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BarbaraTherese

Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I am so glad, very truly and honestly glad, that Phatmass is here and with such accepting and openhearted, open minded, members in the main.  I think I probably soon will have only you to 'talk to'.  Those around me who travelled with me during my very ill years with Bipolar tend to close ranks and avoid me if they think that I am unwell.   Their unfailing support comes only when I have been hospitalized (out of circulation and away from them and someone else's big problem) and then they are supportive when I am later released and sane once more.   My brother (see my previous post) obviously, I think, thinks that I am cracking up completely once more and loosing count of my marbles again - and doubtless this will circulate.  I have not made it generally known re private vows.  This is the first they are hearing of it and it aint easy to make it known and my coming plans re the Home Mass - oh not at all!  It is not easy to react quietly to questions that are obviously trying to test my mental state.

 

Thank you Phammers for being you and a true community and phamily to me!  :winner: My five star phamily and community. 

 

Prayer very much appreciated for sure!  I desperately need it on a few fronts. 

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Private vows (to the evangelical counsels) are a Church and canonical term meaning that one does not change one's state in life and the vows are not public and canonical vows where the state in life does change to the consecrated state and the consecration celebrated by a Bishop - hence private vows are  also a distinguishing term from canonical public vows to the consecrated state in life.  I remain fully in the laity in every way and governed by all laws and teachings for the laity and I am under non canonical private vows in the laity, not public vows - even though one can make private vows at Mass with the agreement of the celebrant.  My SD wanted to put it to the Vicar General who consulted the Archbishop.  I did want a Home Mass and I think diocesan authority needs to be consulted on this score - although I am unsure on this point.

 

My SD asked me to write a Rule of Life some times back and I have done this and he approved it.  Basically all I did was put down on paper the way I have lived for many years now using the petitions of The Our Father as subject headings.  My Rule does ask some revision to my mind as I think I was repetitive in places and it could be polished into a more concise document - I did write it rather quickly.  That revision can wait for the time being.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

My parish priest rang me this morning and has granted his permission for my spiritual director to celebrate a Home Mass at my residence in Bethany here for the purpose of renewing my life vows to the evangelical counsels (there was no need for an appointment thankfully).  All the Church formalities are now over and next week on the 6th Feb Thursday, my brothers are taking me out to lunch and I have their formalities and concepts, opinions, protocols and I daresay protests to deal with.  After that, settling on a date and time - guest list.  Although at the most I am thinking 20 people including four nuns, immediate family and a few friends.  The sisters have already indicated that they will be trying their best to attend.  It all depends on the convenience of the date.  And I am thinking mid 2014 or later.

 

When Father rang this morning, he joked "Would you like an appointment?" "Do I need one, Father?" "Not really, you have mentioned to me your private vows - and it's just a formality so that I can be sure you are not importing some international imposter into my parish".

 

The Seven Hills Jesuit Retreat Centre in Clare, South Australia, have rung me and passed on to me a telephone number where someone may be able to assist me in the Seven Hills Centre with a private directed retreat and at reasonable cost.  I'm yet to follow up on that as I am not anticipating going on retreat until just before the Home Mass.

 

To say that I am 'over the moon' is a decided understatement and with joy and thanksgiving.  Even loosing the trepidation too of talking with my brothers.  A far higher authority than blood relationships have given permission.  And when all this first began, I felt strongly that results would tell me The Lord's Will and which way to travel.

 

Have you ever read the poem "God knows" (Minnie Louise Haskins) - a favourite of mine and I have a wooden oval plaque with the first part painted on it. (down to "trod gladly into the night")

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gate_of_the_Year

 

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill

 

 

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

If you read my signature, I'll tell you the story behind it (and what else, if you know me! :) ).  One night very late and very scared as my life was coming totally apart yet again, I prepared to just open my Bible and read searching for some sort of consolation in desperation as The Lord really seemed absent to me even uncaring, other than to Dark and Naked Faith- and telling The Lord that I knew what I was about to do was not at all recommended and by very sound sources, but that I was really desperate and needed something to hang on to and was going to do just open and read randomly what my eyes landed on anyway.  I opened and read what appears in my signature and it did give me consolation and hope at least somewhere somehow ahead of me.  That was all donkeys years ago and during my very ill years, but I have never forgotten that verse from Jeremiah and with a sense of consolation somewhere in the darkness and unknowing ahead of me.  My now feeling is that that verse is being fulfilled for me - I have years of good mental health under my belt and now FINALLY at 68 yrs of age after a very harrowing 20yr journey indeed, I have been sufficiently confident to ask re the Home Mass for receiving my private vows to the evangelical counsels with reassurance from my psychiatrist that she feels my illness "has turned a real corner".  I have my own Rule of Life approved.  And diocesan offices have given their approval for the Home Mass for receiving vows, though many details of my harrowing and often socially repulsive journey with Bipolar are known to diocesan offices.

 

Humbled is not the word - indeed if true humility is anywhere present in me at all!  Who am I Lord and Who are You that you stoop so graciously to your most least of all?  I am just one of the sinners He came to save.

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Had lunch with my two brothers today.  To my surprise, my brother who had thought that I was cracking up completely has come round and my other brother was very supportive and encouraging.  It all turned out quite contrary to my expectations.  We had a great lunch at a lovely Chinese restaurant - and neither seemed surprised that I was choosing private vows received and renewed at a Home Mass.  I did try to silently give thanks but it very nearly came out aloud - but I did manage to avoid doing so...........just!

I think that probably all hurdles are now past tense and all has resolved happily.  The next milestone will be when my spiritual director gives me an actual date for the Home Mass here.  I wont be seeing him for about another month.  Then I will be sending out invitations - probably to about 20 people maximum.  I'd like to keep it a quiet celebration - and also my unit will only hold about 20 in comfort.  Mass followed by morning or afternoon tea (or whatever) dependant on time of day Father sets.

"Bethany" here will be blest at the same time as the Home Mass.

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I have read on the internet that private vows should be made only before or after Mass.  My spiritual director (superior in his community) suggested at the Offertory during Mass - I am yet to discern what exactly will happen and I daresay that Father will run it past our Vicar General who is highly qualified in Church matters. When I find out what has been decided, I will post back into this thread.

 

I am very thankfully praying for all those who have prayed for me and their intentions.  I just cannot quite believe that things have transpired as they have.  I don't feel at all worthy nor anything whatsoever in that vein - while I feel very strongly I am taking that path directed by The Holy Spirit.  In all my years of severe mental illness, I never asked "Why me?"...........now that question baffles me.  I do tend to think after my long journey with Bipolar Disorder and all it has meant in my life by way of destruction and major life losses, including reputation, and all in that order, that it does reveal that The Lord indeed has quite unique plans for every person without exemption at all - and that "all things are possible to God".

 

I was a completely psychotic mess and medicine (doctors and medication) offered little if any prospect to hope for any sort of normal type of future at all.

Please spare a thought and much compassion for those who do suffer severe mental illness.  They suffer what must come close to the horrors of hell and often without any sort of love and support from family and friends whatsoever - and endure often tremendous poverty and homelessness, social exclusion.  Sufferers of MI are not only still very much misunderstood, they must wear social labels of rejection on various levels -  because of their illness and illness it is.  And statistics tell us that crimes of violence are far more prevalent per capita amongst 'the normal' than amongst sufferers of MI.  We just don't see headlines "Normal person ................."  But we do see headlines "Mentally ill person.................." where crimes of violence are concerned.

 

Hijacked my own thread!

 

Here I pause with a prayer for all those who suffer in any way at all, including those who do suffer deeply because their deepest desires in life seems to be thwarted and they grieve.  How does one journey from what I want to what is God's Will for me.  I can't answer that question - only each individual can do so and in that unique way and journey that God has planned for them. "Work as if all depended on work and pray as if all depended on prayer" because it does. Trust confidently.

 

Matthew Chapter 19 "      [24] And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. [25] And when they had heard this, the disciples wondered very much, saying: Who then can be saved?   [26] And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.

 

........off me pulpit again...........until next time :)

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Thanks heaps, BM.  I am over the bouncing all over the joint with joy stage (initial) then I went into the 'stunned mullet' stage - and now I think I am back to normal just pinching myself now and then that each hurdle presented is at last past tense and all resolved happily.   Thank you so much for joining in my Joy.

I am hoping that this thread might prove helpful to those considering or interested in the vocation.  We certainly get a strong mention in the Dogmatic Constitution of The Church and also in Vita Consecrata (The Consecrated Life).....(Pope Pius XII pre Vatican2 also mentioned us in "Sacra Virginitas" - see quote box below)  - but our guiding light is the Decree on The Apostolate of The Laity http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651118_apostolicam-actuositatem_en.html

 

I recall the days when the thought of remaining in the laity was a dreadful thought - yet now so full of Joy and Peace.  Very long journey indeed since then changing many of my concepts including the image of myself as a contemplative nun! :)

 

Fortunately, everything I have read and related threads ("single" or more accurately "lay celibate vocation") here on Phatmass or CA I have recorded in my Favourites - as a 'just in case needed again'.

 

Sacra Virginitas"Sacred Virginity"  http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_25031954_sacra-virginitas_en.html

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII
ON CONSECRATED VIRGINITY

 

"6. And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state,[9] and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders[10] and demanded from members of Secular Institutes,[11] it also flourishes among many who are lay people in the full sense: men and women who are not constituted in a public state of perfection and yet by private promise or vow completely abstain from marriage and sexual pleasures, in order to serve their neighbor more freely and to be united with God more easily and more closely. "

 

 

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Thank you also and heaps, AL.  I will post the big date for sure!  Prayer from you and others has got me over the big hurdles, so that I can heave a sigh of relief (more than a sigh!).  :yahoo: The next step is to get a date from my SD and then organize the big day itself.  And I am hoping to go away on retreat prior - and if my pocket wont fit, to go on retreat here in Bethany.

A whole bunch of invitations will be going out to Phatmass in spirit and Joy that my phamily "whole bunch of others" will join me in spirit.

This really is big for me.  Because of my Bipolar history, which is well known - no secret anywhere including diocesan offices - I was totally inclined and prepared to be disappointed - but thought prayerfully that I would give it my best shot anyway knowing indeed that God can do all things.  HE DID! :woot:  Truth is, I would not have blamed anyone if the response was in the negative.  My hope was that my years of good health just might speak up for me favourably.

 

Thanksgiving in order !

 

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

More truth!  I though it would be only up to my spiritual director to agree or not to be celebrant and that would decide things full stop.  When my SD said that he had spoken to our Vicar General who was going to "run it past The Archbishop", I sorta felt "Oh well, I gave it my best shot!" with a sinking feeling.  And then the VG in passing on His Grace's decision advised that I also run it past my parish priest.   Everyone, fer goodness sake, was in 'on the act'!!!

 

At a point to me (when our VG and His Grace got in on the act :) ), it was all going terribly wrong - and what was all going so badly wrong turned out to be all going right................ Samazing! :)

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AnneLine    5,190
AnneLine

Would prop you & your Ecclesiastical Team.. but I am out of props!  So.... here is an AnnieProp for lack of others:  :saint2:

Edited by AnneLine

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Would prop you & your Ecclesiastical Team.. but I am out of props!  So.... here is an AnnieProp for lack of others:  :saint2:

 

:)

I keep forgetting about these props!

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

My next move to keep my mind active on practical things at a difficult time, is to design a standard dress.  What I am definitely considering is black loose slacks which keeps one well covered (cheap to buy) and probably a simple hip length loose blue top, short sleeves loose and wide enough to include a black skivvy (roll neck) underneath in winter - top will have same material blue collar. Top would be quite plain no motif or 'bling', worn with a cross on a chain about 3half inches from neckline.  I have a dressmaker round the corner who can make the top quite cheaply - all else I have.  Obviously nothing at all like a religious habit!

   Drawing it for my next visit to my SD I am hoping will keep my mind on practicalities and off other things until current crisis and stress is resolved.  I am hoping Father next visit in a few weeks will be able to set a firm date for the Home Mass and House Blessing later in the year, approve whatever I design dress-wise as I think I will probably fiddle with a few ideas before settling on something final. I will organize and send out invitations (one month after invitations are received requesting RSVP and three weeks before the actual event).

 

My psychiatrist will also attend providing the date is convenient.

 

It is 7.28pm here on Tues 18.2.14 and after much prayer and sweat, few tears, a really nasty anxiety attack has alleviated and fizzled out.  Words cannot express my gratitude as I work through this time - and for those who have prayed for me including a community of Carmelite nuns.  My psychiatrist is spot on by stating that my terrible fear of Bipolar makes a difficult situation even worse for me.  I agree! But so far, so good and this does give me a sense of some confidence I can work through things without a Bipolar episode and this confidence serves to alleviate fear.  My hand is very much in The Lord's Hand who very often, perhaps most often, works with very ordinary circumstances - rather than outstanding and obvious, overt, Graces.  He is the Essence of Absolute Humility and in His Simplicity and Humility often works with and through what is very simple and most ordinary.  We see this ordinary progress, falls and failures, persistence in virtue, unshakable trust in The Lord, in the life of St Therese of Lisieux.  The saint of an ordinary life lived extraordinarily well.

 

I would also retain quite casual and good clothing, which I have already for occasions that might call for such.

 

.......well that rather big 'bump' is keeping this thread current..............and I hope until the Home Mass and Blessing is past tense.

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Thank you too, AL, for the props - and for staying with me in this journey.  Prayers for you and your intentions and for all who are praying for me.  I'm scared.....Bipolar is letting me know it is still around and while somewhere deep down, I am confident with The Lord's help I will be the stronger, it does present a very uncomfortable and threatening time.  I'm hoping that tonight just might present some sort of real relief from ever present anxiety and threatening panic attack and temptations against Faith and trust - an invitation to despair.  I do realize that it is probably very difficult to impossible for someone who does not have a mental illness to understand thankfully.  And I do concur with my doctor that it is the fear I have of Bipolar that makes a life situation that could be handled probably quite easily, a far more difficult situation.  But it is quite scary to know that a Bipolar episode has that power to 'take one's mind' from one - a normal thinking mind anyway.  And once that normal thinking mind is gone coupled with the lack of understanding and confusion from others (and entirely understandable why) - Bipolar has the power to take one's life apart as it were and compromise, even end, relationships. I'm a scaredy cat! For nothing can take The Lord from me in Faith.  That so much Peace and Joy should be so suddenly plunged into all this through something that in the normal course I would handle with ease confuses even me but in very dark Faith I know that Jesus is with me and that He has reasons for permitting it to happen.

 

In a strange sort of way, I am happy that what I am dealing with has disturbed Bipolar and given me an opportunity to write about it as it happens (for myself and fellow sufferers) while the fear of the opinions of others travels along with me.  One works so hard to rebuild one's life and relationships while thinking is quite normal, and then suddenly it might all be in jeopardy.  Just a scaredy cat! 
The weirdest thing can be that quite suddenly the threat of Bipolar can all end like a light switch going off - and one has no idea why it all happened in the first place, but this is not a given - as the pendulum swings.

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