And here lies the heart of Gregory’s monastic vision, the vision which the brothers and sisters of Camaldoli—whose millennium we celebrate with sincere joy here today—still seek to live out. To be immersed in the sacramental life of Christ’s Body requires the daily immersion of contemplation; without this, we cannot see one another clearly; without it we shall not truly recognize and love one another, and grow together in his one holy catholic and apostolic Body. The balance in the monastic life of solitude and common work and worship, a balance particularly carefully worked out in the life of Camaldoli, is something that seeks to enable a clear, even ‘prophetic’ vision of the other – seeing them, as the Eastern Christian tradition represented by Evagrius suggests, in the light of their authentic spiritual essence, not as they relate to our passions or preferences. The inseparable labour of action and contemplation, of solitude and community, is to do with the constant purification of our awareness of each other in the light of the God whom we encounter in silence and self-forgetting.
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