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Sr, Lauren had a beautiful expression offering some hope for the future for those who may be isolated and marginalized re the consecrated life.  She called it a transfiguration of isolation and marginalization into true solitude or similar wording.  And I think of this as the alone with The Alone – but never lonely.  Whether ever embraced by The Church as a new  form of consecrated state of life, one can always aspire to transfiguration of negative factors in life into some aspect of Truth initiating Peace and Joy.  Spiritual direction and reading, prayerful trust and confidence, can certainly help in this journey.  Someone in this thread spoke about “embracing one’s faults” rather than rejecting them.  Certainly, self knowledge is the foundation of humility – and humility is the foundation of all the virtues.  Striving ardently against faults can be a rejection of oneself, like demanding discourteously that an unwanted stranger please leave the premises.   This embracing of faults, it seemed to me, is a journey of transfiguration of something negative into a greater good in the interests of The Kingdom.  The relevant post was worth the read and I will try to link to that post also at a later point.  I think it was nunsense who pointed out well too that we can leave with great confidence the work to God, to The Holy Spirit, if we will only trust Him – and another excellent post.

 

My own comment had to do with eremitical life, whether lay or consecrated. Eremitical life involves the transfiguration of isolation and marginalization into genuine solitude. Too often people believe they are hermits or part time hermits because they are isolated physically or personally marginalized. But eremitical solitude is different than even if it begins with this. Thus, I tend to speak of eremitical solitude rather than simply solitude. I understand this not as living alone, but as living alone with God and for others. As you can guess, the distinction between the two is vast. When physical isolation or solitude is transformed in this way the result is "the silence of solitude" --- the environment, goal, and charism of Christian eremitical life.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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My own comment had to do with eremitical life, whether lay or consecrated. Eremitical life involves the transfiguration of isolation and marginalization into genuine solitude. Too often people believe they are hermits or part time hermits because they are isolated physically or personally marginalized. But eremitical solitude is different than even if it begins with this. Thus, I tend to speak of eremitical solitude rather than simply solitude. I understand this not as living alone, but as living alone with God and for others. As you can guess, the distinction between the two is vast. When physical isolation or solitude is transformed in this way the result is "the silence of solitude" --- the environment, goal, and charism of Christian eremitical life.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

 

Thank you - I did realize, Sister, that at the time you were speaking of eremitical solitude - but I feel those that are isolated and living alone with God's Grace can transform their solitude into isolation and perhaps loneliness into embracing isolation and living alone, even marginalization, into "living alone with God for others".  What at this point does occur to me is that if such a Grace is fruitful and the person once isolated and lonely, marginalized, finds at some point that this negative experience has indeed been embraced and transfigured into an active and positive "living alone with God for others" with Peace and Joy, would there then be some eligibility for Canon 603 if they should discern such a call.  And my advice always is with spiritual direction which I would hope the dioceses would state as mandatory in relation to any application for Canon 603.

 

I do feel that experiences of quite negative isolation, loneliness and marginalization can be presented as potential for positive experiences and with God's Grace as potential for transformation into quite positive experiences whether any eligibility for Canon 603 exists or not. Reflecting on my own experience, I feel that initially such a marginalized, isolated and lonely person will need to initially embrace this negative expience as having real value and for the sake of The Kingdom and such embracing of negativity is indeed in truth fruitful solitude if not any sort of eligibility for Canon 603.  It does present to the isolated etc. person the concept that the negativity they do experience has the potential for real value even transformation or transfiguration.  I feel that such a concept needs to be actively presented to the marginalized etc.without necessarily any sort of inference in relation to Canon 603 necessarily.  There is real and true value outside of Canon 603.

 

In discerning any sort of call to any of the consecrated states including Canon 603, it needs to be discerned whether it is an actual call and vocation or some sort of desire for 'recognition' in The Church - and this sort of discernment will probably become apparent with spiritual direction in the discerning process. It certainly needs to considered by the spiritual direction (that is, motivation) Hence I agree with your statement as potential "Too often people believe they are hermits or part time hermits because they are isolated physically or personally marginalized."

 

My thinking and concepts in this thread are completely outside of Canon 603.

 

In my own case, my times of solitude are indeed a "living alone with God for others" - and others on a few levels including a real attraction to an active desire to pray for The Church and our leadership on all levels and for the salvation of mankind.  Hence any solitude I experience is for the sake of The Kingdom and with Peace and Joy - happiness and fulfillment, however having investigated eremitical life, I am not aware of any call whatsoever to seek consecration under Canon 603.  I value immensely all the vocational states to consecrated life and in their various existing forms, but having investigated most all I think, except CV for which I am ineligible, I have no actual attraction to any rather to the contrary.  Hence I have truly embraced private vows as my call and vocation - and more and more and with deepening insight into this way of life I feel and insight that is continuing to unfold for me. I certainly do feel a call and attraction when I am not otherwise occupied in works of mercy (the other side of my life) to a life of prayer and this has been confirmed by my spiritual director and others in authority type positions in The Church who have known me very well over long periods.    I no longer exeperience isolation and lonelines, and any sense marginalization too seems to be a passing with acceptance into the active life of my parish, if they are not yet aware I suffer MI.  My self esteem and confidence and as a sufferer of MI seems to be growing and such is important in taking one's contributing place in society and for the sake of The Kingdom.   My times of being alone are times of prayer and I really look forward to being alone most of all - again confirmed by my SD.  In  my own journey with mental illness I have found that what were once negative experiences are now transformed into quite positive experiences in that my life has space and aloneness for prayer and simply being alone with Him whom I love and to whom I have given my life.  This asked initially that I did embrace these negative experiences and for the sake of The Kingdom and as quite negative experiences having value spiritually as negative experiences.  The passing of such negativity has been a long journey (at times quite painful and difficult) deeply into negative experience embraced "for the sake of The Kingdom" -  and from time to time, as with all, such negative experience can return as passing phases only.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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There is something that I should (I feel) have added to my post here http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/120356-consecrated-single-life/page-3#entry2528674 .

When I was actively working as a counsellor (pre onset of Bipolar), what really stood out for me was that many of my clients possibly only needed a good friend to sit down with over a cuppa.  Someone they could open up to completely and could trust to keep confidences and would not judge them whatsoever.  In part, this did cause me to leave active counselling - although back then I had no notion whatsoever that I was to be 'landed' smack bang right in the middle of a poverty struck area and with every social problem in the book - a suburb where I found my counselling skills very handy although never overtly so.  I was able indeed to sit down with many of all ages, problems etc. and over a cuppa and often a meal or bbq. This did lead me to take in ironing and increase my income to cover expenses.   Hence hospitality which has always been important to my way of life (it goes right back to the Old Testament) became very important and a major focus.  Even today socially when we gather it is very often over a meal of some kind, or an aspect of a meal in a cup of coffee or tea etc.

 

I call my way of life "Bethany".  Bethany (meaning amongst a few meanings "House of Poverty" and "House of Invalids") was a little town just outside of Jerusalem.  Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived there and were brother and sisters - and great friends of Jesus.  Bethany as a small town was also a place in the Old Testament, although its location today is unknown.  Jerusalem must have been a place of stress and tension for Jesus and I imagine Him calling in on His friends in Bethany on the way to Jerusalem just to relax after His journey and prior to facing the stress and tension of Jerusalem as much as He loved abundantly Jerusalem (and cried over it) -  and also after He left it, just to unwind. 

 

The story of Martha and Mary ( lay women) as imaging the contemplative and active lives or life for us today also became very important to me.  The whole story around Bethany and the brother and sisters that lived there - and Jesus who visited -  came to have rich meaning for my own way of life as it was unfolding.  I did thoroughly research Bethany as a town in the Old and New Testaments but all the research is on an old computer and though still retained, it has never been transferred to this computer and a new laptop.  Lazarus, I imagine, as a real close mate, perhaps even confidant, of Jesus, since Jesus wept when Lazarus died.  Back when I called my way of living "Bethany, also the name of any residence I occupy, I had no idea just how much meaning it would all come to have for me.

 

I recall making a retreat at our Carmelite Monastery years ago in their guest house.  One of the extern sisters asked me "What passage of Scripture is most important to you" and quite spontaneously without any sort of hesitation, I replied  "My delight is to be with the children of men".  Sister looked at me with a frown and on returning to my retreat solitude, I too was frowning as to why I had replied with that passage and reflection followed.

I had asked a priest I knew very well and v v to call if he could to hear my General Confession.  I was up in the mezzanine overlooking The Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel reading a book.  Next thing I heard Father's voice "I knew I would find you here and came straight here".  He is character!  On calling in on him one day in his own residence.  He walked through a door and before I could walk thru it, he slammed the door in my face.  I started laughing and said "You are no longer in the seminary, Father!"  I have heard he was quite a character too in the Seminary prone to practical jokes.  I love that man and priest and he has risen quite high in our diocese nowadays I have heard.  His beautiful spirituality is not at all overt and he is just a very ordinary quite Aussie type of male and probably quite surprising to many that he is also a Catholic priest. (I read somewhere "walk lightly on the edge of eternity" and that has come to really speak to me too - although I dont think it is from a Catholic nor spiritual text, cant remember)

I was in town one afternoon, turned a corner in our main shopping district street and ran right into him.  He grabbed me and said "What are you doing here!" I replied "Nahhh, first, what are YOU doing here!"

Another time, another place, another priest I know very well - I knocked on the parish house door and Father answered, and then grabbed me by the arm and pulled me inside and said "What are you doing here!" Why do priests want to know what I am doing and with an element of violence in grabbing me - LOL....... :locked:

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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.Iam reading Salvifici Doloris(Christian meaning of Human Suffering) HERE when I can and something else has occured to me as I read and for those who may experience isolation, loneliness and marginalization.  If The Lord is willing, they can lift themselves out of possible bitterness and resentment (or any other negative reaction to their condition) and find in their negative experience a positive spiritual benefit   - this will contribute to their mental good health emotionally and psychologically I am sure and partially coming about because their attitude has changed into a positive reaction rather than an entirely negative one.

 

When we do experience negative emotions like bitterness, resentment, anger etc. it is the person experiencing who does the suffering and especially if one clings to the negative attitude even investing in same and thus 'feeding' it. Pope John Paul in Salvifici Doloris does quote St Paul, Second Letter to the Corinthians "For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so though Christ, we share abundantly in comfort too" and this comfort and consolation on the spiritual level comes about through embracing negative factors as the honour and priveledge of sharing in the Sufferings of Jesus in some way, small or great.  One may still experience all the negative factors, but bearing them with a different sort of attitude and without 'feeding' them can, given time as The Lord may will, begin to transform or transfigure the negative experience into a positive experience.  It is entirely possible, Grace prevailing, to have real spiritual Joy and Peace in suffering that may come along in the journey of life - while I suspect it is probably a real miracle of Grace.  This does not mean passivity because suffering is not a good, rather a form of evil - and we are called to engage in the struggle against evil in any form it cares to take.  It can mean great spiritual Peace and Joy in what we need to accept, and accept simply because there is no other way of dealing with some forms and types of suffering.

 

I am thinking about starting a blog perhaps if I have the time and on the dedicated life with private vows to the evangelical counsels in the lay state, as well as on mental illness specifically and journeying as a Catholic with this illness.  If I do get round to starting such a blog, I will be including the link into my signature.  I am now and then conscious that the Vocations Forum is only supposed to be about religious and priestly vocations according to Phatmass Rules.

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Barbara, I believe that includes Consecrated Life, with it's many forms, CVs, Hermits, Secular Institutes, which I have since read have semi-public vows and remain in the lay state/could be called consecrated laity - http://doihaveavocation.com/blog/archives/363http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2010/06/various-forms-of-consecrated-life.html

 

And your own private vows would fall under that "special consecration" JPII spoke of .. so I wouldn't think discussing this state/private vows would be inappropriate on VS. That's my interpretation at least :like:

 

Btw, I recently learned St. Gemma Galgani took private vows of all three evangelical counsels too, http://www.stgemmagalgani.com/2009/01/life-of-st-gemma-galgani.html

Edited by Chiquitunga
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Barbara, I believe that includes Consecrated Life, with it's many forms, CVs, Hermits, Secular Institutes, which I have since read have semi-public vows and remain in the lay state/could be called consecrated laity - http://doihaveavocation.com/blog/archives/363http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2010/06/various-forms-of-consecrated-life.html

 

And your own private vows would fall under that "special consecration" JPII spoke of .. so I wouldn't think discussing this state/private vows would be inappropriate on VS. That's my interpretation at least :like:

 

Btw, I recently learned St. Gemma Galgani took private vows of all three evangelical counsels too, http://www.stgemmagalgani.com/2009/01/life-of-st-gemma-galgani.html

 

Thank you very much for the above - it eases my often tender conscience. :like3:

 

I was much comforted by JPII calling the dedicated life a "special consecration" and mentioning it under "Thanksgiving for The Consecrated Life" although I dont want to have to argue this point, if I dont have to with any sort of moderation on Phatmass.  I am rather hoping that more may be said about private vows to the evangelical counsels by Rome - but I am not holding my breath :smile3:  It is only a passing reference as it were in Vita Consecrata, but since it comes under "Thanksgiving for The Consecrated LIfe", it does rather 'stick out' to my mind.  Ah well, it will all be sorted out one way or t'other in The Lord's good time I daresay.  It seems to me that more are attracted to the lay state often with private vows to the evangelical counsels.  Just seems to pop up more on discussion sites. I daresay too that all that JPII has written will be carefully examined with his canonization process, or has been examined, coupled with the fact it is a papal document.

 

Yes I know a bit about St Gemma Galgani - I think she wanted to join the Passionist Order but something or things got in her way - can't quite recall at the moment.  Was it ill health?  She certainly wore almost a religious habit but no veil - but it was a long time ago and my preference under private vows is secular clothing for myself nowadays.  I do wear a silver ring and cross on a leather thong - but I have always worn these for so long now, 'part of the furniture' or 'goes with the territory'.  :)

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:like2: Thank you for the encouragement, CM - and in a thread that I am hoping will not become argumentative to the extreme.

 

 I might start a blog, at this point I am unsure as it seems to me to be potentially time consuming especially since I do not have the gift of being concise and to the point.  I will be talking with my director this month and with a need to sort out what I can do and what I cannot. What I should give time to and what can be laid aside.  I have no wish whatsoever 'to take on' those far more qualified in Church matters, since I have no qualifications at all and I would much rather speak about the vocation and call itself than get argumentative about it as a vocation and call in the first place.  Certainly, The Church has placed no obstacles in the way and not to state that The Church may do so in the future and if it is in my lifetime, I will respond in obedience to The Church accordingly in whatsoever is decided.  At this point in our unfolding, private vows to the evangelical counsels have something of an affirmation by The Church and I have found a few references - but links etc. are on my old computer and not transferred to this one and entirely time consuming having to try to refind them on the internet and on discussion sites where I have quoted them.  Certainly Canon Law has placed no obstacles to private vows to the evangelical counsels and if memory serves this affirmation goes back to Pope Pius XII.  Perhaps even further.

My hope that is that at some time in the future, The Church will make things very clear beyond any sort of argument.  But hope and reality or God's Will at times just do not coincide.  For the moment, we can be confident about private vows to the evangelical counsels no matter what arguments are put forward by those educated in Church matters.  It is nothing at all new that those educated in Church matters will argue 'how many angels can stand the head of a pin' as it were, at least to us 'mere mortals' in the pews - again, as it were.

 

And The Lord's Will be done in all things.  For us as Catholics, The Church is the sole authority to whom we turn to know what the Will of The Lord may be in broad terms anyway.  At this point, there is nothing to state that private vows to the evangelical counsels are not valid as private vows, rather to the contrary - and certainly I have the affirmation of two theologians that private vows to the EC are valid as private vows and that God will indeed grant The Grace of perserance and I am now over 30 years and with great imperfection often 'down the road'.  If others educated in Church matters disagree, then it is up to them to hash things out with like educated - and, it seems to me, an obligation to also point out what The Church is saying and has said on any particular subject and until any such time, if it ever occurs, that The Church changes direction re private vows to the ECs - and in order not to lead any person astray and grasping a theological disagreement point as what The Church is actually teaching.

 

(Edit: - Woops, I have got mixed up (nothing unusual) between this thread and the other thread that is now discussing private vows to the ECs - and no matter, I will let my post here stand.)

 

 

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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