In his recent interview with Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica, Pope Francis said that mysticism is fundamental for the life of the Church. And he reminded us that Saint Francis, whom we celebrate today, was a mystic. The Holy Father said, “The mystic manages to strip himself of action, of facts, objectives and even the pastoral mission and rises until he reaches communion with the Beatitudes. Brief moments but which fill an entire life.”
As our Constitutions state, "The organization of the monastery is directed to bringing the monks into close union with Christ, since it is only through the experience of personal love for the Lord Jesus that the specific gifts of the Cistercian vocation can flower. Only if the brothers prefer nothing whatever to Christ will they be happy to persevere in a life that is ordinary, obscure and laborious. "
So it is that somehow we are called to be mystics, to allow God in Christ to invade our hearts and our lives at every moment. As monks we are given a greater amount of space and time to devote to what may be called this mystical life. But in truth, this is the calling of every one of the baptized. Perhaps as monks we are meant to show that this vocation is worth everything, and that it is doable.
Saint Francis, José de Ribera, 1642.