Thursday, February 04, 2010

Consecrated life and me.

First off, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am an ordinary Christian, consecrated by baptism yes, but I am not a consecrated religious or a member of a secular institute.  Yes, I am a secular Franciscan by 'profession', but that is the extent of it.  I am simply a single Catholic layman - no initials after my name - no vows other than baptism, no clubs, associations or knighthood.  I mention this because I think people have heretofore misread me.
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As St. JoseMaria Escriva consistently pointed out, ordinary life is a great grace...
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Let me stress this point: it is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love.  Furrow, 489
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Anything done out of love is important, however small it might appear. God has come to us, even though we are miserable creatures, and he has told us that he loves us: “My delight is to be among the sons of men.” Our Lord tells us that everything is valuable — those actions which from a human point of view we regard as extraordinary and those which seem unimportant. Nothing is wasted. No man is worthless to God. All of us are called to share the kingdom of heaven — each with his own vocation: in his home, his work, his civic duties and the exercise of his rights.  Christ Is Passing By, 44
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This is why Marcel Van and the spirituality of St. Therese is so important for me.

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For those interested in consecrated life, I recommend two sites:
"Message of the Holy Father to Consecrated people."
"Pope's Homily on Day Of Consecrated Life"
"How do I become a consecrated lay-person?"

9 comments:

  1. "As St. JoseMaria Escriva consistently pointed out, ordinary life is a great grace..."

    I don't dispute this at all, nor do I dispute that one can become a saint "anywhere", so to speak; the universal call to holiness is just that and its essence is love.

    That said, it seems to me that finding God and one's specific path is paradoxically now more difficult than if one was operating under the view that holiness is only for some or that graces for sainthood are only found in monasteries or something like that.

    Unless the emphasis on finding one's specific vocation and its importance has somehow been overblown in time (some saints speak about being in the wrong vocation or state in life as a real threat to one's salvation) and really, "all you need is love". But I don't know.

    I suppose if there are great graces "everywhere", that is needless to say a comfort and an encouraging fact, but the question of which graces are for me (the individual) is still haunting.

    Does the line get blurred between there being a distinct vocation we are to follow and simply "blooming where we're planted" or becomming saints where we are, if there are seemingly great graces everywhere?

    If that is so, then how does one know it's time to head into the desert with God or how does one know that to remain where one is is God's will, outside of a specific experience or "revelation" of sorts which reveals God's specific will for the individual?

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  2. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Religious life is first a committment to an intensification of one's baptismal consecration and second a new consecration. It is more than just "vows". It is a promise to work towards perfection, not being perfect.

    Religious life is not antithical to the universal call to holiness but a natural (or supernatural) flowering from it.

    Escriva was not the orginator of the holiness of the laity although many seem to think it. This is what made the mendicant orders: Franciscans, Dominicans, etc. so popular in the middle ages because they were geared to the holines of the laity.

    Ultimately, one has to find where he can flourish and be holy. For most people that is in lay life and for others--the ones who are weak and need extra help, religious life! It is, as St. Benedict says, "A school for holiness". A good reading of the Fathers of the Desert shows us that they were ordinary, sinful men and women who fell and by God's grace, got up, fell and and got up! The important thing is that they never gave up that God would bring them to himself!

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  3. LeoRufus8:59 AM

    This is nice. I am slowly coming to this realization as my work consumes virtually every hour of my day and my home life becomes an infirmary for sick loved ones. It is teaching me that the essence of charity is this, to attend to the needs of the sick, the poor, the widow, the orphan before moving to great things. Jesus is in the wounds of our brothers.

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  4. Patrick - this was really just a response to a couple of emails about 'my state' - nothing else. I thought if a couple of people had these questions, more would, so I was making some sort of vain declaration here. It is another post I would take down if people had not commented. Please pay no attention to it.

    Anonymous - thanks - very good advice.

    Leo - beautifully stated.

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  5. Terry: I hope my comments on your other posts did not seem to indicate you were a consecrated person in the canonical sense...
    The dedicated life in the world, whether single or married, with or without vows, is such an important part of today.
    Consecration can be understood in a theological sense (not necessarily with vows or a formal commitment) or juridical (member of some form of recognized association or institute).
    I value the contribution of men and women (as does the Church) who are living a life dedicated to Christ, no matter how.

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  6. Not at all Father - I think you get me - I got a couple of other inquiries by email however - so I thought I should clarify. I don't think I do a very good job expressing such personal things however. Now I'm thinking people imagine I'm against consecrated life - nothing can be further from the truth - hopefully, my life will some day just show how God takes care of people like me - people who just don't fit in.

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  7. But Terry, you do "fit in"...into the Mystical Body of Christ.
    Holiness is all that matters. We all have our "niche"; religious life is a very particular way of living the baptismal call. It is definitely not for everyone.
    I am very moved, inspired and humored by your work on your blog.
    Really.
    I love it.
    Take care, my friend.
    We've never met face to face, but I feel like I know you better than others I see face to face.
    Fr. JM

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  8. Terry: I feel less odd because of you. I curiously happened upon a marvelous little gem last night. It was the bio of a layman name Charlie Price. Does anyone know it?
    It was written by Ronda Chervin. I have never been particuarly enamored of Chervin; however, it is a remarkable story of holiness in the lay state. It is called Hungry for Heaven.

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  9. Sorry. I meant Charlie Rich. Not Charlie Price. I am confusing potential Saints with heroin addicted musicians. Lord have mercy.

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