Pope John Paul II on Monastic Contemplative Vocation
Pope John Paul II described the monastic contemplative vocation as follows: this vocation and ecclesial mission, responds to the need, felt as paramount, to be with the Lord. Choosing an enclosed space where they will live their lives, cloistered nuns share in Christ’s emptying of Himself by means of a radical poverty, expressed in renunciation not only of things but also of ‘space’ , of contacts, of so many benefits of creation. This particular way of offering themselves allows them to enter more fully into the Eucharistic mystery. They offer themselves with Jesus for the world’s salvation. Their offering, besides its elements of sacrifice and expiation, takes on the aspect of thanksgiving to the Father, by sharing in the thanksgiving of the Beloved Son.
The cloister brings mind that space in the heart where every person is called to union with the Lord. Accepted as a gift and chosen as a free response of love, the cloister is the place of spiritual communion with God and with every person – the place where we become more acutely aware of the need of God’s mercy for ourselves and for our broken and restless world.
Even in the simplicity of their life, cloistered communities, visibly represent the goal towards which the entire community of the Church travels. As an expression of pure love which is worth more than any work, the contemplative life generates an extraordinary apostolic and missionary effectiveness. (cf Vita Consecrata)