Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not just for Religious, is a great article on Religious Life

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, numbering 110 here

Fr. Brian Mullady, OP has been a delight to read over the years. I became familiar with him through his articles in Homiletic and Pastoral Review.  Some of you may recognize him from EWTN. 

Many people in the Church today acknowledge that poor formation in the years following Vatican II in the basics of the faith has contributed to the crisis we have today. I think other things have also been neglected, such as emphasis on practicing the virtues - all of them - and how they counter our sinful tendencies.  Similarly, few have ever heard of mortification of the will and apetites and how they fit into the spiritual life equation for everyone. Going one step further, I have felt that there are many misunderstandings about consecrated life, the priesthood, and religious life.

Fr. Mullady writes an article, specifically targeting misunderstandings about religious life.  It is appearing in the National Catholic Register: "The Trials of Religious Life".  He makes many points about religious life touching on some topics that have been on my mind. He writes with the eloquence and flow that comes with many years of study and wisdom sharpened by personal experience in a religious community.  I have fumbled along in my own way trying to express many of the same things, but he hit one out of the park with this article, and in very few words for what it's packing.

This article is not only a must-read for religious and those discerning religious life, it is good for everyone to have a deeper understanding of religious life and what it means for those who take it on.  There are many misunderstandings.  Father weaves it together with the precision of a professional marksman.

Here is just one excerpt from the article:

Together, with one’s own will in obedience and the ability to own and use material goods in poverty, religious men and women strive to desire the perfect love of God. Since Christ sends the Holy Spirit into each baptized person’s heart with sanctifying grace, one must now live the law of God with the pure intention of divine love.

Lust wars against this. According to 1 John 2:16, three types of lust war in man against the perfection of this love: “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.” Christ gave three counsels of perfection that religious embrace by vow to diminish these lusts and allow us to love Christ as he loves us. Poverty roots out the lust of the eyes; chastity, the lust of the flesh; and obedience, the pride of life.

In the three vows, religious freely embrace a way of life which, if observed well, leads to being head over heels in love with Jesus. One does not give up money, marriage and freedom because these are evil. One does so for love’s sake and because we are weak regarding these things, even when healed by grace.

The real problem is not these goods, but the fact that they are the tinder of our desire to dominate and rule others. Instead of surrendering to God, people in our state between Adam’s justice and the blessedness of the saints often manipulate others in pride and possessiveness. These counsels are recommended to free us from this desire to dominate. The real issue in lust is not feelings, but power.

Do read the entire article.

I will leave the combox open, but I ask that if you want to comment, please stick to the topic as he has discussed it, without unnecessary references to people. 

I have some photo posts to complete, but it has been a long week.  I will have more time this weekend and am off on vacation next week (a "stay-cation" at home, if you will).  Perhaps I'll finally get some of that backlog flowing.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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Nick said...

Great article! It goes along with what the Pope taught: "In the Convent of San Damiano, Clare practised heroically the virtues that should distinguish every Christian: humility, a spirit of piety and penitence and charity."

Kevin said...

I said over on my blog that if you want to reform the Church, perhaps religious life is one way to really focus in on.

John Paul II preached (and the young seminarians no doubt heeded the call) of a greater call of fidelity on doctrinal matters.

Pope Benedict has spearheaded a reform centered around the Church's liturgy, which needs to be central to the life of a priest, emphasizing greater fidelity to the letter and spirit of proper liturgy.

Perhaps his successor will focus on reforms of the nature of the priestly life. No true reform of the Church ever succeeds until we see a reform of the priestly life and character of her clerics. It was true around the turn of the new millenium, it was true at Trent, and it will need to be true in the wake of Vatican II. Like those times, I think a case can be made (especially in light of recent events I won't be commenting on to placate Diane lol) that our priests are living far too "of the world" rather than "in the world, not of it."

Moniales said...

Monastic life has always been seen as a life for sinners. That is why what we ask for at each stage (novitiate, profession) is "God's mercy and yours!" It is also called an "angelic" life, not because monks are angels but because they/we seek to live the life of the angels: adoring and praising God! What we begin here on earth we will continue to do for all eternity!

The emphasis on religious life being one of great happiness can have the downfall that religious are not "allowed" to struggle, go through tough times and temptations. Yes, it is a joyful life but not because there are no struggles!

Religious are not born with holy water in their veins!