Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Abbey - Trappistines of Rogersville.
Spiritual Journey.

The Monastic Way

The monastic life is pure journey. The very life is itself a journey from "image" to "likeness" - a transforming journey. This vision of the spiritual life as being a journey from "image to likeness" is a major theme in the writings of the first Cistercians and still inspires us today.

We learn from the outset of Biblical revelation, that we have been created in the image of God: "And God said: Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…". (Genesis 1: 26). The image is given at the beginning of our existence. It is not, properly speaking, a divinization, a "fait accompli", but rather an innate attraction for God. The likeness, not given to us at the beginning, is the actualization of the divinization of which the image is the potential. Simply stated, the image is the seed; the likeness its full blossoming. The role of grace is to awaken within us, in all its fullness, this fundamental attraction for God. With grace and our cooperation, the image blossoms into likeness. Out heart is re-created; we become who truly we are. Thus understood, it becomes evident that our journey toward God, our spiritual journey, is within us - an interior journey that transforms. To the degree that the seed of divine life within us is nurtured, we ourselves become the journey.

Retreatants Path.

This spiritual journey is rooted in Christ - its source, substance and goal. In Christ (in Christo) our heart is transformed. The more intimately we are in contact with Christ through the sacraments, lectio divina, prayer, the liturgy and all our other monastic observances, the more this inner journey will be energized and set in motion. Through this immersion in the life of Christ, in the Mystery of Christ, he is formed within us and that is our transformation: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2: 20)

Our spiritual journey is ongoing; it never ends. Fidelity to it can, through the grace of God, lead us deeper and deeper into the Mystery of Christ - a Mystery that transfigures our human horizon by opening it onto the divine, in the person of Jesus Christ. In Christ, our journey knows no limit. In Christ, it is a journey that passes through the depths of our heart and on into the depths of the heart of God. When St. Gregory of Nyssa speaks of our mode of knowing God, of loving God in eternity, he employs the Greek word epectasis to designate the unending nature of this knowledge (gnosis) which proceeds from discovery to discovery, ad infinitum. This concept easily lends itself to a similar understanding of the unending nature of the spiritual journey: the journey we undertake here and now is only the beginning of an eternal journey. This is not to imply that we are speaking about two separate or unrelated journeys - there is only one spiritual journey: begun here on earth and continued in eternity. Christ is the continuity of the two phases of this one journey; Christ is the Alpha and Omega of our journey toward God.

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