“Sin is a blazing fire. The less fuel you give it, the faster it dies down; the more you feed it, the more it burns.” ~St. Mark the Ascetic
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ~C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians.
“Music…will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“[On] the feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple, we will celebrate the Day of Pro Orantibus, dedicated to remembering cloistered religious communities. It is a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and silent work. Let us give thanks to the Lord for the testimony of cloistered life and do not forget our brothers and sisters, our spiritual and material support to enable them to carry out their important mission.” ~Pope Francis, Nov 20, 2013
“It is an opportune occasion to thank the Lord for the gift of so many persons that, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and in onerous silence, acknowledging in Him that primacy that belongs only to Him.” ~Pope Francis, Nov. 19, 2014
Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to honor the cloistered, monastic and eremitic life on Pro Orantibus Day, which is today. In observance of this special occasion, please pray for those who pray for us, especially any consecrated men and women in cloistered, monastic or eremitic (hermit) life in your own diocese.
“The primary purpose of Pro Orantibus Day is to support–both spiritually and materially–the gift of the cloistered and monastic life,” notes Rev. Thomas Nelson, O. Praem., national director of the Institute on Religious Life.
In 1953 Pope Pius XII instituted Pro Orantibus Day, also known as World Day of Cloistered life, to recognize those men and women who so generously give of themselves to this unique vocation and who each day, from the various convents and monasteries and hermitages spread throughout the world, offer their prayers unceasingly to build up the Kingdom. Pope John Paul II later expanded its celebration and encouraged the faithful to support this special vocation in any way possible.
Last year at a general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis reminded the Church, “Let us give thanks to the Lord for the powerful testimony of cloistered life.” He urged the faithful to lend their spiritual and material support to these brothers and sisters of ours “so that they can carry out their important mission.”
++ Prayer in Support of the Cloistered Life ++
We praise and thank you for those sisters and brothers who have embraced the gift of the cloistered, monastic and eremitic life. Their prayerful presence is indispensable to the Church’s life and mission, and is the foundation of the New Evangelization.
As we celebrate Pro Orantibus Day, let us honor the holiness and glory of the Blessed Virgin. May she, who was presented in the Temple, intercede so that many young people might dedicate themselves entirely to Your divine service by hidden lives of contemplative prayer and selfless sacrifice.
May all of us be mindful of the spiritual and material needs of those who commit their lives to seeking God by fixing their gaze on those things which are eternal.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
“I come, O Lord, unto Thy sanctuary to see the life and food of my soul. As I hope in Thee, O Lord, inspire me with that confidence which brings me to Thy holy mountain. Permit me, Divine Jesus, to come closer to Thee, that my whole soul may do homage to the greatness of Thy majesty; that my heart, with its tenderest affections, may acknowledge Thine infinite love; that my memory may dwell on the admirable mysteries here renewed every day, and that the sacrifice of my whole being may accompany Thine.” ~St. Agnes of Assisi
“It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ.” ~Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry
“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .” ~Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon