Into the Invisible

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A faithful friend of mine in the Eternal City, an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, sent me this text from a booklet by Cardinal Pironio: "Povertà e Speranza." The passage is taken from the chapter entitled "Speranza e contemplazione." The English translation is my own.

In generale noi ci angustiamo e disperiamo quando non abbiamo tempo e tranquillità per pregare. I monaci non solo ci acquietano perché sono un segno di quello che deve venire (i beni futuri che aspettiamo), ma soprattutto perché ci introducono nell'invisibile di Dio e ci fanno sperimentare ora la sua presenza. L'esperienza di Dio nell'orazione ci inonda della 'letizia della speranza' (Rom 12:12). E' cosa tremenda, infatti, quando un monaco lascia la contemplazione attratto dall'illusione di trasformare il mondo con un'attività immediata. Il suo modo specifico di cambiare il mondo, di costruire la storia e di salvare l'uomo, è continuare ad essere profondamente contemplativo. Vero uomo di Dio e maestro di orazione. Cioè, un autentico veggente.

In general we give in to anguish and despair when we don't have the time and tranquility to pray. Not only do monks still themselves because they are a sign of what is to come (the good things in the future that we await), but above all because they introduce us into the invisible of God and allow us to experience His presence now. The experience of God in secret prayer floods us with "the joy of hope" (Rom 12:12). It is a frightful thing, in fact, when a monk, attracted by the illusion of transforming the world with an immediate activity, forsakes contemplation. His specific manner of changing the world, of building history and of saving man, is to continue being profoundly contemplative. A true man of God and a master of secret prayer. Therefore, an authentic seer.

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It is a frightful thing, in fact, when a monk, attracted by the illusion of transforming the world with an immediate activity, forsakes contemplation.

That particular sentence reminded me of a couple of scripture verses:

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it (Psalm 126:1)

Without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5)

But I suppose that close to the hearts of many faithful monks are the words of Saint John the Baptist:

He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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