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Pax17

Life "Behind Bars"

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JHFamily

One thing I never read anymore is about the grill being a part of their striving for perfection in the area of detachment.  Perhaps that is because so many people do not understand the need to detach oneself from family.  I know a young male novice that just told his mom he wasn't going to be contacting them as often anymore because he really wants to be a great saint and knows the detachment is a necessary part of that. (He had his superior's permission.)  She is still grappling with that.  Momma's and Daddy's and sisters and brothers do not understand that we can be an impediment to holiness!

 

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underatree

Viewing your family as an "impediment to holiness" is probably not very healthy or helpful. An inordinate attachment to anything is a form of idolatry, which really just means substituting God with something else. We all do it to some degree because we're not angels (meaning we live in time with matter and subject to the gradual workings of grace). It's not uncommon, early in religious life, to need separation from friends and family in order to fully embrace the new way of life. It's similar psychologically to boot camp -- you need that intense, focused, immersive environment, and properly done it helps you leave behind your previous emotional crutches and form bonds with your new community. 

I think especially when you're not experienced in religious life it's easy to imagine that it would all be different if I could just change my circumstances. If I had a better job/lived there instead of here/didn't have this problem/got along with that relative/had taken an opportunity/just had better options, then I would be a better person. 

What I have learned is that regardless of my circumstances, my only real impediment to holiness is me.

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Nunsuch

Keep in mind that not all contemplatives have grilles or "bars." I've actually stayed inside the "enclosure" at two Carmelite communities, both of which have their chapels open to others for liturgy and prayer. I know there are others like this. 

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JHFamily

Think this will change?  The new document Cor Orans mentions that "The modality of separation from the outside of the space exclusively reserved for the nuns must be material and effective, not just symbolic or spiritual."  To me, that seems like a call for cloistered religious to have grills.  But I could also see how I might be reading too much into it.

I think of, say, the Whitesville Passionists that have a sort of stream that separates the nuns from the laity in their chapel.  That is certainly symbolic.  Someone could easily enter the cloister at that point, so it doesn't seem to be effective.  (Not picking on them, here.  Just a place I know personally that I could use as an example.)  Will they have to change their chapel?  Ah... I guess time will tell us.  Passionists Chapel

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Nunsuch

I think we should all let those who LIVE the life actually decide how it should be lived. Do we honestly think that the communities who have decided not to have physical boundaries do so mindlessly--or that they are not seriously prayerful and devoted to the way of life to which they are vowed? Can we not accept the idea that there are divers ways of living the religious life?

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gabrielofsorrows

I can understand why someone would want to be a cloistered monk/ nun. Its a very special calling. In my opionion one that may be a "higher "calling than an active community. But not a better calling.Its one owns personal opinion of course.but think about it. Your not taking care of people "physically" but" "mentally" in prayer for the rest of your days at the abbey/convent. I think the active and cloistered life are a special callings in different ways. I think being cloistered may be more difficult. Im grateful for all the cloistered nuns and monks. I also thank all the communities that spend endless hours serving others. Some of my friends are devout and say out of all the orders they visited it was the daughters of saint Paul that gave them " great balance". A few of them went on retreat a couple of years ago. One of my other friends took a retreat with the priests of divine mercy and loved it. I can understand both sides of their opionions. I dont think cloistered is better than active and vice versa. Its an important decision to make,as i have respect for both vocations.

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JHFamily
20 minutes ago, Nunsuch said:

I think we should all let those who LIVE the life actually decide how it should be lived. Do we honestly think that the communities who have decided not to have physical boundaries do so mindlessly--or that they are not seriously prayerful and devoted to the way of life to which they are vowed? Can we not accept the idea that there are divers ways of living the religious life?

Let me rephrase my question.   Do you think some communities may now be forced to return to grills by the new document?  I already stated that I was not "picking on" those orders, just making a note that some boundaries are physical and others are symbolic.   It seems to me that Cor Orans is calling for a return of grills, but as I said before, maybe I'm reading too much into it.

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Nunsuch
1 hour ago, JHFamily said:

Let me rephrase my question.   Do you think some communities may now be forced to return to grills by the new document?  I already stated that I was not "picking on" those orders, just making a note that some boundaries are physical and others are symbolic.   It seems to me that Cor Orans is calling for a return of grills, but as I said before, maybe I'm reading too much into it.

No, I don't think so. I think that one consequence of federations will be stronger voices of religious themselves in expressing their own understanding of their charisms. There are already several different federations of, say, Carmelites, Poor Clares, Benedictines, etc., with differing interpretations of their spiritualities. I see this as one more facet of this. There are several histories (as well as modern expressions via anthologies, etc.) of these differing perspectives. And keep in mind that most of these visions have received approbation not only from the Vatican but also from the orders they belong to.

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JHFamily

I hope you're right in that this document will give freedom rather than take away.  I'm afraid of the latter.

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