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Consecrated Virginity Question


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1] The vocation of consecrated virgins is ECCLESIAL in one word. She is given to the diocese.

 

Ecclesial vocations are vocations which are mutually discerned by the individual and the Church. Similarly they are mediated to the individual by the Church rather than discerned alone in the person's heart of hearts. They do not mean one is given to the diocese, for instance, though I agree service of the Church is usually important. However, ecclesial vocations may be secular or religious, depending upon where the person is called to live these out. One need not be dedicated TO serving the Church directly but instead, serves others in her Name, wherever and however that is. Thus, for instance, a lay person may well privately dedicate herself to the service of their diocese. Of itself this does not make her vocation an ecclesial one. Though such dedication may be included in an ecclesial vocation, the definitive elements lie elsewhere, in the mutual discernment, the  ecclesial mediation of the call and response, and the exercise of the vocation in the Church's Name and according to her governance of the Church.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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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

Thank you, Sister Laurel, for your input here.

It does seem we are on the same page regarding the public nature of the vocation.

I would add that it is because a consecrated virgin is publicly, formally, and legally no longer her own that how she structures her daily life, in conjunction with her bishop’s and her spiritual director’s input, is of the highest importance. This is crucial for a consecrated virgin. Unlike a religious sister, who has a structure gifted to her upon her entrance into a religious order, a consecrated virgin must discern carefully how God wishes her to fulfill her obligations.

This is the very reason, I believe, the Church emphasizes that candidates for the vocation to consecrated virginity lived in the world must be mature women. She must be capable of discerning and concretely fulfilling her obligations without the aid of many things found in another public vocation, the religious life (having a superior, a communal schedule, etc.). This “lack” however, is not a true lack. It’s not the absence of something that should be there.

The Church has specified what she expects of a consecrated virgin, some of which expectations are to spend much time in private prayer, to attend daily mass as often as possible, to pray at least morning and evening prayer if at all possible, to follow the spirituality that bears the most fruit for her, to support herself, to be dedicated to the service of the Church.

These are not nebulous demands when taken as wedded to an individual consecrated virgin’s life. The objective obligations of her vocation cannot be divorced from her interior life. (This is true of each vocation.) For example, she is obligated to attend daily mass as often as possible.

The discretion built into this obligation does not make it any less of an obligation. There is a sense in which only she can be the judge of when it is not possible for her to attend mass. She is, however, responsible to the Church for her judgment on that matter. She is also responsible to the Church for her personal formation on the matter. (I used the term interior life above broadly, to include her virtues, her judgment, her character, etc.)

If she finds herself slipping into lukewarmness regarding mass attendance, it is up to her to detect this and provide for her own formation. She should bring it up with her spiritual director. She might choose spiritual reading that focusing unpacking the power and beauty of the Eucharist.

The fact that she has latitude given to her by the Church regarding daily mass attendance, and latitude regarding what means she chooses regarding nourishing her soul spiritually (how she might address lukewarmness, for example) does not lessen her obligation.

All of the vocations involve objective obligations wedded to an individual’s interior life. A religious sister might attend daily mass at 7 each morning. It would be a mistake to think that her mere attendance at mass is fulfilling part of the obligation of her vocation. If she’s not making the effort to be interiorly present and actually participate in the mass, then she is likely not meeting the obligation of her vocation.

I will turn now to part of what Sponsa Christi has written. Thank you, Sponsa Christi, for taking the time to give us your insights.

“…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.”

What I would say is that the universal call to holiness could not be considered apart from a person’s state in life. I would say that the universal call to holiness is the Church’s recognition that each vocation, faithfully and fully lived, leads to holiness. Full stop.

I think sometimes we have the tendency to parse holiness, as if there are gradations to it. I don’t think we should phrase the universal call to holiness in a way, for example, that might make it sound like a woman could be holy regardless if she is a lay woman. If she is called to be a lay woman, her universal call to holiness is through her vocation as a lay woman. The universal call is always incarnate in a specific instance.

I’m going to have to stop here. (I am battling physical pain right now which saps my mental energy. So I am finding myself unable to contribute here as much as I would like.)

I am praying for all of you!

 

      I agree that the freedom to determine Mass attendance, prayer life, etc are left up to the consecrated virgin, and I especially agree that to do so does NOT mean a person may become lax or lukewarm in this matter. At the same time I agree completely that this vocation ought to be embraced by mature women who know what they require to live a life of prayer and also will understand that others can do so in different ways. When the Church promulgated canon 603 it defined the eremitical life in terms of assiduous prayer and penance, the silence of solitude, and stricter separation from the world (etc). However, she clearly left to the individual what assiduous prayer and penance actually meant. In my own life the Liturgy of Hours is not the most important or even the most fruitful form of prayer I am called to.

 

Thus I do NOT say all the hours and actually, were I required to do so it would mean cutting out some other form of prayer that is actually more fruitful for me. Similarly, like every religious I am called to make the Eucharist the summit of my spiritual life and too, to attend Mass as often as I can. Interestingly, however, too-frequent attendance at Mass can detract from the solitude of my life as well as from the stricter separation I am to maintain so those things have to be discerned together. A couple of years ago I changed the way I was doing vigils (not necessarily the LOH hour of Vigils) and began to omit the Office of Readings. Instead I adopted a practice from a Camaldolese monastery that made of the period from 4:00am to 8:00 am a period of silent prayer, waiting with the Church, and some personal writing. For me personally it is far more effective and I was grateful my Bishop never batted an eye when I spoke to him about the change. In short, my prayer life probably differs from some hermits' with regard to the LOH, but it maintains the very same values their own does. I think this is what the Church had in mind with canon 604 as well.

 

Finally, I agree that while it is true the universal call to holiness means being called to holiness regardless of whatever state of life the person is called to, it is equally true that it is a call to holiness precisely WITHIN the state of life one is called to as well as within the sphere of life one is called to achieve that holiness, as I think you too conclude. Everything I have read about the consecration of virgins living in the world affirms this is a call to holiness in the secular world and the consecrated state. Both elements are exhaustive in their demands.Theologically nothing else makes sense. Others are called to this holiness in the secular world and the lay state or the secular world and the ordained state. Similar some are called to this in the lay state but separated from the secular world (lay hermits) and others in the consecrated state but separated from the saeculum as much is possible and healthy (diocesan hermits). BOTH elements must be honored if one is to come to genuine holiness as they are called to.

 

CV's living in the world are not religious, nor are they lay persons but they are consecrated women called to secular vocations. I believe they bring graces the lay state does not bring to this secular call. Thus, while most secular vocations are lay, there is a very small percentage which are not (not that arguing percentages is usually a good way to determine matters of theology!!).

 

best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Edited by SRLAUREL
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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.”)

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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. 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 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.

 

Consecrated virgins are called to a unique form of eschatological secularity and have been given special graces to live this. They are not called to live lay lives or the lay vocation even though they are called to live those in the secular arena where lay persons live their own vocations. My own sense is that what is far more "disempowering" is for the church to set forth yet another vocation to the consecrated state which is set apart from the world (distinctive garb, vows, community, etc) and says, at least implicitly, that true holiness, holiness the Church esteems, vocations which she recognizes publicly cannot be achieved there. The consecration of virgins living in the world says very clearly and publicly that the Church recognizes secular vocations can be very significant indeed. More they can be the primary way the Kingdom of God comes to be in fullness!

 

However, every Catholic I have spoken to about this vocation (whether lay or religious or ordained) they are clear that turning it into a quasi-religious vocation (mandated prayer practices, Mass attendance, vows, distinctive garb) says this makes the vocation neither fish nor fowl and one that simply is silly or at best meaningless to them. The problem for these Catholics is not with the vocation's secularity --- especially when this is an eschatological secularity which counters the profane secularity with so much influence today, but instead with those who need so desparately for it to be something else and distance themselves from it in every way they can. They DO ask, "Why don't such women go the whole way and join convents? or "Why don't they marry? or "Why is the Church reviving such an anachronism at this time?" or"Do we need their witness? IN what way?" That is a  limited sampling of the responses and impressions I have heard. If you explain this is a secular vocation, the typical response is, "Then why are they acting like nun wannabes?" and more recently, "Why then is this supposed to be something called "secular in the weak sense? What the heck is that?" Another typical response is, "Oh right, the Diocese of x has one of those. I heard she really wanted to be a nun and couldn't do it." But no one I have talked to has said anything remotely like, "Oh wait, now, that's the lay person's vocation exclusively" Neither does the Church say this (nor did she say it in the documents of Vatican II).

 

The Church is now growing in her appreciation of secularity and especially in light of a theology which says the Kingdom of heaven involves the perfection and fulfillment of this world and all it is meant for. She is fighting an extreme battle with secularism which only a specially graced eschatological secularity can serve as the vanguard for. Religious can't do it, that is clear. We have ministered to the secular for centuries. Now we need a ministry OF the SECULAR which points to the redemption of the secular right from its midst rather than from outside it.  That is how God redeemed his creation in the Christ Event and it is how he continues to redeem and transfigure it today. It is a shame the CV vocation was completely co-opted by its cloistered expression and a secular expression died out in the 12 C. At a time when the Church is recovering a sense of the significance of the secular while struggling especially against deadly forms of it, it makes complete sense she would renew this particular expression of the vocation.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

Edited by SRLAUREL
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Ecclesial vocations are vocations which are mutually discerned by the individual and the Church. Similarly they are mediated to the individual by the Church rather than discerned alone in the person's heart of hearts. They do not mean one is given to the diocese, for instance, though I agree service of the Church is usually important. However, ecclesial vocations may be secular or religious, depending upon where the person is called to live these out. One need not be dedicated TO serving the Church directly but instead, serves others in her Name, wherever and however that is. Thus, for instance, a lay person may well privately dedicate herself to the service of their diocese. Of itself this does not make her vocation an ecclesial one. Though such dedication may be included in an ecclesial vocation, the definitive elements lie elsewhere, in the mutual discernment, the  ecclesial mediation of the call and response, and the exercise of the vocation in the Church's Name and according to her governance of the Church.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

 

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

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As I was praying , it occured to me that CV being an Image of the entire Church -has qualities in its 'Being' and 'Doing'  that can make it appear quasi-clerical, quasi-religious, quasi-lay. 

 

From another perspective , if  CV is Proto-religious , isn't it also Proto- Laity ?  The theological locus of the Sacrament of Matrimony lies in the ancient  Rite of consecration of virgins and  CV were models of Following Christ- in the early Church.

 

From still another perspective , if religious life  began as a development of CV and was influenced by the Order of hermits , there is some continuity  similar to how a child always carries some of the genetic structure of each of its  parents and every generation is both similar to and different from the previous generation.

 

When we discuss on Secularity. There are two aspects. The CV  'lives' in the world  just as the entire Church lives in the world. But the relationship with the world differs from one vocation to another , often shaped  by each ones functions /Charism.

 

"No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; if he does, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine, fresh skins!’  "  from today's gospel reading.

 

Its worth meditating upon in the context of CV and  sacred secularity. I often think that it will be good if CV lives its own ancient charism like the virgin-martyrs  in today's world . But if  it is called to modify its charism and embrace what other vocations like secular inst and laity already are called to live  , then I personally would prefer if CV is totally suppressed by the Church or used as a ceremony or rite  available to all vocations of consecrated life  but not as a vocation with its own identity and mission .[serious]

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sr. Laurel said:

 

 

However, every Catholic I have spoken to about this vocation (whether lay or religious or ordained) they are clear that turning it into a quasi-religious vocation (mandated prayer practices, Mass attendance, vows, distinctive garb) says this makes the vocation neither fish nor fowl and one that simply is silly or at best meaningless to them.

 

 

At least in my own experience and from my own point of view, my efforts in trying to live my vocation in a radical way certainly haven’t seemed “silly or at best meaningless.” If anything, I’ve personally found that these efforts give my vocation a renewed sense of purpose and depth.

 

And, even if my lived expression of my vocation did truly seem silly and meaningless to most Catholics, I don’t think this necessarily means that it’s silly and meaningless in the eyes of Christ (or that it isn’t actually doing some objective good for His Church).

 

While naturally I’ve have my share of misunderstandings over the years, there are also many people in my life who have been very supportive of the way I understand my vocation. Often, even when I’m meeting someone for the first time, I’ll find that they have a sort of intuitive understanding of, and respect for, my calling. At the very least, I honestly don’t think that anyone has been scandalized by my less-than-total secularity.

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As I was praying , it occured to me that CV being an Image of the entire Church -has qualities in its 'Being' and 'Doing'  that can make it appear quasi-clerical, quasi-religious, quasi-lay. 

 

From another perspective , if  CV is Proto-religious , isn't it also Proto- Laity ?  The theological locus of the Sacrament of Matrimony lies in the ancient  Rite of consecration of virgins and  CV were models of Following Christ- in the early Church.

 

From still another perspective , if religious life  began as a development of CV and was influenced by the Order of hermits , there is some continuity  similar to how a child always carries some of the genetic structure of each of its  parents and every generation is both similar to and different from the previous generation.

 

When we discuss on Secularity. There are two aspects. The CV  'lives' in the world  just as the entire Church lives in the world. But the relationship with the world differs from one vocation to another , often shaped  by each ones functions /Charism.

 

"No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak; if he does, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins too. No! New wine, fresh skins!’  "  from today's gospel reading.

 

Its worth meditating upon in the context of CV and  sacred secularity. I often think that it will be good if CV lives its own ancient charism like the virgin-martyrs  in today's world . But if  it is called to modify its charism and embrace what other vocations like secular inst and laity already are called to live  , then I personally would prefer if CV is totally suppressed by the Church or used as a ceremony or rite  available to all vocations of consecrated life  but not as a vocation with its own identity and mission .[serious]

 

 

 What I think you are missing in pointing to the special identity of your vocation is the unique graces and gift the CV vocation is TO Church and world whether we are speaking of the secular or the cloistered expression of the life. While it is true that members of secular institutes and most lay vocations share the arena in which their vocations are lived out, they do not bring the very same graces to this arena that CV's do. What distinguishes a vocation is not ONLY the arena or context in which it is lived but the specific graces brought to this situation. Thus, while all persons are called to live the spousal love of God and while most are called to do so in the everyday world we call secular, they need the very special graces to this task that CV's living in the world bring.  It seems to me that the Church has clearly discerned this to be the case and is very clear about the graces which are definitive of this vocation and which constitute the charism or gift quality it brings to the Church and world --- again, whether that is in its cloistered expression or its secular one.

 

If the secularity of the vocation is embraced wholeheartedly and this is done so that these Graces God gives his Church to transfigure and perfect the saeculum into the ultimate and eschatological realm of God's sovereignty it is meant to be, then the uniqueness of the vocation (especially as secular) will be clear for all to see. What I am surprised at is that some CV's here seem to desire so strongly that the vocation NOT be secular that they are neglecting focusing on the things which really distinguish the call and which define its charismatic nature to Church and world. To go further and express a preference that the vocation be suppressed if it is truly secular is really astonishing. While this is probably not what you yourself actually meant, it sounds as though they are saying, "Well, to heck with the graces God wishes to shower on his Church and world through this vocation if it means this vocation is a truly secular one!" or again, "The secular is the realm of the laity; I don't want to be identified with (or mistaken as having) a lay vocation or sphere of activity. I want to be seen as a consecrated person; more, I want this to be evident  not via the graces I bring in terms of virginal commitments, spousal love, or maternal love (for instance), or by explaining  to those who would naturally ask the meaning of the wedding band I wear (which says the espousal with God all are called to in the last days has ALREADY come amongst us via my own life)  but instead through distinguishing garb, vows, and other things associated with the non-secularity of Religious life!"

 

By the way, in some significant senses (including the canonical one) the entire Church/world does NOT live "in the world." Hermits, for instance, do not do so and this is true whether they are lay or consecrated. Religious do not do so either even if they are deeply involved in it ministerially or occupy a neighborhood house. As I have noted before, religious poverty and religious obedience entail a separation from the world and serious changes in the way freedom and responsibility are exercised in terms of the saeculum. But these are only one valid expression of the evangelical counsels. Personally I love the idea that CV's living in the world can take part in politics or any other dimension of secular life and do so specifically in terms of the evangelical counsels and the graces of the CV life. Religious actually CANNOT do this because their vows, canon law, Rules, and constitutions lead to a different expression of the evangelical counsels and one which is not helpful to those living Gospel-rooted responsibly secular lives. They really are called to exercise freedom and responsibility which looks differently than lived in secular life. To be called to model an eschatalogical freedom and responsibility which is ALSO entirely secular is a tremendous gift and I would think, amazingly challenging.

 

I agree that your use of the New wineskins quote is entirely apt. If this vocation is MERELY a reprise of an anachronistic way of living, then indeed it makes little sense and may be destructive. But at the same time unless this vocation corresponds to the secular one the Church discerned was necessary and ripe for recovery, and unless its graces really are pertinent in a freshly compelling way, I agree there is no reason for the vocation and would suggest the Church made a mistake in bringing it back. Perhaps it is important that those the Church admits to this consecration can REALLY appreciate what distinguishes this from a lay vocation even while taking joy in the values and dimensions of mission they share. Perhaps too the Church needs to add a profound appreciation of the vocation's Eschatological secularity to the discernment criterion. Otherwise, I suspect some of these vocations are precisely what the province of Los Angeles feared they were when it refused to consecrated ANYONE according to either canon 603 or 604. LA thought these were merely fallback vocations for persons who really wanted to be religious and couldn't commit fully to the life, or for women who tried Religious life and were dismissed from discerning a vocation for any reason at all.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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Dear Sr Laurel,

 

I liked the above post although I read it hurriedly and also the one you posted on your blog today. There are points on which we significantly agree and points on which we may agree to disagree. That gives taste to a rich theological discussion like this. I tend to believe that the questions being disputed/discussed are the very questions the Church in general is facing after Vatican Council II.  I think we CVs are actually imaging  the Church of today, with all the tension it is going through whether it should return to pre Vatican II era  or accept the Council wholeheartedly , whether there is continuity or rupture with Tradition after the Council.............etc. etc.

 

Due to lack of time  I shall just proceed with pasting one of the posts from my Blog , to add one more perspective to the gift CV can be. Shall reflect in prayer and respond to your earlier comments when the Holy Spirit urges me to do so. Thank you and please pray for me ! I constantly pray for a Pentecost  in this discussion.

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Theology of the Body : Order of Consecrated Virgins

Link to the post on my blog : http://ocvnewevangelisation.blogspot.in/2011/07/theology-of-body-order-of-consecrated.html

 

pasted here below :

 

TOB.jpg

Recently I’ve been reflecting on John Paul II’s Theology of the Body . http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM

 

In the above mentioned catechesis and commentaries on it , the emphasis is on the Nuptial meaning of the Body , the complementarity  of  Male and Female in all dimensions of the human person .

  

How do we relate this theology of the body with the vocation of consecrated virgins who are mystically espoused to Jesus Christ according to canon #604 ?

 

The consecrated virgin is also called Sponsa Christi or Bride of Christ . Central to the Identity of this vocation is the Nuptial  meaning of  virginity consecrated in all its dimensions to  God  who revealed  Himself  through the Incarnation of  Jesus Christ  His Son and His Spirit poured out to make virginity fruitful for the Church and the world.

It is usually said that Chastity for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven  is not focused on negation  of  sexual satisfaction , but  a  yes to love the whole world . To what extent does this apply to virgins consecrated according to canon #604 ?

 

 

sacred+heart.jpgA  consecrated virgin  accepts the call to love  Christ as her one and only  Spouse so that every  other relationship will begin from Him.  Her virginity  is a gift , so that  she should be united with Christ , in her body, mind, heart, spirit , all dimensions of her being. In a way the consecration  calls her to image the  Mystical , Risen Body -of Christ with whom she is legally espoused.

 

The consecrated virgin is an eschatological image of the Heavenly Bride and the life to come when the church will be fully united with Christ her Bridegroom . She makes present the fulfillment that humanity awaits through its redemption.

 

There is nothing that a married woman experiences in her relationship with her husband  , which a consecrated virgin does not have  in her relationship with Christ although in a  different way  , including the gift of sexuality in its femininity. However the nuptial dimension of the vocation does not end with Romanticism.

 

Virginity is not only about spousal love. The gift of ones body to Christ  has much to do  in relation to service which is a sign of spiritual fecundity and motherhood . There cannot be  motherhood and childbirth without suffering and pain .

Body+of+Christ.jpgThe consecrated virgin as an individual represents the Body of Christ, the Church with Christ as its Head . This is another aspect of her vocation which differs from  religious life  . The  religious community on the other hand is an image of the  Body of Christ and the Church as a community . Each member represents ‘one part’ of the body.

 

Over the centuries there have been various spiritualities in the church mainly emphasizing the spiritual over the physical . e.g  St John of the Cross writes about the purification of the senses  leading towards spiritual union of the soul with God . This can be read from the context of monastic life  where the body has a role in asceticism . The nuptial dimension of the body is relatively not emphasized. This relates to religious life in general.

 

In the Order of consecrated virgins, the  role of the body is important in its Nuptial meaning . That’s what gives the consecrated virgin her Identity. But it is not limited to the body. It is a consecration of her whole being , every dimension of her life  to God .  Several theologians suggest that an ontological change  is effected by the ‘prayer of consecration’ during the Rite of consecration to a life of virginity  which leads to the permanent nature of the consecration which cannot be dispensed .

 

In the life of a consecrated virgin the body is united with Christ’s crucified and Risen body  and  has an important role in prayer , penance , suffering , work  etc. in the mystery of salvation of  humanity , the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Work becomes prayer . , every aspect of the body is consecrated, set apart for God and His work. .

Eyes- not only to avoid lust, but to strive to admire  beauty in the universe , both inanimate and living creation of God , for His glory. To shed tears for the conversion of hearts.

 

Ears, to  listen to God’s Word , to praise God through music , as a counselor  to listen to people who pour out their  suffering  and seek consolation.

smile.jpgMouth to speak His Word and  good words  , to eat what is  good for one’s health and also enjoy and praise God , without overindulgence , both feasting and  fasting  as a body –prayer. Lips to smile at enemies and friends.

 

Feet to walk  on beautiful earth and also the dirty streets where duty and service can call us to go for love of our fellow-human beings.

 

 

 

 

 

suffering+in+world.jpg

Hands  to write , work, touch , heal and much more for the greater glory of God.

Human Heart to love one another as Christ has loved us.

To offer all suffering due to daily labor, sickness etc. to God.

 

 

crucifixion.jpg

Every part of the body 

of a consecrated virgin 

is set apart for God’s glory ,

for His Kingdom.

But this is only possible

by following Christ 

in the Gospel ,

in His Incarnation- 

the Infinite and Invisible God 

become human  in the Body- 

immersing Himself in this world , 

as He worked , 

loved,

healed 

–following Him 

on the way of the cross ,

in His crucifixion , 

death 

and resurrection

for the salvation 

of the whole world.

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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

 

Thanks for the reference, etc. I look forward to your elaboration on some (or all) of the above.

 

best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage



Thank you very much for the above post, Sister - very much indeed.   From the bottom my heart! :dance2:  A post to keep on file, which I am about to do.
 

 

Most welcome.

 

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

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EDIT...........................

By the way, in some significant senses (including the canonical one) the entire Church/world does NOT live "in the

world." Hermits, for instance, do not do so and this is true whether they are lay or consecrated. Religious do not do so either even if they are deeply involved in it ministerially or occupy a neighborhood house. As I have noted before, religious poverty and religious obedience entail a separation from the world

 

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

 

To my way of thinking we ALL LIVE IN THE WORLD, while not OF THE WORLD.  Convents, monasteries (including those religious now living in neighbourhood houses) and hermitages are situated in the world and for the world.  Jesus came into the world, lived in an ordinary town, taking on fully human nature........... and for the world.  He was not of this world however......and "no man can be greater than His Master" Just as through baptism, we are an entirely and absolutely new creation and St Augustine points out for us in fact that we are : " "Let us rejoice and give thanks: we have not only become Christians, but Christ himself... Stand in awe and rejoice: We have become Christ". (Christifedels Laici [49] )

 

 

I am reading again Christifideles Laici and with understanding it seems to me that I did not have previously.  This thread in comparison with Christifideles Laici is absolutely confusing and often ( I dont have time to comment on every inconsistency).  I am not interested in C603 or CV personally other than in understanding (working knowledge) all vocations, I can have insight into my own which is situated in The Church as are all calls and vocations - hence I receive an overview of The Church itself and Her overall mission that involves in some way all the baptized no matter their calling in life - their role in it all.

 

There are that many inconsistencies and things that are confusing to me in this thread, that I have abandoned it other than to read when I can and to hold personally to what Christifedeles Laici states.  The above statements in the quotation box, Sister, however really jarred and especially so since since what Christifedeles Laici stated about The Church being in the world and for the world in its opening paragraphs had made a particular impact on me - and a sort of road to Emmaus type of impact (as is the whole document on this read - and 'coming home' to me and fully internalized in a new way)  :
 

 

Christifideles Laici   http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_30121988_christifideles-laici_en.html

 

From that distant day the call of the Lord Jesus "You go into my vineyard too" never fails to resound in the course of history: it is addressed to every person who comes into this world.

In our times, the Church after Vatican II in a renewed outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost has come to a more lively awareness of her missionary nature and has listened again to the voice of her Lord who sends her forth into the world as "the universal sacrament of salvation"(1).

You go too. The call is a concern not only of Pastors, clergy, and men and women religious. The call is addressed to everyone: lay people as well are personally called by the Lord, from whom they receive a mission on behalf of the Church and the world

 

Pope Paul VI said the Church "has an authentic secular dimension, inherent to her inner nature and mission, which is deeply rooted in the mystery of the Word Incarnate, and which is realized in different forms through her members"(30).

The Church, in fact, lives in the world, even if she is not of the world (cf. Jn 17:16). She is sent to continue the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, which "by its very nature concerns the salvation of humanity, and also involves the renewal of the whole temporal order"(31).

Certainly all the members of the Church are sharers in this secular dimension but in different ways. In particular the sharing of the lay faithful has its own manner of realization and function, which, according to the Council, is "properly and particularly" theirs. Such a manner is designated with the expression "secular character"(32).

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Christifedels Laici

 

"Certainly all the members of the Church are sharers in this secular dimension but in different ways. In particular the sharing of the lay faithful has its own manner of realization and function, which, according to the Council, is "properly and particularly" theirs. Such a manner is designated with the expression "secular character"(32)."

 

Consecrated life therefore has a sharing in the "secular dimension" of The Church - each to realize according to their particular call and role.  They may not have a "secular character" - since I am yet to understand who fully comprises the "lay faithful".

 

 

Edited by BarbaraTherese
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Christifedels Laici

 

"Certainly all the members of the Church are sharers in this secular dimension but in different ways. In particular the sharing of the lay faithful has its own manner of realization and function, which, according to the Council, is "properly and particularly" theirs. Such a manner is designated with the expression "secular character"(32)."

 

Consecrated life therefore has a sharing in the "secular dimension" of The Church - each to realize according to their particular call and role.  They may not have a "secular character" - since I am yet to understand who fully comprises the "lay faithful".

 

The word lay is used in the Church in two distinct ways. The first is hierarchical. Everyone in the Church who is not also ordained is lay. In this hierarchical sense Religious, CV's, Hermits, etc are lay persons. The second way is NOT hierarchical but vocational. In this non-hierarchical sense members of the Church may be in the lay state, in the consecrated state, or in the ordained state. In Church documents one needs to read the context to see whether the term lay faithful is being used in the hierarchical or the vocational senses.

 

I hope this is helpful.

 

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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To my way of thinking we ALL LIVE IN THE WORLD, while not OF THE WORLD.  Convents, monasteries (including those religious now living in neighbourhood houses) and hermitages are situated in the world and for the world.  Jesus came into the world, lived in an ordinary town, taking on fully human nature........... and for the world.  He was not of this world however......and "no man can be greater than His Master" Just as through baptism, we are an entirely and absolutely new creation and St Augustine points out for us in fact that we are : " "Let us rejoice and give thanks: we have not only become Christians, but Christ himself... Stand in awe and rejoice: We have become Christ". (Christifedels Laici [49] )

 

 

I am reading again Christifideles Laici and with understanding it seems to me that I did not have previously.  This thread in comparison with Christifideles Laici is absolutely confusing and often ( I dont have time to comment on every inconsistency).  I am not interested in C603 or CV personally other than in understanding (working knowledge) all vocations, I can have insight into my own which is situated in The Church as are all calls and vocations - hence I receive an overview of The Church itself and Her overall mission that involves in some way all the baptized no matter their calling in life - their role in it all.

 

There are that many inconsistencies and things that are confusing to me in this thread, that I have abandoned it other than to read when I can and to hold personally to what Christifedeles Laici states.  The above statements in the quotation box, Sister, however really jarred and especially so since since what Christifedeles Laici stated about The Church being in the world and for the world in its opening paragraphs had made a particular impact on me - and a sort of road to Emmaus type of impact (as is the whole document on this read - and 'coming home' to me and fully internalized in a new way)  :
 

 

 

In the sense canon law uses the term "the world" in some situations it can have a very narrow meaning of "that which is resistant to Christ"  or even "that which offers fulfillment apart from Christ". As the word's other and wider meanings come into play the term can mean "the ordinary world of power, economics, and relationships" which the hermit is also separated from --- sometimes,  as in cases of reclusion, completely. When the term is used in this sense Religious and hermits do not live "in the world" (that is, they do not structure their lives around nor exercise responsibility in terms of the dominant realities those with secular vocations do) except in highly qualified ways. Finally, the term can mean "God's good creation, the realm of space and time." Everyone does indeed live in the world in this sense. In the passage you cited "secular" refers to the ordinary world of space and time as well as to the dominant dimensions of that world: power, economics, relationships.

 

best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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The following from the document 'Christifideles Laici'  can apply to CV who is supposed to be an image   of the entire Church :

 

the sacredness of the human person cannot be obliterated, no matter how often it is devalued and violated because it has its unshakable foundation in God as Creator and Father. The sacredness of the person always keeps returning, again and again.

 

The Church knows that she is sent forth by him as "sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all the human race"(11)

 

The term secular must be understood in light of the act of God the creator and redeemer, who has handed over the world to women and men, so that they may participate in the work of creation, free creation from the influence of sin and sanctify themselves in marriage or the celibate life, in a family, in a profession and in the various activities of society"(39).

 

Since the Church in Christ is a mystery, she ought to be considered the sign and instrument of holiness...

 

Whether they be exceptional and great or simple and ordinary, the charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit that have, directly or indirectly, a usefulness for the ecclesial community, ordered as they are to the building up of the Church, to the well-being of humanity and to the needs of the world.

 

 

The easiest way to understand the vocation of CV today , is to try to understand the vocation of the entire Church today.

 

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