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Monastic life

For a monk, God is the most important thing, he not only refers to God, that he is his proof, he is moreover a witness of God’s exaltation.

Monastic life

For a monk, God is the most important thing, he not only refers to God, that he is his proof, he is moreover a witness of God’s exaltation.

This God, whom most people forget, is the center of a monk’s life! The only thing that moves him, the only important thing for him in the world is God!

So, a monk is simply someone who is delighted with this thought – delighted not only with a thought, but with the very sweetness of God, God’s goodness, God’s beauty. Therefore, he devotes himself already in his present life to what others lose sight of and which they sometimes encounter only too late – at the moment of death, on the threshold of eternity.

The monastic life is nothing but the complete dedication of human existence to the dignified service of God. And in a culture that we can freely call apostate and that tries to build a world without God, this dignified service is equal to a cry, a cry like that of the holy archangel Michael: “Quis ut Deus?” – “Who is like God?”. So, the life of a monk is all in all a testimony of God’s transcendence. God is everything and because He is everything, He deserves to be given everything. With his life, the monk testifies to the relative, insufficient nature of earthly goods. Only God is infinitely good. Saint Teresa of Avila wrote down a magnificent thought that often occupied her: “Only God is greater than one soul”. Therefore, only He is sufficient for one soul.

So, when it is said that monastic life is essentially contemplative, it also means that we have defined a monk as a man of prayer.

A monk is focused on prayer as his basic activity. When his hour comes, even though everything around him is in motion, he remains motionless in his place: in prayer.

Modern life is marked by signs of useful, profitable. When an object is made, we immediately wonder how much it costs, what it is for. However, the noblest works of man are precisely those that are devoid of utility and purpose.

Don Marmion said: “The life of a monk is the continuous recitation of the “Gloria Patri” prayer. As André Charlier, a man to whom we have a lot to thank, would say: “First of all, it is necessary to save love deprived of utility and purpose.”

I think that it is precisely the prayer office, which is above all the glorification of God, through which this deprivation of usefulness and purpose comes to the fore.

By glorifying God, the soul is forgotten, and it is this complete self-forgetfulness that is the most difficult and the rarest.

Now we can already see the apostolic task of the contemplative life we ​​are talking about: anticipating Eternity, the monastic life is actually a herald of God’s kingdom in which completely pure and selfless love will finally triumph.

Through his day and night prayer, the monk shouts a message to his contemporaries, a message to which they are mostly quite open. This message announces to them eternity, the heavenly homeland that we cannot see, but which we are approaching. I will certainly not deny that this is a difficult provision. It is a provision that has the characteristics of penance, thus an act of reconciliation.

This is what Jesus Christ himself showed us when he decided to live his human life in thirty years of secrecy, in silence, unrecognized by people, completely dedicated to a secret conversation with God the Father. Thirty years of living in secret for three years of living in public. This is the model offered to us by our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the apostle of the apostles. He began His work of salvation with 30 years of living in secret, in the apparent ineffectiveness of prayer and humility.

What lessons for us! It shows us how much we must value the inner life, silence, solitude – all that the world so despises. This example of Jesus Christ alone would be enough to save the honor of the contemplative life.

Faith that is not contemplative is not worthy of God.

Home Gέrard Calvet O.S. B.