'To be human now is the reason we follow the star....'
W H Auden
‘May they all be one; as you Father are in me and I in you, so also may they be in us…’ (Jn 17:21)
Solitude is at the heart of this vocation.
Living in solitude allows the journey to descend beyond our own individuality, into a profound sense of our corporate humanity with all its pain and joy, light and darkness, and to discover that God is in all and through all.
THE SPIRIT OF POVERTY AND OBEDIENCE
‘.. Where your treasure is, there your heart is also..’ (Mtt 6:21)
The vowed life is lived in a spirit of poverty. It is characterised by non-possessive ownership of all things and by simplicity of life.
All is gifted to us by God and should therefore evoke gratitude and celebration. The sacredness of all things requires us to care for them in such a way that they are not wasted or squandered, but used, shared and developed for our mutual benefit.
Living out of a spirit of poverty demands that we share not only what we have, but of all that we are. Thus we take up our role as co-creators with God, who dwells amongst us.
The spirit of obedience requires that we live in constant awareness of the many ways in which God speaks to us. Listening in this manner enables us to respond more fully to whatever is asked of us, and so to live out of our vow of stability.
‘.. O that today you would listen to his voice..’ (Ps 95:7)
By providing the opportunity to pursue this deeper communion with God, solitude leads us into the experience of true koinonia, and so paradoxically increases our sense of unity with others.
‘If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have koinonia with one another..’ (1 Jn 1:7)
Solitude must never be an end in itself and constant discernment is required as to the degree to which it is preserved, bearing in mind that solitude is not only a physical state, but part of the interior landscape.