Powerhouse of Prayer: Our Role in Today’s Church
To be a contemplative nun means a total surrender of self to God. Christ tells us in the Gospels, “The kingdom of God is within you,” a beautiful invitation to enter into the recesses of our hearts and commune in a most loving and intimate way with Him who loves us best.
The Church of today has an urgent need for contemplative prayer, for unending praise, adoration and supplication on behalf of a weary world. When contemplative religious dedicate their lives to complete union with Christ, a powerhouse of prayer results. It is the Lord’s plan for humanity: communities of people, set apart from the world, who through solitary and hidden lives witness in a special way to Jesus in prayer. The close connection between the contemplative Carmelite and all other members of the Church - priests, religious and lay people - is a beautiful mystery of God; there is an intimate bond between them. Behind the cloister’s walls, behind the lines of the spiritual “battlefield,” the Carmelite sisters strive to supply heavenly “ammunition” to those doing combat in the world. This is the life of the cloister within today’s Church, to establish fortresses of Divine Love in the midst of the secular world.
The Apostolate of Prayer has been acclaimed throughout the centuries, and as recently as Vatican II. Our Holy Father Benedict XVI, as well as his predecessor, John Paul II, extolled the lifestyle of contemplative orders and their necessary role in the worldwide Church.
Today the Church is in great crisis. The Holy Eucharist is profaned, many Catholics are abandoning the true faith, many religious orders are in decline, and heresy and dissent are everywhere. The Church needs religious sisters who yearn to spend their lives for the sanctification of souls, who seek the presence of the Lord in contemplative love and hiddenness of life. Why? Because our Lord takes our hiddenness, our sacrifices and our prayers and unites these pure offerings of love with His own redemptive sacrifice for the good of His Body, the Church. The silent emanation of love which pulsates from the heart of Carmel generates a superabundance of grace for humanity, though the mercy and goodness of God.
This is the powerhouse of prayer, as designed by God, to bring glory to His Church and to the world. It is the very heart of the Carmelite vocation.
“Through your cloistered lives the sick are comforted, the needy assisted,
hearts are reconciled and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”
John Paul II