Monasteries: Oases of Ascetic Life
Pope Benedict today told the plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life that “consecrated persons are a special part of the People of God. Supporting and protecting their faithfulness to the divine call is the fundamental role you play.”
Benedict XVI expressed the view that the work of these days, “which focused particularly on female monastic life, may provide useful guidance to monks and nuns who ‘seek God”, practising their vocation for the good of the whole Church”. In this context he recalled how during his address last September to the world of culture in Paris, France, he had “highlighted the exemplary nature of monastic life in history, and underlined how its aim is both simple and essential: ‘quaerere Deum’, seeking God and seeking Him through Jesus Christ Who revealed Him, seeking Him by fixing one’s gaze on the invisible truths that are eternal, in the expectation of the glorious manifestation of the Saviour”.
“When consecrated people live the Gospel radically, when people dedicated to an entirely contemplative life profoundly cultivate the nuptial bond with Christ, … then monasticism can, for all forms of religious and consecrated life, become a reminder of what is of essential and primary importance for all the baptised: seeking Christ and placing nothing before His love.
“The way indicated by God for this search and this love is His own Word”, the Pope added, “abundantly present in the books of Sacred Scripture for mankind to reflect upon”.
The recent Synod on the Word of God “renewed its appeal to all Christians to root their lives in listening to the Word of God as contained in Sacred Scripture, and invited religious communities in particular, and all consecrated men and women, to make the Word of God their daily sustenance, especially through the practice of ‘lectio divina'”.
The Holy Father concluded by expressing the hope that “monasteries may increasingly become oases of ascetic life, where the allure of the nuptial union with Christ is felt, and where the choice of the Absolute … is immersed in a climate of constant silence and contemplation.”