Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Missionaries of the Cloisters
"Missionaries speak of the extreme difficulties involved with their work... the lack of sleep and food and the overwork... the intense prayer and difficult services to the poor... the children who are misguided and reside in camps... the people who are in need of life giving support. They speak of the supreme sacrifices that must be made during training, even before the mission work begins. 'You'd die without religious fervor,' one said. How the heart of a religious longs to go with them! To give of itself to God's people through works of mercy and to suffer as Jesus did during the final three years of His life. He took care of His people in spite of hunger, exhaustion, and interior sadness. But they have been shown their part...
"They are the guards who keep watch for Christ's coming, the caretakers of the poor, the savers of souls, the diligent servants of the King, the converters of nations and ages, the generals in war, the leaders in peacetime, the political diplomats of God, the protectors of children near and far, born and unborn, the teachers of wisdom, the scholars of God's Knowledge, the friends of the forlorn, the listeners of Jesus, the workers or all mercies, and they know the count of hairs on each child's head. Missionaries travel and care for people, but they stay in a cloister and in so doing care for the world.
"The affections of their hearts and prayers of their souls will bring God's people comfort, light, and help. The work of their hands in the service of the Lord will be all for the world and will prepare the way for the missionaries. From the cloister they watch, protect, and guide through God's hands. Yes, through their prayers they move the Hand of God! To them will be given the wellsprings of the Holy Spirit, and thus shall knowledge be imparted to them for the world's sake. From their humble dwelling they shall counsel the leaders of men through the Church. From the feet of God they will reap good for all."
How is this so? St. Paul spoke of the Mystical Body of Christ. Christ is the Head, and each member is part of the single Body. What one does, all others benefit or suffer from. Christ, the Head, died, therefore we suffer. Some members of the Body are diseased, therefore we suffer. But a nun is at the heart of the Mystical Body. As in the human body, the heart pumps the blood of the Church through all its veins and its beating keeps it alive. This is the part of a contemplative. She is close to Christ, and through her being close to Him, she is a missionary of the rarest sort.