VocationsPriory of Our Lady of Consolation Amity, Oregon
Come follow me…
Dear Brother in Christ,
May the peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ be with you!
Thank you for your interest in the Brigittine Monks. The Brigittines live the cloistered contemplative life. We do not have any active apostolic work. We chant the entire Liturgy of the Hours and use the Roman Breviary. We are non-clerical choir monks. We have a chaplain who says daily Mass for us which is sung. We try to balance our life between work and prayer, the traditional monastic observance. We support ourselves by making gourmet fudge. The Monastery is located in Amity, a serene section of the Willamette Valley.
The Contemplative Life
by Benedict Williamson, O.Ss.S.
The Order of the Most Holy Savior is contemplative. What does that mean? Well, it means that the monks and nuns are called to be, in a very special way, the lovers of Jesus, and so their life is one of solitude, the most essential characteristic of the contemplative. Lovers want solitude above all things, they want to be alone with their love, and so the contemplative wants to be alone with his Love, too.
Contemplation is the soul’s beholding, with the eyes of love, Jesus her lover. So there are no outward works in the contemplative life, it is a life of solitude and prayer.
Without solitude there is no contemplation.
Then there is the solemn worship of Jesus in the Choir, and with the Brigittines, the Adoration of Jesus on the Altar Throne.
To the one who looks on the mere outside of things has no understanding of the reality of them, this life seems useless, and they exclaim: “To what purposes is this waste?” They cannot understand how, when life is opening with all its promises before them, souls can leave everything and “shut themselves up” so completely from all that is their eyes seems delightful and satisfying.
The cloister is only for lovers in whose hearts has come the answering response to the love of Jesus. He has drawn them by the restless power of His Divine Love, and they come to give Him everything; and they must give everything because they love. Only the lover can give all.
The life of the cloister is austere, self-renouncing, the more austere, the happier they who dwell there. Love delights in sacrifice and immolation to the one loved, so the more complete the renunciation, the better.
The soul caught up in the love of Jesus has no thought, no desire, no wish for anything save such things as will please Him she loves. Love is only understood by love. To those who are not lovers, the words and actions of lovers seem extravagant, foolish, incomprehensible, but they are not so to the lovers. It takes love to understand love. So to the cold and calculating, the words and acts of the lovers of Jesus are unintelligible. They have never felt love’s heat, and cannot understand its drawing power.
Love unites, lovers desire union so much, they would pass into each other, if they could, but natural love has limits beyond which it cannot pass. Its union can only reach a certain point, beyond which t cannot go. What is denied to human love is granted to Supernatural Love, for the end of the contemplative life is the passing of the soul into Jesus, so that she becomes one with Him and is lifted up into the participation of His Divine Nature Itself. The soul and Jesus are one; they have passed into each other; the end which love desires is attained, two have become one.
When the soul has passed into Jesus she is a new creation, she is acting with His power, she has all His Nature to draw upon; there is no limit to what she can do because there is no limit to what He can do.
The apostolate of the cloister transcends that of all mere external activities. The heart of the contemplative is the heart of an apostle; it thrills with eager longing for every interest of the Heart Jesus. The soul has no interests other than those of her lover. She sees everything with His seeing, desires all that He desires, and has His compassion for the multitude and His eager longing for their salvation. Every interest of the Heart of her Love is hers. She is dead to all save Him alone, Who has called her; she is held fast in the embrace of Everlasting Love. What can she say except: “My Love, I want all You want, I have no will save yours.”
That is the life of contemplation, the life lived in the love of Jesus. The more perfect the oneing of the soul with Jesus, the more prevailing the contemplative’s power. The contemplative reaches out over all the world, no barrier can resist the power of his prayer, for his prayer is the prayer of Jesus, and nothing can resist Him.
External activity can, at most, only influence a comparative small circle, while the contemplative embraces the world in his apostolate.
And all the while love grows. Jesus is coming and every coming seems new, for He is ever coming, until at last love grows so strong that the slender thread of life is broken, and love comes to Love’s perfect consummation in Heaven.
For Candidates Of The Monastic Life
When a man is considering a monastic vocation, he is asked to assess himself honestly as regards psychological maturity by asking himself the following: