What is a contemplative Vocation?
From the first centuries of the Church, men and women have left the world, called to imitate Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, who took on the condition of a servant.
They have sought to follow Him by living in a particularly radical way, through monastic profession, the demands flowing from baptismal participation in the Paschal Mystery of His death and resurrection. In this way, by becoming bearers of the cross, they have striven to become bearers of the spirit: authentically spiritual men and women, capable of endowing history with hidden fruitfulness by unceasing praise and intercession by spiritual counsels and works of charity (Vita Consecrata, 6).
The contemplative life is the fulfillment to the highest degree of the First Commandment of the Lord: You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind (Lk 10:27). The contemplative nuns move toward the perfection of charity, choosing God as “the one thing necessary” (Lk 10:42), loving Him exclusively as All in all. Through their unconditional love of Him and in the spirit of renunciation proposed by the Gospel (cf. Mt 13:45), they accomplish the sacrifice of all good things, “consecrating” every good thing to God alone. This is so that He alone may dwell in the utter silence of the cloister, filling it with His Word and Presence, and the Bride may truly dedicate herself to the Only One, “in constant prayers and ardent penance” in the mystery of a total and exclusive love (Verbi Sponsa, 5).
What do the contemplative nuns do?
Nuns completely devoted to contemplation are a reason for pride and a source of heavenly graces for the Church. By their lives and mission, the members of a contemplative community conform to Christ Jesus in prayer on the mountain and to His Paschal Mystery bearing witness to God’s lordship over history, and they anticipate the glory which is to come.
This association of the contemplative life with the prayer of Jesus in a solitary place suggests a unique way of sharing in Christ’s relationship with the Father. The Holy Spirit, who led Jesus into the desert (cf. Lk. 4:1), invites the nun to share the solitude of Christ Jesus who “with the eternal Spirit” (Heb 9:14) offered Himself to the Father.
The solitary cell, the closed cloister, is the place where the nun, bride of the Incarnate Word, lives wholly concentrated with Christ in God. The mystery of this communion is revealed to her to the extent that, docile to the Holy Spirit and enlivened by His gifts, she listens to the Son (cf. Mt 17:5), fixes her gaze upon His face (cf. 2 Cor 3:18), and allows herself to be conformed to His life, to the point of the supreme self-offering to the Father (cf. Phil 2:5 ff.), for the praise of His glory.
In solitude and silence, by listening to the word of God, participating in divine worship, personal asceticism, prayers, mortification and the communion of fraternal love, they direct the whole of their lives and all their activities to contemplation.
In this way they offer the ecclesial community a singular testimony of the Church’s love for her Lord, and they contribute, with hidden apostolic fruitfulness, to the growth of the People of God (Vita Consecrata, 8).
How should I discern my vocation?
In order to make the right discernment we encourage girls and women to do Spiritual Exercises according to the method of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This is a great aid for discovering whether God is calling a person to consecrated life.
Since we belong to a Religious Family it is very important for the candidates to the contemplative life to know the charism and the way our Religious Family works to evangelize the culture. In order to be able to enter the monastery, a candidate should complete the basic formation program: one year of Novitiate, and three years of Philosophical and Theological studies. This is the basic formation program for all of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará: both for the sisters called to the apostolic life and those called to the contemplative life. After this period of formation, those sisters with contemplative vocations are allowed to enter the monastery.