A DIALOGUE OF EVERYDAY LIFE WITH ETERNITY
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, The Editor-in-Chief of ‘Niedziela’
We are facing an unusual spiritual chance – for time of great grace is coming. On the first Sunday of Advent the Year of Consecration Life is going to be opened which gives everybody an unusual chance to sail out into the depth. People living behind monastery bars, especially in convents of strict cloister, marked with the sign of a desert, can expect a real siege from people living on the other side of the monastery wicket. We are encouraged to make a personal contact with monks and nuns and get to know the motivation of their life choice by bishop Kaziemierz Gurda, the Chair of the Commission for Institutes of Consecration Life and Association of Apostolic Life of the Polish Episcopal Conference in a special message. ‘They live near us and among us. For hundred years, they have been enriching life of the Church and the society with their prayer, work and testimony. They have grown into our everyday life so much, that at present we hardly notice them’ – bishop Gurda writes. He notes that no one of us can say that he does not owe anything to cloistered sisters ‘who are praying all the time and devote their life for our salvation’.
Witnesses, people able to awaken the world, the glory of the Church, the source of heavenly graces – it was the way in which popes used to speak about monks and nuns of contemplative orders. Now there is going to be an occasion to ask why they decided to close themselves from the world till the end of their life, through which they became prisoners of a cloister cell and chapel. Joyful, happy, they conduct a dialogue of everyday life with eternity. They are witnesses of God’s presence in the world, and tell us not to be afraid of looking at eternity. Representatives of the contemporary generation of those who are looking for God, are more and more willing to visit monasteries in order to become subject to the rhythm of convent life for some time. This is an interesting sign of our times, that the modern noisy world is going to the strict world in a monastery in order to find strength or help.
The Year of Consecration Life announced by pope Francis, concerns 950 thousand consecrated people from all over the world. In our country we have about 35 thousand of them – there is one consecrated person per a thousand of Poles. So, people in cassocks are very engaged in addressing intentions to God with us. However, here mutual help is needed – because we must also remember about priests, about convent communities, especially the poorest ones. Now, when the door of a cloister is slightly opened, we will see the range of needs – old, destroyed convent walls, but, first of all, their inhabitants. We must hear the bell of the poor, which is beaten by contemplative convents, when they do not even have anything to eat. It is so in many places in the world, it is often so in Poland. Our media can be the heart of the bell for convents, signalizing waiting for help. But media are also important for ‘vocations hunters’. Convents and congregations via various means, come out to meet with people feeling their vocations. It turns out that candidates for consecration life, usually find the first information helping them make a choice in media and internet. So, they are literally hunted into a net like God’s fish. ‘How much noise there is in the world! Let’s learn to remain in silence towards ourselves and God’ – we read on Twitter of pope Francis. It is worth hearing these words in the beginning of the Consecration Year.