Desert Nuns

Contemplatives and The World

So embrace the whole world with the arms of your love and in that act at once consider and congratulate the good, contemplate and mourn over the wicked.  In that act look upon the afflicted and oppressed and feel compassion for them.” – St. Aelred

Wall space in our tiny novitiate classroom is VERY limited.  Between a bookshelf and a marker board, there is only one wall with any significant space for hanging wall art.  So, as I thought about what to hang there, I carefully considered what might be a source of inspiration, devotion and formation.  Something Franciscan was my first consideration.  Or something Marian?  Or something Christocentric?


Sr. John-Mark in the novitiate classroom

What I finally decided on surprised everyone (even myself):  I chose to hang a VERY LARGE WORLD MAP.  Why a world map?  Unlike Sr. Marie Andre, I’ve never really been intrigued by globes and maps and the like.  And, actually, I’m terrible with geography.  However I chose to hang this map as a reminder to myself and the Sisters that we’ve got a big job to do.  The world is big…and we’ve been called to embrace the world with the arms of prayer and sacrifice, with great love.

P1120448Oftentimes, when Sr. Marie Andre informs us about what is going on in the world for which we ought to pray, invariably we head to the Novitiate to see “where” it is on the map.  It helps to put a name, a face, or a place to our prayer.

It is easy to get bogged down in petty concerns and frustrations, but when I look at that map and think of the souls that people those continents, I wake up to a reality that is far beyond the confines of my own ego.  Nobility jolts through my veins.  It’s the kind of nobility that longs to protect, nurture, and lead to God all the souls entrusted to my care, cost what it may.  I’m sure it’s the same sort of nobility that rushes through the heart of a mother when she holds her newborn child.

St. Teresa of Avila had a super-size dose of this sort of nobility.  Looking upon the handful of nuns that made up her community, she exclaimed:

“What shall I do with them?  Ah, I shall employ them to destroy heresy, to bring forth doctors of the Church, to make reparation for sins, to convert souls.  They will be solid walls, armed ramparts.  They will be living fountains of light and faith.”

As contemplatives, we are to adore our good God and intercede for His children.  Though we make an exodus from the world, we do so all the while carrying the needs of the world and all people within our hearts.

Nuns must understand well that their whole vocation is fully and totally apostolic: restricted in no way by limitations of place, or circumstance, or of time; it extends everywhere and at all times that touches, in any manner whatever, the honour of their Spouse and the salvation of souls.” – Pope Pius XII

May Pope St. John Paul II’s prayer come to fruition:

May the Mother of the Lord grant that from your monasteries a ray of that light which enveloped the world when the Word was made flesh and came to live among us should shine forth again!”


Enter the Conversation...

8 Responses to “Contemplatives and The World”
  1. Judy Kallmeyer says:

    What an awesome vocation is yours. As Pope Pius XII said, it transcends time and space. It is as though you spread wide your cloak and draw all the world beneath it. You hold the whole world in your hearts and offer prayers for all of us. You sacrifice all of the pleasures of the world for the greatest pleasure of all, the love and adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the greatest treasure, the pearl of great price. And you have left all to purchase that pearl. Thank you, Sisters, for being sentinals of prayer for the world. It is in more need of your prayer than ever.

  2. peggy says:

    That was beautifully spoken from the heart of a true Nun!

  3. Veronica Hernandez says:

    The world in wish we live in is so fast pace. Even to pray we must make an effort to do so. I thank our Lord Jesus Christ there are people like you dedicated to pray for the world and it needs. Thank you for keeping me and my family in your prayers. . God Bless, Veronica Hernandez

  4. sr. Irina SJE (Kazakhstan) says:

    I remembered our novitiate classroom in the Mother House. We have a big World map on a wall too!

    Thank you, sister, for this reminding and beautiful thoughts about nun’s ambrace.

    P.S. Find Kazachstan on your map and pray for us too 🙂

  5. Veronica hernandez says:

    Indeed solitude is needed in such a fast paced life. How I yearn to be in solitude in the presence of my creator. To enjoy nature sounds like the birds that sing in the morning and to listen to God speaking to my soul. Yes, quietness and reflection is what I desire most. I pray to God in my fast paced life I may encounter quietness and be able to have a minute of solitude each day and embrace God’s love. Thank you sisters for your prayers, veronica


Check out what others are saying about this post...

Share Your Thoughts...

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar for free here!
Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately...