Contemplative Prayer is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2709 – 2719). The Church teaches that it is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more (Luke 7:36-50; 19:1-10). It is the pre-eminently intense time of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit “that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith” and we may be “grounded in love.” (Ephesians 3:16-17) Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God.
Contemplative prayer is quite simply the thirst for God. It is our answering God’s ever-present, all-encompassing, everlasting, and very personal love. The vocation of a Poor Clare corresponds fully with the deepest aspirations of human nature. We long for God; every human being was created to know, love and serve God. In a world that is often more preoccupied with “production”, contemplation seems like a waste of time. To the heart which is totally given to God, there is no better use of time than to give it to the Creator of time.
To understand the contemplative vocation is to know that its apostolate is universal and timeless. The Poor Clare has stepped apart from the world, not because she despises it, but because she wants to love it more purely -with that love of which the Lord Himself said there is no greater, and which He showed us on the Cross. It needs a great heart, a capacity for love so wide and deep that only God can fill it, a missionary zeal so ardent that no fewer than all the souls of the world can satisfy its thirst.
Every day the faithful knocked at the door of San Damiano to ask prayers for their sick, their prodigals, their discouraged and despairing, their friends. Today it is the same. These people understand that the Poor Clares, cloistered from the world, are closer to its heartaches and miseries simply because they live hidden with Christ in God.