacrifice of praise. Their life thus becomes a mysterious source of apostolic fruitfulness (cf. Decree Perfectae Caritatis, 7; John Paul II, Vita Consecrata (March 25, 1996), 8; 59) and blessing for the Christian community and for the whole world. (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi Sponsa, no. 7, May 13, 1999)

  • The faithful should learn to honor the specific role of contemplatives

It is important that the faithful learn to honor the charism and the specific role of contemplatives, their discreet but crucial presence, and their silent witness which constitutes a call to prayer and a reminder of the truth of God’s existence. (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi Sponsa, no. 8, May 13, 1999)

  • Bishops are the chief guardians of the contemplative charism

As pastors and guides of all of God’s flock, the Bishops are the chief guardians of the contemplative charism. Therefore, they must nurture contemplative communities with the bread of the Word and the Eucharist, offering where necessary the spiritual assistance of properly trained priests. At the same time they share with the community the task of keeping watch so that, in today’s society marked by dispersion, a lack of silence and illusory values, the life of monasteries, nourished by the Holy Spirit, may remain genuinely and wholly directed towards the contemplation of God. (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Verbi Sponsa, no. 8, May 13, 1999)

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