Jump to content

Consecrated Virginity Question


Recommended Posts

Canon 604 speaks of a vocation that has a clear Hallmark [distinguishing characteristic or trait ] as follows :

 

Consecration to God

Mystical Espousal to Jesus Christ , Son of God,

Dedication to the Service of the Church

 

All the CVs posting on this thread , the writings of All the Fathers of the Church, all the Popes , the response from the CICLSAL to me on this question , all the resource material on websites of Associations of CV all over  the world in all languages agree that CV is compatible with living in the world and is indeed lived in the world in its original form and post Vat II form by most CV , without being set apart or consecrated to politics, economics ,  in the world. . No one has said that secularity is the Hallmark of the virginal consecration.

 

There is a big difference between saying that

- a CV can / or is not stopped from-- involvement in politics, economics

- saying that  all CVs all over the world SHOULD involve themselves in politics, economics as a special  vocation . This is actually changing the Charism itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“May Christ Be Your Total and Exclusive Love”
 International Conference of Consecrated Virgins, Rome In audience with Pope John Paul II, 2 June 1995

 

 

My dear Sisters,


1. This audience fills me with joy, for it offers me the opportunity to meet with you on the occasion of the international convention which has been promoted in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the promulgation, which occurred on May 31, 1970, of the up-dated Ritual of the Consecration of Virgins.  I greet the organizers of the convention and all of you who have gathered here today.


Vatican Council II determined the revision of the rite of the Consecration of Virgins, present in the Roman Pontifical (cf. Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 80). This was to entail not only a diligent revision of the liturgical formulas and ritual gestures, but also a restoration of a rite that, with respect to women who do not belong to institutes of consecrated life, had fallen into disuse for many centuries. Along with this rite, the “Ordo virginum” was also reinstated, which was to find its own juridical configuration, distinct from that of institutes, in Can. 599 of the new Code of Canon Law.  This renewed rite, and reinstated “Ordo” are a two-fold gift of the Lord to His Church.  You exalt at such a gift, thanking the Lord for it.  On this occasion, you seek to draw from it a motive and inspiration for renewing your fervor and commitment.


2. On my part, I would like to speak to you with the same affectionate warmth with which bishops of old used to speak to the virgins of their churches:  for example, the warmth of Methodius of Olympia, the first cantor of Christian virginity; that of Athanasius of Alexandria and of Cyprian of Carthage, who considered consecrated virgins an elect portion of Christ’s flock; that of John Chrysostom, whose writings are rich in ideas to nourish the spiritual life of virgins.  Ambrose of Milan, whose works bear witness to an extraordinary pastoral care for consecrated virgins; Augustine of Hippo, that keen, profound theologian of virginity embraced for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven (cf. Mt 19:12); the great, holy Pontiff Leo I, with all probability the author of the admirable prayer of consecration Deus castorum corporum; and Leander of Seville who wrote a beautiful letter to his sister Fiorentina on the occasion of her virginal consecration.  This is an episcopal tradition to which I willingly join myself.


3. On this meaningful occasion, I am happy to stress some fundamental directives that can guide your special vocation in the Church and in the world.


Love Christ, the meaning of your life.


For the consecrated virgin, as St. Leander of Seville affirms, Christ is everything: “spouse, brother, friend, inheritance, reward, God and Lord” (Regula sancti Leandri, Introd.).


The mystery of the Incarnation was seen by the Holy Fathers in a spousal light, following the interpretation given by the Apostle Paul on the Lord’s death:  “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph 5:25).  The event of the resurrection was also seen as a nuptial encounter between the Risen Lord and the new messianic community, for which reason the Easter Vigil was celebrated as the “nuptial night of the Church” (St. Asterio Amaseno, Homilia XIX, in Psalmum V oratio V).


The entire life of Christ was therefore placed under the sign of the mystery of His nuptials with the Church (cf. Eph 5:32).  You, too, dear Sisters, belong to that mystery through the gift of the Holy Spirit and in virtue of a “new spiritual anointing” (cf. Pontificale Romanum, Ordo consecrationis virginum, n. 16).
Answer Christ’s infinity love with your total and exclusive love.


Love Him as He desires to be love in your concrete life:  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15; cf. 14:21).  Love Him as is fitting to your spousal condition:  assuming His same sentiments (cf. Phil 2:5); sharing His way of life consisting in humility and meekness, love and mercy, service and joyful availability, untiring zeal for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the human race.


The state of consecrated virginity makes the praise of Christ more spontaneous, listening to His word quicker, service to Him more joyful, and the occasion of offering Him the homage of your love more frequent.  Yet consecrated virginity is not a privilege, but rather a gift of God, which implies a strong commitment in following Him and being His disciple.


The following of the Lamb in Heaven (cf. Rev 14:6) begins on earth, walking down the narrow path (cf. Mt7:14).  Your sequela Christi will be more radical, the greater your love is for Christ and the more lucid your awareness of the meaning of virginal consecration.  In the Apostolic Letter Mulieris dignitatem, dealing with the “Gospel ideal of virginity,” I recalled that “in (consecrated) virginity is expressed . . . the radical nature of the Gospel,, which consists in leaving everything and following Christ” (n. 20).
Your being disciples of Christ will be more intense, the more you are convinced that Jesus is the one Teacher (cf. Mt 23:8), whose words are “spirit and life.”  Dear Sisters, remember that your place is, like that of Mary of Bethany (cf. Lk 10:39), at the feet of Jesus, listening to the words of grace that come forth from His mouth (cf. Lk 4:22).



Love the Church, your Mother.
Through the solemn rite presided over by the diocesan bishop ((Ordo consecrationis virginum, Praenotanda, n. 6, page 8), you have received from the Church the gift of consecration.  You are dedicated to its service.  You ought to feel ever bound to the Church by a strict tie.


According to the teaching of the Fathers, in receiving from the Lord the “Consecration of virginity,” virgins become a visible sign of the virginity of the Church, the instrument of its fruitfulness and witness of its fidelity to Christ.  Virgins are also a reminder of the orientation of the Church towards the future goods and a warning to keep this eschatological tension alive.


It is also the task of virgins to become an active hand of the generosity of the local church, the voice of its prayer, an expression of its mercy, a help for its poor, a consolation for its afflicted sons and daughters, and a support for its orphans and widows. We could say that at the time of the Father the pietas and caritas of the Church were expressed to a great part through the heart and hands of consecrated virgins.
These are lines of commitment that still remain valid today.  I myself underlined the anthropological value of the virginal choice carried out in the Church.  It is a way in which the consecrated virgin “realizes her personality as woman.”  “In freely chosen virginity the woman confirms herself as a person, as a being that the Creator desired for Himself right from the beginning, and she realizes at the same time the personal value of her own womanliness” (Mulieris dignitatem,, n. 20).


Not less than the woman who follows the path of matrimony, the consecrated virgin is capable of living and expressing spousal love.  “In a similar love” she becomes in the Church a gift for God, for Christ the Redeemer, and for every brother and sister.


Love the children of God.


Your total and exclusive love for Christ does not exempt you from love towards all men and women, your brothers and sisters, for the horizons of your charity—precisely because you belong to the Lord—are the same as the horizons of Christ.


According to the Apostle, the virgin “gives her mind to the Lord’s affairs and to being holy in body and spirit” (I Cor 7:34).  She seeks “the things that are above, which Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand” (Col 3:1).  And yet this does not estrange you from the great values of creation and from the longings of humanity, nor from the suffering of the earthly city, from its conflicts and from the sorrows caused by war, famine, disease, and the wide-spread “culture of death.”  Have a merciful heart and share in the sufferings of the brethren.  Commit yourselves to the defense of life, the promotion of women and respect for their liberty and dignity.



You are well aware:  “You who are virgins for Christ” become “mothers in the spirit” (Ordo consecrationum virginum, n. 16), cooperating with love in the evangelization of man and his promotion.
Love Mary of Nazareth, the first fruits of Christian virginity.  Humble and poor, “the promised spouse of Joseph” (Mt 1:18), a just man “of the house of David” (Lk 1:27), Mary became by a singular privilege and by her fidelity to the Lord’s call, the Virgin Mother of the Son of God.
Mary is thus the perfect icon of the Church as a mystery of communion and love, an icon of its being Virgin, Spouse and Mother.


As St. Leander of Seville observes, Mary is also “the culminating point and prototype of virginity.”  In body and soul she was fully what you desire to be with all your strength: virgins in body and soul, spouses through total and exclusive adherence to the love of Christ, mothers through the gift of the Spirit.
My dear Sisters, Mary is your Mother, Sister and Teacher.  Learn from her to fulfill God’s will and to accept His salvific plan, to keep His word and to bring all events of life to it, to sing His praises for His “great works” in favor of humanity, to share in the mystery of suffering, to bring Christ to all men and to intercede for those in need.


Be with Mary in the nuptial room where there is rejoicing and where Christ manifests Himself to His disciples as the messianic Spouse.  Be with Mary at the foot of the Cross, where Christ offers His life for the Church.  Remain with her in the Cenacle, the house of the Spirit, who is poured out as divine Love in the Church, His Spouse.


Persevere faithfully in your vocation with the help of the most holy Virgin.  May the examples of the holy Virgins who enriched the life of the Church in every century inspire you.


May the assurance of my constant prayer together with a special blessing accompany you.

Edited by God's Beloved
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 247
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • SRLAUREL

    44

  • BarbaraTherese

    32

  • Laurie

    30

  • Sponsa-Christi

    30

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

ETA: This is not aimed at anyone- just to lighten the mood.  :saint2:

I ask one question and this happens.

I mean this as respectfully as possible, but the exact nature and extent of consecrated virgins’ secularity is far from a settled question. I’m saying this not because I want to debate (I truly do

  ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT
XVI

TO THE PARTICIPANTS

IN THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS-PILGRIMAGE

OF THE ORDO VIRGINUM (THE ORDER OF VIRGINS)


Clementine Hall

Thursday, 15 May 2008

  Consecrated Virginity: A Luminous and Fruitful Charism

Very Dear Sisters,


I greet and welcome with joy each one of you, consecrated with the "solemn consecration as a bride of our Lord Jesus Christ " (Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity for Women Living in the World [RCV], n. 17), on the occasion of the International Pilgrimage and Congress of the Ordo Virginum, for which you are gathered in Rome during these days. In particular, I
greet and thank Cardinal Franc Rodé for his cordial greeting and his
dedication to this initiative, while I address my heartfelt thanks to
the Organizing Committee. In choosing the theme for these days you were
inspired by one of my affirmations which sums up what I have already had
the opportunity to say concerning your state as women who live
consecrated virginity in the world: A gift in the Church and for the Church. In this light I would like to
strengthen you in your vocation and invite you to develop, from day to
day, your understanding of a charism that is as luminous and fruitful in
the eyes of the faith as it is obscure and futile in those of the
world.


"Imitate the Mother of God; desire to be called and to be handmaids of the Lord" (RCV, n.
16). The Order of Virgins is a special expression of consecrated life
that blossomed anew in the Church after the Second Vatican Council (cf.
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Vita Consecrata, n.7). Its roots, however, are ancient; they date back to the dawn of
apostolic times when, with unheard of daring, certain women began to
open their hearts to the desire for consecrated virginity, in other
words, to the desire to give the whole of their being to God, which had
had its first extraordinary fulfilment in the Virgin of Nazareth and her
"yes".In the thought of the Fathers Mary was the prototype of Christian
virgins
and their perception highlighted the newness of this new state
of life, to which a free choice of love gave access.


"They have chosen you [Lord] above all things; may they find all things in possessing you" (cf. RCV, n.
24).
Your charism must reflect the intensity but also the freshness of
its origins. It is founded on the simple Gospel invitation: "He who is
able to receive this, let him receive it" (Mt 19: 12), and on St Paul's
recommendations of virginity for the Kingdom (I Cor 7: 25-35)
. Yet the
whole of the Christian mystery shines out in it. When your charism came
into being it did not take shape in accordance with specific ways of
life. Rather, it was institutionalized little by little until it became a
true and proper solemn, public consecration, conferred by the Bishop in
an evocative liturgical rite which made the consecrated woman the sponsa Christi, an image of the Church as Bride.


Dearest friends, your vocation is deeply rooted in the
particular Church to which you belong: it is your Bishops' task to
recognize the charism of virginity in you
, to consecrate you and,
possibly, to encourage you on your way, in order to teach you fear of the Lord, as
they commitment themselves to do during the solemn liturgy of
consecration.


From the sphere of the Diocese with its traditions, its Saints, its
values, its limits and its problems you broaden your horizons to the
universal Church, sharing above all in her liturgical prayer, which is
also entrusted to you so that "the praise of our heavenly Father be always on your lips; pray without ceasing ", (RCV, n.
28). In this way your prayerful "I" will gradually be enlarged, until
there is no longer anything except a great "we" in the prayer. This is
ecclesial prayer and the true liturgy.


May you open yourselves in your dialogue with God to a dialogue with all
creatures, for whom you will find you are mothers, mothers of the
children of God (cf. RCV, n. 28).


However, your ideal, truly lofty in itself, demands no
special external change. Each consecrated person normally remains in her
own life context. It is a way that seems to lack the specific
characteristics of religious life, and above all that of obedience.
For you, however, love becomes the sequela: your charism entails a
total gift to Christ, an assimilation of the Bridegroom who implicitly
asks for the observance of the evangelical counsels in order to keep
your fidelity to him unstained (cf. RCV, n. 26)
. Being with
Christ demands interiority, but at the same time opens a person to
communicating with the brethren: your mission is grafted on this.
An essential "rule of life" defines the commitment that each one of you
assumes, with the Bishop's consent, at both the spiritual and
existential levels. These are personal journeys. There are among you
different approaches and different ways of living the gift of
consecrated virginity and this becomes much more obvious in the course
of an international meeting such as this, which has gathered you
together during these days.I urge you to go beyond external appearances, experiencing the mystery
of God's tenderness which each one of you bears in herself and
recognizing one another as sisters, even in your diversity.


"That your whole life may be a faithful witness of God's love and a convincing sign of the kingdom of heaven" (RCV, n.
17).
Take care always to radiate the dignity of being a bride of
Christ, expressing the newness of Christian existence and the serene
expectation of future life. Thus, with your own upright life you will be
stars to guide the world on its journey.
The choice of virginal life, in fact, is a reference to the transient
nature of earthly things and an anticipation of future rewards
. Be
witnesses of attentive and lively expectation, of joy and of the peace
that characterizes those who abandon themselves to God's love. May you
be present in the world, yet pilgrims bound for the Kingdom.
Indeed, the consecrated virgin is identified with that bride who, in
unison with the Spirit, invokes the coming of the Lord: "The Spirit and the Bride say "Come'" (Rv 22: 17).


As I take my leave of you I entrust you to Mary; and I
make my own the words of St Ambrose, who sung the praises of Christian
virginity, addressing them to you: "May there be in each one the soul of
Mary to magnify the Lord; may there be in each one the Spirit of Mary
to exult in God. If there is only one Mother of Christ according to the
flesh, Christ on the other hand, according to the faith, is the fruit of
all, since every soul receives the Word of God so that, immaculate and
immune to vice, she may preserve her chastity with irreproachable
modesty" (Comment on St Luke, 2, 26: PL 15, 1642).


With this heartfelt wish, I bless you.


 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The following is from a Homily of  Cardinal Raymond Burke during the Mass for the 25th anniversary of Consecration of a virgin living in the world :

 

In this life, on this earthly pilgrimage, we have only one thing to worry about, and that is that we give faithfully, every day, the witness of our love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Then, we need not worry about the difficulties we face.  We need not worry about the incomprehension which we endure, the sufferings which come to us or those who are near to us.  We place all of this in the hands of God, His Providence, and we trust and are confident that He will not fail to  be our recompense.  He will bring all into His victory of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, if only we remain faithful, if we strive, each day, to give ourselves completely and totally to Him.  This is a particular witness which is given by the consecrated virgin living in the worldShe is, as the Rite of Consecrations reminds us, a sign of the eternal destiny of each of our lives, to be with Christ in the company of the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the company of all the saints and angels, in the Kingdom of Heaven.  By her espousal to Our Lord Jesus Christ, by her living faithfully and totally for Him as a sacred person in the Church, she is, for us, a sign of that ultimate victory which Christ has won for each us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

 

Saying this respectfully to  readers on the forum as well as with  self-respect . Naturally if our charism needs to be defended, we are forced  to get into a discussion. I would still request Sr Laurel to open the comment box on her blog  so that readers are able to  read various perspectives  to her comments on statements made  by individual CVs . As a psychologist I feel some of us may be 'perhaps'  getting a bit obsessive-compulsive to continue this discussion on whether secularity is a hallmark of CV .

 

I know  CVs  in my part of the world, REAL human persons , who  got into the vocation with various motivations : post-religious life , sick parents to look after,  personal illness , crossed age-limit to join other vocations etc. etc. I have not met more than one CV who is actually involved directly in the affairs of the world .All of them are either leading lives of prayer or serving the Church directly. I know one CV whose direct involvement in affairs of the world has  led to a crisis in her vocation as CV.  I also know REAL CVs going through depression due to the misunderstandings and rejection faced in the Church where people consider  Institutional Religious life as Superior.  What I mean to say is that  there is a huge gap between Ideals and Reality.  In the debates on Ideals , we should not forget that it may be affecting Real human persons  in ways that are productive or destructive. I would say it will take decades till CV ceases to be some kind of fall-back vocation for some. However God's choice is not according to our criteria. First vocations are increasing all over the world.CVs have shared with me  how 'pained' they feel  with such a discussion. They are the simple ones who don't even know to use a computer to allow 'their' voice to be heard . Now in all humility I can only 'Beg' that we cease to debate on this issue, at least here. Maybe the thread can continue to discuss other aspects of the vocation .

 

In all the discussions we've had on this thread, how much have we spoken about  the  Paschal Mystery of Christ and its relation to the vocation of CV? We need to be more concerned  to theologise on this central aspect of  the Church . How much have we spoken of what the vocation of CV can speak to people of other religions ? Debating on  whether a CV should  actively participate in politics, economics etc , is a temptation of the entire Church to  relativize the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ , to  focus on Kingdom 'values' and practically to FORGET  to proclaim Jesus Christ as Saviour of all humanity !

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Sister, for a very clear explanation enabling me to better grasp "secular dimension" and "secular character".  The role of the CV as you have stated it is as I have understood it - and as having a distinct "secular character".

 

Barbara, you are right in what you say, but we need to say more. At the same time the vocation of CV's living in the world has a distinctly consecrated nature. We are speaking of BOTH the secular state and the consecrated state. The reason for speaking of sacred (or consecrated or eschatological) secularity is to point to the fact that BOTH dimensions are essential to the vocation. A CV living in the world is not faced with the conundrum that being called to a secular vocation diminish her consecrated life nor that her consecration diminishes the secular nature of her vocation. Instead she is called to the paradox that she is called to live consecrated life IN the SECULAR WORLD and to live both aspects of one's vocation exhaustively witnessing to the eschatological holiness and life possible in the world through Christ. Cloistered nuns who are also CV's live that consecrated state in a non-secular or Religious state of life. Thus it is important to distinguish which expression of the CV life one is speaking of, secular or cloistered.

 

CV's who diminish the secularity of their call seem to me to diminish the relevance and power of that same vocation; those who reduce this to JUST being a secular vocation do something similar. It is always difficult to hold the two parts of a paradox in tension. We tend to say "If something is secular then it must be less consecrated (or vice versa)" but Christianity often asks us to use a different calculus, the calculus of paradox. This is the way of truths like "Jesus is fully Divine and fully human",  God reveals himself in "a power made perfect in weakness," "one must lose one's life to save it", "the poor are rich in the Kingdom of God", etc, etc.

 

best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal. Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

The following is from a Homily of  Cardinal Raymond Burke during the Mass for the 25th anniversary of Consecration of a virgin living in the world :

 

In this life, on this earthly pilgrimage, we have only one thing to worry about, and that is that we give faithfully, every day, the witness of our love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Then, we need not worry about the difficulties we face.  We need not worry about the incomprehension which we endure, the sufferings which come to us or those who are near to us.  We place all of this in the hands of God, His Providence, and we trust and are confident that He will not fail to  be our recompense.  He will bring all into His victory of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, if only we remain faithful, if we strive, each day, to give ourselves completely and totally to Him.  This is a particular witness which is given by the consecrated virgin living in the worldShe is, as the Rite of Consecrations reminds us, a sign of the eternal destiny of each of our lives, to be with Christ in the company of the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the company of all the saints and angels, in the Kingdom of Heaven.  By her espousal to Our Lord Jesus Christ, by her living faithfully and totally for Him as a sacred person in the Church, she is, for us, a sign of that ultimate victory which Christ has won for each us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

 

Saying this respectfully to  readers on the forum as well as with  self-respect . Naturally if our charism needs to be defended, we are forced  to get into a discussion. I would still request Sr Laurel to open the comment box on her blog  so that readers are able to  read various perspectives  to her comments on statements made  by individual CVs . As a psychologist I feel some of us may be 'perhaps'  getting a bit obsessive-compulsive to continue this discussion on whether secularity is a hallmark of CV .

 

I know  CVs  in my part of the world, REAL human persons , who  got into the vocation with various motivations : post-religious life , sick parents to look after,  personal illness , crossed age-limit to join other vocations etc. etc. I have not met more than one CV who is actually involved directly in the affairs of the world .All of them are either leading lives of prayer or serving the Church directly. I know one CV whose direct involvement in affairs of the world has  led to a crisis in her vocation as CV.  I also know REAL CVs going through depression due to the misunderstandings and rejection faced in the Church where people consider  Institutional Religious life as Superior.  What I mean to say is that  there is a huge gap between Ideals and Reality.  In the debates on Ideals , we should not forget that it may be affecting Real human persons  in ways that are productive or destructive. I would say it will take decades till CV ceases to be some kind of fall-back vocation for some. However God's choice is not according to our criteria. First vocations are increasing all over the world.CVs have shared with me  how 'pained' they feel  with such a discussion. They are the simple ones who don't even know to use a computer to allow 'their' voice to be heard . Now in all humility I can only 'Beg' that we cease to debate on this issue, at least here. Maybe the thread can continue to discuss other aspects of the vocation .

 

In all the discussions we've had on this thread, how much have we spoken about  the  Paschal Mystery of Christ and its relation to the vocation of CV? We need to be more concerned  to theologise on this central aspect of  the Church . How much have we spoken of what the vocation of CV can speak to people of other religions ? Debating on  whether a CV should  actively participate in politics, economics etc , is a temptation of the entire Church to  relativize the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ , to  focus on Kingdom 'values' and practically to FORGET  to proclaim Jesus Christ as Saviour of all humanity !

 

 

With equal respect, the comment section of my blog is closed for several reasons, none of which have to do with this discussion. The decision was made several years ago after readers asked that I allow comments. I considered doing so and eventually decided it made the boundaries between hermitage and readers too porous. My superiors agreed with my discernment. Other reasons contributed, including appreciative emails of readers who preferred things as they were. As a result I depend on emails with questions and comments. If you feel this forum is an inadequate place to carry on a discussion, then I hope you will find an alternative which is better suited. However, my blog cannot be the place. I would be happy to participate in a similar discussion, if invited, of course --- though it would be at least as limited as my participation here (which has been a temporary thing in any case).

 

Also, if you would like the discussion to move in the directions you find lacking here, I would suggest you post in those directions yourself and invite others to participate on those specific issues. Why not? We have regularly used words like incarnation(al) and eschatological to speak of God's investment and participation in every moment and mood of his creation. I have spoken several times of eschatological secularity which marks a secularity with a distinctly redemptive tone tied to the fulfillment of God's will for this world and obviously therefore to Christ's passion. I agree that would be a really significant focus to discuss and allow to govern further discussion. It might also underscore why it is we need Kingdom values (and especially the graces brought by CV's living in the world) being lived in every dimension of the saeculum including the political, ecclesiastical, domestic, corporate, etc. Far from speaking of activity in such arenas relativizing the paschal mystery it could allow such activity/participation to transfigure and thus dominate those realms.

 

Finally I too know real CV's, some of whom write me regularly and more frequently when the topic on my blog turns to their own vocation. As many may be hurt by the fact of our discussions, I can point to others who have been inspired and found their own commitment to their vocations re-invigorated by them. Others, non-CV's, are inspired to hear that part of the charism involves living this vocation integrally in the world. They admit the vocation makes no sense to them otherwise. This is not because the charism of your vocation needs to be defended so much as it really needs to be defined adequately in the first place. Secularity is A KEY (though not the only key) to doing so. Meanwhile, the problem of stopgap or fallback vocations is a real one or the province of LA would not have refused to consecrate any CV's or profess any diocesan hermits. We all have to deal with this reality in ways which do not change the nature of the vocation, which ask for serious discernment, and which do not allow our vocations to become mere consolation prizes when attempts at living other vocations have failed. As hard as it may be for some to hear this, it is reality and it is a problem.

 

Just as we cannot call any person living alone (even a relatively pious person) a hermit, and just as we cannot allow hermits to do anything and everything they desire ministerially simply because they are already perpetually professed, neither can analogous things be allowed with CV's living in the world. Just as someone leaving cloistered life due to ill health cannot automatically conclude she is called to be a hermit nor be professed under canon 603 without serious (and sometimes long) discernment and testing, neither can someone leaving religious life merely assume (or be assumed by others that) she is called to be a CV living in the world. Real discernment is necessary here and part of that will be checking out how well the candidate appreciates the secular nature of the vocation and, in fact, resonates with it and is determined to honor it. After all, this is not a numbers game, not a matter of consolation prizes, nor a matter of compromising various forms of integrity to placate serious disappointment (including disappointment that one is actually called to a LAY vocation); it is a matter of discerning true, and relatively rare vocations --- vocations the Church truly esteems and does not offer merely to get a few more volunteer workers or to assuage a person's disappointment when a chosen vocation is not available. (And I know first hand this latter occurs because consecration as a virgin under c 604 was actually offered to me @1988 when it became clear my diocese was, for the time being, not professing ANYONE under canon 603. I declined because this was NOT what I was called to but I also know it was not an unusual thing to happen. Uncovering problems and abuses is always painful --- how well we as a Church know that! But pretending such problems don't exist or refusing to discuss them because it might hurt someone or cause them to re-evaluate their vocation is far more serious I think.)

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Edited by SRLAUREL
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not at all my understanding. 

Mine either, but some CV's have written things which use this way of seeing things: ("If my life is more consecrated than secular, then. . ." --- that kind of thing). It is not an uncommon way of seeing many things and tends to be have difficulty with paradox.

 

best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Edited by SRLAUREL
Link to post
Share on other sites

There is paradox everywhere in the spiritual life - even tension between the general call to holiness, one's personal vocation, and the secular for those called to the secular state and to be leaven in the midst of the world and its affairs - yet not of the world.

We see paradox in the life of Jesus, first in His Incarnation - and finally in His Crucifixion which was to appearance the execution of a criminal and yet in reality was Victory and a beginning.  We see tension in His Life on a few fronts - between Him and His apostles, between Him and the religious leadership, between Him and the people.  In reality these were tensions between Jesus and His Identity and mission (or vocation) and the expectations (and/or fears) of others and groups of others in His own society and times, His own Jewish Faith profession and His secular environment.  Finally, we see His tension in the garden of Gethsemane between His humanity and His coming arrest and the outcome -  as an expression of His Father's Permissive Will.

 

The most ordinary of Catholic lives and most everday type of vocation does need to learn to live in Peace and in Joy with both paradox and tension as I would imagine do the publicly consecrated either in secular or religious life.  It may present something of a problem to those publicly consecrated to live a religious life in the midst of secular society, I really would not know since I can only reflect about it, not experience it personally other than as I do in my own way of living outside of a publicly consecrated state.   I think that tension very much like anxiety can be a positive creative force.  And when I think about it tension usually will involve a level of anxiety.

Edited by BarbaraTherese
Link to post
Share on other sites

Canon 604 speaks of a vocation that has a clear Hallmark [distinguishing characteristic or trait ] as follows :

 

Consecration to God

Mystical Espousal to Jesus Christ , Son of God,

Dedication to the Service of the Church

 

All the CVs posting on this thread , the writings of All the Fathers of the Church, all the Popes , the response from the CICLSAL to me on this question , all the resource material on websites of Associations of CV all over  the world in all languages agree that CV is compatible with living in the world and is indeed lived in the world in its original form and post Vat II form by most CV , without being set apart or consecrated to politics, economics ,  in the world. . No one has said that secularity is the Hallmark of the virginal consecration.

 

There is a big difference between saying that

- a CV can / or is not stopped from-- involvement in politics, economics

- saying that  all CVs all over the world SHOULD involve themselves in politics, economics as a special  vocation . This is actually changing the Charism itself.

 

Dear God's Beloved,

 

The homily during the Rite of Consecration says very clearly that CV's are to be given to the service of the Church and all their brothers and sisters in the things of the Spirit and the things of the world. This is much more than telling a CV she is okay if she does not live in a monastery but instead in an urban dwelling. It says she is sent as an Apostle and Bride of Christ graced in all the ways anyone in such a vocation is graced and is commissioned to act out this role (ordo) and mediate those graces in every sphere of secular life. This would include the political, corporate, academic, domestic, economic, etc etc --- the realms and spheres characteristic of the secular, the spheres which transform that world in the Kingdom of God or that of the anti-Christ.

 

Of course this does not mean that EVERY CV MUST do all of these things. I don't think anyone here has said it does; neither has anyone spoken of being "consecrated to politics, etc". One is consecrated BY God to serve his needs and those of the world he holds as precious. Most CV's will discern they are called to serve according to special gifts and interests in less unusual ways. But the bottom line is that ANY CV living in the world is FREE and commissioned to carry our her vocation in whatever secular realm or venue she feels called to serve. The homily also says, [[Help the poor, care for the weak, teach the ignorant, protect the young, minister to the old, bring strength and comfort to widows and all in adversity.]] and again, [[Sing a new song as you follow the Lamb of God wherever he leads you.]] It would be hard not to see how such a commission might necessarily include a call to political activism or participation beyond simply voting for some CV's. It would be difficult not to imagine a CV using her freedom, her eschatological perspective, and her various gifts in the economic sphere to amass wealth which was then used to ease the situations of so many in need today.

 

There are two expressions of the CV vocation today. The first is cloistered (and so, a hallmark or defining characteristic of that expression is separation from the world supported and defined by vows, enclosure, Rule, constitutions, legitimate superiors, and Canon Law) and this does NOT mean the CV merely lives a quasi-secular vocation but on monastery grounds; the second is lived "in the world" (and so a hallmark or defining characteristic of it is its secular character along with the fact that it is not constrained by vows, enclosure, Rule, constitutions, legitimate superiors, or canon law which moderate or mitigate this secularity); it does not mean merely that the CV lives a quasi-religious life but off monastery grounds. WHEREVER the charism of this vocation is lived out the person witnesses to the Kingdom of God and the covenant relationship God is seeking to reconcile all creation to so that he might truly be all in all. No one is speaking of changing the charism or the graces of this vocation. If this occurs in the nun's cell, then well and good; if it occurs in the halls of the Capitol building or judiciary, then equally well and good.

 

I  am sorry to say that I get the impression sometimes that some CV's are okay with CV's living in the world having a "secular" vocation, so long as this does not mean they actually have to live their eschatologically graced lives of prayer and service in the ways an authentically secular life actually demands. (Hence my use of the term "quasi-religious" for such half-hearted vocations.) This seems to point to a "vocation" free of all the constraints of religious life and at the same time, too "holy" or "precious" or "consecrated" to actually, much less wholeheartedly give themselves to anyone "in the things of the world." The phrases "In the world" and "In the things of the world" contradicts this  form of "secular-lite" stance towards reality. The parable of the talents comes to mind for me. A master called his lead workers to him as he was leaving on a trip. The first he gave a talent, the second five talents, and the third 10 talents. Two of the lead workers risked losing what they had been given and invested their talents; they used secular means and multiplied what they had been given. The third worker buried his talent, risked nothing, but achieved nothing either. We all know how the Master responded on his return. For CV's the talents they have been given include not only the graces and identity mentioned, but the FREEDOM to serve the Church and world "in the things of the Spirit and the things of the World."  After all, Charisms are given not merely so a person can swell with pride that they have been given such a gift or have others admire their new standing (Look, look! God chose ME to be Christ's Bride and an icon of the Church!), etc, but so the world can receive this gift through them in the innumerable ways it is TRULY needed. To do this means dirtying one's hands in something other than the soil used to bury the gift safely. It means investing in the structures of the secular simply so one may ultimately affect and transform these structures.

 

Remember that another central shift in ecclesiology brought about by Vatican II was an end to the fortress mentality of the Church. Instead of being closed to the world, she opened to it, not merely to serve it, but to hear the Word of God it was actually capable of mediating to her as well. Suddenly the Church had to risk genuine engagement with and in the world in an attitude not of condemnation but of openness and even docility. The teaching Church had also to be a learning Church or betray her entire identity and mission.Those who truly wish to be icons of this post-Vatican II Church need to allow themselves to be secular in this demanding sense. Probably only a minority will have the courage or faith to be virgin martyrs in the arenas of politics, industry, etc, but those are certainly authentic vocations to the eschatological secularity canon 604 has reprised. In no way do they change the charism of this vocation any more than Ss Perpetua and Thecla  (for instance) changed the charism of this vocation by their highly politically influential deaths in the arena.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Sr Laurel,

 

I apologize for my late response to your recent comments!  During the last ten days, I got news of two deaths- one a catholic in the neighborhood  and another a very dear aunt who was like a grandmother to me . Like my family , she was not a christian but I can say she was one of the best christians  I have known because of the life she lived , even though she was uneducated.  The death of christians always fascinates me and fills me with joy , with a holy jealousy that they have already gone to  Heaven /a state of Life i await with longing.  

 

When I was not a christian, Jesus came in my life in response to the void I felt at the death of my dearest sibling. The reality of DEATH shook me . Then I learnt about Jesus saying,' I AM the RESURRECTION and the LIFE!'  I made up my own naive understanding of the Resurrection.  I told all my friends that  when we die , we go to Jesus and Jesus lives in our heart , so the dear ones who die also live in our hearts and are closer to us than before they died. I was only 14 and had no formal instruction in the faith. I thought after He died on the Cross, Jesus did not have a body but was pure spirit. Later  I learnt that christians believe in the resurrection of the 'body' , and that when we receive the Eucharist , we do not possess Jesus , but Jesus possesses us and we BECOME  the Eucharist more and more as we journey through life as a Eucharistic community . As it is said about the Eucharist, " Behold who you are , Become what you believe ! "

 

While studying theology in college , we learnt about Eschatology from the perspective of various religions . Since the death of my aunt , I have wept only last night for her. I am all the time consciously or unconsciously  meditating on death and life , Christian eschatology or Fulfilment and  how to relate this with a woman who lived a deeply  godly life and yet she was not a christian. I also think how dear my family is to me. Heaven for me with Jesus , cannot be a Heaven if my dear ones won't be with me. Actually I do believe they Will be with me . That's my Faith in  the Plan of God to reconcile all things in Christ through His Paschal Mystery.

 

My family suffered  tremendously because of my christian faith. I know in my conscience I would not have allowed them to suffer SO MUCH for my faith and decision to remain unmarried , unless it was for a reason Beyond the temporal and what my previous religion could give me. No doubt like any other  family we faced several issues in society : Corruption in government offices , police dept. among tax-authorities , civil courts ,I even went to the slums to work for women and the poor ------ justice issues abound everywhere. My Dad gave me the freedom and supported me  in my stand for the truth. But all the while something was biting me inside me , a deep sense of vacuum , an experience like that of the Israelites under slavery of the Pharaoh . I heard a very clear call from the Lord to make an Exodus from that life and I moved to another city , with the mission of  New Evangelisation of  the existing  church , for converts, and for Evangelisation of other peoples.

 

So 'personally' I am feeling the same sense  of something 'very valuable' missing in the discussion. It could be subjective , pertaining to what the Lord is saying to me personally at this moment in time and my own context.  I have to deal with my grief related to death of my aunt. My  heart and prayer  is drawn towards the question of  eschatology  in the incidents  in my present . I am drawn towards meditating on the concept of  eschatological bride of  Christ , Fulfilment  not of things , but of persons in Christ.

 

I have prayed about this and  see my priorities . I am obeying the voice of my Lord for my life with regard to the topic you wish to discuss. You are free to theologize on it further . For one moment I thought  we could discuss this on my own blog where there is an older post titled ' Consecrated virginity Not Sacred  secularity' . Of course my theology has  developed further since I wrote that . But my own personal situation  does not allow me to pursue a full-fledged discussion on this topic on my own blog  at this moment in life. Maybe in future --- if  God wills for me?! I'm sure you will respect my decision.

 

Dear Sister, i do appreciate all your reflections on implications of Vatican II and sure they are a valuable contribution to the church in general . I get a feeling you do not know  how  I as an individual view the world .For this I request you to read all the posts on my blog [ there aren't many]  . You will see how much I love God's world, but in a different way unique to me.  I'm not at all of a mindset in any way related to  religious life  or quasi-religious life. But I firmly believe that if any diocese or CV wants CV to live like that , there could be valid reasons and these should be allowed in the spirit of Catholicity. There is a theological concept of 'liminality' in the positive sense ,which may be closer to what you interpret as quasi-religious.  I also as a psychologist see valid reasons for young CVs to have a frame of reference  from which they will learn and then grow in life without need of those frames.

 

Spiritual life is a journey . I hardly believe anyone remains at the point where we started , although we return to it  to start again and in deeper way.This has been happening on this thread. Christian view is neither  strictly linear nor circular , but a spiral  of deepening and still journeying...........I believe in allowing the Spirit to work in the hearts of individuals in His own time. My suggestion is , you have done your part  of what you think is right and good for CV and the Church.  We can leave it to the Spirit to do the rest. Maybe at least for the present. We can let the enormous amount of discussion on secularity to sink in , processed in hearts and minds . This time of the year is also busy for some CVs so they may be unable to actively participate. Maybe it could happen during common vacation periods.

 

The other thread I have initiated touches the questions in my heart . Very few christians are familiar with eschatology to discuss on it. If you can share your views , I'll be very happy. Even if  the discussion does not continue  on that thread, I personally need to sort out those questions and shall be giving time to it. I do intend , on this thread to discuss the 'dedication to service' as suggested earlier , but need help with resource material which is not handy at the moment. Wish someone could provide a copy of the Latin version of the Rite.

 

Thank you for your time and please pray for me to find answers to my questions.

 

WE DO NOT POSSESS THE TRUTH, BUT THE TRUTH POSSESSES US

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Sr Laurel,

 

I apologize for my late response to your recent comments!  During the last ten days, I got news of two deaths- one a catholic in the neighborhood  and another a very dear aunt who was like a grandmother to me . Like my family , she was not a christian but I can say she was one of the best christians  I have known because of the life she lived , even though she was uneducated.  The death of christians always fascinates me and fills me with joy , with a holy jealousy that they have already gone to  Heaven /a state of Life i await with longing.  

 

When I was not a christian, Jesus came in my life in response to the void I felt at the death of my dearest sibling. The reality of DEATH shook me . Then I learnt about Jesus saying,' I AM the RESURRECTION and the LIFE!'  I made up my own naive understanding of the Resurrection.  I told all my friends that  when we die , we go to Jesus and Jesus lives in our heart , so the dear ones who die also live in our hearts and are closer to us than before they died. I was only 14 and had no formal instruction in the faith. I thought after He died on the Cross, Jesus did not have a body but was pure spirit. Later  I learnt that christians believe in the resurrection of the 'body' , and that when we receive the Eucharist , we do not possess Jesus , but Jesus possesses us and we BECOME  the Eucharist more and more as we journey through life as a Eucharistic community . As it is said about the Eucharist, " Behold who you are , Become what you believe ! "

 

While studying theology in college , we learnt about Eschatology from the perspective of various religions . Since the death of my aunt , I have wept only last night for her. I am all the time consciously or unconsciously  meditating on death and life , Christian eschatology or Fulfilment and  how to relate this with a woman who lived a deeply  godly life and yet she was not a christian. I also think how dear my family is to me. Heaven for me with Jesus , cannot be a Heaven if my dear ones won't be with me. Actually I do believe they Will be with me . That's my Faith in  the Plan of God to reconcile all things in Christ through His Paschal Mystery.

 

My family suffered  tremendously because of my christian faith. I know in my conscience I would not have allowed them to suffer SO MUCH for my faith and decision to remain unmarried , unless it was for a reason Beyond the temporal and what my previous religion could give me. No doubt like any other  family we faced several issues in society : Corruption in government offices , police dept. among tax-authorities , civil courts ,I even went to the slums to work for women and the poor ------ justice issues abound everywhere. My Dad gave me the freedom and supported me  in my stand for the truth. But all the while something was biting me inside me , a deep sense of vacuum , an experience like that of the Israelites under slavery of the Pharaoh . I heard a very clear call from the Lord to make an Exodus from that life and I moved to another city , with the mission of  New Evangelisation of  the existing  church , for converts, and for Evangelisation of other peoples.

 

So 'personally' I am feeling the same sense  of something 'very valuable' missing in the discussion. It could be subjective , pertaining to what the Lord is saying to me personally at this moment in time and my own context.  I have to deal with my grief related to death of my aunt. My  heart and prayer  is drawn towards the question of  eschatology  in the incidents  in my present . I am drawn towards meditating on the concept of  eschatological bride of  Christ , Fulfilment  not of things , but of persons in Christ.

 

I have prayed about this and  see my priorities . I am obeying the voice of my Lord for my life with regard to the topic you wish to discuss. You are free to theologize on it further . For one moment I thought  we could discuss this on my own blog where there is an older post titled ' Consecrated virginity Not Sacred  secularity' . Of course my theology has  developed further since I wrote that . But my own personal situation  does not allow me to pursue a full-fledged discussion on this topic on my own blog  at this moment in life. Maybe in future --- if  God wills for me?! I'm sure you will respect my decision.

 

Dear Sister, i do appreciate all your reflections on implications of Vatican II and sure they are a valuable contribution to the church in general . I get a feeling you do not know  how  I as an individual view the world .For this I request you to read all the posts on my blog [ there aren't many]  . You will see how much I love God's world, but in a different way unique to me.  I'm not at all of a mindset in any way related to  religious life  or quasi-religious life. But I firmly believe that if any diocese or CV wants CV to live like that , there could be valid reasons and these should be allowed in the spirit of Catholicity. There is a theological concept of 'liminality' in the positive sense ,which may be closer to what you interpret as quasi-religious.  I also as a psychologist see valid reasons for young CVs to have a frame of reference  from which they will learn and then grow in life without need of those frames.

 

Spiritual life is a journey . I hardly believe anyone remains at the point where we started , although we return to it  to start again and in deeper way.This has been happening on this thread. Christian view is neither  strictly linear nor circular , but a spiral  of deepening and still journeying...........I believe in allowing the Spirit to work in the hearts of individuals in His own time. My suggestion is , you have done your part  of what you think is right and good for CV and the Church.  We can leave it to the Spirit to do the rest. Maybe at least for the present. We can let the enormous amount of discussion on secularity to sink in , processed in hearts and minds . This time of the year is also busy for some CVs so they may be unable to actively participate. Maybe it could happen during common vacation periods.

 

The other thread I have initiated touches the questions in my heart . Very few christians are familiar with eschatology to discuss on it. If you can share your views , I'll be very happy. Even if  the discussion does not continue  on that thread, I personally need to sort out those questions and shall be giving time to it. I do intend , on this thread to discuss the 'dedication to service' as suggested earlier , but need help with resource material which is not handy at the moment. Wish someone could provide a copy of the Latin version of the Rite.

 

Thank you for your time and please pray for me to find answers to my questions.

 

WE DO NOT POSSESS THE TRUTH, BUT THE TRUTH POSSESSES US

 

I am sorry to hear of the deaths in your family and neighborhood. Please know you are in my prayers.

 

Moving to your post itself. Liminality is not what I am referring to when I speak of something being quasi-religious. I am quite familiar with the theological category of liminality and have spoken in this thread of marginality to capture something of what theologans mean when they speak of liminality or liminal experiences. When I speak of "quasi-religious" I am speaking of a form of CV life (or proposed CV life) which is an actual betrayal of a thoroughgoing secularity. It is, it seems, motivated by a variety of things but in general it represents a desire to eschew the secularity of the vocation while at the same time refusing to fully accept the constraints of religious life.  It makes the vocation absurd and irrelvant, particularly in terms of the new evangelization. Similarly, "Catholicity" does not mean "anything goes". It means the universal application of an established truth or practice. Flexibility is a part of this, but one may NOT change the nature of the vocation at hand in the name of "flexibility". I would suggest that if a diocese wants a non-secular or quasi-religious CV this desire has more to do with a lack of understanding of or desire to honor the vocation as it normatively stands --- something which was excusable in the 80's when the vocation was new and finding its theological underpinnings and raison-d'etre but is no longer so.

 

If you are suggesting the discussion not continue, of course you are certainly free to drop out until you are be able to participate again. My own participation here has only been possible because I was unwell and was free from some of my regular obligations for the past couple of weeks. At this time I will need to be getting back to those (slowly!), though I will still be cleaning up a few loose ends in the way the discussion has either pushed my thought or modified it. In particular I will be looking at some of the theological conclusions drawn that lack cogency. The eschatological dimension of the vocation is critical, as is the way we understand the eschaton and the telos of all creation. Further, the shifts in the way Church IS Church in the world is critical for the ways CV's view their vocations. Unfortunately, it seems to me that only a minority of CV's have truly thought about the fact that they need a sound ecclesiology and eschatology if they are going to understand what it means to be an icon of the Church as Bride of Christ and represent this call with integrity.

 

Perhaps, as you say, no one came away from the conversation without some changes in the way they view things, but I am not so sanguine. Meanwhile, the Church's direction in articulating the nature of this vocation is clear: it is a form of consecrated and even eschatological secularity. It is not a Religious or quasi-religious vocation and is not moving in the direction of adopting any of those mandatory practices some posting here would like to see imposed on all CV's after the fact of their consecration (mandatory prayer practices, fulltime parochial work, distinguishing garb, titles, vows or promises of obedience, etc, etc). Formation occurs with women living secular lives --- prayerful, devout, Christ-centered, but secular. Consecration is granted these women with all the plans they have for working in and transforming the saeculum. There is no  indication that any of this is going to change fundamentally and every indication that such suggested change is unwise and contrary to the mind of the Church. Hopefully, the lesson the province of LA desired the US Church to learn regarding fallback vocations will be applied and we will cease seeing the Rite of consecration of virgins living in the world used for women who REALLY feel called to something else, who despise being called to a secular vocation, or who simply can't come to terms with the fact that they are instead called to a lay vocation. 

 

 

God's peace in your grieving.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

God's Beloved - I also pray for Peace in your grieving and am very sorry to read of your loss of two loved persons in your life.

 

Sr Lauren - I pray for a really speedy return to good health ............ and a gentle paced return to that normal routine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Barbara and Sr Laurel, thanks for your prayers. Sr Laurel , I too pray for your speedy return to good health and normal routine.

 

I liked the following article in a diocesan newsletter on the web , hence sharing it on this thread :

 


Magnetism of
Martyrdom 

 
February is the month when we
 recall the magnificent ministry of martyrs like Saints Gonsalo Garcia and
John de Britto. They manifested the magnetism of martyrdom in the indispensible
work of Evangelisation that all Christians are called to with renewed vigour in
this Year of Faith. Small wonder that in the first centuries of Christianity,
it was said that the blood of martyrs is the seed of growth for Christian
Faith.


The then pagans, worshippers of
the gods of pagan mythology, were sometimes irresisitibly drawn to the
Christian faith, which was based upon revelation and reason, and not on myth,
because they had witnessed people go to their death, rather than deny their
faith in Christ.


The pagans were also impressed by
the way of life of the early Christians: “See how they love one another,” they
exclaimed. Anyone who has read the Gospels knows that Christians lived a way of
life that drew believers out of their own individual dreams and self-interest,
into a community of life and love.


Fifty years ago, the Second
Vatican Council called on Catholics to evangelise, to bring the world to Christ
alive in His Body, the Church. For various reasons, that call was transformed
and reduced into a concern for social action, without direct witness to Christ.


 Pope Paul VI, recognising the danger to the
Church’s mission, wrote in 1975 that “even the finest witness will prove
ineffective in the long run if … the name, the teaching, the life, the
promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are
not proclaimed.”


Pope Benedict recently stated that
the life and death of St Stephen serves as a “model for all those who want to
serve the New Evangelisation.” The first martyr is described, in his suffering,
as a perfect imitation of Christ. The Pope went on to say that the Passion and
death of Jesus Christ was repeated in St Stephen’s death, who forgave his
enemies while he was being stoned.


In the Kingdom of God, if we are
to transmit the Faith in order to transform the world, the first challenge of
New Evangelisation is to ourselves: how do we become credible witnesses to
Christ in today’s world? We need help from martyrs, from their prayers and from
their example.


A respected Christian researcher
on demography estimates that over half the number of those who were killed for
Faith - about 45 million Christians - were martyred in the last century. The
killings continue into this century, with about 100,000 new martyrs each year.
The places where Christians are martyred now are mostly parts of Africa and
Asia: Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria.


The traditional Catholic test for
martyrdom is to be killed in odium fidei (“in hatred of the faith”). However,
Pope John Paul II decided to stretch the concept of martyrdom to include those
killed in hatred of the Church. Christian theologians defined the meaning of
modern day martyrdom extending it to all those killed or threatened, or denied
justice or stripped of their legitimate rights, out of hatred for the virtues
inspired by their Faith.


Our modern day martyrs are
Christians who literally take their lives in their hands every time they go to
church, open their business at the risk of being threatened, or just walk down
the street with danger lurking around the corner, because they live their faith
courageously, convincingly and lovingly. These new forms of martyrdom have a
unique spiritual power in Christian life, and are the Church’s most effective evangelical
strategy. Are we ready for the challenge?
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



It costs about $850 a year for Phatmass.com to survive–and we barely make it. If you’d like to help keep the Phorum alive, please consider a monthly gift.



×
×
  • Create New...