“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12, 1-2).
This appeal of Mar Paulos Sliha is, in fact, the inspiration and moving force behind the fellowship Mar Toma Sangham. According to Sliha, the followers of Jesus Christ take up the responsibility of cosmic transformation, not by conforming themselves to the patterns of this world, but by transcending them. Although it is a challenge to all Christians, the monastic traditions have taken it seriously. Monasticism is a “Quddasa”, a “Sacrament”, a “Sign”, a “Paradigm”, an “anticipation and foretaste of the heavenly kingdom”, a “transfiguration”.
At the heart of the monastic discipline are the sanctification of time and the renewal of the inner man by unceasing prayer. It is in concentrating upon God, in the person of Jesus Christ, in prayer, and in seeking at the same time to embrace the whole creation in love and intercession, that the monastic community opens the channels for the Ruha d-Qudsa, the Holy Spirit, to transform both the individual and the community from within. It also thus enables them to resist the pressures of the world, which drive them to the pursuit of all sorts of vanities. Through their direct experience of the world, as also by the gift of discernment, the monks can help to go beyond a superficial understanding of the world, and help the Christians to have a contemplative attitude to history and the created order.