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Dear Sr Laurel,

Thanks for the above! I believe this topic deserves a thread by itself.Discussion on 'dedication to the service of the Church'  will be worth the time , effort and also be more Realistic rather than doing arm-chair theology.

 

Dedication to service:

1.  according to ancient Church history,areas of service etc.

2.  according to Canon 604 , with parallel references in the Code for other vocations.

3.  the Rite of consecration itself which actually mentions 'consecration to service' , the specific gifts in the prayer etc.

4.  adaptation to today's world , areas of service according to the charism etc.

5.  practical examples , pros and cons of working directly in the Church or through the Church , attitude of clergy towards women in ministry etc.

6.  a healthy balance between serving the Church family, new evangelisation and reaching out as evangelisers to the rest of the world etc.

7.  addressing practical situations : the Church living in the world, spiritual vs temporal affairs within the Church etc etc.

 

I shall put together my ideas on a separate post . In the meantime I find the following reference worth reading :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lay_ecclesial_ministry

 

Finally starting to write on 'dedication to the service of the Church'. Since I am writing here directly as the thoughts come to my mind, please do forgive me  if it sounds like raw material rather than 'refined' matter . It would have been more appropriate to write on my personal notepad , let in sink in the subconscious for some days , get processed and then post it. But I trust  you will all help me in 'processing' it. I also pray to the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts . Hence I'm not following any particular plan to write on this topic. I am trying to first create a basic understanding of the vocation before moving to specifics of  dedication to service . For some time I shall focus on service to the Church , so [Sr Laurel] please be patient with me if I postpone writing about  service to humanity in general. The areas of ministry a CV could think of are written in blue.

 

Yesterday I read The Holy Father's message for this Lent  http://www.news.va/en/news/popes-lenten-message-2013-believing-in-charity-cal

 

A point struck me . Since CV is called to be an Image / Icon of the Church , the vocation of the Church is her own vocation. What I took from the message as applicable to CV is that Faith and Charity  have an indissoluble relationship , they are the two sides of the same coin. Love of God and Love of neighbor , Faith and Works...............is what truly describes the dual character of the vocation of CV . She is Virgin-bride  and Mother . BEING and DOING are interrelated.

 

Pope John Paul II said to the gathering of CV in Rome in 1995 ,"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.

 

 

 The suggested homily in the Rite states : " a virgin, to keep the faith whole and entire; a bride, to be one with him forever; and a mother, to raise up the family of the Church. "

 

 

A] The witness of virginity is directly related to the virginity of the Faith of the Church thus keeping it whole and entire.

 

This can imply that virgins should be well grounded in the faith, Scripture and Tradition. Since marriage has particular call to 'education of children in gospel values' , this could be translated as a CVs call to be dedicated  to serve her family -the diocesan community of the baptised and those seeking baptism , in the truths of the  faith. This could be as a Catechist, Theologian, Minister of the Word , Catholic Apologist etc.

 

B] The Rite and canon 604 states that the virgin is mystically espoused to Jesus the Christ , Son of God [ a title Jesus evoked from the mouth of St Peter , the rock on which He said the Church would be built ].

 

In Matthew 16  we find Jesus ask , “Who do you day I am?”

13 After that Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, "What do people say of the Son of Man? Who do they say I am?"
14 They said, "For some of them you are John the Baptist, for others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 Jesus asked them,"But you, who do you say I am?"
16 Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus replied, "It is well for you, Simon Barjona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
18 And now I say to you: You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome  it.

In the rite of consecration of virgins , the woman is asked, “ Are you resolved to accept solemn consecration as a Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God ?”
 
Consecrated virgins cannot remain stuck with  the beauty and consolation of the ancient Rite of consecration , the title Bride of Christ and live in a world 2000 yrs behind today. Since 2000 yrs, in every generation Jesus  has asked each person and  church community at the level of the diocese / country/ continent  / the universal level  --the perennial question, “Who do you say I am ?”  In the initial stages as believers each has tried to answer according to popular understanding and expectations [as prophet, miracle-worker, guru,a revolutionary come to threaten the polity etc.] , but He gradually revealed Himself as the Christ –Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Son of Man, etc.- transcending all their human understanding and yet in a very specific and personal relationship  with each believer /community. [ there is a unique Christology for each believer /community ]. 

 

Jesus Christ is the same  yesterday, today , forever .  He is the same ontologically as the Word- but sameness does not indicate immovability. He functionally empties Himself out in love , searching for the seeker, moved by longing  to unite Himself with the believer /community.  The consecrated virgin is a sign  of the response [the Yes ] of her local  church community [diocese] to this call to be United with Jesus Christ ,the only Son of God . The Spousal relationship with Him  is a Metaphor expressing  the  Real Union with God that takes place through her Consecration. By receiving the title and graces belonging to Mother Church and Virgin Mary , she becomes a channel of graces to the entire church  ,expressed not only through her prayers but also her services to the church and the world.

Just as the believer’s understanding  of Jesus grows from seeing Him as a  prophet, miracle-worker , healer, guru etc.to the realization of His Identity as Son of God , in today’s world too, the believers who search for the Way, the Truth, the Life   experience the presence of the Church in the world through the various vocations in the Church [ e.g. Laity and Secular Institutes  as Salt , Light, Leaven transforming the cultural, economic, political conditions in the world  / Apostolic religious as Teacher, Health-worker, Social-worker etc.]  . 
 
In most parts of the world the Church is seen as an Institution with huge buildings , schools , welfare- centres  etc. Gradually this experience should lead to their understanding of the Church  as a community that identifies itself as People of God on a pilgrimage towards Union with God through our Lord Jesus Christ  His only Son.  Otherwise people of all religions are doing the same works in fields of education, social work, charity etc. The uniqueness of  'Christian' charity needs to be made more explicit.
 
The suggested homily in the rite says,"  Love everyone, especially those in need. 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.  You have renounced marriage for the sake of Christ. Your motherhood will be motherhood of the spirit, as you do the will of your Father and work with others in a spirit of charity, so that a great family of children may be born, or reborn, to the life of grace. "
 
Charity has always been integral to the vocation of the Church : both towards its own members and to all peoples in the world.This has taken forms of ministry  with a Preferential Option for the Poor in wealth and in spirit. There have been paradigm shifts from a Church that serves the Poor , to a Church of the Poor / a Poor Church  according to Christ's  own life and teachings.
 
The  work / service of a CV in  different fields  can lead to people concluding that her vocation is to be a teacher, a social worker , a charity worker, a doctor, a nurse , a revolutionary etc. [ exactly what people of Jesus' time concluded about Him ] .But Jesus gradually brought them to the understanding of His  Identity as  The Christ , Son of God. Similarly  a CV has to gradually lead people to the understanding of  her Identity as  bride of The Christ, Son of God.
 
Why do I stress on Jesus as THE Christ ?  In parts of the world where  people of various religions  live side by side , people of other faiths do tend to see Jesus as just another incarnation of  God like Krishna, Buddha etc. There can be tendency among  Christians to relativize the faith to say all incarnations  are historical and equal manifestations of Christ /the Word of God.  It is under such circumstances that the vocation of CV has special role. Through her witness of Spousal love for Jesus Christ, she reminds the  christian community that  we are all  bound by a marriage covenant  to Jesus Christ and  how the worship of  other gods as equal manifestations of the Word of God , is an infidelity and  against the nature of the  Church who is a virgin-bride .

 

The suggested homily in the rite says," Let your light then shine before men and women, that your Father in heaven may be glorified, and his plan of making all things one in Christ come to perfection........... You have renounced marriage for the sake of Christ. Your motherhood will be motherhood of the spirit, as you do the will of your Father and work with others in a spirit of charity, so that a great family of children may be born, or reborn, to the life of grace. "

 

Here we see the call of the CV to the service of Evangelisation so that the Plan of God to reconcile ALL  in Christ may be fulfilled. I shall expand on this later, in relation to the  virgin's proposito or resolution  that is consecrated during the Rite , to show the virgin's resolution to work for fulfilment of this Plan of God.

 

Another field I see the CV could be involved in is  Ecumenism. Unity as explicitly desired by our Lord among His followers , is a task every CV is specially called to. Since she is called to be an image of the Church of Christ, founded on the rock, the Catholic Church.

 

The suggested homily says, "Make it your concern to pray fervently for the spread of the Christian faith and for the unity of all Christians."

 

More to follow ................ after there is hopefully some discussion on the above. thanks !

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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

Finally starting to write on 'dedication to the service of the Church'. Since I am writing here directly as the thoughts come to my mind, please do forgive me  if it sounds like raw material rather than 'refined' matter . It would have been more appropriate to write on my personal notepad , let in sink in the subconscious for some days , get processed and then post it. But I trust  you will all help me in 'processing' it. I also pray to the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts . Hence I'm not following any particular plan to write on this topic. I am trying to first create a basic understanding of the vocation before moving to specifics of  dedication to service . For some time I shall focus on service to the Church , so [Sr Laurel] please be patient with me if I postpone writing about  service to humanity in general. The areas of ministry a CV could think of are written in blue.

 

Yesterday I read The Holy Father's message for this Lent  http://www.news.va/en/news/popes-lenten-message-2013-believing-in-charity-cal

 

A point struck me . Since CV is called to be an Image / Icon of the Church , the vocation of the Church is her own vocation. What I took from the message as applicable to CV is that Faith and Charity  have an indissoluble relationship , they are the two sides of the same coin. Love of God and Love of neighbor , Faith and Works...............is what truly describes the dual character of the vocation of CV . She is Virgin-bride  and Mother . BEING and DOING are interrelated.

 

Pope John Paul II said to the gathering of CV in Rome in 1995 ,"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.

 

 

 The suggested homily in the Rite states : " a virgin, to keep the faith whole and entire; a bride, to be one with him forever; and a mother, to raise up the family of the Church. "

 

 

A] The witness of virginity is directly related to the virginity of the Faith of the Church thus keeping it whole and entire.

 

This can imply that virgins should be well grounded in the faith, Scripture and Tradition. Since marriage has particular call to 'education of children in gospel values' , this could be translated as a CVs call to be dedicated  to serve her family -the diocesan community of the baptised and those seeking baptism , in the truths of the  faith. This could be as a Catechist, Theologian, Minister of the Word , Catholic Apologist etc.

 

B] The Rite and canon 604 states that the virgin is mystically espoused to Jesus the Christ , Son of God [ a title Jesus evoked from the mouth of St Peter , the rock on which He said the Church would be built ].

 

In Matthew 16  we find Jesus ask , “Who do you day I am?”

13 After that Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, "What do people say of the Son of Man? Who do they say I am?"
14 They said, "For some of them you are John the Baptist, for others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 Jesus asked them,"But you, who do you say I am?"
16 Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus replied, "It is well for you, Simon Barjona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
18 And now I say to you: You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome  it.

In the rite of consecration of virgins , the woman is asked, “ Are you resolved to accept solemn consecration as a Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God ?”
 
Consecrated virgins cannot remain stuck with  the beauty and consolation of the ancient Rite of consecration , the title Bride of Christ and live in a world 2000 yrs behind today. Since 2000 yrs, in every generation Jesus  has asked each person and  church community at the level of the diocese / country/ continent  / the universal level  --the perennial question, “Who do you say I am ?”  In the initial stages as believers each has tried to answer according to popular understanding and expectations [as prophet, miracle-worker, guru,a revolutionary come to threaten the polity etc.] , but He gradually revealed Himself as the Christ –Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the Son of Man, etc.- transcending all their human understanding and yet in a very specific and personal relationship  with each believer /community. [ there is a unique Christology for each believer /community ]. 

 

Jesus Christ is the same  yesterday, today , forever .  He is the same ontologically as the Word- but sameness does not indicate immovability. He functionally empties Himself out in love , searching for the seeker, moved by longing  to unite Himself with the believer /community.  The consecrated virgin is a sign  of the response [the Yes ] of her local  church community [diocese] to this call to be United with Jesus Christ ,the only Son of God . The Spousal relationship with Him  is a Metaphor expressing  the  Real Union with God that takes place through her Consecration. By receiving the title and graces belonging to Mother Church and Virgin Mary , she becomes a channel of graces to the entire church  ,expressed not only through her prayers but also her services to the church and the world.

Just as the believer’s understanding  of Jesus grows from seeing Him as a  prophet, miracle-worker , healer, guru etc.to the realization of His Identity as Son of God , in today’s world too, the believers who search for the Way, the Truth, the Life   experience the presence of the Church in the world through the various vocations in the Church [ e.g. Laity and Secular Institutes  as Salt , Light, Leaven transforming the cultural, economic, political conditions in the world  / Apostolic religious as Teacher, Health-worker, Social-worker etc.]  . 
 
In most parts of the world the Church is seen as an Institution with huge buildings , schools , welfare- centres  etc. Gradually this experience should lead to their understanding of the Church  as a community that identifies itself as People of God on a pilgrimage towards Union with God through our Lord Jesus Christ  His only Son.  Otherwise people of all religions are doing the same works in fields of education, social work, charity etc. The uniqueness of  'Christian' charity needs to be made more explicit.
 
The suggested homily in the rite says,"  Love everyone, especially those in need. 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.  You have renounced marriage for the sake of Christ. Your motherhood will be motherhood of the spirit, as you do the will of your Father and work with others in a spirit of charity, so that a great family of children may be born, or reborn, to the life of grace. "
 
Charity has always been integral to the vocation of the Church : both towards its own members and to all peoples in the world.This has taken forms of ministry  with a Preferential Option for the Poor in wealth and in spirit. There have been paradigm shifts from a Church that serves the Poor , to a Church of the Poor / a Poor Church  according to Christ's  own life and teachings.
 
The  work / service of a CV in  different fields  can lead to people concluding that her vocation is to be a teacher, a social worker , a charity worker, a doctor, a nurse , a revolutionary etc. [ exactly what people of Jesus' time concluded about Him ] .But Jesus gradually brought them to the understanding of His  Identity as  The Christ , Son of God. Similarly  a CV has to gradually lead people to the understanding of  her Identity as  bride of The Christ, Son of God.
 
Why do I stress on Jesus as THE Christ ?  In parts of the world where  people of various religions  live side by side , people of other faiths do tend to see Jesus as just another incarnation of  God like Krishna, Buddha etc. There can be tendency among  Christians to relativize the faith to say all incarnations  are historical and equal manifestations of Christ /the Word of God.  It is under such circumstances that the vocation of CV has special role. Through her witness of Spousal love for Jesus Christ, she reminds the  christian community that  we are all  bound by a marriage covenant  to Jesus Christ and  how the worship of  other gods as equal manifestations of the Word of God , is an infidelity and  against the nature of the  Church who is a virgin-bride .

 

The suggested homily in the rite says," Let your light then shine before men and women, that your Father in heaven may be glorified, and his plan of making all things one in Christ come to perfection........... You have renounced marriage for the sake of Christ. Your motherhood will be motherhood of the spirit, as you do the will of your Father and work with others in a spirit of charity, so that a great family of children may be born, or reborn, to the life of grace. "

 

Here we see the call of the CV to the service of Evangelisation so that the Plan of God to reconcile ALL  in Christ may be fulfilled. I shall expand on this later, in relation to the  virgin's proposito or resolution  that is consecrated during the Rite , to show the virgin's resolution to work for fulfilment of this Plan of God.

 

Another field I see the CV could be involved in is  Ecumenism. Unity as explicitly desired by our Lord among His followers , is a task every CV is specially called to. Since she is called to be an image of the Church of Christ, founded on the rock, the Catholic Church.

 

The suggested homily says, "Make it your concern to pray fervently for the spread of the Christian faith and for the unity of all Christians."

 

More to follow ................ after there is hopefully some discussion on the above. thanks !

Dear God's beloved,

      I neither desire nor have I tried to dictate the rhythm or pace and direction of your own thought or participation in this or other discussions. Every post here is partial, occasional, and only addresses what interests us or what we feel important at this given moment to truly respond to what others have said. In other words, please take whatever time you need or want to actually determine how you will participate in or continue this conversation. Certainly that is what I and everyone else here is doing.  I will note, however, that my own obligations in my parish and hermitage are resuming their usual intensity and rhythm. Thus, my own participation here will be occasional --- especially 1) if I stay well and 2) as we approach Lent.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Edited by SRLAUREL
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Dear Sr Laurel,

There was no intention to say that you are trying to dictate. I'm glad you are feeling better and  getting back to normal routine.By the way, I don't know you much , wish  you could share some of the funnier / lighter / less serious aspect of your life !................. :smile2: Do you ever joke?

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I thought some of you might like to know Therese Ivers, consecrated virgin & canon lawyer, has a new book on Amazon on some aspects of the vocation.

 

Print version:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1482397552/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1482397552&linkCode=as2&tag=doihaveavoca-20

 

Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCW2CFG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00BCW2CFG&linkCode=as2&tag=doihaveavoca-20

 

It's intended chiefly as a planner for someone intending to be a candidate and is something she can give her diocese, too, to help the diocese understand its role.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All,

 

This is the final message of Pope Benedict XVI to the College of Cardinals yesterday before  retirement

 

http://www.news.va/en/news/the-church-is-reawakened-in-souls

 

It is so appropriate for the vocation of CV that I couldn't resist posting it here :

 

 

 I would like to leave you a simple thought which I have very much at heart: a thought
about the Church, about her mystery, which constitutes for us all – we can say
– the reason and passion for life.



I have let a phrase of Romano Guardini help me. It was written in the very same year
that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen
Gentium.
In his last book, Guardini says,  the Church “is not an
institution conceived and built in theory... but a living reality.... She lives
through the course of time, in becoming, like every living being, in
changing.... And yet in her nature she remains ever the same and her heart is
Christ”. It seems to me that this was our experience yesterday, in the Square:
seeing that the Church is a living body, enlivened by the Holy Spirit and which
is really brought to life by God's power.  She is in the world but not of
the world: she is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit. We saw this yesterday. That
is why Guardini's other famous saying is both true and eloquent: “The Church
reawakens in souls”. The Church is alive, she grows and is reawakened in
souls  who – like the Virgin Mary – welcome the Word of God and conceive
it through the action of the Holy Spirit; they offer to God their own flesh. It
is precisely in their poverty and humility that they become capable of
begetting Christ in the world today. Through the Church, the Mystery of the
Incarnation lives on for ever. Christ continues to walk through the epochs and
in all places.



Let us stay united, dear Brothers, in this Mystery: in prayer, especially in the daily
Eucharist, and in this way we shall serve the Church and the whole of humanity.
This is our joy that no one can take from us.

 

 

Have also started a Way of the Cross for CV on my blog for those who may be interested in praying together spiritually this Lent.

 

 

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bylovealone.wordpress.com is my friend's blog about discerning a vocation and her vocation to consecrated virginty. She recently posted photos of her wedding day. I was invited, but could not be present. From the photos she showed me and the photos shown on her site, I can say it is the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen! She is really a lovely example for Christian women living in the world.

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  • 1 month later...

Writing in a spirit of respectful discussion...I’m not sure that the Church’s teachings on the universal call to holiness can be directly identified with Sr. Laurel’s concept of “sacred secularity.” To me, these would actually seem to be two distinct ideas.

 

As I am understanding it, “sacred secularity” would seem to be the idea of relating to God primarily in and through mundane things; whereas the universal call to holiness is the teaching that every Christian, regardless of his or her state in life, is called to be holy.

 

While these two concepts aren’t necessarily always in conflict with each other, they are distinct. For one thing, the universal call to holiness encompasses all the faithful, from the laity to Carthusian monks and nuns. However, there are some members of the Church to whom “sacred secularity” most certainly wouldn’t apply. (E.g., a bishop isn’t going to become closer to God or lead more people to Christ by going to work full-time for something like an accounting firm—but this fact doesn’t imply that all accountants are therefore “impure” or “second-class Christians.”)

 

I may be very wrong, but a bishop or anyone else including The Holy Father (theoretically) who can put aside his or her call to holiness if he is going out to dinner with a bank manager or some other secular person of any rank, rather confuses me out of sight.

 

Likewise, arguing that consecrated virgins aren’t called to be “secular” in the strong sense of the term (that is, saying that they are called to devote themselves to God and the Church in a more direct and elusive way than the vast majority of the laity) is NOT the same thing as disparaging vocations that are truly secular.

 

AGain, I may be very wrong - but a consecrated virgin IS called to serve in The Church and in secular life - called in fact to serve and strive for holiness no matter where she is at any time.  People in secular life are called to do the same, exactly the same.  No matter one's vocation in life inclujding The Holy Father, we are called to embrace loving ALL that God Loves in this whole universe.  In fact true Love of God will flow automatically out to the whole of creation and all that God Loves.

 

The secular is sacred - God loves it!  God loves to abandon all good of which He is the source and origin and the rightful end point or object.  To give adoration, praise and thanksgiving to God.  Unless of course there is some theory that the secular is not good.

 

If consecrated virgins are called to live a life which is different from that of most laypeople, it doesn’t therefore follow that the lay vocation is consequently somehow “bad.” The lay state has its own instrinsic nature, dignity, and value to the Church, which is independent of the Church’s expectations for consecrated virgins.

 

Of course, whatever The Church's expectations of a consecrated virgin may be - it probably is quite different from that of a lay person.  Different duties and responsibilities, accountabilities. 

 

 

And actually, from a pastoral perspective, I think that asking consecrated virgins to observe a way of life which is “secular” in the strong sense of the term might be one thing that contributes obstacles to a proper appreciation of the lay vocation.

I can't see any problem!  In fact much of what I have read seems to me to be consecrated virgins struggling for some sort of overt recognition in The Church and sufficient overtness to be recognizable n society.  Dont know much about CV at all, but perhaps the intrinsic nature of consecrated virginity is to be hidden leaven everywhere.

 

From my point of view, it would seem to send a disempowering message to the laity if we were to say that the lay faithful needed consecrated persons to model their vocation for them.  Impossible - different duties accountabilities and responsibilities. This would seem to suggest that consecrated virgins can live the lay vocation somehow better or more fully than the laity themselves, because the CVs have the benefit of being canonically consecrated.  I'm a lay person and consecrated virgins are no threat nor example to me whatsoever to date - totally different call and vocation.  Holiness is available to all from rubbish collector or toilet cleaner to Holy Father.  I was most reluctant to use the first two examples I have used, because I know some beautiful people indeed who collect our grabage and clean toilets and some far more beautiful etc. than some I know I would expect to be absolutely beautiful people!!!!! 

 

I believe it would be much more wholesome and encouraging for everyone concerned if we did understand consecrated virgins as having a truly different vocation, instead of just being called to be something like “super laywomen.” I think that, if consecrated virgins live demonstrably “consecrated” lives, that this would complement the lay vocation in the life of the Church as a whole.

 

I dont know much about them - but I have simply thought that they have a different vocation to me with different duties and responsibilities.  I dont think better or worse, up or down, weak or strong.  All that is "how long is a piece of string?"

 

From what I have read from time to time from CV's or about the life, it seems that it is CV's that have a problem, or even an imagined problem, sorting out about their own identity, but not so lay people in relation to CV's. 

Try as some posts do and some things I have read on the net on various subjects - and posts trying very hard indeed to avoid condescension and patronizations - they just come across as such.

 

From my experience, and thus limited.  Oh and from this ricekty armchair!

 

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I may be very wrong, but a bishop or anyone else including The Holy Father (theoretically) who can put aside his or her call to holiness if he is going out to dinner with a bank manager or some other secular person of any rank, rather confuses me out of sight.

 

 

Just to clarify my above comments.  It is only very ordinary and down to earth common sense that tells a person that a bishop or The Holy Father is called primarily to leadership of and in The Church as prime duty and responsibility and accountablity.  To lead spiritually and to administer The Church and the flock of Jesus as our shepherds.  Nevertheless these administrative or even spiritual duties may require some sort of secular activity and to put aside one's call to holiness in that activity is absolutely absurd and ridiculous and entirely questionable and very wrong.  No matter one's vocation, no matter where one is, one is called to holiness.  And if it is to secular life or one has a reason to engage in secular life type activities, one does not put aside one's call to holiness and if engaged in some secular activity in secular life - a call to be leaven and The Gospel in that situation.  Whether that secular activity in a secular situation is temporary or part time or full time.

 

The secular is sacred!  God loves all He has created and all that is good, including the secular, has its origin and its objective or end in Him in praise, adoration and thanksgiving.

 

I had a priest say to me in Confession "Your private vows have nothing at all to do with The Church!"  (I had been advised to state this in Confession!!!! ***%%%###!) Because I was in Confession I said nothing.  However, I am baptized into Christ as are all the baptized and every thought word and deed of mine and all the baptized has something to do with The Church.  We are baptized and confirmed to offer worship to God and including and intrinsically in our thoughts word and deeds.  I pray to never offer Him anything totally unworthy of Him as miserable as my offerings are - but Jesus seemed to have a soft spot for misery, for sure.  Not only that, I was in Confession and talking to Jesus - and The Church is His Mystical Body on earth.  I was talking to a priest tonight and he said "The Church has really shot Herself in the foot"..............and I laughed and am still laughing and wished I had said, "And not once either, Father"

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Oh, Father and I were talking on one particular subject when he said about The Church shooting Herself in the foot re that subject.

 

We have to try to get it out of our heads (conditioned over donkeys years) and thus out of our Culture that when we say "The Church" (and I do it too!) we are not referring to heirarchy only - but to every single baptized person in The Church no matter 'status' - in fact, religious, priests no matter area of responsibility or position in The Ch7urch, all consecrated people, lay people, while we all have different duties, responsibilities and accountabilities .............only 'status' and 'rank' is that all are baptized into Christ and called into service, some here, some there.  For example, a bank manger is going to be in a difficult position if a cleaner does not come around nightly and empty his rubbish bin and his secretary refusus to do it because it is not in her work brief.  Each person is important to the next.  We are all linked together somehow, somewhere or other - we are all equally important to the whole.

 

St Paul grasped and put it beautifully here - and in very down to earth examples that we are all members of The Mystical Body of Christ on earth.  And in a body, weird situation if one complained that one's ear could not write, or one's eye could not walk.  Each most commonly is needed in the body and have their particular function which performs differently - making up what we call the body.

 

It would be pretty weird if an ear thought it had the wrong function if it could not run.

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Speaking about Catholic cultural thinking : for generations, - and then more and more generations back before that,  I suspect, and prior to V2, priests and consecrated life was regarded as a higher rank in The Church than secular life and pre V2 marriage was not included as a vocation per se in the sense that at the time, there were the higher ranks of priesthood and consecrated life and the lowest rank of secular life in which marriage was included.  V2 also changed or desired to change rather Catholic cultural thinking re lay people in secular life, it was not our theology that changed re lay secular life - it has been with us since The Gospel and the times of Jesus and His Life.

 

 Certainly post V2 all this changed insofar as marriage was conerned in Catholic cultural thinking  - but the essence of the problem remains today to my thought.  And that is a concern about one's rank or position in the scheme of things.

 

Priesthood - '100% superior"..............all percentages are simply my creation to try to illustrate a point that existed after marriage  became a highly respected vocation post V2

Consecrated Life - '99% superior"

Marriage - let's say -  85% superior

Lay secular life as vocation - or the cultural term 'single vocation' - although 'single life' as a vocation per se is only in very recent years being accepted into limited Catholic cultural thinkin as a vocation per se at all. (for those 'lesser mortals' assigned to the lowest rank of lay secular life and denied Holy Orders and/or Public Consecration by The Church and assigned to ('on the nose') secular life - at least in our Catholic cultural thinking I suspect - but not The Church's teaching and theology certainly post V2) - and not The Gospel for sure.

 

An important question to me most always but not always is "What is my objective?" Why am I about whatever I might be about?  Is it for some self centred reason and investment, or is it in the interests of The Gospel, which is Truth, and Ultimate Truth is God and His Glory.  Scripture and The Gospel, the episltes, are The Word of God and we know that Jesus is The Word of God.

 

There is also embedded in our cultural thinking as Catholics that to serve in The Church alone is superior than to serve in lay secular life alone.  There is a desire afoot for status, for rank - and all this is wordly thinking, not Gospel thinking.  If God calls me to a vocation that is primarily within The Church in Holy Orders and/or Public Consecrated life, then I am superior somehow (I can't grasp that thinking) to those God calls to serve in a vocation which is lay and service primarily or totally in secular life.  It is not the vocation, it is the honor and dignity, amesome honor and dignity, that God calls me in the first place.  That is the greatest honor and dignity imaginable, not the particular personal vocation.  And if God grants another Grace and qualities that He has not granted to me - is it not His Right?  If I moan about my vocation, then I have missed, to my mind, the whole point of the matter.  Where and what God grants His Graces and qualities is not an indication of any sort of superiority of that person, rather it is simply The Will of God for that person, despite the fact that we are all equally weak, fallible etc. etc. etc.  While my failings may not be yours - but then your failings may not be mine.  Your virtues not mine and my virtues not yours.  We are all gifted and if one is more gifted than another, then Praise The Lord in adoration and praise, thankfulness - for we are all members of The One Body of Christ.  We all have a vital and important function and role in His Body.

 

The problem is that it does linger and is almost embedded I suspect this notion of rank and importance in The Church.  If one reads and grasps St Paul thinking and teaching as I hope only I am doing, right at the end of his most beautiful and simple explanation of The Church as The Mystical Body of Christ on earth, I read : "

[31] But be zealous for the better gifts. And I shew unto you yet a more excellent way." (Corinthians Ch12)

 

In Chapter 13, Paul begins to speak about the better gifts and a more excellent way - and all qualities rather than particular vocation.

 

Jesus statements re any sort of rank are very ineresting and they are about qualities of a person, rather than their particular occupation on earth.  The whole Gospel is in the main about qualities, not position. In fact, Jesus very often for the 'hero' of his parables presents a 'lower ranked' person of His own society and religion.  St Paul to my, often not so good recall, is the same, he speaks about qualities rather than rank or position in The Church - it is not about where we serve (what we are doing) it is about how we serve (the person we are).  This is very obvious today too and primarily obvious perhaps in the canonization of saints - and it is for qualities displayed and in line with The Gospel  - not position etc. in The Church.

 

When The Lord calls a person to a certain vocation, from single lay secular person to Pope - it is He who grants all the necessary qualities for that vocation - no praise, no thanks is due to the person themselves.  And without those necessary Graces and qualities, one would fail totally in the vocation and be unable to fulfill it.

 

All from a very rickety armchair.

 

A great friend once told me that she understood my writings, but doubted that anyone else would.  I can agree with that and smile and rejoice - my hope is that in writing a better person than I might get a hint or clue from some word or anything whatsoever - and write something which I never ever could and with clarity of thought and presentation so thats others CAN grasp an important point or points not even mentioned or hinted at in what I write perhaps.

 

If I ask myself "What is more important, obedience to The Church heirarchy or that The Church heirarchy gets things right in my estimation?"  Obedience to The Church is the most important and a most powerful virtue.  If our heirarchy has things wrong somehow, only The Grace of God will correct it.  Sure we can present our thoughts and notions, concepts - but simple quiet and gentle obedience to The Church is more powerful, more effective, more world and heirarchy reaching - to my mind - and why a contemplative vocation is cause for such thankfulness, adoration and praise. 

 

God has called me to lay secular life under private vows, and just now I have all time on my hands to write due to current circumstances provided by Divine Providence....................apologies to Phatmass and any readers.  Writing is one coping mechanism for me because I focus totally on what I am writing and any other thoughts, concerns, worries (and duties!) leave home and have a holiday from me, if Phatmass cannot :smile4:............unless a moderator crops up and states SPAM!

 

 

 

 

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My role models are not nuns nor priests, those in consecrated lives - no earthly person. My role models are in Heaven. But if a CV is defined by heirarchy to the laity clearly as ideally giving to lay people an example of a secular life lived outstandingly well to holiness ( strikes me as a dreadful responsibility and accountability for CV's! ) then I, as a lay person, would look to CV's (although I only know one, who is bitter even angry about her treatment within The Church particularly by heirarchy or was last time we spoke) to present me with a holy example of a Catholic life lived in secular society, married or single. Since I dont know a really admirable CV (that I am aware of currently anway) I would then embrace CV's as a full role model. I would probably take much interest in the vocation of CV's for an example of a life lived outstandingly well, even to holiness. I dont think that I need one, mind you, but if our heirarchy officially stated this, then I would obey and with my heart. I then would truly believe and embrace that I should do so in my own life. To date our role models put before us by The Church and to all the faithful, are Jesus, Mary His mother and our saints, primarily to my mind St Joseph, Patron of The Church.

 

As I journey, if I come across a particular person (in any vocation at all) who has qualities I admire - I try to embrace those qualities and with praise, adoration and thanksgiving for Graces granted to that person and the particuarly admired quality or qualities displayed. Not all but most of these poeple are just very ordinary down to earth Australians or migrants totally unconscious of theit qualities of virtue(s) which The Lord has granted them - and are usually very humble and self effacing people. Some not Catholic. If one is looking for The Lord present in others, first look for their goodness and qualities of virtue and in every single person, I dont care who, you will find something to admire.

 

_________________________

Blog http://www.gaudiumbethany.wordpress.com I am afraid I am having trouble using this blog as I am not familiar with them really, or not at all actually. Hence I have nothing published, only set the blog up and I dont know when I will have time to try to work out how to use the blog and actually post.  Technological dyslexic!

 

Hospital admission for surgery Monday 13th May, 2013 or possibly earlier - other than this, we know nothing more and all is as I have already stated in various posts onPhatmass until the actual surgeon can see what exactly is present in my abdomen with surgery.

 

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I just dont get Phatmass :sorry:  - I got told via the Board that the above post which I wrote last night, but not edited, had not been posted or the message gave me that impression and something to do with 26 seconds between each post.  I quickly edited and posted the above just now, only to find, it is already there.  Hence it is my immediate post above that is the edited and actual post.  When I get time, I will contact whoever and ask that post 179 be deleted altogether.

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