Violence, oppression, and the attitudes whereby people treat each other as objects all have their origin in the disorders of the human heart. Evil is not simply an external force that blindly acts in the world. Rather, it is a personal struggle that every human must undergo; a battle against the effects of sin in our lives. Being an agent of transformation and healing in the world is about addressing these root causes. It is about learning to help people experience the stillness offered in Jesus Christ through conversion and dying-to-self.
The problem is that sin is a difficult reality to overcome. In our quest for happiness, often we turn to things that appear to provide us comfort only to discover with time that the pleasures of this world are only temporary solutions. Even when we are filled with altruism and pursue wonderful projects, we are often confronted by the limitations of our human efforts. In many people, this can lead to bitterness and cynicism. We can come to the conclusion of the wise men in Dylan Thomas’ poem who conclude that “dark is right” because their words failed to persuade.
This is exactly why the world needs contemplative missionaries. Contemplative missionaries recognize that the disorders of the heart are not solved by programs and elaborate schemes. Rather, to truly be an instrument of change in the world, we must help people come to intimacy with Jesus Christ. The path of discipleship is not something that takes us out of the world, but rather it gives us the stillness whereby we discover the true meaning of life and the true trajectory of history.
In our contemplative vision, the veil of this world is lifted and we are awakened to the mystery at the heart of all things. Our vision is marked by wonder and awe as we begin to see that in all things, our Lord is gently guiding his faithful to the victory of His Cross and Resurrection. We are called to share this vision with the world, not out of a sense of compulsion, but rather as the expression of the deep love we have discovered. This love burns deep within us, and it is the nature of such fire to spread, to burn everything to which it comes in contact.
This is the calling of all baptized Christians. To live lives of deep intimacy with the Lord and then to give permission for that love to overflow and transform the world.