‘God is the source and wellspring of prophetic life and mission, and only contemplation keeps us intimately attuned to God’s voice’
E. Dreyer and S. Schneiders
The heart of the Colwelian charism is living a contemplative life fully immersed in the Divine Will. The quality of our prayer determines the quality of our community life and the quality and evangelical effectiveness of the service we offer to others. As our statutes say: ‘The most important obligation and desire of members is to lead a contemplative life based on common and personal prayer. All other activities are to be rooted in prayer and will bear fruit ‘through him, with him and in him’. Members will cultivate the recognition that every prayer is a vocational event. The hope is that, as each member of the community comes to greater union with the Trinity, we will all become loving, faith-filled, authentically discerning people capable of accompanying others in their own journey to union with God. This is the only way for the Incarnation to become a reality in everyone’s personal life. As Karl Rahner so aptly predicted: ‘The Christian of the third millennium will be a mystic or he will not exist at all’The mystical life is the fully human life. It means to be taken into Jesus as he expresses his “Yes” to the Father’s outpoured love in and through our frail humanity.
Called to Contemplation
As members of COLW we desire to live a ‘contemplative but not enclosed’ lifestyle and hence the consecrated sisters and brothers treasure their times of prayer, seeing them as part and parcel of their mission for the world. Having professed the evangelical counsels and, for the most part, living in community, we have much in common with religious. The Code of Canon Law tells us that, the “first duty” of religious is “the contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer”. Our prayer for Colwelians in the lay branch propels the movement of love throughout the ecclesial family and far beyond. All people are called to holiness and the saints and spiritual writers assure us that lay people too are called to the highest levels of prayer and union with God. Therefore, all members are called to prayer; the amount of time spent in prayer will vary according to one’s state in life.
1. How do vowed members pray?
In praying morning, midday, evening and night prayer we are partaking in the universal prayer of the Christian community. The Church in its daily prayer brings before God the needs of humanity. The constant praying of the psalms and the listening to the Word of God is the mission of the Church we are a part of.
We participate daily in the celebration of the Eucharist. In addition we have an hour’s adoration of the Blessed Sacrament so as to deepen in us our daily living of this mystery.
We have an hour’s silent prayer in our room, in the grounds, in the chapel, in the hermitage or wherever we find most conducive. To risk encountering our fullest and truest self, and to meet God as God requires courage and the freedom to risk. Silence invites us to change, to grow toward fullness of life.
We recite the Angelus three times a day to remind ourselves of the joy Mary experienced at the Annunciation and to implore from her a similar fidelity to our vocation of total consecration through the vows. We say the Fiat Rosary each day. It is a shortened version of the traditional rosary that allows us to contemplate the ‘yes’ of Jesus and Mary throughout their lives.
2. Prayer & Celebration
The major celebrations of the community are the Annunciation (25th March) and the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham (24th September). Walsingham is known as England’s Nazareth where we celebrate Mary’s ‘yes’ to God’s dream for her and the whole of humanity. Uniting us with her in a particular way at these times enables us to enter more fully into God’s dream for us and for our community.
Maundy Thursday (as the start of the Paschal Tridiuum) is also an important day for us as we are reminded that our ‘yes’ is not always easy to say. It is only by living our lives eucharistically that we will have the strength to hand ourselves over in love to God and to others.
3. Praying with our Patron Saints
Click here to read about the Community’s Patron Saints.
As all people are called to live life fully we have chosen some holy men and women who inspire us by their example and intercede with us for the needs of the Church and of the world as entrusted to our community.