Pope Francis called it "the praying heart of the Church": it is the precious, though little visible, world of contemplative life. Recently it has received particular attention from the Church: first through the Apostolic Constitution "Vultum Dei Quaerere" and then with the decree "Cor Orans", which applies it and contains specific rules on the life and organization of monasteries. On May 8th in Jerusalem, at the Custody of the Holy Land, Monsignor José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, arrived to explain these news to the contemplative sisters of the whole Holy Land.
Mgr. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO, ofm
Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life "It wants to be a moment of encounter, to show the love that the Church has for the contemplative life. Then a second objective is the encounter between them: many of the monasteries present here do not know each other, even those of the same order, so it is fundamental that they meet each other. Then certainly to show them some challenges: of the federation, of autonomy, of seclusion, and then the great challenge of formation. And it is precisely on formation that we are about to publish a document, which will be entitled "The art of looking for the face of God: guidelines for the formation of contemplatives".
Throughout the Holy Land there are 14 monasteries, of which 9 in Judea and 5 in Galilee and mostly of Latin rite, within which 174 nuns of 6 different orders have chosen to put at the center of their lives prayer, brotherhood and hospitality.
Mother MARIA CHIARA BOSCO
Abbess of the Convent of the Poor Clares in Jerusalem “Contemplative life was born in this land, monasticism has always been very alive: we are a small presence that collects the legacy of these two thousand years of history. The simplest thing, or even the deepest and truest, is that we are truly a "prayerful presence", first of all Christian: we bear witness to a presence that gathers the cry of peace, freedom and unity which rises from these peoples and also from these religions. Prayer is our first vocation, and it meets and intersects with the vocation to pray of our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters. From here that a prayer rises, let's say one next to the other, is important. And then there are daily bonds of friendship with Jewish and Muslim brothers, and also with people who have their own search for God. We are here to say that Jesus Christ is still alive.”
Sister VERONICA DE JESUS
Monastery of Mount Carmel, Haifa "Closure, solitude and silence are essential elements of our contemplative life, without which we cannot not only pray, which is our ministry, but be ourselves: a continuous praise of the Lord for all, in a fragmented land, which cries out in all its realities the need for peace and to live in communion and brotherhood. We feel we are praying, among people who pray."
Mgr. JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO, ofm
Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life “Everywhere the presence of the contemplative life is very important, but here even more so. In addition to being instruments of dialogue, you shall be truly supportive of the weak members of the Church here in the Holy Land, both Christians and non-Christians. And be lighthouses, oil lamps and watchmen in today's world.”