A Reflection on the Contemplative Life
"I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart."
God speaks to the heart in silence, solitude, stillness. His voice cannot easily be heard in the midst of noise, turmoil and a pace of life geared to speed and endless commotion. When our hearts do respond to his voice, he tells us about the meaning of life, about who he is and who we are; and how to experience the fullness of life by finding his presence in all things, recognizing that he is a mystery beyond all things. To some he speaks more insistently; he gives them a taste for silence and tranquillity and a longing to search for him, to encounter him person to person in a deepening dialogue of love. This is the contemplative life. It is a life lived in his presence at the heart of reality where the insecurities, confusion and conflicts of human life can be kept in perspective, as all things move toward the fulfillment of his divine plan.
Here in our monastery, we seek God in a life of prayer, silence, simplicity, and joy. We do this as Mary did, and in union with her, listening to the Word of God, pondering it in our hearts, and acting upon it in faith. Everything in our daily living is arranged to foster this attitude of receptivity. At the center of our life is the liturgy, through which we offer to God a continual sacrifice of praise, and intercede with the Father of mercies for the universal Church and the needs of the whole world.
With Mary, too, we keep vigil before the Lord prayerfully reflecting through the Rosary on the great mysteries of her Son''s life, death and resurrection. Then there are the quiet hours spent in solitary prayer where we gradually learn to look at God through a heart ever more purified of the delusions of a false self and the values of a materialistic culture.
But our life is not all lived in solitude. We live within a warm, joyful community of like-minded women, sharing all aspects of our journey to God in mutual support and sisterly love. In a complex society we try to live in simplicity and frugality, not afraid of our poverty, either material or spiritual, which associates us more closely with the poor. This spirit of poverty impels us with lively confidence in the Lord, "who for our sake became poor so that by his poverty we might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9), and frees us from anxiety about material possessions. We know the dignity of human labor and strive to use our natural talents for the enrichment of the whole community.
While we live within a cloister, separated materially from the world, the Church has appointed us for the work of divine praise and intercessory prayer, which situates us at the very heart of the Church and the world. We embrace that world by recreating in our monastery a place of love, peace, and delight in the Lord, which in faith we believe radiates a hidden apostolic fruitfulness. We do not preach with our voices; ours is a concrete, lived out proclamation of the Good News.
The heart of our religious consecration and the apostolic vocation of the Dominican Order demands that we embrace a penitential way of life in a total gift of self. Would you like to share our life, or simply to know us better? Then, with Jesus we say: "Come and see."