Jump to content
BarbaraTherese

Private Vows in The Laity/Spirituality

Recommended Posts

MarysLittleFlower    1,103
MarysLittleFlower
I'm happy for you! :) I'm glad that this happened for you with making your vows. I'm discerning private vows too and I found your thread helpful. I'm sad to read about the stigma against people with mental illness... Jesus understands perfectly of course and I always found that to be comforting in various types of struggles. God bless you :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

After the government authority shifted me into the residence in a very poor suburb, my psychiatrist visited me and commented "You are in culture shock".

I was not born and bred, conditioned and prepared, for the life I was to lead between onset of Bipolar and now.  In that poor suburb where I came to live, I underwent a complete transformation - not as an overnight event but as a journey.  I used to have a saying for myself : "If you can't beat 'em, then infiltrate" - and if I was to infiltrate, I had to learn to be one of them and to start with that would mean a complete change of wardrobe.  One wardrobe relinquished completely and another adopted.  I had to learn the lingo.  Oh I had so much to learn.  In the process, I was to go through a complete confusion of identity, of not knowing culturally who I really was.  My psychiatrist helped me sort that one out over a few years, as she was to help me sort out many other confusions as well.  Some of these were pre-existing and unfolded, some were still in the unfolding.

All the while, religious figures I trusted had their finger on the pulse of my spiritual health and well being.

 

I was born into a Catholic family with quite refined parents.  I was educated all my life in the Catholic education system and back in my day, they were all traditionally habited female religious.  After I married, that continued in that I had thought we were happily married and well and truly financially secure.  All that came apart well and truly, totally, with the onset of Bipolar, my husband divorcing me and loss of my two children.  I now have the weirdest feeling at times (69yrs of age now) that I am coming full circle - just wiser is all........... well "wiser" is my hope.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I'm happy for you! :) I'm glad that this happened for you with making your vows. I'm discerning private vows too and I found your thread helpful. I'm sad to read about the stigma against people with mental illness... Jesus understands perfectly of course and I always found that to be comforting in various types of struggles. God bless you :)

 

First, God Bless you richly in your discerning.

 

Secondly, you are spot on!  Mental illness is not a sin - it stands side by side as an illness along with cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc. etc.  In all my yers of suffering Bipolar I never once saw a get well card or flowers on a psychiatric ward.  Indictment!

Only sin can separate us from Jesus and His Love and it is our choice to separate ourselves, to some degree or other, in the act of choosing sin.  Illness is not chosen I think I can safely state.  And if a person realized the suffering to be undergone through becoming mentally ill, they would recoil in horror - I am very confident.

 

The stigma often applied to sufferers of mental illness is a problem, in actuality, of those who stigmatise.  It is they who have the problem choosing to victimize innocent sufferers.  It is well known that the first biggest hurdle a sufferer of MI is going to have to deal with in making a life in the general community, is stigma.  The second biggest hurdle flows from the first (stigma) and that is loneliness and isolation.  Sometimes it is those two hurdles so closely linked that bring to a sufferer tremendous suffering exacerbating their illness returning them again and again into episodes of serious mental illness requiring hospitalization and total disruption of any life they might have been able to establish in the general community.  It is often called the revolving door of mental illness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

My comment: The address was a lengthy one and in part was quite technical.  The theology, however, probably was a real revelation to some anyway.

This thread is quite lengthy and I don't know if I have included this address before.  Apologies if I have.

 

__________________________

 

ADELAIDE, Australia, FEB. 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is an excerpt of an address Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, prepared for World Day of the Sick. The main events of the World Day were held Feb. 9-11 in Adelaide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/the-mentally-ill-patient-a-faithful-image-of-god

1. Mental Disorder in Christian Thought

 

In Christian thought it is said that these severe mental illnesses reduce man to sad conditions, like a deformed image of God, which is compared to the suffering servant of Isaiah (Isaiah 53:1-7). Yet, apart from that deformation, or rather due to it, the mentally ill person resembles our Lord on the cross; and since the cross is the only way to the resurrection, the mentally ill person, has so to say a superior level, is worthier and reaches such a level of excellence because of the magnitude of his love and the suffering he endures.

 

2. Is He a Deformed Image of God?

 

If the above holds true, I would like to move a step further and venture a statement that might shed light on the issue, from the point of view of moral theology. The statement is that: the mentally ill person is not a deformed image of God but, rather, a faithful image of God, our Lord.

Such a statement intuitively finds confirmation in the thought of our Lord when he says: \"The Kingdom of God is within you\" (Luke 17:21) and \"what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles man\" (Matthew 15:18). \"For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man\" (Mark 7:20).

The Kingdom of God, the existence of the Holy Trinity in each one of us, may be found in our heart, the heart seen as the ultimate source of decisions that give form to our whole existence; not only that which was previously defined as the fundamental option, but also the whole meaning of this option, with all the actions we perform to realize it. In other words, the heart represents all our dynamism at the service of the mission that God has entrusted to us.

The Kingdom of God enters into the loving knowledge and in the decision made in the deepest intimacy of our person, which are then realized by the power of the Holy Spirit, who leads us by the hand like Children of God, and by the total collaboration that give form to our existence, according to the Law of God. If we want to separate from the Kingdom of God, we can do so only with an evil heart, to which Christ our Lord refers, and from which all the sins come.

 

3. Faithful Image of God

 

Therefore, once the mental illness has caused such a disorder as to take away from the mentally ill patient any responsibility for his actions -- qualifying them as separation from the divine will, as a sin -- the mental patient cannot separate from God.

In other words, the image of God in him cannot be distorted. In this case his knowledge or his volitive option is no longer sufficient to motivate any human action that separates him from God. His bodily and psychic conditions do not allow him to commit a grave sin, given that in his state of disequilibrium he does not have that full knowledge and ability of assent required to sin.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

It can be forgotten that Jesus on The Cross was not at all a pleasant nor appealing figure that can come across in some artworks - He was an horrific image of terrible and shocking human torture and suffering, death.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarysLittleFlower    1,103
MarysLittleFlower
Yes I think that is true... And I don't think a person sins by having a mental illness. Its not a choice and its like a trial for them. I was thinking and something came to my mind that I posted in VS... Its a new thread. I hope that you would share your thoughts there if you are interested :) its about a sister of St Mary Magdalene's family - it doesn't seem like she had something like depression or a mental illness but people saw her as a 'simpleton' and Jesus said to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich that she has a great mind and understanding, but for the good of her soul, they were withdrawn from her. Since she was rejected by people and put aside in her family because of this, I thought of people who get treated without much understanding- mental illness, autism, ocd, etc - even different things than her situation which is not specified. God gave her a beautiful vocation though... And it even has a connection to Bethany in the Bible :) so somehow I just thought of you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarysLittleFlower    1,103
MarysLittleFlower

Here is a quite shocking and graphic account (with some drawings) of Roman crucifixion and the likely sufferings of Jesus - from Catholic Culture website.
It is graphic, be warned.


http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/seasons/lent/passion1.cfm


Thanks for sharing! I find it very moving to meditate on Our Lord's suffering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Yes I think that is true... And I don't think a person sins by having a mental illness. Its not a choice and its like a trial for them. I was thinking and something came to my mind that I posted in VS... Its a new thread. I hope that you would share your thoughts there if you are interested :) its about a sister of St Mary Magdalene's family - it doesn't seem like she had something like depression or a mental illness but people saw her as a 'simpleton' and Jesus said to Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich that she has a great mind and understanding, but for the good of her soul, they were withdrawn from her. Since she was rejected by people and put aside in her family because of this, I thought of people who get treated without much understanding- mental illness, autism, ocd, etc - even different things than her situation which is not specified. God gave her a beautiful vocation though... And it even has a connection to Bethany in the Bible :) so somehow I just thought of you!

 

Hi MLF - Thank you very much for the invitation to contribute to your thread in VS.  I try to avoid VS with anything related to the lay celibate state (single life) as vocation in an effort to respect dUSt's wishes that VS be kept for those interested in some way in religious life.  This is why my own thread here on "Home Mass Private Vows" is in Open Mic - even thought the lay celibate state is a potential and valid vocation in The Church.

I guess I do feel the same about the subject of mental illness in VS - i.e. I would avoid it if I can.  Other forums are fine!

 

Sometimes, as has happened in the past, both the subject of MI and of the lay celibate vocation has been raised by others in VS and I have had my say.

I did read your thread in VS and there were some really beautiful and important thoughts and quotes to share for those who do suffer mental illness and/or rejection for some reason. 

How true that Jesus rejects absolutely no one and certainly not those who might suffer MI and if a person cannot find acceptance and value anywhere at all, they certainly can find it with Jesus.  Be this as it may, it is very important to human beings, to the human psychology and psyche, that they feel accepted and valued by their fellow human beings and these are qualities denied by those who would stigmatise others.  This is why the struggle and fight against stigma is very important.

I feel that if a person can find their absolute acceptance and value in the Heart of Jesus and this must be encouraged with guarantees of His Love, it may give them the voice to stand up to stigma and to struggle against it on the human level, to speak up on the subject.

 

I was only watching a segment on television today by a leading Australian stating that while society and communities within society know all the right words to say to remain politically correct re MI, stigma of those suffering mental illness does continue as always -  with doors closed firmly and because of their illness, while very often this actual reason is never stated.  Or even perhaps what is just as bad for a sufferer -  and that is doors close offering only condescension and patronization, which could leave a person feeling down and rejected, offended even ............. and perhaps not really understanding why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarysLittleFlower    1,103
MarysLittleFlower
Thank you for sharing! :) I understand why you would more likely post here. I didn't know that VS is more for discussion on religious life... I do believe that God calls some to lay celibate life and there are Saints like this. I agree with you that its still important to treat people with love - especially when we know Our Lord, its important to show His love to others. God bless you! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Some time back there was quite some discussion on why VS was not open to all vocations - you probably missed it.  In the end dUSt was quite adamant that VS was for vocations to religious life and the priesthood only and where religious life is concerned only for approved forms of religious life.  I try to respect his decision - don't always succeed however :blush:

 

Actually I just had a look at what dUSt pinned in VS :

 

http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/136246-introduction-to-vocation-station/

Phatmass shall only be used to promote vocations that have official diocesan
approval. Any post that links to a website, community, or vocation that is not
recognized by the Church shall result in a warning. Multiple warning shall
result in a ban from Phatmass.

 

 

From the wording above which I have not looked at in quite some time, it seems to me that marriage and the lay celibate state could be included in VS as well, since they are vocations recognised by The Church - contrary to what was stated previously.  CV's and secular institutes, even Third Orders etc. could be included it seems to me going by the above.  It's all a bit confusing since under the VS title it states "for priest and nuns wannabees":

 

Vocation Station  
Contemplating religious life? It's a party for all you priest and nun wannabes!

 

 

I have no idea whatsoever now, going by all the above, what can or can not be discussed freely in Vocation Station.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

As I consider things, when one truly Loves God, it is really God's Love alive in the person - and it naturally flows out to all.  It is the nature of The Love of God.

1 John 4:20
If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarysLittleFlower    1,103
MarysLittleFlower
It seems to me that consecrated/dedicated single life is approved by the Church... Maybe the rules mean something else, and are also against advertising orders not in union with the Church :) it also seemed to me that consecrated single life fell under the heading of religious life in the forum though they are different. I hope I'm right on that.. Since I post on various topics on VS I might ask about that :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

It seems to me that consecrated/dedicated single life is approved by the Church... Maybe the rules mean something else, and are also against advertising orders not in union with the Church :) it also seemed to me that consecrated single life fell under the heading of religious life in the forum though they are different. I hope I'm right on that.. Since I post on various topics on VS I might ask about that :)

 

Thank you MLF and I agree with you, although I don't understand what dUSt has in mind now -  what he has posted related to VS seems to me to be ambiguous.

 

A good question to ask!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I have been watching the number of people reading this thread over the last few days.  It seems to be a decent sort of number going from 6195 to 6276 over the last three days.  I have over the last couple of weeks looked into perhaps starting a blog, but it seems to me anyway to be a lot of work initially anyway and also asks more familiarity than I have with blogs and the internet - over time I have become comfortable posting into Phatmass and reluctant to move out of my comfort zone.

 

I think as long as moderators are content to let this thread remain, I wont be starting a blog.

 

If you have any questions or would like to post something into this thread please feel quite free to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Had a fascinating session with my SD yesterday.  I spoke about my experiences while very ill with Bipolar and he spoke about demonic oppression without any invitation from me.  I'm not going to say very much at all at this point, as I am not sure at all that I want to speak about either at all.  I do have lots of thoughts, however.

 

 I don't think that there is any way of knowing whether one's psychotic experiences are coming from the self and illness or from some demonic outside source by way of oppression - or a mixture of both.  This much I was very confident about at the time - and that is that by obeying my doctor as the valid authority over me during those years, and to be obedient as if instructed to do so by The Lord (which we are as an ideal), I could only gain on all necessary levels: spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  Nothing is ever lost by obedience.  Absolutely nothing! 

Does one need to use discretion as to whom one obeys? This goes without saying and is plain common sense.  At times I had been in the public system (I am now private) under some weird psychiatrists but I still chose to be obedient, since in the public system one really has no other option, no choice. In the public system in Australia, one cannot choose one's psychiatrist. Disobeying one's public psychiatrist can have very negative consequences and one is branded as being unco-operative and with an irresponsible attitude to one's illness - and so noted in one's medical file as it is in mine for those times that I did choose to disobey for what to me were good reasons.  My now private psychiatrist knows I do listen to her and take up her advice.  I have been able to choose my own private psychiatrist.

 

I felt back then, that if I raised the subject with a priest I could only be dismissed and referred back to my psychiatrist since I was suffering a serious mental illness.  I also felt that I would be putting Father in a very difficult position as I was indeed a very ill person.  Undoubtedly I do suffer Bipolar Disorder and undoubtedly I was having psychotic experiences, at times, arising from that serious mental illness.  Were my psychotic experiences always mental illness - absolutely no way of knowing I don't think.  Actually, mental illness can be a great "cover' for Satan.

At least I have raised what is to me a sensitive subject in a post into this thread.  And as I was writing I could feel anxiety starting to click in to place and this has come about by refusing to refuse the subject altogether.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MarysLittleFlower    1,103
MarysLittleFlower
I tend to think that whatever it is, God allows everything in His permissive Will for a purpose and His purpose is always good :) something can be bad in itself but God can use the patience, etc we show in the trial to help us and other souls. The suffering of it can also be united to the Cross and so bring others to God. Edited by MarysLittleFlower

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I tend to think that whatever it is, God allows everything in His permissive Will for a purpose and His purpose is always good :) something can be bad in itself but God can use the patience, etc we show in the trial to help us and other souls. The suffering of it can also be united to the Cross and so bring others to God.

 

Spot on!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I now have certificates for renewal of vows at Home Mass with blessing of my ring and cross ( signed by two witnesses besides Father and I) - separate certificate for blessing of Bethany signed by Father.

 

Father dropped in for coffee this week and commented on the homey, welcoming and peaceful atmosphere in Bethany.  It is all a matter of perspective and quite personal likes and dislikes - which do vary and Deo Gratius! What a bore life really would be if we were all precisely the same.  Viva la difference!  In my previous suburb some commented that Bethany was like a morgue and I needed some music or the TV on.  Not my style!

 

On 10th. February I am returning to voluntary work (two days weekly) and tonight is our first parish SVP Meeting after our break over Christmas and New Year.  Ironing commenced this week.  All is back on track with normal routine for 2015.  My ankle is still a bit weak and the big test will be when I go back to voluntary work with getting on and off buses but I think I will be fine if I am careful.  I usually take my trolley to work so I can shop for groceries on the way home.  For a few weeks yet, my trolley will be staying at home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

Had a fascinating session with my SD yesterday.  I spoke about my experiences while very ill with Bipolar and he spoke about demonic oppression without any invitation from me.  I'm not going to say very much at all at this point, as I am not sure at all that I want to speak about either at all.  I do have lots of thoughts, however.

 

 I don't think that there is any way of knowing whether one's psychotic experiences are coming from the self and illness or from some demonic outside source by way of oppression - or a mixture of both.  This much I was very confident about at the time - and that is that by obeying my doctor as the valid authority over me during those years, and to be obedient as if instructed to do so by The Lord (which we are as an ideal), I could only gain on all necessary levels: spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  Nothing is ever lost by obedience.  Absolutely nothing! 

Does one need to use discretion as to whom one obeys? This goes without saying and is plain common sense.  At times I had been in the public system (I am now private) under some weird psychiatrists but I still chose to be obedient, since in the public system one really has no other option, no choice. In the public system in Australia, one cannot choose one's psychiatrist. Disobeying one's public psychiatrist can have very negative consequences and one is branded as being unco-operative and with an irresponsible attitude to one's illness - and so noted in one's medical file as it is in mine for those times that I did choose to disobey for what to me were good reasons.  My now private psychiatrist knows I do listen to her and take up her advice.  I have been able to choose my own private psychiatrist.

 

I felt back then, that if I raised the subject with a priest I could only be dismissed and referred back to my psychiatrist since I was suffering a serious mental illness.  I also felt that I would be putting Father in a very difficult position as I was indeed a very ill person.  Undoubtedly I do suffer Bipolar Disorder and undoubtedly I was having psychotic experiences, at times, arising from that serious mental illness.  Were my psychotic experiences always mental illness - absolutely no way of knowing I don't think.  Actually, mental illness can be a great "cover' for Satan.

At least I have raised what is to me a sensitive subject in a post into this thread.  And as I was writing I could feel anxiety starting to click in to place and this has come about by refusing to refuse the subject altogether.

 

I must add to the above that though no one was willing to direct me during my very ill years, I did know as close friends priests and religious (nuns) who knew me exceptionally well and gave me every support and encouragement............over and beyond the call of any duty.

 

I was often very confused, often psychotic and disconnected from reality and hence seriously mentally ill - as well as being under private vows.  I could not blame anyone for not wanting to direct me spiritually and although at times a tad angry and resentful, I knew that The Lord was always with me in fair and the most foul of weathers and even when I failed and fell in my estimation - and even when my anger and resentment was no 'tad' but an angry fire of resentment and at times directed at The Lord Himself.  I used to say "I really hope you have big shoulders............because here I come again".  Much later I came to reason that it was no big deal to be angry with The Lord because of His Unfailing Loving Understanding Mercy for His most weak of all.  He is my friend and I had been very angry with the way He was working things.  I was very ill not knowing often what was real and what was not, impoverished and homeless for 6 years, divorced by my husband and my children taken from me. At times, I did not understand who I was, my identity seemingly lost (tho not adopting any other identity other than the lack of one)..................and I was absolutely no Job at all and at pains to prove it outstandingly rather often at times.

 

But there were nuns and priests who stuck beside me through the thick of it all even when it all got much thicker and quite socially distasteful and unacceptable...........except to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×