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A bridge between the worlds of contemplation and action (1951)


In this letter La Pira explains the aim of the circular letters to cloistered convents:

a “bridge” to be built between two sides both of which are essential to the same extent to the life of the Church and of civilisation: the “side” of contemplation and the “side” of action … a bridge between these two sides within which, when unified, Christianity is wholly put into practice. Two sides which are like to the reflection of the two-fold nature of Christ – the divine and the human, the side of the Word and the side of the man! 

This conversation is for those involved in active life (…this world which in a certain way is the world of action, of outside activity, of incessant dynamism, often without realising it asks for one thing alone: the water of grace, the experimented sweetness of silence, the vital intuitions to solitude, the so very sweet fruit of prayer and the delicate, virginal purity of the interior light. …

And so, see reappearing on the horizon of contemporary civilisation, the lines graceful and severe, firm and delicate of cloistered convents).

On the other hand it also serves to motivate and give body to the prayers of those secluded within.

And so, for its part what does the contemplative life ask for? Here, too, the answer is clear; by means of the yeast of grace, the sap of prayer, the mitre of penitence and the power of love, it asks to penetrate the most intimate corners of the “profane” world, it asks to plough and fertilize the entire territory of man – his personal and family lives, his economic and social lives and his political and cultural lives, all human life.