Sunday, November 20, 2016


Pope Francis has set Nov. 21, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, as a day to pray for and support cloistered and monastic religious. It is called WORLD DAY of CLOISTERED LIFE, also known as Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”).

Since this coming Sunday starts the beginning of ADVENT  (yes, it is very early this year) I thought it appropriate to use this as our theme this year- focusing on the Contemplative life, which should be for all Christians who strive to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

We must all make a place for the Christ-child who is to come into our hearts. Advent is that time of silence and the sense of wonder and waiting that is necessary to prepare our hearts for His birth. 

What do we mean by the Cloistered life? Many, especially in our un-churched Northwest ask what we do all day with our lives, behind these walls.

Cloistered religious embody lives “hidden with Christ.” Within our monastery walls we offer prayers and sacrifices that go unnoticed to most of the world. “By their lives of silence, solitude and sacrifice they obtain the graces needed for countless souls to experience the merciful love of God in ways we can only imagine! In Our Lord’s revelations to St Faustina, Jesus speaks of “chosen souls” who are invited to share in His mission of mercy. Our Merciful Savior states that these special souls “fill my Heart with joy. They bear My features; therefore the Heavenly Father looks upon them with special pleasure....Their number is small. They are a defense for the world before the justice of the Heavenly Father and a means of obtaining mercy for the world. The love and sacrifice of these souls sustain the world in existence” (Diary, 367).”

In his recent Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei Quaerere, Pope Francis reflects upon the vital importance of cloistered contemplatives in the life and mission of the Church. He notes that the contemplative monastic life “is rooted in the silence of the cloister; it produces a rich harvest of grace and mercy.” The Holy Father also reminds those who embrace such a sublime calling that “the Church greatly esteems your life of complete selfgiving” and “counts on your prayers and your self-sacrifice to bring today’s men and women to the good news of the Gospel.”

OLR Chapel on a Winter Night

As we celebrate World Day of Cloistered Life, let us remember these contemplative religious who in convents, monasteries and hermitages give of themselves selflessly to God in hidden sacrifice and in silent work. Let us always assist these dedicated souls by our spiritual and material support, in whatever way we can, even if it is like the poor widow who offers two small coins. We are aware that God is never outdone in generosity and that we each will be judged not on the amount we give to others, but on the intensity of love that is behind the gift. 

Let us invoke Our Lady who gave of herself totally to the Lord and shares intimately in her Son’s mission of Mercy. She, who dedicated herself to God in the Temple as a young girl and who the Church as always looked upon as the summa contemplatrix, demonstrates for all believers the need to immerse ourselves in the Lord so as to see things with spiritual eyes and to respond generously by faith, hope and love.

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