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Consecrated Single Life


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Theresita, Barbara, and anybody else who is leading or feeling called to single life, do you have a particular spirituality? How does it give shape to your life?

At the heart of my own spirituality is the Incarnation. I have always been in love with the humanity of the Son of Man. I think this is one of the most beautiful of the names that we have for him. This focus on the Incarnation has given birth to two things: a love for Eucharistic Adoration and a love for reading the Bible, especially the gospels. I am humbled that Jesus chose to remain with us in the form of bread, a tangible sign of our most basic needs and a reminder that he alone fulfills them. When I read that Bl. Charles de Foucauld wanted his companions to learn the gospels by heart, I was delighted, because this is the kind of relationship that I want to have with them as well - not necessarily to be able to recite them word by word, but to be so familiar with the stories in them that they are with me wherever I go. Bl. Charles also placed great emphasis on daily Adoration, and service of people who are most neglected. This makes perfect sense to me, as my understanding of God is so earth-bound. Unlike St Therese, I have never felt homesick for heaven. I do want to stretch out my arms to the Christ I recognise in my neighbour.

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[quote name='beatitude' timestamp='1334316554' post='2416922']
Theresita, Barbara, and anybody else who is leading or feeling called to single life, do you have a particular spirituality? How does it give shape to your life?

At the heart of my own spirituality is the Incarnation. I have always been in love with the humanity of the Son of Man. I think this is one of the most beautiful of the names that we have for him. This focus on the Incarnation has given birth to two things: a love for Eucharistic Adoration and a love for reading the Bible, especially the gospels. I am humbled that Jesus chose to remain with us in the form of bread, a tangible sign of our most basic needs and a reminder that he alone fulfills them. When I read that Bl. Charles de Foucauld wanted his companions to learn the gospels by heart, I was delighted, because this is the kind of relationship that I want to have with them as well - not necessarily to be able to recite them word by word, but to be so familiar with the stories in them that they are with me wherever I go. Bl. Charles also placed great emphasis on daily Adoration, and service of people who are most neglected. This makes perfect sense to me, as my understanding of God is so earth-bound. Unlike St Therese, I have never felt homesick for heaven. I do want to stretch out my arms to the Christ I recognise in my neighbour.
[/quote]

In a real nutshell.

My attitudes and perspectives are fashioned by the theology of St Therese and also Jean Pierre de Caussade in "Abandonment to Divine Providence' as well as that of St Francis de Sales "Introduction to the Devout Life".

When I was 16, I had an experience on Holy Thursday night that impacted on me the complete and absolute, total, humanity of Jesus. That this absolute and total, complete, humanity remains in Heaven. At that time and shortly after V2 spirituality was still heavily on the Divinity of Jesus. The Incarnation of the Second Person of The Blessed Trinity fills me with awe and amazement. All this was to lead me to The Gospels and Scripture in general although it was a very slow process and a journey - and particular emphasis on the relationship of Jesus with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. Jerusalem was a place of tension for Jesus. Bethany was a small town just outside Jerusalem and off the road to Galilee which Jesus would have frequently travelled going from Capernaum where He lived to Jerusalem and the Temple and centre of Jewish religious life. The brother and his sisters in Bethany were close friends of Jesus and I could imagine Him calling in on the way to Jerusalem and then to unwind after leaving Jerusalem. "Bethany" means "house of poverty", "house of invalids" and "ford in the river" (a place where the weaker can cross a river) - amongst other meanings. Bethany did exist in the Old Testament although the location is lost. Hence hospitality and real friendship are an emphasis in my way of life.
Somewhere along the way, I developed a real and very active interest in the Catholic theology and this may have been in part due to my confessor/director then who was a theologian lecturing and living in our seminary then. I did write a rule of life and Father approved - however, on the way home I left it on a bus stop and lost it. Father thought this very funny - I couldn't see the funny side at all.......then.
Shortly after my marriage collapsed and I was living alone, I quite accidentally made friends with two teenagers and soon had a number of teenagers who called in to my residence. I had a statue of Our Lady on my front verandah. After work one day and watering the front lawn, two passing teenagers stopped to query me about the statue. That is how it all began. Soon I had a numberof teenagers calling in for coffee and a chat, sometimes advice. I didn't invite or seek the situation, it simply happened.
Once I shifted and to a house I occupied for 30 years in a very poor suburb beset by every social problem, I soon had many people calling in, including teenagers but also adults, for one reason or another including those who suffered mental illness. Suffering MI myself and in the early years frequently in hospital, I made many close friendships with fellow sufferers and in the suburb in which I lived a mental health rehabilitation club was established by Public Mental Health. I was a frequent visitor and made more friends. I had a spare bedroom and would sometimes let out that room at cost only to someone needing a reprieve from life and sorting out some life problem. I trained as a counsellor pre Bipolar onset and these skills came in handy also. I was taking in ironing on some days and this gave me extra finances to help out in some situations of financial stress. It was a way of life just unfolding in my path and nowadays it is a stable and long established way of life. It relies on the Providence of God to call wherever He may whenever He may and it asks a readiness to follow. My situation as a single Catholic living alone enables me to go in any direction God calls whatsoever and at any time. It asks a heart that listens, a contemplative heart confidently trustful. It also asks complete trust in The Lord's Providence which always unfolds in the moments, hours and days. Forever present, forever faithful. If I am busy, then I am busy. If all is quiet, then it is contemplative living.

My director has pointed out that my leaning is towards contemplative living. It is my natural preference. This probably led me to enter monastic life in my forties. Although, I think I was so busy every day back then, that it was also a desire to escape a busy life and have some space. Rather, I was the roundest of pegs in the most square of holes. Undoubtedly, my experience of monastic life did speak to my way of life once I returned home.

My way of life is an emphasis on the quality I strive to bring to relationships of any kind and these qualities gleaned from The Gospels both in the teachings of Jesus and the Person He was then to His own times. This asks some understanding of the times of Jesus and a real interest of mine. It asks meditation on the person Jesus was as well as His teachings. It is a life of prayer and simple penance. I have a regular routine of prayer and a spiritual director whom I see regularly.

Sometimes the thought of Heaven boggles my mind, sometimes it is an entirely welcome thought. Sometimes, I admit, it so boggles my mind that I cannot imagine (imagine!) Heaven existing at all. Dark Faith knows otherwise, and Faith transcends our imaginary powers and rational mind. Our imaginary powers and our rational minds can be restless creatures wandering here and there almost willy nilly, while Faith in the will is firm and stable.

In a very small nutshell indeed.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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It is amazing to hear that you are open to this.

I personally would love to be englightened on Consecrated Life. This is my basic understanding.

Consecrated life- women who are consecrated to God in everything, who don't wear a habit and serve God everyday in the normal world (normal world i know... umm can't put it into better words sleep deprivation).

I personally have never understood it, most of the consecrated women I have met have been very discouraging in what they say and do. And it never made me want to look into it. I thought that they were like nuns who wore no habits when it was dangerous for them to walk around it them (like Mexico).

Is this just a jumble of stuff or is it making enough sense so someone could clarify?

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[quote name='InPersonaChriste' timestamp='1334370831' post='2417517']
I personally have never understood it, most of the consecrated women I have met have been very discouraging in what they say and do. [/quote]

? Could you explain? I mean I know personally of one group of consecrated lay women, and even though I wouldn't enter that particular group of consecrated women, they do try to live their charism faithfully. So can you clarify? (Without entering into lots of specific details)

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[quote name='InPersonaChriste' timestamp='1334370831' post='2417517']
It is amazing to hear that you are open to this.

I personally would love to be englightened on Consecrated Life. This is my basic understanding.

Consecrated life- women who are consecrated to God in everything, who don't wear a habit and serve God everyday in the normal world (normal world i know... umm can't put it into better words sleep deprivation).

I personally have never understood it, most of the consecrated women I have met have been very discouraging in what they say and do. And it never made me want to look into it. I thought that they were like nuns who wore no habits when it was dangerous for them to walk around it them (like Mexico).

Is this just a jumble of stuff or is it making enough sense so someone could clarify?
[/quote]

I am not at all sure that your above post was directed to me and only incidental that it appears after my post.

For those in institutes of consecrated life, all would be spelt out for them more or less in their rule and constitution.

For me personally since I am under private vows, I needed to arrive at the conclusion that I am not a religious out of habit and out of monastery or convent. I am very much a lay person bound to the evangelical counsels by private vows - it is almost incidental to me personally that they are also the vows made by religious and consecrated to live out these vows. I have admired the religious I do know though I could not live the way that they do.

I certainly have met Catholic women who live alone and single - some annulled, divorced, separated or never married. I have met two I think who were in religious life and left but stayed single. They are in various apostolates or Catholic commitment somewhere, but to date I have not met any that had vowed the evangelical counsels privately. But they certainly live them out. They all have struck me as really good people and committed Catholics. As a lay person, one defines for oneself (hopefully with spiritual direction) how poverty and obedience are to be lived out. Chastity is probably self explanatory except, as with the other two vows, it is an emphasis on the positive aspect, rather than the negative.

It may be a difficult way of life is one is not called as many can find religious life and the priesthood a difficult way of life to understand - meaning that one is happy and fulfilled in a less common lifestyle than the norm. There is nothing "amazing" to me (if you were referring to me) about the way I live for example. I have lived it over a long period and feel called to it and when God Calls, He provides all that is necessary including abundant Grace and at every point to fulfill His Will........including some sleepless nights in the past.

I am very conscious that beautitude started this thread to relate to consecrated life within The Church, meaning I think a secular institute and her journey of discerning and that the thread may be veering off course and relating to lay life, rather than consecrated life formally by The Church. Or is it just me! Mea culpa!

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[quote name='BarbaraTherese' timestamp='1334381022' post='2417598']
I am not at all sure that your above post was directed to me and only incidental that it appears after my post.

For those in institutes of consecrated life, all would be spelt out for them more or less in their rule and constitution.

For me personally since I am under private vows, I needed to arrive at the conclusion that I am not a religious out of habit and out of monastery or convent. I am very much a lay person bound to the evangelical counsels by private vows - it is almost incidental to me personally that they are also the vows made by religious and consecrated to live out these vows. I have admired the religious I do know though I could not live the way that they do.

[/quote]

This was definitely not directed to anyone imparticular, I was just curious, and also trying to get a deeper understanding of what it was. Maybe I should contact a Consecrated, I hope my previous entry was not impertinent.


[quote name='cmariadiaz' timestamp='1334375149' post='2417563']
? Could you explain? I mean I know personally of one group of consecrated lay women, and even though I wouldn't enter that particular group of consecrated women, they do try to live their charism faithfully. So can you clarify? (Without entering into lots of specific details)
[/quote]

I don't exactly know how I can explain without me sounding harsh, maybe they were just having a [i]really[/i] bad day. And I dont think it helps that I don't completely understand the life of a Consecrated woman.

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[QUOTE]This was definitely not directed to anyone imparticular, I was just curious, and also trying to get a deeper understanding of what it was. Maybe I should contact a Consecrated, I hope my previous entry was not impertinent.[/quote]

No impertinence whatsoever and thank you for clarifying.
If by "a Consecrated' you mean formal consecrated in The Church, then that person is no longer in the lay state. They are in the consecrated state as a consecrated virgin or in a secular institute etc. This means my comments do not apply as I am definitely in the lay state and under private vows and by definite choice.
Two good articles on the vocation of the laity are here: [url="http://www.ignatius.com/promotions/cfe/documents/Disciples%20web%20pages.pdf"]http://www.ignatius....s web pages.pdf[/url]
[url="http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/colson_rolelaity2_oct06.asp"]http://www.ignatiusi...aity2_oct06.asp[/url]
Christifedeles Laici (John Paul II) - on the vocation of the laity [url="http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideles-laici_en.html"]http://www.vatican.v...s-laici_en.html[/url]

Broadly speaking, any way of life whatsoever either in a consecrated state outside of religious life or as a lay person, married or single, would include prayer and some kind of apostolate and following of The Gospel - ideally with spiritual direction. For me an "apostolate' does not of necessity mean some formal activity one undertakes in some sort of role in the community, The Church or otherwise. It could mean a particular spirit which is one's focus (see "charisms" in Christifedeles Laici)
[b][i]"Charisms[/i][/b]
24. The Holy Spirit, while bestowing diverse ministries in Church communion, enriches it still further with particular gifts or promptings of grace, called [i]charisms. [/i]These can take a great variety of forms, both as a manifestation of the absolute freedom of the Spirit who abundantly supplies them, and as a response to the varied needs of the Church in history. The description and the classification given to these gifts in the New Testament are an indication of their rich variety. "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. ............ "


[quote]I don't exactly know how I can explain without me sounding harsh, maybe they were just having a [i]really[/i] bad day.[/quote]

Prior to choosing to confirm my private vows in a more formal manner (still private), I did spend an afternoon with a consecrated virgin and I did find personally that she was quite bitter re her place in The Church. She had been in religious life and left and later became a consecrated virgin. Ithink possibly Jesus might have been having a bad day (smiling!) when He cursed the poor fig tree - doubltess He had bad days just as we do. :) I wrote off the bitterness of the consecrated virgin as her particular personal experience in her particular situation - what her expectations were and that they were not met. She was not instrumental in me choosing private vows and I did considerable research before making a decision including consulting a Jesuit theologian at our Catholic University here then to strive to understand the theological situation of private vows to the ev. counsels.

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[quote name='beatitude' timestamp='1334316554' post='2416922']
Theresita, Barbara, and anybody else who is leading or feeling called to single life, do you have a particular spirituality? How does it give shape to your life?

At the heart of my own spirituality is the Incarnation. I have always been in love with the humanity of the Son of Man. I think this is one of the most beautiful of the names that we have for him. This focus on the Incarnation has given birth to two things: a love for Eucharistic Adoration and a love for reading the Bible, especially the gospels. I am humbled that Jesus chose to remain with us in the form of bread, a tangible sign of our most basic needs and a reminder that he alone fulfills them. When I read that Bl. Charles de Foucauld wanted his companions to learn the gospels by heart, I was delighted, because this is the kind of relationship that I want to have with them as well - not necessarily to be able to recite them word by word, but to be so familiar with the stories in them that they are with me wherever I go. Bl. Charles also placed great emphasis on daily Adoration, and service of people who are most neglected. This makes perfect sense to me, as my understanding of God is so earth-bound. Unlike St Therese, I have never felt homesick for heaven. I do want to stretch out my arms to the Christ I recognise in my neighbour.
[/quote]

Beatitude, I really like everything you've said here!

My spirituality (always evolving) focuses on love in its unitive aspect. St. Francis de Sales wrote that love unifies, hatred divides. And when I read that and realized I did not really want to be "unified" to God or to my neighbor, and in fact did not love them as I should, I started focusing on loving/ desiring unity with both God and with my neighbor. The latter is the hardest! But I think very fruitful. And the paradoxical aspect of love is important to my spirituality - since my mind naturally works in paradoxes and rebellions, instead of trying to suppress this I realized that only through embracing the whole paradox of God's love could I harness my craziness for God.

I guess if I was like St Therese and had a "Way" (spoiler alert: I am not razzle dazzle enough to have a Way!) it would be called The Sinner's Way or the Upside Down Way. As a concrete example of this: one of the most useful things I've figured out (with major help from St Therese and St. Francis de Sales, especially a book on St. Francis called "How to Profit from Your Faults" which I highly HIGHLY recommend) was that temptation is one of the most spiritually frutiful things that can happen. I realized that when God allows me to be tempted (in any way: sloth, doubt, lust, vanity, anything) in a certain sense he's asking for my love. Each temptation or little failure on my part is sort of like God saying "Hey, want to pay attention to me? You miss me or anything? Let's talk! Do you love me or anything?" And each temptation reminds me to say "Hey God! I love you! I have nothing besides you! Let's be closer from now on!"

And this helps me to see concretely how much God loves me by how often (aka very very often) he resorts to actual subterfuge to get me to spend time with him! How much love is that? It blows my mind. So each time I'm tempted instead of thinking "I smell of elderberries, what's the point!" and being embarrassed in front of God, I think "Really, God? We just talked. You want to talk again? You like me that much? You're crazy." And temptation becomes the best part of my day :)

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[quote name='Theresita Nerita' timestamp='1334518868' post='2418248']
Beatitude, I really like everything you've said here!

My spirituality (always evolving) focuses on love in its unitive aspect. St. Francis de Sales wrote that love unifies, hatred divides. And when I read that and realized I did not really want to be "unified" to God or to my neighbor, and in fact did not love them as I should, I started focusing on loving/ desiring unity with both God and with my neighbor. The latter is the hardest! But I think very fruitful. And the paradoxical aspect of love is important to my spirituality - since my mind naturally works in paradoxes and rebellions, instead of trying to suppress this I realized that only through embracing the whole paradox of God's love could I harness my craziness for God.

I guess if I was like St Therese and had a "Way" (spoiler alert: I am not razzle dazzle enough to have a Way!) it would be called The Sinner's Way or the Upside Down Way. As a concrete example of this: one of the most useful things I've figured out (with major help from St Therese and St. Francis de Sales, especially a book on St. Francis called "How to Profit from Your Faults" which I highly HIGHLY recommend) was that temptation is one of the most spiritually frutiful things that can happen. I realized that when God allows me to be tempted (in any way: sloth, doubt, lust, vanity, anything) in a certain sense he's asking for my love. Each temptation or little failure on my part is sort of like God saying "Hey, want to pay attention to me? You miss me or anything? Let's talk! Do you love me or anything?" And each temptation reminds me to say "Hey God! I love you! I have nothing besides you! Let's be closer from now on!"

And this helps me to see concretely how much God loves me by how often (aka very very often) he resorts to actual subterfuge to get me to spend time with him! How much love is that? It blows my mind. So each time I'm tempted instead of thinking "I smell of elderberries, what's the point!" and being embarrassed in front of God, I think "Really, God? We just talked. You want to talk again? You like me that much? You're crazy." And temptation becomes the best part of my day :)
[/quote]

BAM. Yes. All of this. I don't know if this is exactly what you meant, but I particularly identified with the bit about realising you don't really want union with God and neighbour. For me, realising this same thing actually was the catalyst for opening up a whole lot more space in my life for other people. Does that make sense?

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[quote name='InPersonaChriste' timestamp='1334422642' post='2417724']
I don't exactly know how I can explain without me sounding harsh, maybe they were just having a [i]really[/i] bad day. And I dont think it helps that I don't completely understand the life of a Consecrated woman.
[/quote]

There are variations in the way that the life is lived out. People in secular institutes usually live in their own homes, although sometimes they may get together in groups. They retain their ordinary jobs. Each institute has its own particular spirituality, but at the core of each is a desire for a very hidden life in the heart of the world. It requires a deep prayer life, because there is no one else to make sure that you pray - it's just you and God. Then you carry Him out into your everyday life, as Mary did. Members of secular institutes come together regularly for retreats and prayer meetings, in order to encourage one another in the life.

Consecrated virgins do not belong to a group or institute; they make their vows under the bishop of their diocese. You can't become a CV without the bishop's support and approval. Some consecrated virgins are hermits, such as [url="http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.co.uk/"]Sister Laurel[/url]. Others have ordinary jobs and are indistinguishable from anybody else in the street. They all have a special connection with, and responsibility toward, their home parish and diocese. Here is a [url="http://www.sponsa-christi.blogspot.co.uk/"]blog[/url] by a young CV that explains the vocation better than I can.

Then there are those people who have made private vows, like Barbara. Even though I focused on consecrated women in my opening post (because I aspire to be part of a secular institute, and I was rather self-centredly not giving thought to other forms of single life ;) ) I think that her voice is important and I hope that other people in her position will post more.

As for encountering consecrated women who weren't very pleasant, I've encountered some thoroughly nasty nuns. We don't lose our human nature no matter what kind of lives we lead. I think it's right to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they were just having a bad day, as we lose nothing by being kind.

I can see how people leading the single life might come to feel bitter, as it's often treated as a third-class vocation by other Catholics - even by those who hotly disclaim otherwise. For a long time I saw it as dull and dreary and not worth my attention, I admit it. Nothing visible marks you out as consecrated. This life doesn't have the same romance and mystique as religious life. The result is that women living this life are often overlooked and their contributions discounted. You need all the patience and kindness of Christ to deal with the sensation of being unappreciated (and even unwanted) that can accompany this vocation. I don't wonder that sometimes it leads to people turning sour. I pray that if this cross ever comes to me, I will carry it with love.

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Your final sentence is why it is important that one is conscious of responding to a call from Christ and to the Way of The Cross in unity with Him. There is that oft quoted sentence "No Christ without His Cross". The other important factor is ongoing spiritual direction and factors of 'third class vocation inThe Church' and one's other faults and weaknesses, as well as the negative attitudes of others will need to be confronted and be faced and dealt with. For example, I have a neighbour who's partner commented in blunt terms that I could not find a life partner. I was hurt by this comment as I strive to go out of my way to be a good neighbour. The hurt was my responsibility since I permitted myself to respond negatively to his comment rather than the fact that the problem is his not mine. I do not 'advertise' that I am single by choice and over a long period and have chosen private vows - and this might lead others to arrive at incorrect conclusions- and possibly understandable. If I reflect on the Gospels, Jesus too faced negative criticisms and incorrect conclusions by others. Not only this, but I am probably guilty of incorrect conclusions and blunt negative comments myself.
I recall a talk by a Benedictine prioress here pointing out that we all have weaknesses and we all have strengths. We share a quite common humanity and my particular weaknesses may be another's strengths, just as my strengths may be another's weaknesses.
Bitterness because of one's perceived lowly place in The Church scheme of things ideally should mean for joy in one's rightful place in humility and even humiliation. Jesus does not come to us in His rightful dignity and Glory as King of Kings, but as a poor and lowly, vulnerable baby in a manger. He does not choose to adopt His Rightful Place in the scheme of things but totally divests Himself of it, to be poor and lowly. The least. Any bitterness is a fault and weakness at very least and needs to be addressed and owned taking responsibility and accountability for it and then working to overcome it and this will take a close look at one's perspectives and attitudes on a number of levels.

The Cross through which our astounding redemption is achieved is not a figure of great glory to human eyes, but one of failure, disgrace, great suffering and abandonment. Yet we know it is the Glorious Sign of Total Victory affirmed by the Resurrection of the dead Jesus. "Take up your (own) cross daily and come follow Me".

Accepting a call to the single lay celibate state outside any organization in The Church means that one is abandoning, indeed, all desire and even hope for any sort of status, approval or recognition whatsoever in the scheme of things and for love of God and in a desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus even to Calvary if needs be. Grace will not be lacking and this was one of the things I spoke with the Jesuits theologian about. Without God's Grace to support me all the way, to guide and strengthen me, I knew I probably would never persevere in the life - and at times I almost didn't and faltered and failed. I needed to know too that if along the way I was not strong enough, that God would be faithful with my repentance. At 30yrs of age I was still a quite attractive young woman and totally unsure of what I was about to do in private vows meaning implications and Grace brought me back always to the life. My Jesuits theologian was most affirming on all points I raised. When I made private vows though theologically possible, it was totally unheard of to my knowledge outside of any organization whatsoever in The Church.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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[quote]My spirituality (always evolving) focuses on love in its unitive aspect.[/quote]

Not directly commenting on the above: - St Teresa of Avila writing to her nuns about unusual mystical phenomena wrote that the surest and safest way to Union was through "love of neighbour". She mentions that unusual mystical type phenomena can be dangerous due to the fact that it is open to many deceptions and failings. Deception by self and the devil and failings of spiritual pride and spiritual vanity - of desiring the gift more than The Giver.

Striving to love one's neighbour (everyone without exception) for the Love of God will surely and safely lead to Union with God. Just as striving to Love God with one's whole heart, mind and soul will always lead without fail surely and safely to love of neighbour. "How can you say you Love God whom you cannot see if you do not love your neighbour whom you can see?"

Love is all embracing. It is the Life of The Trinity and overflows to creation to embrace all creation. In Grace we share in that Life. As we pray in the Mass "that we may share in His Divinity, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity". Amazing!!! That the fulness of Grace and Love may be realized in us.

Jesus said something pretty amazing to St Faustina - that the worst sinner has the most right to His Loving Mercy. Conversely, the one we like the least and has offended us the most has the most right to our Love and merciful, understanding forgiveness. We share a common humanity.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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[quote name='beatitude' timestamp='1334680464' post='2419457']
You need all the patience and kindness of Christ to deal with the sensation of being unappreciated (and even unwanted) that can accompany this vocation.
[/quote]

Prawwwps.

Sometimes I think that this right here is the main spiritual fruit of this vocation - what singles it out. Being "a [woman] of constant sorrow" with nowhere to lay your head and everyone secretly pitying you can be a charism in itself. The consecrated single laywoman could arguably be said to approach Christ through Humility the same way Dominicans approach Christ through Teaching/Preaching or Franciscans through Poverty.

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TheresaNita, thank you for making the connection between the single life and humility. Humility is something that I consider extremely important to how I live my life, but I had never related it to my single state before. It reminds me of Jesus' blessing on those who are 'poor in spirit' - what is humility but true and reverent knowledge of that poverty?

[i]Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.[/i]

He also said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you." So strange, to find it in the most ordinary and humdrum of all places, with no overt religious trappings.

Edited by beatitude
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  • 8 months later...

Praised be Jesus Christ! I found this thread from earlier this year searching for old threads on private vows, in relation to the other thread .. although first, as has been stated here before, people in secular institutes do not take private vows but public vows and that they are considered consecrated by the Church (ie. this is a form of Consecrated Life) as Religious, Consecrated Virgins & Diocesan Hermits are.

 

So anyway, my question after reading this thread is this ... wouldn't it then be incorrect to use the term "single consecrated life" since these people are publicly vowed under the evangelical counsels as religious are? Wouldn't the term "single" be incorrect in describing them then? or perhaps it is a correct term .. I know I've heard it before, but I didn't think about it too much. I guess I just feel like those who make a public vow of chastity to the Lord should not be considered "single" 

 

I do not ask this in relation to the debate out there on whether the single vocation (which would not include those in secular institutes) is a true vocation. This debate we can save for another thread/maybe there is one already out there. My opinion in brief on that is that every human being is so unique, as is God's plan for them, that their way of following Christ may not be specifically in either marriage or consecrated life (or the clergy if they are male) like Gabrielle Bossis, as was mentioned in this thread.

 

But anyway, my main question here again is ... would it be correct to use the term "single" when speaking of those in secular institutes?  

 

 

Second, just to clarify a little here... 

 

Consecrated virgins do not belong to a group or institute; they make their vows under the bishop of their diocese. You can't become a CV without the bishop's support and approval. Some consecrated virgins are hermits, such as Sister Laurel. Others have ordinary jobs and are indistinguishable from anybody else in the street. They all have a special connection with, and responsibility toward, their home parish and diocese. Here is a blog by a young CV that explains the vocation better than I can.

 

Consecrated Virgins do not profess vows but are passively consecrated as virgin brides of Christ by a bishop, not unlike the consecration of a church building :like:

 

I do not believe Sr. Laurel is a Consecrated Virgin. She is a Diocesan Hermit. Only in unusual cases, as was learned in the other thread :proud: could someone be both.

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