The Christian calling is essentially contemplative. If this life finds its perfection in the vision of God, it is to this vision that the soul must constantly turn to, in an ordered pilgrimage, in continual progression.

There are no two vocations - to the active life and to the contemplative life - even those of us who live in the world need to turn towards an ideal, towards a goal that will withdraw us from present things and have us live in God.

There should not be tension between the tasks Divine Providence imposes on us and this ideal, because the only thing that is required in order to remain faithful, is not the breaking of all human ties or the flight from the world; it is rather the conversion of all conditions of life, desired for us by the Lord, in an instrument of internal freedom.

We ought to make it so that nothing should imprison our spirit, that nothing should keep it from its pilgrimage to God. Everything that we experience ought to be a way, nothing other than God should be the goal.

It is through the relationship with other brothers and sisters, through our various commitments, the responsibility of one's work, that each soul is loosed from its selfishness, that it starts to melt, to be liberated from its passions, to be made ready for God, in order to respond to the divine calling, to be carried by the divine grace in a direction that knows no other end and goal than God.

Our Community's character is Contemplative. But since we live in the midst of people, we ought to live so that the active life takes away nothing from the duty of pure praise to the Father and that the life of praise should not take us away from our brothers and sisters.

We will be striving to live for God alone, but in a continuous contact with humankind, without sensing that anyone is alien to us, wishing to unite all to us, participating in all their lives.

This is our way of understanding our mission and our vocation and it seems that thus the realization of our religious movement can be justified in the bosom of the Church.

Our Task is Monastic.

Even before Vatican II we have always insisted on the monastic character of the Community, because our brothers and sisters from the beginning have recognized and emphasized the prophetic and charismatic character of our religious movement, while other religious congregations have insisted above all on their legal character.

Monasticism is Prophetic, because it manifests the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church, an active presence of God in the hearts of people and of the Church, and even anticipates the heavenly life.

Each religious movement, and thus also the Community, should manifest an active presence of God in our hearts and in the heart of the religious family, and ought to anticipate some characteristics of the heavenly life. In this sense our community has a prophetic character to the measure in which we speak to others in the name of Our Lord and in union with the Church. We are prophets in as much as the word of God in us comes alive; we ought to incarnate the Gospel, to make it come alive, rendering it present in our own life.

We ought to incarnate the humble requirement of a complete and ready answer to the word of God. 'Follow me' says the Gospel. This is the first word with which Jesus confronts us, other words come later.

Thus on our part it is needful that our life be a generous, quick and decisive response, to a call, to an invitation by God, and implies a constant attention to this call. The primacy of the contemplative values, which is the basis of the community, implies the need for all of us to experience the divine presence, the reality of God.

More than anything else, contact with others will prompt in a soul, which desires to be faithful to God, an intense contemplative life, because other people await this witnessing of God.

The greatest gift that can be given to souls is to give them the sense of the divine transcendence, before which all the other values cease to exist. We wish to live in the divine presence, we feel a need to give this meaning to our lives and to give it to others.

Certainly the presence of God does not so much destroy things as it assumes them. He alone truly is, He alone, through each one of us, speaks, expresses Himself, reveals Himself, loves, and is made present.

If we do not affirm this primacy with our life, with the thrust of our soul, if we do not give to other souls this sense of God, we have no reason to be, notwithstanding our life in the world, notwithstanding our desire to remain faithful to the time in which we live. Jesus did not divide himself from the world, he was not distant. We need to be present everywhere, and be present as brothers and sisters.

And you must bear witness to God. When, from the beginning of our movement, we have said that we wished to affirm the primacy of contemplative values, we did not intend the contemplative life in the traditional forms, in which we neither could nor even should live. But we too are called to bear witness, wherever we are living, that God should be the first to be attended to, that God is the supreme reality, living and present.

God is, and the world ought to know it from my life, should recognize it from my testimony and from the authenticity of my religious life, that authenticity where I, in the most careful, most solemn, most firm way, wish to put God always first. This is not a matter of solitude, of silence; these are means that can be both useful and useless. That which God's primacy requires, is to recognize that in front of Him, everything else is nil.

But this should be recognized with that perfect humility of him who has accepted that God is everything, and that he who has to witness this, is truly nothing, except if he bears this witness.

The contemplative is the soul whose life is truly God, a soul for which God is not a discourse, not an idea, but a reality of whom one lives.

The contemplative lives of God, and makes Him present, He who transcends all and is pure and complete spiritual freedom. Here is the first image of God, which the world awaits.

But not only this. The Community ought to bear witness to God, also because, by uniting all conditions and all classes, it already speaks of a particular freedom from social conventions, from biological factors.

One thing which is needed for us is not to compare ourselves to other contemplative Orders.

The Community does not wish to be half the Carmel, or half the Camaldolese Order, or the Trappist Order; the Community wishes to be what it is. As each contemplativeorder learns from its saints how to answer to God, so should the Community respond in a new way, which corresponds to the culture and social ambience and human relations and economic and sociological structure which are peculiar to the modern world.

It is necessary that this contemplative life today should express itself spontaneously and should come about by deriving from the environment in which they should be embodied, the forms and the means that God himself gives through that same culture in which life flourishes. To live a contemplative life certainly implies transcending the world, but also carrying it all in our heart.

To live a contemplative life today implies that we live in the heart of situations that are not only ecclesiastic but also worldly. The contemplative should not be closed to himself, should not impoverish in his little world, but, especially because one is a contemplative, one should acquire that same measure which is of divine charity and to aim at God,drawing with oneself all the human world in which one lives. The solitude of a contemplative soul is the bosom of God, in which we ought to bring the whole universe.

The mystery of the divine Incarnation knits together the unity of the two natures in the person of the Word and entails even for us, that our union with God be necessarily the union with all the Church and with all humankind too.

Our religious life, inasmuch as it is sharing in the mystery of the Incarnation, is truly a participation in eternity, while living in time: in this time, in this day, in this hour. And this now ought to be for me filled with eternity and in this hour within my soul, God's eternity should meet the present moment.

We need to be monks and nuns. The Community achieves nothing if it does not produce a community of prayerful souls, of adorers.

We ought to live the dogma of our adoption as God's sons and daughters, with that feeling of infinite reverence that fills the soul of Jesus before his Father's face; we must live in that feeling of love which ineffably carries the Son of God into his Father's bosom. First of all this then: praying souls.

Unalterable peace of the soul which lives in the presence of God and in this presence remains in purity and simplicity. We need to bring back the world to the sense of the sacred which it has lost, and to go amongst people as witnesses to Christ.

We shall be witnesses of a contact with Him, of a joy that his word has given us, of a restlessness that we have experienced in meeting with Him: joy that derives from his intimacy, a restlessness that comes from that hunger his contact leaves in us. To the extent that others see our hunger and our joy we shall be missionary souls, bearing witness to Him.

It seems that the Community should return to the conception of Early Christianity which, while not dividing holiness from hierarchy, yet recognizes the distinction between these two orders, so as to recall to those who wish to consecrate themselves to the Lord, the duty of sanctity, as independent from the duty of preaching, of action, but that duty of personal sanctity, through which the holiness of the person bears witness. The unique apostolate of the monk or nun as such is that of witnessing, namely the revelation of God in one's own life.

For this reason, the Community does not consider any particular charity or work as its end.

The soul itself can pursue other particular goals, not as a requirement of its religious Consecration, but rather as a vocation that precedes the religious one: a human vocation which also becomes a Christian one, such as human work for those who live in the world, and for priests, the priestly calling that brings with it a dependency on the Church's hierarchy.

We ought to avoid the peril of believing that the contemplative life excludes us from all service, though prayer should be the exclusive content of our day. If we were to believe we could live a contemplative life, in this day and age, dispensing ourselves from all activity for the good of others, we would in practice justify the accusation the world makes, of contemplatives being idle.

What distinguishes our Community then, is a firm decision of the soul to turn to the Lord, yet not excluding other activities, but doing them in such a way that the soul be set in the direction of God, that all should be done for Him so as to be united to the Lord.

Our Community can truly embrace both, those who live in the world and those who live in the hermitage, because what ought to unite us is not the apparent life; it is the interior intention, it is the fundamental choice that guides us to God.

Each Christian who truly lives the vocation is a presence of God, is a monstrance of Christ, revealing the Father.

For us in the Community of God's sons and daughters this function is primary. We consecrate ourselves to God in the Community precisely to live the Lord's Epiphany: not only for us to see Christ, but to make Him be seen in us.

What do we say in the Triple Consecration? That we wish to be saviours of the world, together with Jesus the Saviour of the world, that we wish to be the revealers of the Father, together with Jesus who is the Revealer of the Father.

This is our primary function. People should see God in us. Our Consecration commits us to this.

We should not be aloof to any expressions of life, above all to any religious expression of life, because in each experience of life, we find an element that ought to be assumed by the Church to render more richly and fully the manifestation of it's catholicity.

We wish to carry not only a message of salvation, but we wish to gather all that which people can give us, in order to transfigure it, bringing it in Christ, by making it Christian through us.

We are committed to this: to know and love what is good, though not yet Christian, but sound and therefore redeemable, capable of being made Christian, in all of the world's thought, in all of human experience.

To go amongst others as witnesses of Christ.

But how can we remain faithful to this orientation to God, to this practical recognition of the supreme values? The Community is very sober in the means that it offers. Because it wishes to embrace all and turn all towards this supreme good, it is necessary that it should not tie itself to forms that cannot be for all.

Certainly, we cannot neglect prayer and it is for this reason that the fundamental duties of our communal life are of prayer, in the exercise of the theological virtues:

The Exercise of Faith, because prayer implies a relationship with God and therefore requires, on the part of the soul, understanding what it believes.

The Exercise of Hope, because prayer here below for us is always a prayer of asking and therefore it hopes in a God who will come and respond to what is asked of Him.

The Exercise of Charity, because we cannot long remain faithful to prayer if we do not love.

The fundamental mean, therefore, that is offered by the Community to those who wish to live this contemplative life, is faithfulness to prayer.
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