Monastics are a sign to the world, and to the Church in particular, that there are persons, men and women, whose love for Christ and zeal for following His call is so extreme as to lead them to literally “deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.”
This is the visible, radical, total response to the call of Christ.
Monastics who heed this call are a sign of the eschaton, the fulfillment of all things when Christ comes again in glory. They die to this world, that they may begin living even now in the heavenly kingdom. They wear black, that they might be filled with light. They deny themselves, yet provide solace, hospitality and healing to pilgrims. They wear themselves out through asceticism, yet are renewed daily by the Holy Spirit.