[quote=Mordocai]Now I understand Church teaching of salvation by grace through faith/faith and works.
And Jesus tells us “whatever you did to the least of my bretheran you did it to me” in His discourse on how one is to be saved.
Jesus emphasizes the corporeal works of mercy.
Now, I can certainly see this in the actives. They are the conduits of Christ’s mercy.
Now, a contemplative’s way of life is much different.
I guess what I’m getting at is, how is a contemplative saved when they don’t seem to…DO anything? For example, a monk living in a hermitage?
The answer I would give is that the sufferings they endure and the contemplative prayer do very much in the way of salvation not only for themselves but for others… . . .
It’s seems you’ve answered your own question, Mordocai.
But to elaborate. . .
It helps to consider the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His ministry before His Death and Resurrection in order to gain a better understanding of the consistent witness of the Church to, first, the eremitical life, and then the monastic life.
Only Christ Jesus, since He is God and Man, was and is full of all the charisms of life that we could possibly imagine. In His graciousness He allows His brothers and sisters to reflect in their living of His way their own individual expressions of particular charisms. In Jesus’ life we see Him healing the sick, teaching, comforting the poor and the dying (the Good Thief), and praying to His Heavenly Father. So, among His brothers and sisters we see these same charisms reflected: some teach, some preach, some bring healing, some comfort the dying, etc., - all for the glory of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom; so, too, with prayer.
This dimension of the Christian life has far more power to it than most can possibly imagine and appreciate. When we speak of prayer we usually think of intercessory prayer, i.e., praying for ourselves, loved ones, and friends. Or we can speak of the prayers of praise and thanksgiving that reflect our debt to our Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is a deeper dimension to prayer, though, as we see in Scripture because there we are told that the Spirit Himself makes intercession within us. The Spirit “groans” with the hunger of love for the Body of Christ He is vivifying.
This hunger of love is what drew Christ to prayer, and continues to draw men and women throughout the ages to seek intimacy with God, offering their lives in an oblation of love to Him, so that the Kingdom of Christ will be seeded in the hearts of men and bear a fruitful harvest for the Master of the Harvest.
Some may think of this as a misguided use of one’s life. Why not go out into the world and bring it the knowledge of Christ in a very immediate way? Well, how necessary is the heart to the body? We have feet that can walk to foreign lands, hands that can touch and heal, mouths that can proclaim the Good News, but without a heart full of love all the functions of these parts will be misused. If the heart is not even beating than these parts are useless. So it is with the Body of Christ: some are the feet, some are the mouth, some are the hands – and some, the heart. This is monasticism. It is the heart of the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church. The zeal for Christ and the coming of His Kingdom burns brightly in these monastic “furnaces” of prayer. The power of this prayer made in union with Christ reverberates through the whole Body.
continued. . .