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Just for interest, here are some words from Pope Pius XII on consecrated virginity... http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_25031954_sacra-virginitas_en.html  but  mostly it's comparing consecrated virginity to marriage, not to religious life, especially cause this was before there were consecrated virgins in the world...

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Chiquitunga, I just wanted to clarify if I understood correctly what you mean :)

 

I think maybe the issue Chiquitunga was trying to describe, is something like this? (If I understand correctly.. if not, please let me know! :)).

 

If a man is called to be a priest, he can find many options for the priesthood. For example, he can be a diocesan priest, a priest with something like the FSSP, a religious priest like a Carmelite or a Passionist...

 

If a woman feels called to be a bride of Christ, her options would be Consecrated Virginity in the world, or in a religious order, however there only a few religious communities that do this.

 

However,

 

Many women who discern a call to give themselves fully to God, see this in bridal terms. I'm not saying everyone does, but it seems many talk about it. Entire orders such as the Poor Clares place an importance on it. Certain orders have wedding dresses and rings to express it. So we have many nuns, seeing their relationship with Jesus in a spousal way. I think the difficulty that is being expressed is this - if (for example) a hundred women felt called to be brides of Christ, but only 10 had the Consecration of Virginity, - the rest having entered orders - what does this mean for the 90? Let's say they had known that maybe they'd want the Consecration of Virgins, and agreed with the points in this thread. But what if they also felt drawn to religious life, and not to remain in the world? what if they were drawn to the Poor Clares, who don't do the Consecration? AbrideofChrist, I think you mentioned before having met young women who were in this position and had to make a choice. I think what's confusing to some of us is that many women who discern religious life also feel drawn to being brides of Christ: so where were they to go?

 

This means that either they're also His brides, or they're drawn to a bridal spirituality and yet not being brides yet, or that there are currently too few orders with the Consecration to match the numbers of women who feel called to being His brides and religious.

 

Fr Thomas Dubay talked about how men and women might see virginity differently.... for men, it could be: having more time to serve God and to pray, being like Christ, etc. (I don't know all the reasons since of course I'm not a man). For women, though it's not always spousal, - this comes more easily to them. The whole idea of giving up everything, - why do we do this if not for love? and if it's such an all-emcompassing love, it's hard to not give it a type of a spousal description, - for a number of women. Of course, Jesus is also our Lord, Friend, Savior, King - but if a young woman rejects marriage proposals because they somehow seem incompatible with her feeling called to belong only to Christ, - she would see her relationship with Him in a spousal way, since she has no Beloved but Him. Let's say this becomes really a part of her and a part of purpose of entering a convent. If she would not actually be a bride of Christ, then it would be important for her to perhaps seek a convent that does the Consecration - but such convents are few... and what she really feels called to another one? This could become very confusing... so I guess there are three possible answers for this young woman: either she should be content with having the spirituality and not being consecrated, or she's also a bride of Christ, or she should seek consecrated virginity even though it would mean a different order or living in the world.

 

I'm confused about what the truth is on all this... I found something St Thomas says about virginity, but it doesn't really help me to distinguish it with religious life... more with marriage. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1967&chapter=124319&layout=html&Itemid=27  for the sake of argument, we can talk about virgins who feel called to be brides of Christ and enter religious life. (rather than those who have lost their virginity) - just so we can talk about the virtue of virginity (discussed by St Thomas, Pope Pius XII, Fr Thomas Dubay) in this context also.

 

 

 

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MarysLittleFlower- you won't find St. Thomas talking about consecrated virginity per se in the Summa.  His writings on it are scattered elsewhere.   

 

Yes, what I am saying is that the problem is that a lot of women feel a call to be a bride of Christ.  The only way to BE a bride of Christ is through the consecration.  So, their choices are limited, more limited than men for religious vocational options if they wish to join religious Orders.  I suspect a reason why the Order of Virgins is the fastest growing vocation in the world- there are hundreds of sacred virgins in Paris alone - is because women are beginning to realize that their longing isn't for a life of a disciple, good as it may be, but for a direct spousal union.

 

Dubay's book on You are Christ's uses the word virginity equivocally as "chastity" for most of the book.  The only part where he uses it in the strict sense is in the paragraph or two in describing consecrated virginity.  The Popes in Sacra Virginitas and Verbi Sponsa use the word "consecrated virgins" equivocally as well because they are not describing consecrated virginity per se.  I think future documents will be much more careful in their language because right now "consecrated virginity" is being used to designate the vocation of those who have received the Consecration to a Life of Virginity, which was its original meaning to begin with.

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MLF, many of the CVs or those seriously discerning consecrated virginity were/are very attracted to religious life.  But their deepest overriding desire is to be a bride of Christ. It was painful for many of us to give up on the idea of religious life precisely because it did not fulfill this deepest desire.  For example, one CV I have spoken to really wanted to join a particular active religious community.  Active sisters are barred from receiving the Consecration.  She was also deeply attracted to the spousal vocation of consecrated virginity.  She had to discern between her love for religious life and spousal life.  She made the choice but it was a very difficult one for her to make.  Another person who is discerning religious life got accepted into an Order that doesn't do the Consecration.  She has withdrawn her application because that Order will never do the Consecration and she feels that her primary attraction is to a bridal vocation rather than a religious vocation.  This again was an incredibly difficult decision, but she is at peace because she is working with an informed mind and is more concerned about the essence of her prospective calling than any sentimental trappings that may go with it.

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I found a quote from "Way of Divine Love" by Sr Josefa Menendez. I don't know if her order did the Consecration of Virgins or not. She was a "Coadjutrix Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus" in the early 1900s. I wanted to share it because it's so beautiful and she talks about Jesus as her Spouse. Maybe someone would know if this order did the Consecration or not :) I'm not really sharing it to make any argument but just because it's so beautiful and true.

 

"That Friday evening, after the contemplation of the Crucifixion, she wrote: "Lord, Thou art on the Cross about to die for me and Thy Heart will be opened for me. Heart of Jesus, show me the way in, then draw me down into Its depth. There is my dwelling; there shall I stay hidden - there shall I labour and suffer and lose myself... the lowlier I am the more I shall be able to sink into Its deepest depths... what a joy to know that Heart and to be His bride..."

 

"On the morning of Sunday, 16th July, no one foresaw the marvels that were about to become realities in the life of the little novice, Josefa Menendez. How jealously God had kept her in the shadow of His Face! He had elaborated His plan, formed her and wrought in her, crushed and ground her, till the pattern He designed had been fashioned and moulded. He had led her through chosen paths, and confounded satan's devices. His Mercy had triumphed in her wretchedness and His power in her weakness. To-day He Himself was about to lead her to the accomplishment of His great plans. The alliance was about to be sealed before Heaven and earth; and she would become His consecrated bride, not to enjoy Him indeed, but to aid in Love's enterprise which would consummate the union between them.

 

She was the only novice to make her vows that day. The Chapel, bright with flowers, was filled by the children, and by her Mothers and Sisters in religion, when at eight o'clock Josefa entered with an air of recollected joy which was not of this earth. Her beloved mother and her sister Angela had come from Madrid. She knew they were there, and "these two loves of her heart", as she called them, were part of the offering she was about to make. Her other sister, Mercedes, a religious of the Sacred Heart, was untied to them in spirit, in her far-off convent of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

 

Nothing either in her attitude or face, so calm and radiant, betrayed the mysterious approach of heavenly visitants.

 

In the silence of prayer, which the liturgical chant interrupted from time to time, the usual ritual of the ceremony proceeded. After a short discourse by the celebrant who alluded to the austere joys of religious consecration, Josefa advanced to the altar rails, and with a firm voice answered the questions:

 

"Is it of your own free will that you renounce the world and all worldly hopes and expectations? And do you take Jesus Christ for your Spouse with all your heart?"

 

Her whole soul exulted in the words: "Yes, Father, with all my heart!"

 

She then received the crucifix on which is nailed the figure of "Him who must henceforth be your Model and the sole object of your love", and the black veil about which the following is said: "Receive the yoke of the Lord, for His yoke is sweet and His burden light".

 

Holy Mass began. When the solemn moment of Communion arrived, Josefa, all alone at the alter rails, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament held before her by the celebrant, slowly with all the will and love of her heart, pronounced the vows which would unite her forever to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was a moving moment to those who knew at what prince the favour had been bought, through what tempests her little bark had reached port, and what miracles of love had opened for her the Heart of Him who had been captivated by her littleness.

 

Human eyes saw only the simple offering, but another, and this a heavenly, scene was being enacted.

 

A few hours later Josefa, still deep in glad recollection, noted, so that she might never forget it, what Our Lord had been pleased to do for her.

 

"After the sermon, I went up to the altar rails to receive my crucifix of vows and black veil. Then suddenly I saw Our Lady present, O! so ravishingly lovely, all bathed in light. She held a veil in her hands, and when I returned to my priedieu, she herself put it on my head. All round her and framing her person were a number of radiant little faces which looked like those of tiny children, lit up with joy. With ineffable sweetness she said to me: "While you, beloved daughter, were suffering, these souls were weaving this veil for you. All those you prayed for have left Purgatory and are save in Heaven for all eternity. There they will protect you".

 

"It was an entrancing sight: Our Lady looked like a queen with her beautiful countenance all purity and tenderness, her golden raiment and her exquisitely molded hands.. and then the souls... so many little heads - O! it was wonderful to see, and I cannot describe how profoundly it affected me. Besides, I was wrapped in the veil, and had my crucifix, I did not know what to say... I let the flood of happiness just roll over me... what else could I do?

 

"When Our Lady finished speaking, the little faces disappeared, one after the other. She have me her blessing and disappeared, too. I thought myself in Heaven.

 

"Then came the moment - how brimming with emotion and joy - to read the formula of my vows and receive Holy Communion... and then, Jesus Himself came. His Heart was flooded with effulgent light, the Wound wide open, and from It issued a force that drew me into It, and I found myself deep down in Its depths.

 

"Now, I am satisfied," He said. "for I hold you prisoner in My Heart. From all eternity I have been yours; now, you are Mine for ever. You will work for Me, and I will work for you. Your interests will be Mine, and Mine yours. I have been faithful to you, have I not, Josefa? And now My great work will begin". And saying this He vanished."

 

A few hours later Josefa, whose heart was overflowing, wrote in her notes of retreat:

 

"Jesus has come; we are one.. does He know what a miserable creature I am, and that in spite of my longing to please Him and to love Him, I shall disappoint Him more than once, perhaps? ..Yes, He knows it better than I do, but He loves me all the same, and He does not mind. He is ready beforehand to repair all my faults, that is why He has given me His Heart!..."

 

Then she tried to find words which would express in detail the vows that bound her to this Sacred Heart:

 

"O Jesus, I thank Thee for the incomparable grace of my vows.

 

...

 

What of my vow of Chastity? Ah! how happy I am in my religious life and none can deprive me of this treasure. The world no longer exists for me, and I am in a closed garden full of every variety of flower, and in this enclosure, and in the midst of these flowers I shall spend my life, for they are all set apart for the heavenly Husbandman. He cultivates me and I give Him pleasure. He loves me and I love Him! ...what else matters? O most pure Jesus, Bridegroom of virgin souls, I love Thee, for Thou art purity itself; that is what has attracted me from infancy. Jesus is the Spouse of Virgins! such were the words that attracted me as a child and made me relish the charms Thou reservest for consecrated souls, and ever since my soul has been the little flower that sheds its perfume for Thee, O Jesus! Never allow me to lose the spotlessness of grace or the love of virginity.

 

...

(In various parts in the book, Jesus talks about His chosen souls and how He wishes for them to trust Him, to surrender their littleness and misery to Him, we also get the sense that they are specially called to offer reparation and consolation to Jesus and to care about everything that He cares about. This quote is found soon after the last one: )

 

After Communion, He spoke again: "Josefa, My bride, let Me rejoice in you. My greatness will make your littleness disappear; from now on we shall labour together and as one: I shall live in you and you will live for souls".

 

(Way of Divine Love, Sr Josefa Menendez, p. 164, 166, - 170, TAN publishers. Apparently the book is in the public domain?).

Edited by MarysLittleFlower
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MarysLittleFlower- you won't find St. Thomas talking about consecrated virginity per se in the Summa.  His writings on it are scattered elsewhere.   

 

Yes, what I am saying is that the problem is that a lot of women feel a call to be a bride of Christ.  The only way to BE a bride of Christ is through the consecration.  So, their choices are limited, more limited than men for religious vocational options if they wish to join religious Orders.  I suspect a reason why the Order of Virgins is the fastest growing vocation in the world- there are hundreds of sacred virgins in Paris alone - is because women are beginning to realize that their longing isn't for a life of a disciple, good as it may be, but for a direct spousal union.

 

Dubay's book on You are Christ's uses the word virginity equivocally as "chastity" for most of the book.  The only part where he uses it in the strict sense is in the paragraph or two in describing consecrated virginity.  The Popes in Sacra Virginitas and Verbi Sponsa use the word "consecrated virgins" equivocally as well because they are not describing consecrated virginity per se.  I think future documents will be much more careful in their language because right now "consecrated virginity" is being used to designate the vocation of those who have received the Consecration to a Life of Virginity, which was its original meaning to begin with.

 

Does St Thomas say that the only way to be a bride of Christ is through the Consecration? I'm just trying to find the origin of this idea :) I think what I find confusing is that even though you say the choices are limited for women who feel called to be brides of Christ, and yes so many do feel called, and many also feel called to religious life at the same time... what happens if a woman feels called to this spousal union but also to leaving the world. I guess that's something for her to discern with Jesus, who knows everything.

 

My understanding is that Fr Thomas Dubay is that in many parts of the book he talks about a bridal sort of approach to this... if he's not talking about CVs, is he then implying that nuns are also brides?

 

I'm sorry I know it must be frustrating because this keeps going around in circles and I keep on saying the same things... I'm going to pray to understand the truth, and I'm not rejecting any idea and staying open.

MLF, many of the CVs or those seriously discerning consecrated virginity were/are very attracted to religious life.  But their deepest overriding desire is to be a bride of Christ. It was painful for many of us to give up on the idea of religious life precisely because it did not fulfill this deepest desire.  For example, one CV I have spoken to really wanted to join a particular active religious community.  Active sisters are barred from receiving the Consecration.  She was also deeply attracted to the spousal vocation of consecrated virginity.  She had to discern between her love for religious life and spousal life.  She made the choice but it was a very difficult one for her to make.  Another person who is discerning religious life got accepted into an Order that doesn't do the Consecration.  She has withdrawn her application because that Order will never do the Consecration and she feels that her primary attraction is to a bridal vocation rather than a religious vocation.  This again was an incredibly difficult decision, but she is at peace because she is working with an informed mind and is more concerned about the essence of her prospective calling than any sentimental trappings that may go with it.

 

This is very difficult :( so many are drawn to being brides of Christ though... I'd say many women think of this when they think of religious life... Instead of just repeating this again, lol, maybe I should explain why I'm having trouble understanding this: why does it seem that so many women are not drawn to discipleship but to a spousal relationship with Jesus, and yet most orders don't do the Consecration? if there's something in the feminine heart that so easily relates virginity to being His bride, why do most orders not reflect this? But then others here would say that they in fact do, through their spirituality? It's this maybe that makes it hard for me to understand, but I'm going to just keep examining it and discerning, - and not rejecting either idea for now. I wish the Church had said something very authoritative about this so it's clear that we're not just trying to interpret its teachings, because to a person who's just looking into it, it's hard to figure out which interpretation is correct. I kept going back and forth while just reading this thread.

Edited by MarysLittleFlower
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If anyone happens to know if Sr Josefa Menendez' order did the Consecration, that could be helpful... I'm just going to try and trust Jesus that He knows exactly the plan He has for me and would lead me in His way - whether I would be consecrated or not, and whether it's His will for me to be or not. Maybe this is the only approach that would actually give me peace, because even if I understood the answer to the question intellectually, I'd still struggle interiorly if I don't just surrender to His will whatever it is. So hard to do that sometimes. :) maybe that's something I'm struggling more with than the theological intellectual question.

Edited by MarysLittleFlower
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If the order didn't in fact do the Consecration, I don't think that lessens Consecrated Virginity... and if they did, then they were also Consecrated Virgins. I'm trying to just trust in God's plan for each one - CVs do have something really special, and they are His brides, and that's what their vocation is centered on... and as for religious life and whether nuns are His brides too and how foundational this is to their vocation, - I'm confused on this point, but Jesus knows. There are so many questions that I have, like what is necessary for this ontological change, is it the exact Rite for CV or is it just the Superior saying you're espoused to Christ, and whether nuns receive an ontological change too and if ti's different or the same, - I'm not a theologian though and have no theological training, so these ideas are kind of too "high up" for me... even what is on this thread, I don't understand much of it, sadly. I hope Jesus would just guide me regardless.

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If anyone happens to know if Sr Josefa Menendez' order did the Consecration, that could be helpful... I'm just going to try and trust Jesus that He knows exactly the plan He has for me and would lead me in His way - whether I would be consecrated or not, and whether it's His will for me to be or not. Maybe this is the only approach that would actually give me peace, because even if I understood the answer to the question intellectually, I'd still struggle interiorly if I don't just surrender to His will whatever it is. So hard to do that sometimes. :) maybe that's something I'm struggling more with than the theological intellectual question.

 

Well, I don't know why you want other people to do your research for you. Sr. Josepha was in an active religious community.  Therefore, she did NOT receive the Consecration.  There are very very few religious Orders and only a NUN can receive the Consecration.  But I'm only repeating what I have said several times in other threads about active religious.

 

You claim that the Church does not authoritatively say that only CVs are brides of Christ in the strict sense.  Actually, that's not true.  She proclaims through her rites and through her documents.  The problem isn't that the documents aren't there, the problem is that you are probably not trained in the science of theology.  Just because you want the Church to make an explicit definition in the precise way you want her to does not mean it isn't implicit in its documents.  Show me where the Church authoritatively teaches that a non CV religious is bound in an indissoluble nuptial union and I will agree with your position.  But since only consecrated virgins have explicitly and implicitly been definitively said by the Church to have that union, they are the only Brides of Christ strictly speaking.  The burden of proof is on you, not on me or any of the others who have used logic and Church documents to show that the essence of consecrated virginity is spousal and that the essence of religious life is vowed discipleship.  You have not brought forth anything remotely close to a text that will say that a religious is a complete visible representation of the Church as Bride of Christ.  You can't because it doesn't and won't exist.  You have yet to figure out why the Church would allow the Consecration of Virgins to be bestowed upon religious IF it is the same thing as religious profession.  Maybe that would be a good starting point for your research.  Also, check out why Dominican nuns received the Consecration to Virginity for serious reasons back in the day.  Again, that might give you a clue as to what the Church's stance is on the matter.  Of course, you could say there aren't dogmatic teachings- that's not the point.  There are two centuries of theology of virginity and being a Bride of Christ that are bound in the vocation.  The medieval had lots of discussion on the matter.  You don't know about it because for most of the material out there, you'd have to be comfortable with Latin and have access to the works of the religious who wrote these tomes. 

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If the order didn't in fact do the Consecration, I don't think that lessens Consecrated Virginity... and if they did, then they were also Consecrated Virgins. I'm trying to just trust in God's plan for each one - CVs do have something really special, and they are His brides, and that's what their vocation is centered on... and as for religious life and whether nuns are His brides too and how foundational this is to their vocation, - I'm confused on this point, but Jesus knows. There are so many questions that I have, like what is necessary for this ontological change, is it the exact Rite for CV or is it just the Superior saying you're espoused to Christ, and whether nuns receive an ontological change too and if ti's different or the same, - I'm not a theologian though and have no theological training, so these ideas are kind of too "high up" for me... even what is on this thread, I don't understand much of it, sadly. I hope Jesus would just guide me regardless.

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No prob, MLF.  I actually somehow wrote "centuries" instead of "thousand years" by mistake.  Maybe phrasing it this way will help you intellectually.

 

A religious by definitive profession of vows, receives a religious consecration from God.  This consecration dedicates the religious to the service of God and neighbor in the lifestyle particular to religious men/women.  This is an ontological change.

 

A CV by receiving the Consecration, is constituted a bride of Christ.  This form of consecration dedicates the CV to the service of God by virtue of her new spousal relationship with Him as virgin, bride and mother.  This is an ontological change.

 

A man by receiving priestly ordination, is constituted a priest of God.  This form of priestly ordination dedicates the man to the ministry of serving God's people by word and sacrament.  This is an ontological change.

 

A member of a secular institute, by definitive profession of vows, receives a consecration from God.  This consecration is secular in nature and dedicates the lay consecrated person to the service of God and the world as a "leaven" in the world.  This is an ontological change. 

 

The Church has definitively stated that all consecrations are EQUAL but different in one of its documents (you can look that up somewhere I think on the USACV site). 

 

Men and women are equal but different.  That is why only men can receive ordination and only women can receive the consecration of virgins.   Both, however, may receive religious consecration or secular institute consecration or hermit consecration because these forms of consecration do not constitute the man as a persona Christi or the woman as it were, persona Ecclesiae/sponsa Christi. 

Edited by abrideofChrist
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No prob, MLF.  I actually somehow wrote "centuries" instead of "thousand years" by mistake.  Maybe phrasing it this way will help you intellectually.

 

A religious by definitive profession of vows, receives a religious consecration from God.  This consecration dedicates the religious to the service of God and neighbor in the lifestyle particular to religious men/women.  This is an ontological change.

 

A CV by receiving the Consecration, is constituted a bride of Christ.  This form of consecration dedicates the CV to the service of God by virtue of her new spousal relationship with Him as virgin, bride and mother.  This is an ontological change.

 

A man by receiving priestly ordination, is constituted a priest of God.  This form of priestly ordination dedicates the man to the ministry of serving God's people by word and sacrament.  This is an ontological change.

 

A member of a secular institute, by definitive profession of vows, receives a consecration from God.  This consecration is secular in nature and dedicates the lay consecrated person to the service of God and the world as a "leaven" in the world.  This is an ontological change. 

 

The Church has definitively stated that all consecrations are EQUAL but different in one of its documents (you can look that up somewhere I think on the USACV site). 

 

Men and women are equal but different.  That is why only men can receive ordination and only women can receive the consecration of virgins.   Both, however, may receive religious consecration or secular institute consecration or hermit consecration because these forms of consecration do not constitute the man as a persona Christi or the woman as it were, persona Ecclesiae/sponsa Christi. 

 


Well, I don't know why you want other people to do your research for you. Sr. Josepha was in an active religious community.  Therefore, she did NOT receive the Consecration.  There are very very few religious Orders and only a NUN can receive the Consecration.  But I'm only repeating what I have said several times in other threads about active religious.

 

You claim that the Church does not authoritatively say that only CVs are brides of Christ in the strict sense.  Actually, that's not true.  She proclaims through her rites and through her documents.  The problem isn't that the documents aren't there, the problem is that you are probably not trained in the science of theology.  Just because you want the Church to make an explicit definition in the precise way you want her to does not mean it isn't implicit in its documents.  Show me where the Church authoritatively teaches that a non CV religious is bound in an indissoluble nuptial union and I will agree with your position.  But since only consecrated virgins have explicitly and implicitly been definitively said by the Church to have that union, they are the only Brides of Christ strictly speaking.  The burden of proof is on you, not on me or any of the others who have used logic and Church documents to show that the essence of consecrated virginity is spousal and that the essence of religious life is vowed discipleship.  You have not brought forth anything remotely close to a text that will say that a religious is a complete visible representation of the Church as Bride of Christ.  You can't because it doesn't and won't exist.  You have yet to figure out why the Church would allow the Consecration of Virgins to be bestowed upon religious IF it is the same thing as religious profession.  Maybe that would be a good starting point for your research.  Also, check out why Dominican nuns received the Consecration to Virginity for serious reasons back in the day.  Again, that might give you a clue as to what the Church's stance is on the matter.  Of course, you could say there aren't dogmatic teachings- that's not the point.  There are two centuries of theology of virginity and being a Bride of Christ that are bound in the vocation.  The medieval had lots of discussion on the matter.  You don't know about it because for most of the material out there, you'd have to be comfortable with Latin and have access to the works of the religious who wrote these tomes. 

 

I'm sorry if I wanted other people to do my research for me. I didn't know that her community was active, - I just assumed it was contemplative. I forgot that pre-VII they had active  orders too. It's true that I'm not trained in theology, I won't argue with that, I have no training whatsoever. I don't see myself as qualified to make a judgement on what the Church says implicitly... because of this, I don't have any documents to show that a non CV religious is bound in a nuptial union, but I don't really have any documents at all, unfortunately, except the encyclical from Pope Pius XII. I'll try to read up on something. When I look at the Rites and the Church teachings, it does seem like a bridal spirituality is mentioned - whether it's different from that of a CV, - that's where my research comes short. Maybe CVs are brides in a very explicitly stated, ontological sort of way. I don't know about religious and whether they have something different and how different/similar it is.

 

AbrideofChrist, I'm not really trying to prove anything or argue... I don't think I could make a strong case anyway because I haven't read all these documents, and even if I read them, I don't have the studying necessary to understand them. The only thing that comes close is something I read or heard about a nun representing the Church as a bride - maybe representing wasn't the word used, I don't remember. Now I'm even questioning if I did read it or what it said.

 

That's a good question about why the Church allows the Consecration for religious. From that, we'd have to agree that there's something special about the Consecration. I don't argue that point at all. My question is more about in what way the religious can also have a spousal element, maybe more implicitly, whether it's only in the spirituality, and what this means for them spiritually, etc. I'll try to look up some information. Since I'm not a scholar, since my knowledge of Latin is limited to selected responses in the Latin Mass, - I'm sure there's no realistic way that I could do any complete research. Some are called to be scholars and theologians, - I have trouble understanding much of theology so I just read devotional works.

 

I see that there seem to be different ways of being Jesus' bride. For example, one way is spiritual and contemplative: like in mystical theology. Another way is being publically called a bride of Christ and being an image of the Church - like how you described Consecrated Virginity. Either CVs are the only brides of Christ, or they're the most 'official' brides of Christ, but others share in this spiritually too? In any case I don't know. I can't argue with the fact that Jesus called Sr Josefa His bride, or I'd be arguing with Him. Whatever the case may be with the question, - she was still somehow His bride... even those who weren't religious and only made a private vow, were called His brides, like St Catherine of Siena or St Rose of Lima - perhaps it was in the spiritual mystical way, because they had a vision of Jesus espousing them to Himself. In the end, to me, I just want to be His, if He calls me that is. If He calls me to be His bride, - that's not something I'm worthy of it and that in itself would be an unimaginable blessing, - then I'd be happy to go wherever He calls me, whether being this explicitly as a CV, or spiritually.. I'm not denying that CVs are His brides in a very real and official way, and an ontological way, - and that's a great blessing and a great vocation. Regarding who the religious are, I can only leave that to God and the Church, and accept whatever God and the Church say though I don't understand it yet. If they are somehow His brides too, then I'd just be glad, and I'm glad for the CVs. I don't know... since doing complete research on this might require me to get several degrees, maybe learn Latin, become a theologian - perhaps my only hope is to just pray for God to give me light on this, and if it pleases Him, I hope He would.

Edited by MarysLittleFlower
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No prob, MLF.  I actually somehow wrote "centuries" instead of "thousand years" by mistake.  Maybe phrasing it this way will help you intellectually.

 

A religious by definitive profession of vows, receives a religious consecration from God.  This consecration dedicates the religious to the service of God and neighbor in the lifestyle particular to religious men/women.  This is an ontological change.

 

A CV by receiving the Consecration, is constituted a bride of Christ.  This form of consecration dedicates the CV to the service of God by virtue of her new spousal relationship with Him as virgin, bride and mother.  This is an ontological change.

 

A man by receiving priestly ordination, is constituted a priest of God.  This form of priestly ordination dedicates the man to the ministry of serving God's people by word and sacrament.  This is an ontological change.

 

A member of a secular institute, by definitive profession of vows, receives a consecration from God.  This consecration is secular in nature and dedicates the lay consecrated person to the service of God and the world as a "leaven" in the world.  This is an ontological change. 

 

The Church has definitively stated that all consecrations are EQUAL but different in one of its documents (you can look that up somewhere I think on the USACV site). 

 

Men and women are equal but different.  That is why only men can receive ordination and only women can receive the consecration of virgins.   Both, however, may receive religious consecration or secular institute consecration or hermit consecration because these forms of consecration do not constitute the man as a persona Christi or the woman as it were, persona Ecclesiae/sponsa Christi. 

 

Didn't reply to this post but somehow it was quoted above. Thanks for clarifying about ontological change :) I understand now what types there are.

 

I am not sure if the religious consecration has differences for men and women: I mean even if women don't have the Consecration of Virginity, the Rite still has some spousal language (like we see in the case of Sr Josefa, or other ones previously quoted, about rings etc) - that I assume the male religious orders don't have. Not sure how this affects everything.... I understand how the CVs receive an ontological change that makes them the brides of Christ. This reality is also explicitly stated for them. You said that religious share in the bridal spirituality. What does this sharing mean, and how does it affect the soul, and whether someone can be a bride of Christ in a  more implicit way together with their vows - I don't know. I don't want to ignore the theology of Consecrated Virginity, I also don't want to ignore what happened to many of the Saints and Sr Josefa Menendez, - there's got to be an explanation that takes them both into account.

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