Members of contemplative communities give themselves to God alone in solitude and silence through constant prayer and ready penance. Essentially, a life of prayer is an attentiveness to God, an awareness of the Divine presence and activity in the world, and an ever-deepening communion with this God. This deepening occurs through prayer, private and liturgical, and is nourished by spiritual reading, lectio divina (the prayerful reading
of Scripture) and other activities which help us to know and experience God (e.g. listening to beautiful music or enjoying nature).
Loving concern for the Church and for all God's people is an integral part of the life of a contemplative. Anyone who takes prayer seriously will find she needs a quiet heart and mind and therefore, an atmosphere of silence. Solitude, or a certain apartness from the rush of life, is necessary as is simplicity, self-denial and a healthy and well-developed sense of humor. The one who seeks God most often finds God in the midst of the everyday. The contemplative life, while lived apart from much of the world's hustle and bustle, is not alien to the concerns of the world and to the simple humanity of those who live it.