Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Abbey - Trappistines of Rogersville.
Capacity for God.

Each and every human being has a capacity for God; we carry it within our nature as a priceless treasure stored in an earthen vessel. Our capacity for God is not just a quality or an aspect of our being; it constitutes who we really are. We are capacity for God! We are an opening onto God. Without God, we are incomplete, unfulfilled. This capacity for God inhabits the human heart and renders it immense, vast enough to contain the eternal. Our capacity for God is a call, a nostalgia, an aspiration, a desire for something beyond ourselves: the trace of transcendence. The awakening of this capacity for God - this innate inclination toward God - is at the same time the liberation of an inner spiritual movement. This capacity for God is not something immobile and static that is simply there without vitality. It is eminently dynamic, alive. It is a tendency toward God and this tendency is its innermost reality. It is necessary that little by little our entire being becomes one with this spiritual movement.

Sunlight beams through a break in dark clouds.

The fact that we are created in God's image, that we have, by this fact, a capacity for God, is a very positive explanation of our true nature. There is, however, another way of speaking about and experiencing ourselves as "imago Dei", as "capax Dei", both of which resonate with intimations of potentiality for realization. We could broach the topic from another angle and speak in terms of incompleteness and lack of fulfillment. We are God's image - yes, but we are not yet God's likeness; we have a capacity for God - yes, but it is not yet fully actualized. And so it is that to experience our divine capacity is to experience our innate nobility and our innate poverty - both experiences urging us on in our quest for God.

Thus it is that certain people are drawn to the monastic life. Here, in the monastery, our whole life is oriented toward this all-pervasive and all-consuming search for God. Through the divine liturgy, lectio divina, private prayer and meditation, community life, manual work, study and all the essential monastic commitments, this search for the living God goes on relentlessly. The whole of monastic life is oriented toward God insofar as its organization is concerned but the most important factor is that, little by little, the heart of each monastic turns toward God. This requires a lifetime - it is a question of transformation of being not just observation of regulations. One sees here the subtlety of monastic obedience. Monastic life is situated deep in the human heart, in its aspiration for God, in its tendency toward God. Monastic life is essentially a turning toward God, and this turning happens at the core, at the heart of a person - there where the ultimate, fundamental liberty resides; there where we choose to turn toward God or turn away from God. This turning toward is monastic obedience, it is our deepest, truest prayer - a prayer that transforms, divinizes.

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