As I usually do every morning, I turn on the computer and watch ESPN or one of the variations of Fox Sports. I stay away from major network news, Fox News, etc… because of the hatred, negativity, false or misleading information, and mainly I am tired of people mistrusting one another. The sports program I was watching had a commercial whose premise was: We need something to believe in. The natural conclusion was that Sports is a diversion, filling the void of a bored individual in the home. We all need purpose and the power that comes from knowing that my life is not without meaning.
Even sports programs get boring. How many reruns of basketball, football, and baseball can you stand? Is this what will make us happy and fill the hole in our lives that causes boredom and anxiety? When someone loses a lifetime partner, that is a real hole, not an inconvenience. When the holes in our lives get too much for us to handle, we have options to choose. Remember, God gave us reason for a reason and the ability to choose what is good for us or, conversely, what is bad for us. Here are some options or fillers.
Alcohol, drugs and orgiastic sex: One of my favorite authors is Erich Fromm whose book, The Art of Loving, inspired me to ask the question: What is love? His premise is that we humans must learn to love. It is not infused in our DNA. This comes with the freedom to choose what is good for us, or even those things that are bad for us but we select them anyway. Some of his quotes from http://www.azquotes.com
I bring up Erich Fromm as one who tells us what love will fill our holes and what will not (alcohol, drugs, and orgiastic sex). Fromm’s use of love is a great insight into human nature and the deepest, more intimate emotion we have. It is, however, only what the World thinks of love (physical and mental universe only).
FILLING THE HOLE WITH CHRIST True love comes when we build on our human nature with what Christ came to tell us. He has loved us first. (Philippians 2:5-12) If God is not the builder of the house, we labor in vain who build it. This is the temple of the Holy Spirit. There is someone out there who can make the rough ways smooth and the crooked ways straight. It takes Faith to take a shovel and fill your hole with Christ. It doesn’t cost anything in terms of money, but it will take everyTHING you have.
CONTEMPLATION — Understood properly, contemplation of Christ must be with no strings attached, just unconditional love, like sitting on a park bench in the midst of a cold winter and waiting, longing for Christ to sit next to you, Someone asked me, “But Christ is always with us.” I responded, “Of course he is, but you are not always with Him. In silence and solitude, seek God without human conditions.”
With what will you fill the hole left by the Coronavirus 19?
Today, my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) was about how fortunate I am to have time to focus on Christ and taking time to meditate on various topics and look up things on the Internet to help me do that. Yes, the coronavirus is bad. Yes, I am 79.7 years old and have to take extra precautions. Yes, I am bound to the house in self exile, much like the Fathers of the desert were. I asked myself the question, What would I want you to know and to look up on the Internet to make your time meaningful? Instead of watching movies and television shows to fill up the space, here is what I would recommend, in no order of importance. It is what I am doing.
INTERNET SIGHTS THAT WILL FILL UP ANY TIME YOU HAVE WITH THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
DON’T MISS THIS SITE: If there is one site you should visit and bookmark, it is this one. The text is from 250 AD, a Marian prayer, where it came from and other very valuable things about the Coronavirus around the world. https://aleteia.org/2017/04/29/the-oldest-known-marian-prayer-is-from-egypt/
Here is the Marian prayer that has been in use since well before 250 AD (that is just the papyrus fragment dating).
|Latin Text |
Sub tuum praesidium
Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias
in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis
libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta
We fly to Thy protection,
O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions
in our necessities,
but deliver us always
from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.
USCCB: This is a great site and I use it frequently to find out what is going on. There are so many resources on this URL that I want you to access it yourself and just browse around. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings-audio.cfm
LAY CISTERCIAN SITES WORTH READING:
I am going to go to Confession for the sin of Pride for telling you to read my blog site. https://thecenterforcontemplativepractice.org
https://laycistercians.org/ This is an ecumenical lay cistercian group.
PRAYING THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS EACH DAY
If you want to practice the most difficult but most rewarding experience in your prayer life, try praying the Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer (two of the seven hours of prayer) each day. The best site for this is http://www.divineoffice.org If you look at the bottom right hand column under “Resources” you will find my blog site.
STUDY THE RULE OF ST. BENEDICT
WATCH VIDEOS ABOUT ALL THINGS CHRIST
One of the best theologians is Scott Hahn. Look at this website and, by all means, view one of his video clips. http://www.scotthahn.com/
Bishop Robert Barron is another wonderful speaker. Watch his videos. https://www.wordonfire.org/ You can sign up for a free course on evangelization.
Listen for homilies from your local parish website. Two I like are: https://goodshepherdparish.org/homilies. Listen to anything by Fr. Tom Dillon. https://www.trappist.net/homilies. Trappist homilies you must hear.
READ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, ETC…
http://www.newadvent.org/library/index.html All the documents of the Holy Father and much more. http://www.newadvent.org/library/almanac_14388a.htm Check out a list of Ecumenical Councils.
These resources are just a few of the many resources you can abandon yourself in as you wait out the Cronavirus19. That in all things, may God be glorified. –St. Benedict
As I was trying vainly to describe contemplation to prisoners at the Wakulla Correctional Institution (Annex) near Tallahassee, Florida, I happened to use the words “profound listening.” I reflected on these words in light of the admonition of St. Benedict to his monks in the Prologue to the Rule to listen “with the ear of the heart.” https://christdesert.org/prayer/rule-of-st-benedict/ I have noted a few observations and some recommendations about how to listen profoundly.
PROFOUND LISTENING IS NOT THE SAME AS THE WORLD DESCRIBES. I use this phrase as one of the ways that we communicate with God with Faith alone and He responds to us with grace and enlightenment. Profound listening is not the same as listening to the Nightly News or Fox News. In the stillness of silence and solitude, we sit on a park bench in the dead of winter and listen for the footsteps of Christ approaching. It is this longing for Christ to grace us with his real presence that is a characteristic of listening with the ear of the heart.
LISTENING IN THREE UNIVERSES — Those who know my discombobulated mind know that I think in threes when it comes to all human words. Profound listening exists in three universes, not just two.
Physical Universe— all matter, all energy, time, space, everything on earth that has life, is part of this universe. Humans live on this level. It is the platform on which we realize that we are unlike everything else in the universe. Animals are subject to the Laws of Nature (what happens naturally in the order of things) as are we. What God makes is good, including humans.
Mental Universe– I hold that there is another separate universe called the mental one. Only humans live here, just humans (of course, that may include other sentient life forms on other worlds, if they exist). This is the universe where we use reason to make choices that affect who we are. What is the reason we have reason at all? We are free to make good or bad choices for us. Why? Animals only choose what is good for them according to the Laws of Nature. There are consequences to our human choices. Adam and Eve had the chance to make a choice for good or evil in the archetypal story of Genesis 1-2. God told them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good or evil or they would die. The snake (Satan) tempted Eve who then tempted Adam to eat of the fruit (sins of vanity and pride and greed). The consequences of sin is death. Romans 6:23[Full Chapter] “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So what restores us to our heritage?
Spiritual Universe — If the first two universes contain what St. Paul refers to as the World, then this last universe completes the first two and is the fulfillment of reality. This universe can be entered only by an act of free will. Also, it is by Faith alone that we can even make such as choice. Our consequences are we still have the effects of Original Sin (death, pain, injustice, false promises, temptations by Satan), but we are now adopted sons and daughters of the Father. We have the Resurrection of Christ with victory over death. We know how, as you read this, we can love others as Christ loves us.
Contemplative prayer puts us in touch with that whole universe that we cannot see, touch, hear, feel, or taste with the World but actually makes sense with the Spiritual Universe. The Christ Code, if you will, is to follow how he acted so that we can walk in his footsteps and avoid the minefield of sin and unbelief. All of this points to the whole spiritual universe being the opposite of what the world thinks is necessary for fulfillment. Christ points out that we must die to self to live life in the Spirit. Some call this the sign of contradiction or a polar reversal of the spiritual world. Contemplation is, using humility and silence with solitude, listening to what God is saying. This is profound listening, hearing what cannot be heard and seeing what cannot be seen. Remember! Without the Resurrection, the ultimate sign of contradiction foretold in the Old Testament, none of this makes any sense whatsoever.
PROFOUND LISTENING IN THREE UNIVERSES
Let’s use the words “profound listening” as seen in three universes.
We have been profoundly blessed with the love of Christ.
Pope Francis on Fasting and Prayer
Here are some penitential practices for all year long.Pope Francis proposes these 15 simple acts of charity as concrete manifestations of love:
THE BEST FASTING:
If we all practice this style of fasting, our everyday will be filled with peace, joy, trust in each other, and life.
As I look back on my life, and that is a very long look indeed, I usually reflect on what is good and try to forget all those times (the majority of my life) where I made a fool out of myself or was outright full of myself. To list all those faults and failing would take a book of many chapters and quotes. I won’t bore you with all those details. I will, however, share with you one of my Lectio Divina meditations (Philippians 2:5) that looked at the positive things I have learned and try to keep before my eyes each day, in keeping with my perpetual promises I made as a Lay Cistercian, my anniversary of final profession as a Lay Cistercian. http://www.trappist.net . I share with you this profession of Faith just as I read it two years ago and as I try to live in on a daily basis until I passover to be with Christ.
FINAL PROMISES AS A LAY CISTERCIAN OF OUR LADY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT MONASTERY (TRAPPIST), CONYERS, GEORGIA
I, Michael Francis Conrad, a member of the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, a community of Catholics living in the world, promise to strive for a daily conversion of life as my response to the love of God.
I commit myself to live in a spirit of contemplative prayer and sacrifice in obedience to God’s universal call to holiness, using daily Cistercian practices and charisms of simplicity, humility, obedience to God’s will, hospitality, and striving for conversion of life to move from self to God.
I give thanks to my wife, Young, and my daughter, Martha, for standing with me on my journey. I ask for prayers from the Monastic community of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and the Lay Cistercian community, to include the Ecumenical and Auxiliary communities. I place myself in the hands of those already stand before the throne of the Lamb, including Holy Mary, Mother of God, St. Benedict, St. Bernard, the Seven Cistercian Martyrs of Our Lady of Atlas, Father Anthony Delisi and other deceased monks and Lay Cistercians of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and also Deacon Marcus Hepburn. Finally, I accept the Rule of St. Benedict as interpreted by the constitutions and statues of the Strict Observance Cistercians as my guide for living the Gospel within the time I have remaining. Ut in Omnia Dei glorificatur.
FIVE LESSONS THAT HAVE SHAPED MY LIFE
Here are the five lessons that have shaped my life.
I. HAVE IN YOU THE MIND OF CHRIST JESUS. This quote from Philippians 2:5 sums up my purpose in life and also the motivation that propels me forward to whatever awaits me when my life will change but not end. I use it as my Lectio Divina quote each and every day. I have tried to use is as far back as September 1962 (I don’t remember the day). It is the North on my compass, the reason for my trying to transform my life from my false self (seven deadly sins) to my true self (seven gifts of the Holy Spirit). It is the reason for my being here on earth for whatever time I have. It motivates me to want to sit on a park bench in the dead of winter and wait for the Lord to come by and grace me with His presence (God, of course, is everywhere). I can’t imagine what I would be without this North on my compass.
II. LOVE OTHERS AS CHRIST LOVES YOU— I went from thinking that having in me the mind of Christ Jesus as meaning I must be in Church as much as I am the Church, the Body of Christ. The Church Universal are all those who have been signed by the blood of the Lamb, and all those whom God deems worthy to be in Heaven. Loving others as Christ loves us means that I don’g judge who goes to Heaven (a subtle form of idolatry) but worry that I am not worthy enough to be an adopted son of the Father.
III. CONTEMPLATION ENTERS THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST — Yes, God’s presence is everywhere, but I am talking about me making an conscious choice to place myself in the presence of Christ in a deliberate prayer. This is a spirituality of one Being, Christ who is both God and Human nature, being invited to have a picnic with me. It is my invitation to Christ to be present to me in a special way, one with no agenda, no hidden needs on my part. I am just want to be present to and with him. Yes, Christ is everywhere, but I am not. What I do in contemplation is sit on a park bench in the dead of winter and ask Christ to grace me with his presence. Even as I sit in silence and solitude before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic adoration, my prayer is for Jesus to have mercy on me for my lack of Faith and to wait until He wants to talk to me. I don’t want to presume on the mercy of God for me.
IV. TRANSFORMATION FROM SELF TO GOD— If my spiritual life is a room, have I cluttered it with so many useless values of the World, that Christ has no room. To make room, I must be humble to admit that I am in need of salvation each and every day of my life. Each day is a lifetime of trying to move from self to God. It is only due to God’s grace or energy that I can even move or transform myself. I have found Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict of particular help in identifying the tools for good works and a list of those attitudes and practices I must perform to move from self to God. Each day, I read Chapter 4 in total or in some part. My prayer for me is that I might become what I pray, moving from pride and idolatry of my false self to that of humility and obedience to the will of the Father.
V. THE PEACE OF CHRIST IN MY HEART — Loving others as Christ loves me has the effect of being one with not only Christ, but also the object of that love in those around me. This is not the peace that the world gives, as Scriptures point out. The Peace of Christ is the result of being in the presence of God in contemplation. The Joy of the Resurrection is the product from having in me the mind of Christ Jesus, without condition, open to the Holy Spirit in humility and obedience to whatever Jesus is telling me. Peace is not the absence of hostility but the presence of love, the real presence of Christ here before me just as he is in heaven sitting on the Throne of the Lamb of God. Faith alone, God’s own energy, enables me to be an adopted son of the Father. Church alone, the Body of Christ, allows me to love others as Christ loves me. It is letting your light shine before everyone so that “..they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” I am called to share that peace of Christ with those around me, those marked with the sign of salvation and those who have not yet accepted Christ. I am called to judge not the motives or hearts of others in the church and let God judge those outside it. This is the peace that is beyond all telling.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology
As I sat musing the state of my world with the introduction of the Coronavirus, I kept wondering what would happen if certain scenarios played out. One such outcome is, this virus would mutate, become airborne, and kill millions of people, including myself. Such a doomsday picture is easily dismissed because I tend not to be a conspiracist, but it is very much a part of my thinking, which brings me to my daily Lectio Divina meditations. What happens as I try to contemplate Christ as I sit on a park bench in the dead of Winter, is very much informed by what happens around me. In no [particular order, here are some of my disjointed thoughts as I now contemplate Philippians 2:5, the only phrase I have used since 1961.
Wonder if there never was a God, no Trinity, no hope for us for the future, what would my world look like? How would I react? Gods would look like me, act like me, think like me. I would just try to lead a peaceful life and then die. That’s all folks! Happy are they who trust in the Lord.
Wonder if the Blessed Mother, ashamed because she found herself pregnant without having intercourse, humiliated before her family and relatives, open to public stoning for her shame, thought of her circumstance and decided to get an abortion? What would my world be without Jesus? What would be the center of my life? No Eucharist. No Resurrection. No Salvation. No Hope. No Holy Spirit. Happy are those hope in the Lord.
Wonder if there is no Resurrection of Christ from the dead to make us sons and daughters of the Father and heir to His kingdom? What would my world look like? No Eucharist. No Liturgy of the Hours. No Lectio Divina. Without Christ as living and true God, none of this make any sense. Happy are they who hear the word of God and keep it.
|Luke 16 NRSVCE – The Parable of the Dishonest Manager The Rich Man and Lazarus 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.[g] The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.[h] 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”|
Wonder if there is no Real Presence in the Eucharist but it is just a symbol, a mental construct to help us think of Jesus, with no intrinsic power to heal, no life, no truth, no way to the Father? The real presence of Christ is a sign of contradiction. Ii doesn’t make sense to those without Faith, but to those with Faith, no explanation is needed. Blessed are those who believe that the words of Christ are true and let their good works shine before humans so that they can glorify our heavenly Father.
Wonder if there is no Devil, only the hallucinations of old men trying to frighten children with threats of sin and going to hell? No templations! No sin! Only my interpretation of good and evil and if someone does not agree, I kill them (Cain and Abel). There is no good but what I say it is. There is no evil but what I say. Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord.
Wonder if there was no Adam and Eve? We are just animals with instincts of self preservation and procreation. No love. No morality. No hope. We don’t know that we know. Life has a beginning and an end. No Jesus. No heaven. No way. No truth. No life. All creation bless the Lord for your words to us are light, and in this light we see life.
Wonder if there is no Lay Cistercians? No growing deeper in Christ Jesus. No praising the Father through the Son with the Holy Spirit. No contemplation. No loving others as Christ loved us.
In this Lenten time of penance and reparation for our sins of the past, we join in the passion and suffering of Christ as he, once again, works he way towards death, the death he would conquer by rising from the dead. It is due to Faith that we can even say Jesus is Lord. We must all die to self, a contradiction that is folly to the Pagans and a stumbling block to the Jews, in order to rise again and again with Christ.
How blessed we are through grace to be able to recognize that we are adopted sons and daughters of the Father and heirs of the kingdom. We begin by making that kingdom real on this earth to prepare for living with the Mystery of Faith after we die. Death has no more sting, as we hear in the Exsultet for Easter Vigil. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzJGFIa6R80
Finally, wonder if God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to free us from physical death, show us how to love one another as Christ loved us, and live life using the tools for good works as found in Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict. How blessed are we to have heard the word of God and try to keep it with God’s grace. Alleluia.
Several days ago, I found myself looking at a very low tire pressure on my right front tire of my car. It looked like a slow leak. The next day, I went to Costco, Tallahassee, Florida, where I had purchased the tires and told them of the problem. They fixed it in about thirty to forty minutes. I found myself sitting on a bench in the tire department waiting for them to fix a slow leak. They found a screw in the tire but it would be thirty minutes before I could get my car.
Bored, with no magazines to read, I kept looking at the stacks of Micheline and B.F. Goodrich tires in rows on the stack before me. There was a strong smell of rubber. Glancing to the right, I saw three rows of batteries all displayed for customers. Faced with a long wait, I usually try for some form of lectio divina, based on my eight words, “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5). What a queer place to seek God, I thought. What could I possibly see at Costco to remind me of Christ, my center?
The tires I saw reminded me of how Faith wears out and must be maintained and even updated every so often. Faith is one but, unfortunately, I only last until I die in the hope of the Resurrection. The Sacrament of Penance is the check-up to see how my Faith is doing. Sin is a nail in my tire that may cause a slow leak. No wonder the Scriptures tell us that the wages of sin is death. Ever tried to drive a car with only three wheels?
The mechanic is Christ who stops by now and then to ask if everything is okay and to see if I need anything. If my battery is low (they only last so long), then I need a replacement. The battery of my spiritual life is Christ who gives me grace or His own energy to sustain me as I travel down the road towards my final destiny. Christ gives us our spiritual batteries at Baptism(no cost), along with a credit card. There is only one limitation to the card–I must love others as Christ loves us. Everything I do is contained on that card which I will present to Christ as a result of my stewardship on earth. Matthew 25.
Christ tells me that he is the map (the way, the truth and the life) but will not drive the car for me. That, I must do for myself (but he will sit in the front seat and be a passenger). “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.”
This is only a brief snippet of what I thought about in my Lectio meditation. In this very simple setting of the World, I managed to transform myself just a tiny bit from my false self to my true self, an adopted son of the Father.
If Faith is the infinite storehouse of God’s goodness for us as adopted sons and daughters of the Father, then Belief is how we take the kernels of Faith and dispose them to those around us. For those who consciously seek God where they are, the “capacitas dei” or ability to hold Faith is a constant quest. I must decrease, He must increase. Using contemplative spirituality, we do that by practices that allow Christ to be in us. We put ourselves in a state of mind, or lifetime thinking for some, where we sit and wait for the Holy Spirit, through the real presence of Christ, to overshadow us as God did to the Blessed Mother. This is a conscious act, in keeping with our ability to reason and to make choices that have consequences for us. Faith is not a one time shot at grace and forgiveness of sins, but just the beginning of our lifetime struggle to have in each of us the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
Our Faith must be informed by reason, not that we can ever completely know the mind of God, but we can know what we can know. Most of those who live in darkness (two universes of the physical and mental only) do not get the wisdom of God for us. What we do in our Lay Cistercian practices is to seek God’s mercy on a daily basis, always praying for God to have mercy on us, in need of daily Faith. I receive kernels or drips of Faith in my seeking God each day. To be exposed to the totality of who God is would fry my neurons for I am not created to be God, but, like the angels, to seek God in the short time span I have left.
Faith is like drinking concentrated orange juice, too strong to drink by itself, it needs the water of my Belief to water it down. This water is contained in my personal cup of salvation, one that Christ gave me at Baptism. I will present it to Christ when I die. He will look at the cup and see how full of grace it is. Grace only comes from God, belief is my assent to my overshadowing, my doing what Christ aaught us: love one another, as I have loved you. Every day, in every way, that is mindset that I try to maintain. Lay Cistercian practices help keep me focused on how much I need Christ each day just to maintain the grace in my cup. The Church, (the assembly of Faithful in heaven, those still on earth, and those awaiting purification), is a living, dynamic Body of Christ now, in each age. Church is a gathering of those who, suffering the effects of Original Sin, proclaim he death of the Lord until he comes. This gathering is one in centering themselves around Christ, Son of God, Savior; it is holy because Christ, the head is holy; it is catholic because it is not limited to any denomination or religion, but open to all who call upon the name of the Lord; it is apostolic because the teachings of Christ were handed on from the Apostles to allow this gathering in each age to love God with all their hearts, all their minds, and all their strength and their neighbor as themselves. (Matthew 22:36)
Kernels of Faith are contained in the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. They are ratified by the Ecumenical Councils in each age, the Church Universal at work.What follows are some questions for you to answer in the silence of your heart.
One of the charisms of what I have learned from Lay Cistercians is called “conversio morae” or conversion of life to become more like Christ. It is lifestyle change a polar shift in loving and doing because Christ first loved us.
Faith alone is needed for salvation but a dead Faith without the grace from Christ is like a barren fig tree. Belief alone will not get you to heaven any more than good works alone, without Faith, will. Faith is one side of the coin, belief is the other. Remember, both Faith and belief are not just for you, but the whole Church Universal giving praise, honor an glory to the Father through Christ in union with the Holy Spirit.
I share with you something I have read and re-read over time. It is humbling.
“One Solitary Life
Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.
This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”). If you are interested, you can read the original version .
For the last several weeks, I have been experiencing some very unusual thoughts. I would not say they are bad thoughts, but just persistent. Let me share. For the last month, I have been waking up at night almost always about 2:30 a.m. I have the old man’s problem (I don’t know if old women have this or not) of going to the bathroom and getting back to sleep. That is not the problem I have. I had a problem in 2007 which was cardiac arrest (The Widow maker). That is not the problem I have. In 2014, I was diagnosed with CLL type Leukemia and received nine chemo treatments to flush out a football size mass on the outside of my liver. I am cancer free after five years. That, too, is not the problem I have.
Going back to waking up at 2:30 a.m., I found myself thinking of the center of my life and also the only Lectio Divina I have ever used. (Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5). What is strange is that I find myself always drawn to thoughts about Christ that I could use in my blog, the one you are reading. This very topic came to me this morning. I began to realize that I have been doing Lectio Divina so many times and with such frequency that I don’t even use the four stages of Lectio (Reading, Meditation, Prayer, and Contemplation.) Just this morning, I was sitting at the table around 10:00 a.m. waiting for the plumber to come and fix our toilet bowl, and I found myself thinking of my Lectio saying. This led to all sorts of ideas, two of which I am going to write down for possible books. The flush of ideas and wonderful thoughts is undiminshed over the last year or so. Is there such a thing as a human not having the ability to process the limitless grace he receives from the Holy Spirit? Well, that is my problem and I am most grateful to have it as a challenge for the future.
One of the characteristics I learned about contemplation as practiced by the Cistercian monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Trappist) is that of simplicity. Like so many of the attributes that have influenced me, simplicity is one of those hidden gems that are right in front of me but hidden, due to my lack of awareness. Other attributes about seeking God each day where I am, are: balance, silence, solitude, repetition, consistency, When sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I try to use all of these attributes along with the charisms of humility and obedience to Christ.
Seek first the kingdom of heaven and all else will be given to you. I have found this sign of contradiction to be true.
Sometimes, thoughts trickle into my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) reflections from very unlikely places. I have noticed recently that my focus is interrupted by sources, like my wife asking me to take her to Publix or Trader Joe’s. I always take her, or anyone who asks, without hesitation and cheerfully (not saying I am too busy). In what seemed like a nanno second, I recalled the reason I take people where they want to go with never a whimper.
The year was either 1957 or 1958 (you can tell I am feeling my age of 79.7). I was attending St. Meinrad Seminary High School with about 250 other young aspirants to the Roman Catholic Priesthood. The place was St. Meinrad Archabbey and School, http://www.st.meinrad.edu and the occasion was the end of Summer semester. My parents, whom I remember as never complaining because they had to drive 70 miles from Vincennes, Indiana (my home) to St. Meinrad, Indiana, picked me up early one May morning. I had packed all my things and was more than eager to meet them and make the drive home. On the way home, I noticed that there was a new road over some recently dug strip mining countryside. What struck me was the road buckled up and down as well as from side to side, as the land settled from all that mining. We finally made it home. Whenever I come from a big institution like St. Meinrad to my home, and walk in the front door, I am struck at how tiny my home has become That last less than a day and then I adjust to reality. As soon as I entered the door of my home, I realized that I had left some of my clothes and other stuff in my downstairs locker at St. Meinrad. I remember being flush with embarrassment at having to ask my Dad if we could go back and get it. Without such as a deserved comment about my stupidity, he said, “Get in the car, you can practicing driving on the way to St. Meinrad. Let’s have some time together.” My immediate thought was, “What a good Dad I have! I promise that, if I ever get in this situation with another person, I will not seek to put them down but cheerfully take them where they want to go.”
I have never forgotten his life lesson, a transforming type of experience that continues to inform how I act towards others. As my thoughts progressed (remember, all of this happened in less than a second), other life events came to mind, one of which was my introduction to Lay Cistercian spirituality. Although I am a professed Lay Cistercian (five years of fidelity to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus), I will always be a novice at moving from self to God. I am grateful for all of the practices and charisms of the Cistercian spirituality which helps me focus. It is Christ, however, who gives the issue.
All of us are defined by our choices we have made.
Choices we will make are informed by choices we have made.
Unlike other animals, we have both reason and the ability to choose. We learn what is good and bad for us.
Loving others as Christ loves us means we must try to have in ourselves the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
Heaven is all about linking ourselves with Christ, who is linked with all those who do God’s will.
In a recent Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5), the following thoughts emerged. I am still trying to decipher what it all means, but I wish you share it with you.
These are waste products that come from living a life without dusting or cleaning out your spiritual life. Christ is the broom, but you must sweep your house to make it clean. For a hint, read Chapter 4 of St. Benedict’s Rule. https://christdesert.org/prayer/rule-of-st-benedict/chapter-4-the-tools-for-good-works/
Christianity is about doing, doing Christ.
Where I am in my spiritual journey is not where I expected to be at this point in my life. The first part of my life (from birth to my profession as a Lay Cistercian at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist), in Conyers, Georgia.) I might characterize as keeping the Laws of the Church. The better I keep the laws, the more I am like Christ. With my introduction to Cistercian spirituality, with its stress on personal prayer and contemplation using silence, solitude, work, prayer, in the context of community, I am slowing moving into a new beginning (that is quite a feat for a broken-down, old temple of the Holy Spirit.) More and more, the word “abandonment to the will of Christ” trickles into my daily Lectio Divina devotions (Philippians 2:5). I say that because Philippians 2:5-12 speaks of abandonment in terms of emptying of self to fill it with something new. This is the new paradigm of my life, the all consuming fire in my heart which only grows in enlightenment and intensity when I sit quietly on a park bench in the dead of winter and get rid of all that the World says is important in relationships or through language. Abandonment to self to be able to have an increased capacity for Christ (capacitas dei) demands focus, sustainability, daily seeking God where I am, and fidelity to prayer and practices of Lay Cistercian spirituality.
The context of my life journey to seek God is my eighty years (so far) of struggling to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). I am not there yet, nor do I ever expect to attain fulness of knowledge and love. Profound love for me comes only from placing myself in the presence of Christ and waiting for my friend to sit down next to be and just be. That being, far from just an object to be encountered one to another person, as Martin Buber states in his theory of being, I-Thou and I -It. http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/buber.html Contemplation is placing myself in a context where I can have an I-Thou relationship with the being of Christ. How can this happen? As with all mysteries of faith, my awareness is still unfolding, in process of becoming something about which I have no experiences, an abandonment of logic, words, human values of the World, all just to be in the presence of the Real Christ, the pearl of great price. Contemplation has morphed for me into an emptying of self each day to be able to fill up in me what is lacking. It is the ontic possibility of the manifestibility of all being encountered. My reflections about reality are now not formed by language, words, concepts, worldly values, the seven deadly sins, but simply by placing myself purposefully (prayer) in the presence of Being. Notice the upper case “B”?
THE PRESENCE OF BEING AND BEING PRESENT TO BEING
The implication of this approach, gradually revealed through time and patience, are that my being is in the presence of the center of all that is, The Supreme Being, or the person we call God. What happens when we do sit on a park bench in the dead of winter waiting for the Lord as sentinels wait for the dawn, to quote the Psalmist? I actually don’t know, since I am not sure of particulars, but I do get a sense of what it means from the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ, highlighted in the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent. The Transfiguration passages are inserted for a reason, as are all the stories about Christ. This Gospel gives us a glimpse of Christ as he really is. Peter, James and John were overcome by fear when they saw this, as we will be when we gaze upon the face of Christ. We will never see the face of the Father because our human nature can not stand in the presence of God. Yet, we are adopted sons and daughters of the Father and heirs to his kingdom. What can this mean? Christ came to be our intercessor, our good will ambassador with the Father. I am beyond worrying about what all this means. I am content to sit in silence and solitude on a park bench in the dead of Winter and wait for Christ to sit next to me. (Yes, God is everywhere.)
What I think happens is, when I am in the presence of pure energy, pure knowledge, pure love, pure service, Christ alone is my mediator, my mentor. My human nature absorbs energy from the greater nature, divine. No need for words at this deepest level of intimacy. Person to person, but with a difference. The one person is Christ, Son of God, Savior, and the other person is me, sinful, in need of God’s mercy, bound by time and space of the physical and mental universes, but at the same time, unlimited by Christ’s love and care for me. Reflect on the Transfiguration Moment.
|Matthew 17 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) The Transfiguration 17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I[a] will make three dwellings[b] here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.|
THE TOWER OF BABEL: At the Root of Original Sin
What follows are my conclusions and reflections on reality as I see it now. Genesis 1-2 tells us about those deep, dark archetypes that lurk in the collective human consciousness down through the ages. When asking myself the question, “Why all the confusion of ideas in our days? Why the mess humans have made of environment, the freedom to choose, and human reasoning?” a clue might be found in Genesis 9:1-9, the story of the Tower of Babel. After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, there were a series of incidents in Scripture to identify how humans fared after the Fall. First Cain killed Abel, then there was Noah and the Flood, the Covenant with the People, the one people as descendents of Noah and finally, the great flood where God caused a confusion of tongues. Why are these particular stories written for generations to ponder?
All Scriptures are linked together, even if we don’t quite know how it fits together. Brother Michael O.C.S.O. told us in retreat a few years back that Scriptures are love letters from God. He chastises those who break the Law in the Old Testament but he always forgives and has mercy on the people. The Tower of Babel story might well fit the confusion and the self-righteousness of the individual with which we find ourselves in each age, but particularly in this age. The story points out that there is one people and one language but God Himself causes a diversity of tongues so that people could not finish building the city to the heavens. Don’t you find that strange that God doesn’t want humans to complete building the city of God? Like all mythic stories of the collective human consciousness, what is real is hidden behind ordinary, human experiences. The story of Babel could be viewed as the natural progression of cultures and evolution, the way humans spread out from the one seed, Adam and Eve, proliferating throughout the world. This might be true, but might there be a deeper meaning, a fatal flaw in human existence, a darker meaning to the movement of human reasoning and choice than is first perceived. Might this story be a clue to our own absurd obsession of building our own city of God instead of abandoning our wills and following the will of the Father?
In my Lectio Divina, one morning at 2:30 a.m. (yes, I dream my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5), I came up with the Tower of Babel story as being a perfect paradigm for what is happening today in the world around me. I thought about my being on my favorite park bench in the dead of winter and waiting for Christ to visit. It occured to me that this is like the Tower of Babel story, not just a fairy tale but one that has implications for my own contemplation grow from self to God. I thought about what language I am using to communicate with Christ as I wait. Quite naturally, English. God does speak English, doesn’t he? I want him to come so I can relinquish my responsibility to take up my own cross each day and abandon myself to do God’s will each day. I want to control the agenda so that, if I sit on the park bench and wait for Christ, I am sure he will come and talk to me. After all, he is everywhere and he said, “Come to me all you who are heavily burdened and I will refresh you.” Do you see what I am doing? I am speaking in a language where I control God. I pray, therefore God must respond. God speaks through me if I do good works. The Tower of Babel is the seduction of our mind and will to think that I can build a city of God in my image and likeness. Contemplation means I abandon all things to see Christ where I am and when I am. I use silence and solitude to set myself apart from the World so that I can be present to the source of pure love. Faith alone can allow me the energy to do this. My product is loving others as Christ loves us.
CONFUSION OF TONGUES IN MY REALITY
The more I think about it, the more I can identify those languages that I use in everyday living some of them leading to being one with Christ and others not so much. You may not notice it, but there are a multitude of languages spoken. Language is a set of words with specific meaning known to those who comprehend the assumptions behind those words. I only speak English and don’t consider myself an expert in that language. I like to write my thoughts down in English, but those who don’t speak the language don’t know what I am saying, even if they hear it. Remember Christ telling people that “seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear?” They knew the language that Christ used and the words but were not able to see deeper into the parable.
Here are some types of language:
THE LANGUAGE OF GOD
God doesn’t need a language in the same way he doesn’t need Faith. He is Faith. He is the language–pure love, and pure energy. We need help from Christ (divine and human nature) to show us how to love others as He has loved us. This is the language of contemplation, abandoning self with all the human trappings of fame, fortune, adulation, relationships, and honors for the good we do. God speaks simplicity, silence and solitude in the midst of the complexities of the world
One of the great challenges for me before I pass over to the next reality of heaven is, why is it so difficult for other languages to speak God? Why can’t the great scientists grasp the great mystery of being and are afraid or can’t look at the one place Steven Hawking could not look. Why? He is certainly intelligent enough. He did not speak the language.
THE THREE ARE ONE: The paradox of God.
Reality, in my view, is made up of three distinct universes, the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Each of them is separate yet inseparable. Each of them contains a language separate from the other. The three are one (sound familiar?). The first two universes, in which we have our platform for discovering the purpose of life and, within that, our particular purpose, has the natural law as its default principle. We call that “The World” because humans begin to value those things that are good but also worship the golden calf of false gods. They make laws which other people follow. I live in this reality and The next reality
My own reflection on reality has led me to explore the language of God using different assumptions. This is what I have garnered from my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) about why so many people don’t see what seems obvious to those with Faith. At this point in my journey, I don’t care if you believe me or not. I do care that you explore the depths of your Faith with the tools of contemplation in Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict. Three dimensions of the language of God stand out for me as I seek God wherever I am.
If you look at this Youtube blog, you will gain some understanding of why the language of Mathematics is so exciting and valuable to finding out the make up of matter, time, and energy. The more we know about the physical universe, using the tools of the mental universe, the greater humans can discover who they are and what they will become. The problem comes when you introduce spirituality into the mix. The assumption is all universes must use the same language and measurements. All the assumptions of the physical universe and human investigation of what is and how it is are of the physical universe only.
My thinking leads me to think that Jesus came down to show us a third universe, one which would not be understood by those in the Old Testament or the New Testament upon to the present age. He could not describe it as it really is because humans were, and are still, incapable of knowing God as He truly is. We see God through Christ, the Son of the Father. St. Paul sees it as looking through a foggy glass. This spiritual universe is voluntary in keeping with reason and the ability to choose. The spiritual universe is unscientific. My view of the spiritual universe is that when God came to become human (Luke 1) there was a polar shift in time and space. Unlike the polar shifts that have happened to the Earth in times past, the shift is of the whole spiritual universe. Up becomes down, what is logical somehow is the opposite of what makes sense. This is the Christ Code, given to those who have gathered together in the Faith of the Universal Church. This code is not hidden, but is actually there for all to use, if they know how. The World doesn’t know about this code or how to use it. Upon Baptism we are given this code tattooed on our hearts. It is the sign of contradiction, the ultimate paradox that is the cross and the resurrection to new life that keeps reminding us that to gain our life, we must lose it, to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, we must serve others, to live life fully as a human, we must die to self to rise with Christ to claim our inheritance as adopted sons and daughters of the Father. When people can’t agree on this or that about Christ, I just keep silent and marvel as the confusion of thoughts and tongues.
Before Christ, the World was the norm and Israel was the norm in learning how to love God. Keep the laws of God perfectly and I will be your God. The history of the Old Testament recounts the frustration that the Prophets had with a stiff-necked people who easily turned to stone idols. History records ten of the twelve tribes were assimilated into the general populace of Syria. This indicates, on a rather broad scale, how Israel needed to be whole again, once again with Twelve Tribes, and needing a champion to lead them to the New Jerusalem. Christ came to redeem not only Israel from its folly but to make it whole again. An indication of this is found in the story of the Eleven Apostles, the new tribes of the New Jerusalem. To be whole again, the Israel of God must be whole. The Messiah would be one to restore Israel to the way, with the truth, so they could have life and fulfill its destiny.
The Tower of Babel continues to be real and a stumbling block to each age. The confusion of tongues is not just about a particular language but, in an even deeper sense, a search for what is true. That search is made more difficult because of the confusion of words, but not only the words themselves, but our insistence that we have a right to our opinion and, of course, our opinion is right. Each person becomes a language, a stumbling block to what Christ wants to share with us about loving our neighbor. The big elephant in the room of this age is, everyone thinks they are god. To think otherwise, you must abandon yourself and accept the will of the Father and the humility of Christ. Philippians 2:5-12.
Acts 1 NRSVCE – The Promise of the Holy Spirit –
|21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place[g] in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.|
I discovered an even deeper meaning to Lectio Divina this morning. I got up early and went to feed my dog his cup of dog food, made my usual cup of Kona Roast coffee from Costco, popped in two pieces of whole wheat bread and waited. My dog, Tucker, sat dutifully at my feet looking up at me with those eyes that just begged for food. I went to the computer to begin writing (this very blog), eating my toast and drinking delicious black coffee. Concentrating on my writing, I payed little attention to Tucker but he just sat there looking at me with those eyes that pleaded for just a scrap of toast. Then it hit me. While trying to seek God wherever I am, I was seduced by my own needs for food and failed to see my dog’s plea. This situation is like Lectio Divina, in some respects. I am the dog and Christ is sitting at the computer of life (probably browsing ESPN or Fox News). I sit next to him in silence and solitude, looking mournfully at Christ with those eyes that long for just the scraps from his toast. This scenario is a great comparison to what happens in contemplation– all without words, heart to heart, longing for just one or two scraps from the bread of Heaven. Jesus doesn’t disappoint.
Pope Benedict XVI says that there is a fifth level to Lectio Divina, that of Actio or Do Something as a result of God sitting next to you sharing His Being.
MY GOAL IS NOT AS YET ATTAINABLE BUT IT IS WITHIN SIGHT
Philippians 3 NRSVCE –
|Pressing toward the Goal12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;[g] but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved,[h] I do not consider that I have made it my own;[i] but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly[j] call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. 16 Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.17 Brothers and sisters,[k] join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship[l] is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation[m] that it may be conformed to the body of his glory,[n] by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.|
Praise be the to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who will be, at the end of the ages. –Cistercian doxology
Unless you have been hiding under a blanket for the last thirty years, you have probably heard of the New One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard’s view of leadership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4VnMmSr0HM I like to think of this blog as the Sixty Second Catholic, the concentrated orange juice of contemplative spirituality. At Baptism, we receive God’s gift of Faith (concentrated orange juice). To make it happen in our hearts, we must add the waters of Baptism and the Holy Spirit to activate Faith. As good as Ken Blanchard’s books are, they won’t get us to Heaven. Faith alone with our good works will do that. (Matthew 25)
The topic is: Are You Just Waiting to Die? Here are some ideas, if this is you.
Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. –Cistercian doxology
When I made my promises as a Professed Lay Cistercian at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, I promised to seek God every day where I might be and in whatever venue I might find myself. This is a lifetime promise which I still reflect on and renew at least once per week. In order to maintain my Faith by having in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5), I have devised a spiritual plan of action that includes daily Liturgy of the Hours (Office of Readings and Morning Prayer in the AM and Evening Prayer and Compline in the PM. I began slowly and gradually progressed to four of the seven Hours that is the official, public prayer of the Church. Among other things, that means, even if I pray these ancient prayers in private, it is in union with the Church Universal. I am saved by my Faith in Christ Jesus. The Liturgy of the Hours is not for everyone. It demands substantial commitment that needs sustaining on a daily basis.
Let’s take a look at what the Church Universal is. We can pray the Liturgy of the Hours in private, but it is, along with the Eucharist, a universal prayer of the whole body of Christ, each time.
THE CHURCH MILITANT– These are the faithful who are alive now but who are baptized and received the Holy Spirit but who must continue to struggle until death. Christ walks with each of us on our journey, but he won’t let us skip being human. My grace is sufficient, He says. Grace produces God’s energy in us (Faith) and we must do what Christ taught us to be counted as one of his disciples. This Church (assembly) makes Christ present in their bodies daily and joins with Christ to give fitting honor and glory to the Father through, with, and in Christ.
THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT- Christ made it possible for us to be adopted sons and daughters of the Father. This is the Church of those whose names are written in the book of the Lamb, those judged worthy as they are judged before the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Read Matthew 25.
THE CHURCH AWAITING PURIFICATION: To get Purgatory, you must also think about the resurrection of Christ. If there is no resurrection, what we do is a colossal waste of time (my interpretation). The Resurrection is important because the reason Jesus became human was to be our redeemer. Redeemed from what? If you just live in two universes (physical and mental), you won’t get what I am about to say. It doesn’t make sense. If you live in three universe (physical, mental, and spiritual) then you get that everything in this universe is a sign of contradiction. Up is down. Right is left. This universe begins on earth when we are Baptized (given a reservation to the banquet of Forever by God) and continues on in the Kingdom of Heaven after we die. In order to sustain us in our lifetime, we are given grace by God (we eat the bread of Heaven in the Eucharist) and continue to make all things new by loving others as Christ has loved us. At some point, we all wake up and say, “Wow! Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.” The very early Church had a symbol of this statement by drawing a fish, in Greek, Ichthus. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys This awakening is sometimes termed being reborn. I like to think of it as getting a credit card from Jesus which we can use to love others as Christ loves us. No one gives out the credit card but Christ.
A PARABLE OF WOE: If you think of heaven as a restaurant and you show up for a meal there, what is the first thing the Maitre ‘D asks you? “Do you have a reservation?” If the answer is “YES”, they look for your reservation and escort you to your table. If you answer “NO” you will have to wait for a table to be opened. The second question they will ask you is “Do you have a credit card recognized by the restaurant to pay your bill? Again, you will answer either “YES” and they will seat you at table, or “NO.” If “NO,” and you only have cash, they will escort you out of the building and tell you that you should have called ahead to find out what kind of payment they accepted. They advise you to contact your family or friends and ask them to come down to the restaurant and use their credit card, provided it is one accepted by the restaurant.
WHAT I DO WHEN I PRAY
Prayer is lifting the heart and mind to God. It is seeking God wherever we are and recognizing that God is Master and Lord of the Universe. I do not limit myself to one prayer, but I do have a routine of prayer. Life becomes a prayer of reparation to the Father for the sins and failings of the Church Universal, my own shortcomings, and my prayers for the Church Purgative. 2 Maccabees 12:46 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) “46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”
I take five to ten seconds before each of the hours (Liturgy of the Hours, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline or Night Prayers) to stop and offer this for those written in my book of Life, the Church Universal, my family and friends, in reparation for my sins and to ask for God’s mercy. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12775a.htm
Simplicity is what I strive for in my contemplation and meditation.
I try to mean what I pray, when I pray the Liturgy of the Hours.
That in all things, may God be glorified. –St. Benedict
A favorite site of mine is the URL http://www.divineoffice.org. Divine Office is another name for saying the Liturgy of the Hours, like Lectio Divina is a more in-depth look at contemplation. The purpose of all of these prayers is to “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) In this segment of my Liturgy of the Hours reflections, I want you to be aware of this website because you can actually pray the Liturgy of the Hours using it. The Liturgy of the Hours goes way back in our heritage, back before the time of St. Benedict (c. 540 AD) who wrote a booklet called The Rule of St. Benedict. There are seven prayers that make up the day, Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Mid-day Prayers (3), Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer.
The site is free and you may want to sign up for it. I would encourage you to give them a generous donation to keep them on-line.
My own blog is on the Home page (right side towards the bottom). It is A Lay Cistercian Reflects on Spiritual Reality.
Questions you might want to consider, if you want to grow deeper in Christ Jesus, are:
Am I strong enough in my Faith to commit to daily reading (private or in a group) of the Liturgy of the Hours? I am fortunate to have Office of Readings and Morning prayer as well as Evening Prayer at my Church of Good Shepherd, Tallahassee, Florida.
Can I sustain my Faith on a daily basis? Too busy? Too bored? Too tired? There are a million reasons not to take up reciting the Liturgy of the Hours but only one good one to do it: He must increase and I must decrease (capacitas dei).
I like the word “pithy” because it is not common usage and sounds a bit naughty. As I use it, the word means poignant and concise. It is like drinking concentrated orange juice. Good, but you need to add water to make it taste better.
In my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) last month, while preparing to teach inmates at Wakulla Correctional Institution (Annex) near Tallahassee, Florida, I thought of how I could arrange sayings that I have actually used in helping to shape my comprehension of the contemplative practice of silence, solitude, prayer and work in the context of community. I am far from an expert in anything, much less Cistercian spirituality, but I have gleaned several nuggets that have served me well, so far on my journey to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
MEAN WHAT YOU PRAY What sounds like a no brainer is actually at the core of your contemplative prayer. Remember! Contemplative prayer is not meditation, but rather, in silence and solitude, just sitting and waiting for Christ to show up. (Yes, I know God is everywhere.)
PRAY FROM BOTH THE HEART AND MIND Prayers of the mind are prescriptive prayers, such as Eucharist, the Rosary, Liturgy of the Hours. You read what is written for you.That is why you must take the initiative to mean what you pray. Pray slowly, deliberately, savour the words
PRAY AS THOUGHT EVERYTHING DEPENDS UPON GOD (IT DOES), AND WORK AS THOUGH EVERYTHING DEPENDS UPON YOU (IT DOES). When you pray, realize that God doesn’t need your prayer, but you need God’s energy to sustain you in prayer. Scripture tells us no one can say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit.
PRAY AS YOU CAN Brother Michael, O.C.S.O. taught our Lay Cistercian class of Juniors that we should look for ways to pray that are part of every day living. He is trying to lead us to seeking God in daily living where we are. It is an awareness of life itself and how each day is its own beginning and end. As you see above, our work can transform not only ourselves but those around us. Matthew 25.
CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER MEANS YOU SIT ON A PARK BENCH IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER AND LONG TO SIT NEXT TO CHRIST. I love this photo of a cold day. Why a cold day? For me, this represents the World around me, the effects of Original Sin, that my spirituality will always be contained in a place whose default is the secular state. Because I have the ability to reason and also have the ability to make choices that affect who I am, I must work to keep myself warm as I sit and wait for Christ.
REFLECTIONS OF A SEEKER
When reading the book The Cistercian Way, by the late, great Cistercian Abbot, Dom Andre Louf, O.C.S.O., he impressed upon me the need to continuously move from self to God. It is not so much as one action, one time, but a mindset that you have with you all day and every day. I must admit to being a bit confused about how to do this, when I first read about it seven years ago. Since then, the Holy Spirit has been very gentle with me. Gradually, very slowly, I found myself thinking differently and so behaving differently. I tried to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus every day (Philippians 2:5), and I must confess to being more interested to the time I spent on Contemplating the Heart of Christ than just abandoning myself and trusting that Christ would give me what He wanted. What changed for me is that I went from trying to do all those steps in doing Lectio Divina (lectio, oratio, meditatio, and contemplatio) and started praying them naturally. It took time, but daily fidelity to my prayer life and constantly coming back to my center (Philippians 2:5) each and every time actually changed the level of peace in my heart. Peace was not just the absence of conflict (the definition of the World) but the presence of the Love of Christ inside. I could, and can, feel that peace which the World cannot give. What I kept hearing in my ear each day was, all this is a waste of time, you could better spend your time actually helping other people rather than retiring within in silence and solitude to seek God where you are, now. The archetypal drama of Genesis always comes to my mind. Satan is hard at work trying to separate me from the Love of Christ. Today, I am more aware of what is going on.
The Cistercian Way, as I understand it from the monks of Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist), is one of simplicity in prayer, seeking God where I am, daily commitment to dying to self so that I can rise to new life in Christ (moving from self to God), and moving from my false self to my true self as an adopted son of the Father to name a few. Those can be just a lot of words, but St. Benedict, in his prologue to the Rule, states that we should “listen with the ear of the Heart.” Here are ten new, behavioral, practices that are the result of my trying to move from my false self to God.
Spirituality is not the number of prayers I spend with Christ in contemplation but rather my trying to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus each and every day. It is the time that I take throughout the whole day that longs to be in the presence of Christ Jesus. It is the struggle to move from self to God and my awareness that all of this is a result of the love that Christ has for me that enables me to relax, slow down my life, realize who I am in the sight of God, to seek simplicity of purpose, and trust in the Lord.
Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology
THE SIXTY SECOND CATHOLIC:
Here are some of my thoughts from a Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) on sharing. I was thinking, as I always do, about “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5) and h
THE SIXTY SECOND CATHOLIC:
Here are some of my thoughts from a Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) on sharing. I was thinking, as I always do, about “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5) and how we are so blessed to have God share his Son with us. Here are my thoughts.
GOD SHARES LOVE WITH HIMSELF: The essence of God, or God’s center, is the Father loving, loving the Son. This love is so pure that it is a Person, the Holy Spirit. This is revealed to us by Christ, who took on our human to give us a glimpse of what love is.
GOD SHARE LOVE WITH US: If God suddenly appeared as a champion warrior of one race to the exclusion of other humans, it would be suspect. Love is sharing unconditionally with all humans. Christ is the love of God for all humans, a person to bridge the unattainable gulf between divine and human nature. Pontifex Maximus. God shares his essence with humans by sending his only Son, Jesus the Christ, to tell us and show us how to love others as He loves us.
GOD TEACHES US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER: Philippians 2:5-12. We can eventually come to what love is in the natural world, but it is not enough to bridge the gap so that we can love with the love of God. In the Old Testament, God spoke through Moses and the Prophets to guide the people from slavery to self to freedom from just mouthing platitudes (the Law). He did not come to destroy, but to give us life…Forever. We could not possibly comprehend nor prepare ourselves to exist in the presence of God without help. Through Christ alone, we receive adoption as sons and daughters of God the Father, and we inherit the kingdom. We know what that means through the teachings and parables of Christ.
GOD TEACHES US TO SHARE LOVE WITH ONE ANOTHER. First of all, to love as Christ loves us, we must realize that we are loved by God with the love of God and not as the World defines love. This is God sharing who He is with humans who must struggle with the imperfection of being human and the perfection of Pure Love. He chose us before the World began. Our response is called belief which closes the circle on Faith alone as only mediated through Christ. But, Faith without love is a seed that does not die to self and bear fruit. Loving is sharing this love we received with others, with our whole heart, our whole mind, all our strength and loving our neighbor as our self. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:36ff)
GOD SHARES HIS LOVE THROUGHOUT TIME THROUGH THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST God Himself gives us ways to share in His Love. In Baptism, God invites all humans to share in His love (as they are capable) In Confirmation, the Holy Spirit shares enlightenment and grace by overshadowing us throughout our lifetime. In Eucharist, we share the real Christ (God and man) under the appearance of bread and wine. In Penance, we confess our sins and receive forgiveness with our commitment not to sin again with God’s grace. In marriage, we share intimacy with husband and wife to procreate others to share in God’s love. In Holy Orders and Religious Life, we sustain all the above with persons who have given up all to follow Christ. In Anointing and Healing, we proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes in glory by sharing His love. Scriptures are the inspired love letters from Christ to give us grace, pure energy, and enlightenment.
GOD IS PRESENT TO ME IN MY HEART, SHARING LOVE WITH ME AS I HAVE THE CAPACITY TO RECEIVE IT. As an individual, I look at the one I love, Jesus the Christ, and try to move from my Worldly self to that of living in the Spirit. Contemplation helps me to focus on Christ alone. I long to see Christ sitting next to me on a park bench in the dead of winter. My whole focus is on me dying to self so that I can rise to new life in Christ. I wish to grow in humility and obedience to God’s will on a daily basis, seeking fidelity to my Lay Cistercian commitment I made in before Dom Augustine, O.C.S.O., and the Lay Cistercian community of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist).
For those without Faith, all of this is nonsense. For those with Faith, I don’t need to say more.
The blessing I wish you is at the center of my view of reality, “Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
Everyone during tax season seems to be doing an audit (filing taxes), our parish just concluded an audit of their books and procedures. I wondered what it would look like if I conducted an audit on my spiritual experiences today. It would be a snapshot of where I am now in my “capacitas dei” practices of Lay Cistercians of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Trappist), not where I was or have been.
Six areas seem to pop out, when I ask the question that Christ might ask of me, “how do you love others, as I have loved you?” Remember, this is an audit of not what we have done throughout our lifetime, but what practices and charisms we use to “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) When we die, we will have accountability to Christ for our entire stewardship, what we have learned about how “to love with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole strength and our neighbor as our self.” (Matthew 22:36)
I am in a better place spiritually than I have ever been before and I don’t credit it to me but, with the use of Cistercian charisms (humility, obedience, kindness) and practices (Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, Rosary, Sacrament of Penance, Lectio Divina, Spiritual Reading from Scripture), I now just begin to know the meaning of St. John the Baptist’s statement: I must decrease but He must increase. My spirituality has infected my whole well-being.
So. does God test me? I am accountable for my actions, I will be judged according to Matthew 25. I am not worried, I have spent the better part of my life just longing to sit near the heart of Christ and listen profoundly to his Being.
Praise be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who will be, at the end of the ages. —Cistercian doxology
What follows is the Canticle of Daniel’s prayer as the three where praising God in the fiery furnace. At 3:50 A.M., this Saturday morning, I awoke suddenly and started my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5). What came out was Daniel’s Canticle, but with a twist. I was updating it with what I know of Scripture, Science and Existential Phenomenology. Granted, the purpose of all contemplative prayer is to sit next to Christ and have a heart to heart chat. In the silence and solitude of this morning, here are my reflections.
May I suggest that you first read the Canticle from Daniel in Scripture.
Canticle — Daniel 3:57-88, 56
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord.
You heavens, bless the Lord.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord.
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.
Let the earth bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord.
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.
You sons of men, bless the Lord.
O Israel, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord.
Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us praise and exalt him above all forever.
Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven.
Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all forever.
What does it mean to say, “all you birds of the air, bless the Lord.” How can birds bless the Lord, they don’t have human reason? This bothered me for a long time until I had a Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) one day last year in which I thought about this: a bird blesses the Lord by being what it is, its nature is to be a bird. All creation praises God by being what it is, a creation by God containing his DNA (pure energy). Humans alone have a problem. We don’t act our nature sometimes (Adam and Eve). We have been given the gifts of human reasoning and the ability to choose, even what is bad for us. The Scriptures are stories and love letters inspired by God to help use choose wisely. They chronicle what happens when we stray from the path of righteousness (God’s will). Still, God allows us to choose poorly. With free choice comes the freedom to choose good or evil. Lucifer choose pride when he made the choice. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael all chose wisely. They reaffirmed their resonance with reality while Lucifer fell into dissonance with all that is.
What follows is the result of my Lectio Divina this morning on the Canticle of Pure Energy (God).
Bless the Lord, you time and space.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
All matter and energy, bless the Lord.
You quarks and muons, bless the Lord.
All H20 on the face of the earth, bless the Lord.
All you five continents, bless the Lord.
All you gravity and anti-gravity, bless the Lord.
Streams and rivers at the bottom of the oceans, bless the Lord. Darkness from light, bless the Lord. Light from darkness, bless the Lord.
Absolute zero, bless the Lord.
All you protons and molecules, bless the Lord.
All you elements of time, bless the Lord.
All Strong and Weak Forces, bless the Lord.
Hypernovas and black holes, bless the Lord.
Tornadoes and Hurricanes, bless the Lord.
All you scientists that seek the truth, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
All humans that know that they know, bless the Lord.
O Humans, bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
All Being, bless the Lord.
I and Thou, bless the Lord
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Let us praise and exalt him above all forever.
Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven.
Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all forever.
THREE UNIVERSE: ONE REALITY
In my view of reality, there is such a thing as pure energy, that is, God is 100% of His nature. The Trinity is so powerful, so beyond the language of humans with just their human nature that St. Thomas Aquinas says we are never able to comprehend God with human reasoning or logic. The Mystery of Faith is that Jesus came to give us parables and stories so that we could use our own frame of reference to just glimpse the greatness of what awaits us. God created humans from all other life forms so that they could have the ability to reason and also the ability to choose that which they reasoned as meaningful and truth. Unfortunately for humans, Adam sinned (missed the point of what it means to be of a human nature) and thus we are burdened to live in a world with death. Everything has a beginning and an end. Everything corrupts and doesn’t last. Chapter 5 of Romans is about Christ being the second Adam and redeeming us from sin (but not its effects). That is why Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. We are adopted sons and daughters of the Father and brother to Christ. We are temples of the Holy Spirit to carry the living Christ to our immediate world by loving others as Christ loves us.
PHYSICAL UNIVERSE:Think about this: why are we able to know that the most powerful energy in the physical universe, the hypernova can obliterate us, but it does not have the ability to know who we are or that we even exist? Why is that?
MENTAL UNIVERSE:Why it is that, of all living things, we have reason for a reason and the ability to choose? Choose what? Why can we go to McDonald’s to order a 2 for 3 dollar meal and my dog can’t? (He can eat it, but not order it or pay for it.) Why is that?Like Adam and Eve, the archetypal first humans, we can also choose to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2-3). Why is that?
SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE: Why is it that Christ alone had to become one of us (Philippians 2:5-12) to show us the way, because reason alone was incapable of grasping the Mystery of Faith? Faith comes only from God; believe comes only from us. They are two sides of the same coin.
These three questions are at the heart of three universe of reality. Not everyone believes in three universes–the spirit (they only believe in the physical and mental universes –the world). For people who only live without Christ as the center of their lives, spirituality and contemplation do not make sense. Actually, they do not. The Spiritual universe is , at its heart, the sign of contradiction:
With the Psalmist, we can proclaim that the folly of God is wiser than all the wisdom of all the people who have, and who ever will live.
Look at the photo of the cup in the window. What are the three universes of reality in this picture? How does Christ fit into the picture of reality?
I must admit to having trouble focusing on Christ, an acquired skill. I can think of Christ for a while, but my spiritual attention span is minutes, if not seconds. What has helped me is my introduction to Cistercian Spirituality, in terms of contemplative charisms and practices.
By charisms, I mean those qualities that put me in touch with my inner self, “The Place No On Wants to Look.” Silence, solitude, work, prayer, and community. Practices are those things which I use to place my heart next to the heart of Christ and just wait. Granted that Christ is everywhere, the problem is, I am not always focused to listen with the “ear of the heart” as St. Benedict writes in the Prologue to his Rule.
What follows are some of my fractured comments of my own struggle with “focus”.
This past weekend, I attended the annual retreat for Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist), Conyers, Georgia. It was a three day retreat (from Friday evening through Noon on Sunday). The theme was Praying with Mary, a topic of great importance and also of great interest, as I meditate on Philippians 2:5, my personal center for all that exists.
During the next several blogs, I will attempt to write down some of the ideas I gleaned from the retreat. I must confess that my memory is not what it once was and I have trouble remembering what was said in the talks. Please be patient with the foibles of a broken-down, old, Lay Cistercian trying to seek God where he find him each day.
One of my behavioral changes, as I become more in tune with Cistercian spirituality, is the notion of speed. Everything has a beginning and and an end. Everything! My retreat had a beginning and an end. My life has a beginning and an end. When I look at contemplative prayer, most especially the Cistercian practices in which I participated in my retreat, I was struck by the slowness of prayers. The monks take their time in chanting the Divine Office, offering the gift of Christ in Eucharist to the Father, meditating on the life of Christ in the Rosary, and, most noticeably, the silence and solitude of Lectio Divina once daily.
Listen to the Gregorian chant by the monks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbE92dFGG50
Did you notice that they are VERY slow in their singing, pausing frequently. This is deliberate, after all, all they do is praise God as their primary purpose in life.
Here are some of the tips about prayer that I learned from the monks.
Praise be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who will be, at the end of the ages. —Cistercian doxology
As you know, if you have tried to focus on the Lectio part of Lectio Divina, thoughts can sometimes come out of left field for a second and then disappear into the blackness. Here are some of my thoughts that I had and cast them onto Christ, as St. Benedict says in his Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict.
WONDER IF… Mary, upset with the fact that she was having a baby that was not Joseph’s, and fearful of being stoned, had an abortion?
WONDER IF… Jesus did not rise from the dead, but was a great hoax from followers who did not want to lose their power?
WONDER IF… The Real Presence of Christ is only a remembrance of the mind, much like July 4th, and not the same Christ in heaven who is real?
WONDER IF… We don’t die to self in order to have the grain of wheat die and bear fruit?
WONDER IF… Saint Peter, distraught at denying Christ three times, committed suicide, like Judas?
WONDER IF… St. Benedict, like other bands of roving monks, did not write his Rule and stabilize the monastic movement in 540 AD?
WONDER IF… There was no St. Bernard of Clairvaux who reformed the Rule of St. Benedict?
WONDER IF… There was no Martin Luther, who gave the Church Militant a wake up call to return to “having in you the mind of Christ Jesus?”
WONDER IF… Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta did not rise above her terrible doubts of faith during her lifetime and gave in to the temptation of letting the poor die without the presence of Christ with them?
WONDER IF… Your grain of wheat fell on rocky soil, you lost your Faith, your heritage, and you ended up not knowing what do did not know about loving God with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole self and love our neighbor as ourselves? Would your life be lifeless? It doesn’t have to be wasted.
This topic is like walking in quicksand. If I am talking with my wife, of course, she is more important because she is more present to me (and, I would get killed if I said otherwise). If I am honest with what I believe about the purpose of life and my purpose in that purpose, I must defer to what St. Benedict says in Chapter 4: “prefer nothing to the love of Christ”.
In my world of reality, putting God means I put my wife first. Think about it. If I seek God where I am, and where I choose to live out my life is in the marriage covenant, then putting God first gives me the energy from God (Faith) to love others as Christ loves me.
Think about it. If I try to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5), I do that by respecting those around me.
If I try to love God with all my heart, and soul, and all my strength, then I try to move from my false selfishness to allow Christ to grow in me (capacitas dei). When I do that, I am at resonance with reality and not in dissonance.
If I struggle with living out my Cistercian charisms and practices as I promised at my lifetime profession, in humility, I must recognize that the default in which in life is THE WORLD, and I said I would live my life IN THE SPIRIT.
The words of Christ come to mind, “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all things will be given to you besides.”
This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of presenting my thoughts on contemplative spirituality to some of the inmates of Wakulla Correctional Institution-Annex. This is part of a series I am writing on the Foundations of Contemplative Spirituality, using what I have gained so far from Cistercian monks at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, Georgia. I was asked to conduct a series of sessions on Contemplative Prayer. Having written 67 books on the subject, and donating them to as many prisons who will have them, they are my reflections as a Lay Cistercian on how to seek God where you are using contemplative charisms and practices.
All of these thoughts come as a result of my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) meditations and sometimes contemplation.
So far, we have had four sessions in the series of twelve (one per month). I would like to share with you some of the lessons or take-aways that I am presenting to the prisoners. Here are my thoughts:
Everything that is or was has a beginning or an end, be it the “big bang” or you life. Why is that?
The most powerful energy in the universe is the hyper-nova (at least that we can detect), yet we know about hyper-novas and they don’t know about us. so, who or what is more powerful? Why is that?
Animals, plants, all matter, has a beginning and an end. What happens between that span of time we call reality? Why is there life on the earth and not an organic molecule anywhere else?
Of all that exists, molecules, gases, Neutron Stars, animals, plants, only the human species knows that it knows. Why is that?
why do humans have the ability to reason and to make choices beyond the natural law? Every other living thing is tied to nature and humans seem to have some collective purpose down the road. What is that?
We humans live or seventy or eighty years, then die. Our collective contributions in science and trying to make sense out of what the world thinks is meaningful gives us a past history where we can say this or that is meaningful. Is this our destiny? Is there anything more to life than here and now?
When you think of it, we don’t live in the past, nor do we live in the future. The past, with its choices of good or bad, defines our future. Humans have the ability to reason what is good or bad and then choose it. No other living thing can do that. Why is that?
As an individual you have the power over the NOW in your life. You have reason to be able to select good from evil for you, then choose a direction.
SKILL ONE: Learn to see reality in three’s: the physical universe, composed of you and everything NOW or in the past. It is our platform for the next universe, the mind. Only humans live in this universe because only humans know that they know. Why it that? Then, there is the logical conclusion to all of this, the spiritual universe. This is God’s playground. Everything that is can be seen in terms of these three universes.
SKILL TWO: Building on three universes, we go deeper. There are two dimensions of reality: THE WORLD, (composed on two universes, the physical and the mental). We take meaning from ourselves and what we think is good or bad, influenced by our upbrings from mom and dad, society, etc… THE SPIRIT, or those who use their reason and ability to choose to go deeper into reality to be able to listen profoundly to what God tells us is the purpose of life and how we can be fully human. Another way to think of it is, we only get to Heaven, not because of any works or money that we have, but only by invitation. We call that Faith, for lack of a better term, but it actually is God accepting us as his very own adopted sons and daughter and inviting us to share in the purpose for which Adam and Eve were created (Genesis 2-3) but then lost it through pride.
SKILL THREE: You must live each day as a complete lifetime, which means you start every day at zero. Contemplative thinking means you use charisms and practices to help you and God are friends and you listen profoundly to what is said to you (it means you listen and God talks to you through Christ and the Holy Spirit) and then make it happen.
SKILL FOUR: If you are a room, you must make space for Christ to visit you. Are you are spiritual horder? What does your room look like? Have you thrown away all those things in your past that have been bad choices and poor judgements? You don’t want to ask God into your room with it being full of garbage. The World and its false promises of power, fame, fortune and meaning lead us astray. We must struggle to clean out our room and make it presentable to Christ each day.
SKILL FIVE: If your room is cluttered, you must make the effort to transform it by putting in good works and getting rid of the garbage. What is garbage? “The seven Heavenly Virtues are Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility and they oppose the Seven Deadly Sins of Wrath (Anger), Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony.” This process of transformation is ongoing and demands much fortitude and strength of will. Only with the help of Christ can we hope to sweep clean our room of its clutter and prepare the way for the Lord. Faith alone can help us to overcome the effects of Original Sin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG4VF0jU568
Cistercian writers, as found in The Cistercian Way, written by the late Dom Andre Louf, O.C.S.O., speak of a false self (the Seven Deadly Sins) and a true self (the seven Heavenly Virtues). Each day, we must struggle to “have in us the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) St. Benedict, in his Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict gives us the tools of good works to help sweep out our room of its clutter. https://christdesert.org/prayer/rule-of-st-benedict/chapter-4-the-tools-for-good-works/
“20 Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way;
21 the love of Christ must come before all else.
22 You are not to act in anger
23 or nurse a grudge.
24 Rid your heart of all deceit.
25 Never give a hollow greeting of peace
26 or turn away when someone needs your love.
27 Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false,
28 but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”
Skill Six: To clean out your room, transform yourself from your false self to your true self. Each day, pray Chapter 4 with the aim of becoming what you pray. Every day! The key here is to become what you pray. Believe me, it is not easy to sustain this prayer every day. At first, I noticed no difference and Satan kept telling me that you are wasting your time. I kept think of what St. Benedict said to do, “20 Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; 21 the love of Christ must come before all else.
As time went on, I noticed slight but definite behavioral changes in how much I was at peace inside. This is not the peace the World gives. Peace of Christ is not the absence of conflict but the presence of love. The road to transformation is challenging and not all can persevere in continuity. To those who do, you receive the reward of Christ saying to you, “Come, share your Lord’s joy.”
Skill Seven: Learn the skill of profound listening. Profound listening is using silence and solitude to place yourself in the presence of Christ, asking the Holy Spirit to be with you,
Skill Eight: Pray as you can. Contemplate as you can. Stay grounded in Christ in all things.
More to come as the inmates and I explore what it means to seek God where you are using Cistercian charisms (humility and obedience) and practices.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology
My Lectio Divina for Christmas Day (Philippians 2:5) takes me to a place I have never entered. We throw around the word, Peace is such a cavalier way that it almost becomes like eating oatmeal without the sugar and a dab of butter for flavor.
This is the day when we don’t just think about what Christ did for us, but actually have in us the mind of Christ Jesus. It is a time to feel again the peace that the world cannot give.
John 14:26-28 NRSVCE – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom – Bible Gateway
|26 But the Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.|
On Christmas, we not only remember that God became one of us, but also that he died, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and waits for us at the right hand of the Father, with all our loved ones. You either believe that or you don’t. St. Thomas Aquinas said, “With Faith no answer is necessary, and without Faith, no answer is possible.” Christmas is when our hearts sit on the park bench in the dead of winter and long for the coming of Christ. In Advent, we strained to have Christ fill up the potholes in our lives. Why? Like preparing to go to a fancy restaurant to eat, we dress up our behaviors to prepare to be worthy to receive the only meal that propels us to live…Forever.
At Christmas Eucharist, Christ is really present (think about that) and that same Christ gives us His body and blood to sustain us, but not only that, he gives his peace (not as the world gives peace). The peace of Christ is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of Love itself in our hearts. God gives us, now, everything He is. When I receive that, I want to share it with others such as yourself. and give it to others at the sign of peace in the Eucharist. This Christmas I have been gifted by Christ and he only bids me do one thing, “love one another as I have loved you.” What a friend we have in Jesus,” as the song says.
A personal note: I have been blessed to be asked to present Cistercian spirituality (as I know it) to the prisoners at Wakula Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, Florida. This is my third presentation and, so far, they want this broken-down, old, Lay Cistercian to come back. Please pray for me, my team, the Chaplains, the guards, the prisoners and their victims so that all of us have the peace of Christ in our hearts “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever. The God who is, who was and who is to come at the end of the ages. –Cistercian doxology
My Lectio Divina has transported me to many unusual places. This is a recent one. My Lectio is always Philippians 2:5, but, when meditating (meditatio), I find that recent events pop into my consciousness (or is that unconsciousness?) I was recently talking with a widower and a widow about their recent loss of their spouse. Mainly, I just listen.
They were talking about the big hole left in their lives by the death of their wife/husband. Think about it.
What fills the holes?
Advent is a time to make the rough ways straight and fill in the potholes of life. One of these potholes is the death of a loved one. You realize that alcohol won’t fill the hole, nor will you find that if cry your eyes out each night when others cannot see you, your loneliness still won’t go away.
Those that have religion can take some comfort from being with others at their church. It won’t fill the hole completely or take away your loss.
Only people can fill the hole, like getting a new puppy after your aging dog has died after sharing with you many years of companionship. The loss of another human can be filled by spiritually having a companion that is real and one you can talk to about how you feel and advice on how to continue to love and learn from what life has to give.
Contemplative spirituality, with its stress on not only thinking about the one you love but feeling their presence, is one way to begin to fill that hole. You may find that you can never completely fill that hole, or that as soon as you fill it, you find it empty again. For me, Advent is a time to fill potholes with the only filler that endures, Christ Jesus. I find that the more I try to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5), the more peaceful I am inside.
I recommend that, in silence and solitude, you concentrate on trying to fill your holes with love and peace. It is good to remember that peace is not just the absence of conflict, but the presence of love. Christ tells us to come to him if we labor and are heavily burdened and he will give us peace. This takes work, but so does filling a pothole in your driveway.
Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. We do that by filling in those potholes and making straight our crooked paths.
Unless the Lord builds the house, we build it in vain.
Today is All Souls Day. It might seem morbid to pray for someone who is already dead. If someone dies and is cremated, there are only ashes remaining, that is, if you don’t believe in the Resurrection. If you do hope that the words of Christ are true, that if we believe we will rise again with Christm then we actually just pass through another threshold, we don’t die.
This is significant for a proper understanding of the afterlife. If there is no Resurrection, then there is no Heaven, there are no people in Heaven or Hell, nor can we pray for the dead. Some assumptions that I make based on my belief (fides querens intellectum) faith informed by reason.
When people die, they will be judged by God according to their works. (Matthew 25:36)
People don’t die they pass through another portal or gateway into the next phase of their existence, one that is pure energy, pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service.
Christ is the great translator of what we see and feel in Heaven.
We take with us all those experiences and good deeds that we did in the name of Christ.
Heaven is forever, an eternal NOW. We call that the Mystery of Faith because it is not within our wheelhouse of experiences.
Christ came to show us how to get to Heaven and to prepare ourselves to live there.
Those that do not believe or have prepared will reap the reward of their works.
There is no sin in Heaven.
Heaven is not an entitlement of Faith but must be earned. Faith is needed for salvation but faith without works is dead.
There is only one command: love one another as I have loved you.
Life is a time when we pack our suitcase with what we will take to Heaven. What will you bring? It can’t be physical. It can be mental and spiritual.
In memorial of all the souls, who are still alive and awaiting the Last Judgement, we pray for them and ask them to pray to Christ with us as they stand before the Throne of the Lamb.
As an immutable part of living, one of the aspects we take for granted is, everything we do has a beginning and an end. Why is that? I just returned from visiting my 99.10 year old Aunt who is a Sister of Providence at Terre Haute, Indiana. https://www.smwc.edu/ I only bring this up because this flitted across my mind as I did my Lectio Divina this morning. (Philippians 2:5) I planned to visit my Aunt two months ago. I had to coordinate my schedule (one dog and two cats) and plan where my wife and I would say. I knew that we would take our Yellow Lab, Tucker, with us, and provide for our cats while we were gone for four days. Now what? We had our visit and then stayed overnight in Vincennes, Indiana to visit with my three sisters and their husbands. Now what? We returned to Nashville to stay overnight with our daughter, Martha. Now what? We took Tucker with us and returned home. Now what?
I recommend that you consider that everything we do has a beginning and an end. Then, there is the next event, task, problem, accomplishment, then what? This is the price of our mortality. We have a beginning and an end. Now what? I wrote a book of the same title. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dr.+michael+f.+conrad&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss
THE PARABLE OF THE RETIRED PHYSICIAN
Once there was a young boy who dreamed of becoming a world-renowned surgeon of the brain and spinal cord. He studied hard and made the MCAT to enter Medical School. And then what?
His passion to help others drove him to levels of excellence beyond the normal student of Medicine. He entered a speciality of brain surgery and was apprentice for five years with some of the most innovate surgeons in the country. His fame spread so much that he had a waiting list of sometimes six months for his specialized surgery. And then what?
He was acclaimed by the top schools of Medicine for his achievements and was sought out by other physicians who would learn from him as he had once learned from his mentors. And then what?
He continued to do good and help heal people for many, many years. Old age caught up with him and he retired from surgery and just did consultation. And then what?
With advancing age, he was forced to give up his practice of Medicine and stayed at home all day. No one came to see him. No one asked his advice on how to clean a carpet, much less brain surgery. And then what?
He and his wife traveled to many locations and attended musical venues in his retirement. And then what?
He died at an advanced age, surrounded by his family, loved ones and fortified by the Last Rites of the Catholic Church. And then what?
Unless you are a person who hs no television and does not know what Google means, you will recognize the sayings: Be All You Can Be, and, The Few. The Proud. A Marine.
These statements suggest that, if you belong to the Army or are a Marine, you are special, elite, set apart from the ordinary mortals who populate this planet.
In one of my Lectio Divina meditations, I went through my Lectio (Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus–Philippians 2:5)) and came out the other end of the rabbit hole thinking about the exclusivity that some people wrap themselves in. Read what the Scripture says about those who think they are the norm for righteousness rather than Christ.
Luke 18 NRSVCE – The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector9 “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
|I think of this passage whenever I am tempted to believe that salvation comes through me and not Christ. There seem to be two different ways to look at salvation:|
1. SALVATION BY ENTITLEMENT. I have been gifted by God with salvation because of my Baptism. I am entitled to salvation because I am Baptized and no matter what I do, I am automatically saved by the blood of the Lamb. I get on the conveyor belt of time, can do any sin without consequences, and get off the belt when I get to Heaven. No judgment by God. No problem if I die in a state of sin. No consequences or reparation for my sins.
2. SALVATION BY GRACE. I have been gifted by God with salvation because of my Baptism but, because of Original Sin, I need the constant and daily conversion of my false self to my new self. This doesn’t depend on God (God gives us His Grace) but upon me. Read Matthew 25:36. The message of the Good News is salvation was won by the redemption of Christ. We participate in that act of redemption by loving others as Christ loves us. We share in the act of salvation by sharing the gifts we receive from God in terms of what we do for others, e.g., if you want mercy, you must give mercy to others.
We are not entitled to salvation, it is a gift, as is Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Forgiveness of Sins, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. Christ tells us to share peace with others, by taking up our cross daily and following Him.
There is the last judgment where we will all be judged by our works, our stewardship of the gift of Baptism. If we do nothing with our Faith (not belief) from God but put it under the mattress, it is like the steward that buried his Master’s money and had no interest to give to his Master upon being asked for his accounting.
St. Benedict tells us in Chapter 4 of His rule “These are the tools of spiritual craft. When we have used them without ceasing day and night and have returned them on judgment day, our wages will be the reward the Lord has promised: What the eye has not seen nor ear heard, God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9).
My take-away from this is that I must love others as Christ has loved us. That means work on my part. Chapter 4 of the Rule helps give me the perspective that keeps my Faith from being anemic, so much cotton candy that tastes good but has no substance.
Humility keeps each of us from the danger of thinking we are exclusive, as the story of the Pharisee above. Humility and the notion of entitlement are mutually exclusive thinking that I am owed heaven because I have been baptized. True, Baptism is necessary for salvation, but let God judge those who are not baptized, not you.
I write this because my Lectio Divina this week took me to a place where the Scriptures said even Jesus could not work miracles because of their lack of Faith.
What comes first my belief or Faith? Scriptures also teaches us that no one can say “Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit”. (I Corinthians 12:3) Faith is first because it is a gift from God, one that be given, one that be taken away (reference the Book of Job). The coin of Faith has two sides: one side is the gift of adoption as sons and daughters of the Father, one that allows us to proclaim Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father; the second side is our assent to that Faith by doing what the Lord commanded. And what did He command? Love one another as I have loved you.
John 13:34-35[Full Chapter]
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Church, or assemblies of believers, practices that by having in them the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).
We are guided by our teaching authority (those officially authorized as head of the body in Church Universal, our dioceses, our religious communities). Just as Christ is the head of the Church, so those to whom he has entrusted his Kingdom of Heaven on Earth share in leadership with Christ, the Good Shepherd. All of us (except Christ and Mary, His mother) are sinners. It is only because the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary (Faith) and she uttered her Magnificat (Belief) that she is without sin (she still suffered the effects of sin, e.g., a sword of sorrow would pierce her Heart at what would happen to her Son, and she had to die.)
Matthew 8 NRSVCE – Jesus Cleanses a Leper –
The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” 10 When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one[d] in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
Below are some situations and reasons why people leave the Church.
Christ gives us two ways to energize our Faith: Eucharist and Making All Things New. If you think you are entitled to go to Heaven because you happened to be Baptized, if you think loving others as Christ loves us is a waste of time, if you think you can get on the conveyor belt of Faith without taking up your cross daily and following Christ, then your Faith is in danger of becoming irrelevant. You may believe but your belief has no roots, like eating cotton candy. It tastes good at the time but there is no nutrition.
Be careful of what you believe.
One of my spiritual directors told me that I needed to keep growing in Christ Jesus every day in order to sustain my faith, hope, and love. Growing can mean many things, but I had a Lectio Divina meditation on it the other day and this is what I discovered (Philippians 2:5).
I thought about my orange tree in my front yard and how the fruit is beginning to turn orange from its natural green. The tree must be good this year because we have 80+ oranges on it so far. This reminds me of my faith. I must do something to cultivate this tree (my faith) so that it does what it is created to be– to bear fruit. I thought about how I am created to love God with my whole heart, my whole mind, and my whole strength and love my neighbor as myself. (Matthew 22:34) To keep my fruit growing, I must water the tree, give it fertilize, keep off the bugs and protect it when the limbs break off from too much weight. If I don’t help the plant (my faith) by cultivating it, it will not produce fruit.
FROM THEN TO NOW
Six years ago (which seems like only yesterday), I began my journey as a Lay Cistercian at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (Trappist) in Conyers, Georgia. I had always had a desire to become a contemplative monk, either Benedictine or Trappist, but that did not work out. When I got the chance to apply for admission as a novice as a Lay Cistercian, I did it with the understanding that they may not approve of me or I might not like it. This is called discernment, a process of discovery and growth. Look back on that initial meeting, which is like looking back at your wedding pictures, I realized that I am not the same person. Physically, I may be the same, but mentally, I have been exposed to ideas and experiences that have made me better, stronger, more peaceful, more powerful in knowing who I am and my purpose in life (see above).
When I first began my journey as a Lay Cistercian, I had no history against which to measure myself. I thought of silence and solitude as being an individual thing and pictured myself alone, in adoration before the Eucharist. That has not happened to me, but something else that is wonderful did. I applied silence and solitude to where I found myself each day as I lived in the World. My growth, as suggested by the many sessions on Cistercian contemplative spirituality that we had together in a Gathering Day each month, was that I was an individual but not alone. I was in silence and solitude IN THE MIDST OF A COMMUNITY of like-minded people who also tried to have in them the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). What I began to see what that the Holy Spirit in each of these individual Lay Cistercians was helping shape my own way to approach the Mystery of Faith. Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict suggests tools to help with good works. These tools are not the end but only the means to an end–Christ must grow and I must decrease. To do that, I needed to purposefully make room (capacitas dei) for God in my mind and heart each day. I seek God each day as a part of a larger group of believers, even though I am not present to them. I am a part of them but not apart from them. If you extend this thinking to the Church Universal, then there is but one Body, one Christ, one Faith, one Lord. As individuals, we make up the living Body of Christ on earth, in heaven, and those awaiting purification. The one but many, the sign of contradiction, the Mystery of Faith.
It is in this context of solidarity with other humans seeking the meaning of love, that I have moved from self to God. Here is what happened to me.
Whenever I try to seek God where I am, good things happen. Since the year 2000, I had been putting together a series of books on contemplative spirituality (before I became a Lay Cistercian). I have written over 60+ books since that time. The problem was, and is, what do I do with them? They are on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dr.+michael+f.+conrad&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss. I did not nor do not have the money to promote these books because of the lack of support from those closest to me. So, I am stuck with all these books. What should I do? I decided to give them away to prison libraries, libraries in churches, Newman Centers, Hospice Centers, Nursing Homes, and Independent Living Centers. I also wanted to offer to conduct a session on contemplative prayer at these places and train others to do it. Last week, I turned 79 years old, so what does this broken-down, old Lay Cistercian do with his retirement? He grows in Christ Jesus where he is at.
Last week, I met with Chaplain George of the Wakulla Correctional Institution Annex (Florida) who wanted me to give a series of talks (perhaps on-going) on the topic of contemplative prayer. You see how the Holy Spirit works for those who trust more in God and less on themselves? As St. Benedict says: that in all things, may God be glorified.
If you are interested in being a part of this outreach, either through prayer or by donating to buy books for prisons for this blog and to train others to be present to those in need, you can be a big help.
Donations accepted by the Center for Contemplative Practice:
My conclusion is actually the beginning. Where this goes I don’t know. After all, that is not up to me or you, is it?
Is there such a thing as a shibboleth of good works? What seems like a mouth full of gummy bears might actually have some importance for contemplative practice.
THE TOWER OF BABLE
It would be easier to be tossed into the proverbial briar patch of religious concepts than it would be to untangle the Gordian Knot surrounding these two words, “good works.” Depending on which side of the Catholic or Protestant Reformation you find yourself, it is indeed a Tower of Babel with very strongly held beliefs about its meaning on both sides. And, might I add, misunderstandings. Several years ago, I had occasion to talk with an Army Chaplain colleague about the concept of Faith Alone, the idea that only Faith can save someone. I told this Chaplain that I believed that I am saved by Faith alone, understood as a totally undeserved gift from God that allows each of us to say Jesus is Lord. He told me that I did not actually believe what I told him but that Faith Alone could save a person through their belief. He was telling me what his interpretation was of the words, good works, i.e., that they are not necessary for salvation, just Faith. I kept trying to tell him that my concept of good works did not include the idea that I could work my way to salvation but that good works were the result of a dynamic Faith. When I used the verse from James 2:14-26, he got very angry with me and stormed off muttering something about my lack of Faith. I bring this up to point out that there are great difference in beliefs about what Faith is, how we can be saved and what our role is in the salvific plan of God. I must admit to being a little miffed over being told that I believed something that I had just told Chaplain I did not hold to be true.
The following ideas came in one of my Lectio Divina meditations on the subject of good works as necessary for salvation and where they fit in the scheme of things. I will share with you three elements that make up what I think about the notion of good works. Realize that I do not speak authoritatively as a representative of any religion or Lay Cistercian group. I am only a broken-down, old Lay Cistercian making his way down the rocky road of life, trying to make it to the next rest stop on the way to meet Christ. Most of the time I find myself short of breath and having to rest along the way.
THE RULE OF ST. BENEDICT — Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict is entitled “Instruments of Good Works”. It lists activities that we can do to have in us the mind of Christ Jesus. I pray this Chapter 4 every day, at least in part, because I want to become what I pray. I am conscious that these practices and values are only a means to an end and not an end in themselves. St. Benedict calls Chapter 4 the ‘Instruments for Good Works.” What is important here is the notion that these works are not the end but merely the tools to reach the end, the end being “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” If you become what you read, you will be loving others as Christ loves you.
THE BALANCE OF JAMES CHAPTER 2 The purpose of Scriptures, according to John 20:30 is that you may believe that Jesus Christ is Son of God. This is not a dead Faith but one that makes present in you the very life of God, so that you may have life in his name. Good works are the product of Faith. Good works by each of us are making Christ present on the earth in our particular time frame. The living body of Christ is us, imperfect as we are. Is there such a thing as losing your Faith? Can you stop believing in Christ? Faith comes from God. Belief comes from humans. Both are different sides of the coin.
WHAT IS GREATER THAN FAITH? How could there be anything greater than Faith, if Faith is a gift from God to enable the mind and heart to say, Abba, that is, Father? Faith has three dimensions. Faith, Hope, and Love. The Church calls it the three theological virtues. All of one, yet all are separate.
MATTHEW 25 NRSVCE – Matthew points out an important about Faith, one that is uncomfortable. Faith is not an entitlement nor a right, but the power from God to complete the purpose of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, to care for all reality, including to love others as Christ loves us. When we die, we have a particular judgment about how well we loved. Faith comes the responsibility to implement and produce something with that Faith we first received in Baptism. It is nourished with Eucharist (Christ’s own body and blood) and sustained through the forgiveness of our sins by making all things new. There is accountability, according to Matthew. We are bid to show mercy to others if we want mercy for ourselves. We are judged according to our works or the product of Faith. Dead trees don’t produce good fruit. It is a warning that we must DO what we promise in our Baptismal commitment. We must love others as Christ has loved us.
|“The Judgment of the Nations31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[g] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”|
It would be a big mistake to think that there has been no dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans on the subject of good works as necessary for salvation. Read the document for yourselves and make up your own mind as to the progress taking place.
Good works are what we do to help us move from self to God.
Faith has three dimensions: Faith (God’s energy), Hope, Love.
Love is the product of good works.
You can not buy or pray your way to Heaven without Faith.
There are only three types of works: good works, bad works, and no works.
In Marriage, saying you love someone is not enough to sustain a relationship.
We are all saved by Faith, but that Faith, must be demonstrated by its product, love.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, O.P.
When I use the word “saints” (lower case), I refer to a group of people all of whom are baptized with water and the Spirit, those in Heaven, those awaiting purification, and those special persons whom we hold up as heroes and heroines of holiness. In this case, holiness means Christ told us to love one another as Christ loves us, and these people are raised up by the Church Universal as those whom we publically acknowledge being Saints (upper case).
From earliest times in the catacombs, Christians have venerated those who have given their lives for Christ, either through martyrdom or by virtuous living. The Church Universal provides special status to those whom we venerate as having in them the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5) to a heroic degree. We call that canonization (the word canon meaning list).
We are all saints belonging to the communion of saints. Some are designated Saints (upper case) meaning they are special. In the Calendar of Saints, we honor and venerate (not adore) those whose lives were exceptional examples of how to love others as Christ loves us. The Eastern Church has its calendar of Saints as does the Western Church (Rome). Saints belong to the Hall of Fame, to use a sports analogy. Here are my top ten Saints.
St. Thomas Aquina, O.P. https://dominicanfriars.org/saint-thomas-aquinas-2/
“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“The greatest kindness one can render to any man consists in leading him from error to truth.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“Better to illuminate than merely to shine.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“Nothing created has ever been able to fill the heart of man. God alone can fill it infinitely.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“To love is to will the good of the other.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“God has no need for our worship. It is we who need to show our gratitude for what we have received.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“A man’s heart is right when he wills what God wills.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
“If you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.” ~ Thomas Aquinas
THE HALL OF FAME
Saints (upper case) are those whom the Church Universal deems worthy of emulating, which is a big word for being a hero or heroine in loving others as Christ loves us. One of the best ways to know what Scriptual references mean is to actually have people live the Scriptures. John 20:30 gives us the reason for Scriptures. Scriptures are stories and examples of how to love as Christ loves us.
One way I look at Saints is to compare it with the Football Hall of Fame. People vote on who should be in that rarified air of excellence. We honor these athletes because of their skills. Saints are elected to sainthood because they were so good at trying to love God with all their minds, their hearts, and all their strength. From earliest times (John the Baptist), we have venerated the Saints as worthy of our attention. Each Saint is assigned a calendar day for being remembered at the Eucharist. Just like the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, we visit the Saints each Eucharist and learn how they were selected as being worthy reminders of what it means to love Christ as he loves us. We do not adore Saints, nor do we believe that they are God. They are, by Faith, a reflection of God’s image and likeness, as are we.
Here is what came out of my Lectio Divina meditation on my 79th birthday. That in all things God be glorified. –St. Benedict. Listen to the poem in silence and solitude.
–A traveler in a foreign land
Part of what it means to be a Lay Cistercian is a reverence for the word (lower case) that writers have for the Word (upper case) of God and how they interpret it. Cistercian authors advance the understanding of the Word by their words. Their words try to describe how they have in them the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)
The point here is that all scriptural reading is good for the mind and heart but not all reading is equal. To put it another way, not everything we read that is spiritual reading is scriptural reading. Scriptural reading refers only to the Sacred Scriptures (Bible). The word Bible simply means book, which those who read it deem special. I like the words Sacred Scriptures because these words are deemed to be inspired by God Himself, although written by scribes and authors of the four Gospels. To those who don’t have faith (God’s life in us), mere men just write their own biases and ethnic peculiarities, but to those who do have faith (not belief), God speaks to us down through the centuries. With inspiried Words, only found in the Sacred Scriptures, we have assurances from Christ that this is from God. But who gives us this assurance? It is not an individual person, but the Church Universal with Christ as its head. He authorized the Church (not individuals) to bind and loose on earth as it is in Heaven. Such awesome authority is a testament to the trust Christ had in his Church to such an extent that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.
Scriptural reading — actual Words from Sacred Scriptures (Old Testament and New Testament),
Spiritual reading — the words and reflections of those who read and comment on Sacred Scriptures.
You will notice that not all early documents floating around the early Church (until the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. were recognized as inspired by God. The Church Universal determined which readings were so inspired.
Who gave them the authority to determine which books were inspired and which were not and why? Where does this authority, to say what God thinks is inspired and what is not, come from?
That same Church Universal exists today, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Mystery of Faith, the sign of contradiction to the World. The Church Universal has four marks of authenticity: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. No matter how bad humans mess up the Gospel, we have assurances that the Holy Spirit is with us and the gates of Hell will not prevail against the forces of Evil.
SOME SPIRITUAL READING ONLINE RESOURCES I USE http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM For spiritual reading, there is no other source that is so inspiring and leads me to try to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus as does the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read it for yourself. The source of all of it is to love others as Christ has loved us.
Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5) every day
Primary reading is Sacred Scripture every day.
Secondary reading is Spiritual Reading once a week.
Pray that you become what you read.
Here is one of my favorite prayers from Father M. Louis (Thomas Merton), O.C.S.O.
6 months ago “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Several people around me, myself included, have retired from a regular job. Retirement affects each individual differently. The big question seems to be, can I keep busy doing something that is meaningful to me.
Had I placed my job at the center of my life, my life would essentially be over. I would have nothing to live for. Centers are important because they transcend jobs, family, power, money, and position. (This is not centering prayer.)
This blog asks only three questions:
WHY I USED TO FILL IN THE GAPS
Finding myself at the end of my career(s), I looked around for something to do besides watching the plastic flowers bud, I joined the Lay Cistercians of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (www.Trappist.net). Lay Cistercians are not monks but try to follow the Rule of St. Benedict as interpreted by the monks and nuns that follow the Cistercian Way. Lay Cistercians all live in their respective communities and promise to be faithful to the practices and charisms of the Cistercians as best they can.
We are encouraged to have a schedule of activities for each day and to seek God where we are. Sometimes we act alone and sometimes we are lucky enough to have other Lay Cistercians join us in our work and prayer.
Work, in my instance, has taken on a dimension I never envisaged when I first began my discernment.
Since 2000, I have written over 61 books on contemplative spirituality. You may find the list of them at http://www.amazon.com/books, then type in Dr. Michael F. Conrad.
I have written all these books, now what to do with them? I had the thought that I will donate them to prison libraries in Florida and Georgia, both Federal and State. You must choose your own ministry.
Let me know what you want to try. I can help you with a consultation.
When was the last time you looked at those old wedding pictures? Blow off the dust and take a look at them again. They transport you back to a time when you celebrated something wonderful, your marriage with each other and your reliance on Christ to help you grow in wisdom and meaning together.
Over the years, like everything in the physical and mental universes, reality rusts, gets old, has adjustments, shrinks in some values while enhancing other new ones. In marriage, you continue to grow older, but with a caveat–you do so with a significant other. The good time and bad times, sickness and health, the times you grew apart, then back together, only to repeat the cycle over and over. It is in living with the emotions and personality quirks of the other person that defines the quality of your relationship. A few quick reflections before we look at what it means to be legally married but physically and mentally divorced and five remedies.
THE SIXTY SECOND CATHOLIC: Marriage
I. WHAT DO YOU SEE? When you look at those old wedding pictures, what do you see? Just write down what you see physically in as much detail as you can. Just write down what is in those wedding pictures, don’t interpret what they mean to you.
WHAT DO YOU SEE? When you look at those old wedding pictures this time, notice where you are now verses where you were when you got married. What is the value of the time you spent in your relationship? Where is your treasure? What part does love play in your relationship with each other. You are looking at the wedding pictures, you do so from the viewpoint of loving others as Christ has loved you. Does that make a difference in what you see?
If you are legally married, but, when you look at your old wedding pictures, mentally and spiritually divorced, what can you do? What follows is a retreat that the both of you can make in the privacy of your home. It is contemplative because, with Christ, you can move from your old self to your new self. Remember, it takes two.
What follows is an excerpt from my book entitled, Legally Married, Mentally and Spiritually Divorced. http://www.amazon.com/books/ then type in Dr. Michael F. Conrad.
THE TWELVE GIFTS OF RELATIONSHIP
Twelve Gifts God Gives You to Help You Get to Heaven
When God gives a gift, it is not like receiving some delicious fudge at Christmas, or a pair of exquisite Steuben swans for a wedding anniversary. http:// steuben.com God gives from the depth of who God is. That gift is always given with unconditional love. Once more, God always gives us a part of who God is, as a gift. That is our template. God allows us to participate in his own energy, off-the-scale knowledge, love, and service. When you read about these twelve gifts,
THINK SPIRITUALLY! Read Galatians 5:16-26.
Make A Twelve Gifts Retreat With Each Other
You are in a marriage which is legal, but somehow your relationship leaves a lot to be desired. Right? You have just read this book which provided you with some thoughts for spiritual food. Right? You have just completed the exercises to heighten your sensory and mental awareness of relationship. Right? So, what is left? You need closure with the past, and a recommitment to the future…together. No one will be telling you what to say or how to think in this retreat. It is self-directed. My suggestion is that you take the themes on page 208 (in the book) and develop a program for your partner. Take turns being the leader.
Love is the first gift you will give one another…For- ever. At Christmas, you give gifts to symbolize the love that is behind it. Love may be the most important gift you give to your spouse. Share God’s love with each other.
Your Very First Meeting
Share the love that leads to authentic relationship.
Without trying to sound too simplistic, the relationship is doing activities together. It means sharing your- self with another person, in this case, your spouse. It means facing your spouse and talking together. This relationship is different from that of you and your children. If you are legally married, you can also be sexually distant, yet still, be spiritually united. You can be mentally and spiritually joined together, yet have little or no sexual intercourse. You can be romantic without having to perform sexual intercourse. Most importantly, you can have sexual contact, using all your senses and your mind, and still not experience the physical act of intercourse. What is essential is love that leads to a relationship. Your norm in finding authentic love is the love that God has for each of us. Read John 3:15-21 together. What does love mean in terms of your relationship? Spirituality helps you grow towards each other by sharing the gift of love. You only have the gift of love because God saw fit to share it with both of you. God shares, not from the excess of love, but from the very center of who God is. That love is pure energy.
Joy is the second gift you will share with one another. At Christmas you give gifts to symbolize the love that is behind it. Giving produces great joy. Sharing joy with your family is what life is all about on earth, but also in Heaven. You can share joy together every day.
Lesson Twelve Your Second Meeting Just Being There.
Because Josh couldn’t stand his wife’s nagging about his personal habits, he gradually became alienated in his affections towards Beth. Both Josh and Beth were like their parents. Josh’s father was easy going and slow to anger. Beth was like her mother, tactless, opinionated, and a faultfinder. They both did well for the first three years of marriage, but the last twenty were without job, without sex, and without hope. Josh would read his Scriptures every day. That did not seem to help his situation, but he never gave us hope. He did not believe in divorce, and Beth was too insecure to want a separation, despite her pseudo bravado. As the years rolled by, including the birth of two children, Beth began to mellow a little. In everyone’s life, there is a critical moment that can lead to a dramatic change in behavior. Beth and Josh attended a Marriage Encounter retreat at their church. It was the first time they had faced each other in years. They accepted the opportunity to share with each other. This retreat turned them towards each other. They began to listen without fault-finding.
Peace is the third gift you will share with one another. Peace does not only mean you know how to hold your temper when you are aggravated.
Your Third Meeting
Use the energy of God’s peace to face each other mentally and spiritually.
Peace is not just the absence of conflict or war, as darkness is the absence of light. Rather, peace is a gift that provides sustenance and the ability to gain perspective over your life. Peace is a gift that causes you to face God, your spouse, your family, and most importantly, yourself. When you empty yourself of hatred, jealousy, envy, lust, mean-spirited, self-indulgence, fill the vacuum with the gift of peace. For spiritual relationships, peace is the gift of God’s own energy to fill the darkness of your animality. On a human level, you can have peace, which is the lack of stress, or the absence of conflict, but it is not the same as spiritual peace. When God gives you a gift, it does something wonderful within you both, and between you. God is pure energy. That means the power of God is available for you to help you face each other. What may be difficult on the human level is possible on the spiritual level. Did you understand that statement? You can be living independent lives, yet still, be facing each other mentally and spiritually. That is much different than being legally married, yet mentally and spiritually divorced.
THE FOURTH GIFT
Patience is the fourth gift you will share with one another. Patience means you can control yourself, when faced with a stressful situation.
Your Fourth Meeting
You are not your spouse.
One of the great lessons of human relationship is to let each other be themselves. You are not your wife, and you are not your husband. You are not your children, and you are not your parents. Identifying who you are is the first step of facing each other. Do you want to make your spouse into your image and likeness? If so, you will no doubt be legally married, but mentally and spiritually divorced. If you have a need for control, you must let go of making your spouse into your image and likeness. You will feel the tension and pull, as your significant other resists the pressures to conform to what you think they should be. The results may show up in an alienation of affection, or a lack of being able to live together. You still love the person, but inexplicably, don’t want them to touch you. You shy away when they touch you. Perhaps just ten minutes before, your spouse told you that “You are something. I can’t stand to look at you.” Then ten minutes later, your partner wants to sit on your lap. Do you notice a bizarre pattern of love and hate? What allows you to continue in your relationship without mental or physical abuse is patience?
THE FIFTH GIFT
Kindness is the fifth gift you will share with one another. Kindness means you can control yourself when faced with a stressful situation.
Your Fifth Meeting
Anticipation is the key to renewing relationships.
Being kind to your spouse is a gift. Being kind means that you anticipate the needs of each other. For example, when you bring home TCBY treats, and your wife says, “You didn’t have to do that. That is so thoughtful!” You can say, “I know I don’t have to do it, but that is what love is all about.” Central to understanding kindness is realizing the needs of your spouse, your family, and even those with whom you have no ties of direct relationship. Our model is The Master. He does not know us, yet he gave up his life so that we might join the Father in Heaven. That is unconditional kindness! That is unconditional love! What does God get out of the relationship with us? God is pleased when we humans discover how his creation makes sense, and how we fit into it. We fit into God’s plan, not the other way around, don’t you think? God anticipated our needs by sending his only Son, The Master. Read Philippians 2:5-12.
you are kind,
because of the kindness that God has bestowed on us, you can take everything
you do and think to Heaven with you. You have linked the Kingdom
of Heaven on earth with the one in Heaven.
THE SIXTH GIFT
Goodness is the sixth gift you will share with one another. Goodness is the gift from God that enables you to view your partner with fresh eyes.
spouse and your family. Goodness creates a ripple effect. It permeates your thinking, helping you maintain your Center.
Your Sixth Meeting
Walk with each other towards a common goal.
Being good to your spouse is a gift. Goodness exists in the eye of the beholder. There is a saying about communications from St. Thomas Aquinas that goes, “Whatever is received, is received according to the disposition of the recipient.” Applied to goodness as a gift from God to you both, it means you must determine what goodness is. You can only do that by communicating with each other about the deepest parts of your feelings. You can only communication your deepest feelings when you face each other. Being legally married, but mentally and spiritually divorced means you DO NOT face each other. You go along in life as though you and your spouse are going in opposite directions. When you use the gift of goodness, you communicate to your spouse that you want to walk with him or her towards the goal of eternal life together, and not go in opposite directions. Your path in life is different from your spouse. You can choose to walk in the same direction, hopefully, to share your centers with each other. Goodness helps you to learn from each other. A good heart can see the footprints of God.
THE SEVENTH GIFT
Trustfulness is the seventh gift you will share with one another. Trustfulness is the gift from God that enables you to relax, knowing that your spouse is truthful.
Your Seventh Meeting
Trust means you believe that your spouse will keep their promise to you.
Trustfulness in a relationship means you believe that the words to you from someone else are true. Your marriage vows are not just a pledge for the moment, but the basis for a contract. You pledge to be faithful to each other, to help each other in sickness and in health, until death due you part. Being legally married, but mentally and spiritually divorced is a death of sorts, the slow death of a relationship. You can live together in this state of death, but why would you want to do so? Some spouses make an accommodation that they lead separate lives, which means they have other sexual experiences outside of their marriage contract. They can rationalize that they can’t have sexual intercourse or romance inside their relationship, so they will get it from people outside of their legal marriage. Remember the story of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy? If you are trustworthy inside side your relationship, then you will be truthful with other external relationships. God trusts you to be truthful with yourselves and not experiment with other primary relationships. You can love other men and women, but not in the same way as your spouse.
THE EIGHTH GIFT
Gentleness is the eighth gift you will share with one another. Gentleness is the gift from God that enables you to respect your spouse and family members.
Your Eighth Meeting
Gentleness is a sensitivity to how your partner feels.
Forgiveness is intimately bound up with relationship. We are bid to forgive others as God forgives us. Gentle- ness comes from a willingness to be sensitive to how your partner feels.
Carline had a mental dysfunction which caused her to rage uncontrollably when certain topics were brought up, such as her husband’s weight, or their finances. Carline and her husband, Josh, were polar opposites, when it came to an agreement on most subjects. Josh knew that Carline had problems controlling her temper, but he thought he could control herself. He was wrong. Josh was a gentle man, slow to anger and quick to forgive. Carline was a thoughtful person on the surface, but her dark side could pop up at any time, especially when the hot button topics were raised. For twenty years of marriage, Josh stayed married to Carline, He survived by walking away when she was screaming at him. When he returned five minutes later, it was as though Carline was a different person. He used his gentleness as a strength to help make peace.
THE NINTH GIFT
Self-control is the ninth gift you will share with one another. Self-control is the gift from God that enables you to love each other unconditionally.
Your Ninth Meeting
Self-control means you desire to give your spouse as
much physical, mental, and spiritual pleasure as possible.
Here are some ideas that will challenge your assumptions about controlling your sexual urges. Think of self- control as focusing your attention span, so that you give your spouse the most intense physical pleasure within your power to perform. This is not only the act of intercourse, but, more importantly, the infinite range of sexual and emotional experiences tied to sexual feelings. Explore together what these feeling mean. It is another way of saying that you not only face each other, but also control your urge to do less than your maximum efforts, when giving your partner sexual stimulation. The same idea goes for mental, as well as spiritual intimacy. By now, you may have seen a pattern emerging. Two people who face each other will not be legally married, but mentally and spiritually divorced. They may have difficulties, but they care for each other. Sexual intercourse is not the purpose of life. You can live without sexual intercourse, but you cannot exist without sexual intimacy. Do you see the difference? A spiritual person is not one who denies sexuality but seeks to fulfill their partner without limits.
THE TENTH GIFT
FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY
Food for the journey is the tenth gift you will share with one another. This food is the gift from God that enables you to sustain your relationship through times of famine and spiritual depression.
Your Tenth Meeting
Where can you find the spiritual food come down from Heaven?
Ask each other where you can find this spiritual food that will sustain you in your common relationship and provide you with nourishment for the journey to
you, although you may not see it. Read John 6:52-58.
If you are parents, do you not feed your children and provide for them? If you are parents, do you not show your children
what will nourish
their bodies, just a mother polar bear teaches her cubs to hunt? Food nourishes the body and makes it strong. Without some form of food, you will surely die. Spiritual food, which is God’s own energy and power, nourishes your spirit. Without this food, your spiritual
life will surely die. The Holy Spirit is the energy, or pure love, between The Father and The Master, His Son. You can share in that pure-energy, but only to the extent that you prepare yourself through
faith, hope, and love. Spiritual faith is the heart that pumps God’s own life-giving blood through your veins. You can have faith as to move mountains, but if you do not have love, your spiritual muscles atrophy. Read I Corinthians 13. You must eat to grow. You must grow to get to Heaven.
230 The Twelve Gifts of Relationship
THE ELEVENTH GIFT
DRINK FOR THE JOURNEY
Drink is the eleventh gift you will share with one another. The spiritual drink is the gift from God that enables you to receive God’s own energy.
The Twelve Gifts of Relationship
Your Eleventh Meeting
You need a spiritual drink to sustain your relationship,
not only with God but with each other.
You need spiritual drink to sustain your relationship with God. You need spiritual drink to refresh tired re- lationship with your spouse and your family. Spiritual drink take the appearance of ordinary looking wine at Eucharist. As part of the bigger picture, it is the very life’s blood of the Master, made present today, every day. When you drink this blood and eat this flesh, you have life in you. We are not talking cannibalism here, as some of the nonbelievers tell you, but rather the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Just imagine! The greatest gift The Master gave to the Father was himself, to allow us to make the jump to Heaven. When we join with that same Master, we too can approach the Father with that same gift from the Son. This gift is without time or space since it exists in Heaven. Humans cannot approach the Father directly. The brilliance of that pure energy would fry our puny minds. We tag along, so to speak, with The Master. Read John 17. We are destined to be with God in Heaven.
Spiritual drink allows you to exist in the presence
of pure energy, and pure love…Forever.
THE TWELFTH GIFT
FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY
The virtues of faith, hope, and love are the twelfth gift you will share with one another. Faith, hope, and love are gifts from God that provide you with the core principles for helping each other get to Heaven.
Your Twelfth Meeting
Faith, Hope and Love are core energies flowing from God’s own Center.
To help you help your spouse and loved ones get to Heaven, God gives us what we need for the trip. When God gives a gift, it is for a purpose. Gifts from God are pure energy, totally 100% of God’s nature. Humans re- ceive these gifts according to their individual capacity to know, love, and serve God in this life. The reward? Life with God together…Forever. Now THAT’S a gift worth having. But, it comes at a price.
FAITH-– Faith comes in two parts, as befits any relationship. First, God accepts you as his adopted son or daughter through a covenant agreement, usu- ally through a faith community. Secondly, you accept God as Father, the Son as Savior, and the Holy Spirit as Advocate.
HOPE — Hope is the trust for the future, that the words told to you by the Master are true. Others can say that there is no Heaven. You can only say, “I hope so!” Remember, this is not human faith, but the gift of Hope that comes from sharing God’s life. You must have Faith, to have Hope. You must have Charity to show love.
LOVE — Love is the product of faith and the recogni- tion that you hope in the Master’s
promise. Read that promise in John 11:25-26.
FIVE QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELVES AND, OF COURSE, ANSWER
Here is a story that brings to mind all kinds of spiritual linkages. It is one that I heard from my wife, a true story that is happening in our days. When meditating on Philippians 2:5, this blue sky story led me to places heretofore outside of my boundaries of thought.
When my wife returned to South Korea to visit her family and take care of some family business, she related to me that there were many days in which the Sun never appeared and there were no blue skies. The reason was the particulates in the air from all the pollution that came from industrial factories in South Korea but mostly from China. Imagine not having control over normal weather patterns. People must wear masks, there is a high degree of frustration over not being able to see blue skies.
Whenever I see a blue sky in Florida, which is frequently, I always comment on how beautiful it looks, how much we appreciate being able to breathe without wearing a mask. I don’t take for granted the color blue.
SEEKING GOD IN NATURE
Blue sky offer me the opportunity to say thank you to God for all the blessings of nature: blue sky, green trees, and shrubs, the way the golden sun hits those same trees every day on the way to Eucharist. I am reminded of the Canticle of Daniel 3:57-88,
61All you powers, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
62Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
63Stars of heaven, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
64Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
65All you winds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
66Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
67Cold and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
68Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
69Frost and chill, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
70Hoarfrost and snow, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
71Nights and days, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
72Light and darkness, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
73Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
74Let the earth bless the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.
75Mountains and hills, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
76Everything growing on earth, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
77You springs, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
78Seas and rivers, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
79You sea monsters and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
80All you birds of the air, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
81All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
82All you mortals, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
83O Israel, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
84Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
85Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
86Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
87Holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
88Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord;
praise and exalt him above all forever.
For he has delivered us from Sheol,
and saved us from the power of death;
He has freed us from the raging flame
and delivered us from the fire.
89Give thanks to the Lord, who is good,
whose mercy endures forever.
When you think about this Canticle of David, it doesn’t make sense according to how the World thinks. How can the sun and moon bless the Lord? They are not alive. How can ice and snow bless the Lord? They don’t have the ability to reason or to choose what is meaningful. Yet, all creation can bless the Lord by being what it was created to be. Humans were created in the image and likeness of God, yet, with the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, it took Christ becoming human to re-establish the linkage between God and humans once more. Nature provides humans with a pathway to link the World and the Spirit together. Not taking for granted the Blue sky, when they remind us of God, become instruments for us to find meaning. Nature is a pathway to God, when linked to the source of all reality, God. Only humans can be transformers of reality from the profane to the sacred.
Next time you look at the blue sky, praise God.
St. Benedict tells us, “that in all things, may God be glorified.”
Try to drink this cup of the Mystery of Faith! It is like concentrated orange juice–very tasty but strong. I had to address this in one of my Lectio Divina meditations (Philippians 2:5). I warn you, this is way out there (out there is okay as long as it is tethered to Christ). Hold on to your parachute!
THE SIXTY SECOND CATHOLIC
There may be something out there called dark matter and dark energy. Science is still trying to prove this. This is energy in the physical universe that has matter, energy, time and all of us. It is the platform in which we discover that we know that we know. It is the only place we know of where humans exist. It is the only place we know of where we can choose good or bad for us and be free to do so. It is where we find purpose. The mental universe allows us to pass to the next level of existence, the spiritual universe but only with an invitation by God (baptism).
All reality has polarity (north and south, good and evil, male and female) If there is actually dark matter, it is logical that there may be something out there called white matter. It exists, but only in the spiritual universe as the pole with the physical universe. The mental universe is the synthesis between the two, mediating the transfer from one universe to another (think of wormhole). White matter has it own set of measurements that is the opposite of the physical universe. This is called the sign of contradiction and a way for humans to begin to understand the Mystery of Faith. White matter can only be approached, not captured or understood, by evolving collective reasoning of all human time. To access white matter, the Supreme Being (God) invites us to share in the fullness of what it means to be human. White matter is pure energy, pure, love, pure service (know, love, and serve God). This pure energy is God’s playground, not ours. We only know how to play there by the example of Christ (Philippians 2:5) to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him. Earth is where we learn to love others as Christ loves us. Heaven is a component of the Mystery of Faith that exists only in the now, not the past or future. To make that jump, we need the help of God with Christ as our navigator (the way, the truth, and the life). We can catch a glimps of white matter in the Baptism and Transfiguration of Christ. The Ascension of Christ is the human body taken through a wormhole from our physical, mental and spiritual universes to the pure energy or white energy of what is.
The problem for humans is our human senses, our emotions, our reasoning, even our Faith, is tainted by Original Sin. Christ came to show us how to act in such a way that we can survive whatever containment field God has created for those who love him (St. Paul). No one can look on the face of God. It is only with, through, and in Christ, that we can approach God, based on how much we are one with Christ. The Church is simply the multi-generational vehicle that spans generations to keep us focused on Christ as Lord of all and the way, the truth, and the life.
Our purpose in life is not to make money, gain fame, notoriety, power over others, but rather to be Christ for those in need. St. Benedict, in Chapter 4 says for us to: “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way. The love of Christ must come before all else.” We become what we place at our center. Behavior proceeds from what lies at the center of your being. Lay Cistercian spirituality is all about placing your heart next to the heart of Christ, and, in silence and solitude, listening. You become what you love. You share being with Being. You decrease and God increases. You fulfill your destiny prepared for you from the first Big Bang.
Praise to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever. The God who is, who was, who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen.
THE SIXTY SECOND CATHOLIC
Prayer is lifting up the heart and mind to God.
Prayer is listening to what God says and who God is.
The heart is the destination of prayer.
The mind opens the door of the heart. We must all have in us the mind of Christ Jesus–the key.
Each person must turn the key for him or herself.
The Church provides the opportunity to approach the door.
Christ will not turn the key for you. You must ask for help to turn the key.
The heart of Christ helps you turn the key with love, God’s love.
Christ tells us what is on the other side of the door (death). It is God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
THE SIXTY SECOND CATHOLIC
As someone who has professed faith in Christ Jesus:
Do you mean what you say?
Do you mean what you pray?
When was the last time you were present before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration?
Is your spiritual attention span over ten seconds?
Do you remember the late Sen Ted Kennedy and Sen. Alan Simpson, (R-Wyoming) debate in the early 1990s? https://jfk.blogs.archives.gov/2018/09/24/facing-off-senator-ted-kennedy-debates-his-republican-colleagues/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-5
Now, the era of civility in politics is out the door. Respect for the office of President is lacking among lawmakers. Oh, did you look up the latest approval rating for Congress? You won’t believe it. It is for sure that Congress does not believe it, or just doesn’t care. The only thing both parties want is to show how they can hate each other, block judicial nominees, and sabotage the agenda from the other side. Usually, I don’t interfere in the political process, but I have five recommendations to combat the politics of hatred.
Making a retreat is one of those events where there are a thousand reasons not to go but only one good one to go– to grow in the capacity to move from self to God. Movement is a sign you are alive. You can be physically and mentally alive but spiritually lethargic or even dead. One thing about the spiritual dimension in each of us is that we live in a physical body inhabited by reason and the ability to choose what is good for us. Grace builds on nature. As such, we can take our spiritual temperature to see if we are just coasting down the road of life or really engaged in the trip and enjoying the scenery. What we do and say OR DON’T DO OR SAY betrays our spiritual dimension. If you remember, we have the occasion to reflect on this at the beginning of the Eucharist when we say the prayer of penance to ask forgiveness for our sluggish approach to God and our neighbor.
Penitential Act Form A (Confiteor)
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
or, Form B
PRIEST: Have mercy on us, O Lord. PEOPLE: For we have sinned against you. PRIEST: Show us, O Lord, your mercy. PEOPLE: And grant us your salvation. or Form C PRIEST: Lord, have mercy. PEOPLE: Lord, have mercy. PRIEST: Christ, have mercy. PEOPLE: Christ, have mercy. PRIEST: Lord, have mercy. PEOPLE: Lord, have mercy.
(The Latin Form is)
PRIEST: Kyrie, Eleison. PEOPLE: Kyrie, Eleison. PRIEST: Christe, Eleison. PEOPLE: Christe, Eleison. PRIEST: Kyrie, Eleison. PEOPLE: Kyrie, Eleison.
Having a penitential mindset is very important because it is something not natural to our spiritual thinking. This simple reminder of who we are in relation to God and how we are what we are because we long to sit next to the heart of Christ and just be there is a definition of love. We are not perfect but Christ is perfect. We are bid to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. That is impossible because we are only human and not God, but Christ became one of us (human) so that we can at least approach the Father through, with, and in Him.
A PENITENTIAL RETREAT
Contemplative retreats stress long periods of silence and solitude. All retreats are penitential, in that we withdrawal from the World so that we can come apart and rest awhile. This past week, August 19-22, 2019, to be exact, a group of us traveled to the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia (near Atlanta) to spend some time with Jesus in contemplating how to grow and move more towards Christ and away from the World.
The topic of our focus was, of course, how Christ can increase and I can decrease. The book we used was called THE PLACE WHERE NO ONE WANTS TO LOOK: Six Questions humans must ask and answer before they die. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Place+No+ONe+Wants+to+Look&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss These six questions are the foundation of spirituality (grace builds on nature). Christ has answered them in his behaviors, in teaching us how to love others as He loves us. This retreat presents some ideas about Christ’s love for us and then we listen.
A SIN FIXATION OR CHRIST FIXATION
Many of us grew up knowing a lot about what is a sin or isn’t. There might be a tendency to see our Catholic Faith as only conformity to rules. There is that aspect to it but it is by no means the core or center of spirituality. The core is “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) Being a professed Lay Cistercian, I try to do things and think things that bring me into the presence of the Mystery of Faith and ask God for enlightenment. It is a daily struggle to overcome the notion that I am not “sin-centered” but rather an adopted son of the Father who needs Christ to help me transform myself from the way the World thinks to God’s will. Penance, in this context, is putting humility where there is pride; Chastity where there is Lust; Love where there is hatred. I ask you to take some time and look at Bishop Barron’s talk on seven deadly sins and seven lively virtues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG4VF0jU568
WALKING ON MOLASSES
A Monastic retreat is one where everything slows down. The prayers of the monks in choir (chanted first on one side then the other) are much slower than in the parish. This gives us time to actually focus on what is being said. One lady said it was like walking on molasses.
Coupled with the ambience produced by silence and solitude, the effects are quite astonishing. You must experience it to actually appreciate how it feels.
Father Cassian, O.C.S.O., a Trappist monk, shared with us some thoughts about contemplation and prayer. He used the Catechism of the Church to pull out some ideas, which we discussed. I have the complete handout he gave us so that you could read what we talked about. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p4s1c3a1.htm
The Catholic Catechism is one of the best resources I have found for study and meditation. I would never have guessed that. Here is an answer to the question, “What is contemplation?”
2709 What is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: “Contemplative prayer [oracion mental] in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.”6 Contemplative prayer seeks him “whom my soul loves.”7 It is Jesus, and in him, the Father. We seek him, because to desire him is always the beginning of love, and we seek him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of him and to live in him. In this inner prayer we can still meditate, but our attention is fixed on the Lord himself.
2710 The choice of the time and duration of the prayer arises from a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart. One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter. One cannot always meditate, but one can always enter into inner prayer, independently of the conditions of health, work, or emotional state. The heart is the place of this quest and encounter, in poverty ant in faith.
2711 Entering into contemplative prayer is like entering into the Eucharistic liturgy: we “gather up:” the heart, recollect our whole being under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, abide in the dwelling place of the Lord which we are, awaken our faith in order to enter into the presence of him who awaits us. We let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed.
2712 Contemplative prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who wants to respond to it by loving even more.8 But he knows that the love he is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace from God. Contemplative prayer is the poor and humble surrender to the loving will of the Father in ever deeper union with his beloved Son.
2713 Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty. Contemplative prayer is a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts.9 Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, “to his likeness.”
2714 Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently intense time of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit “that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith” and we may be “grounded in love.”10
2715 Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. “I look at him and he looks at me”: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy curé used to say while praying before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the “interior knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him.11
2716 Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God. Far from being passive, such attentiveness is the obedience of faith, the unconditional acceptance of a servant, and the loving commitment of a child. It participates in the “Yes” of the Son become servant and the Fiat of God’s lowly handmaid.
2717 Contemplative prayer is silence, the “symbol of the world to come”12 or “silent love.”13 Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us his incarnate Word, who suffered, died, and rose; in this silence the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus.
2718 Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery. The mystery of Christ is celebrated by the Church in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit makes it come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts.
2719 Contemplative prayer is a communion of love bearing Life for the multitude, to the extent that it consents to abide in the night of faith. The Paschal night of the Resurrection passes through the night of the agony and the tomb – the three intense moments of the Hour of Jesus which his Spirit (and not “the flesh [which] is weak”) brings to life in prayer. We must be willing to “keep watch with [him] one hour.”14
2720 The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year.
2721 The Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart.
2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ’s example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.
2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.
2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.”
If you have not done so, plan to make a contemplative retreat at the Monastic Retreat House. http://www.trappist.net
St. Benedict composes a Rule (d. 649 A.D.) to organize monks into forming a school for charity (love) in which they can move from the false self to the true self. What follows is an excerpt from my book on Learning How to Love.
God the Father creates a platform for humans to survive. The purpose is to learn how to love with all our minds, all our hearts, and all our strength and love our neighbor as ourself. (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:36) Christ came to show us what that meant by becoming one of us (Philippians 2:5-12) to the extent of voluntarily giving up his life to save us. He left the Church in the hands of sinners and saints and trusted it to preserve the message of loving one another as He has loved us. If the Scriptures are God’s love letters to us, then the Church is a school to learn how to love as Christ loves us.
PREMISE: We need to attend a school of love to learn how to love as Jesus loved us. I could not address the meaning of love without mentioning St. Benedict and his school of love or charity. It would be foolish indeed to attempt to start my own School of Love when there has been one well before St. Benedict of Nursia wrote his Rule (c.540 A.D.) to develop practices to organize the monks of his day. To help them learn how to love. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Monte-Cassino. http://www.osb.org/rb/text/rbejms1.html#pro
I am not advocating setting up an competing program to what is already going on in the parish community. I do suggest that you look at offering the opportunity for people to learn the contemplative approach to prayer, based on St. Benedict’s Rule. This does have to be a special meeting or weekly prayer group, such as Centering Prayer. Just sit down together and ask how you can practice being silent and with solitude using the practices you have.
If you begin with something, I suggest you try to read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict every day for thirty days, then think about what you read for ten or fifteen minutes.
Here is an excerpt from the Prologue of the Rule of St. Benedict. “LI S T E N carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.
To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.”
He founded a monastery for monks at Monte Casino, Italy, which still follows this Rule. What is the school of love? It is a place where you learn the disciplines of how to love using proven practices and charisms (what you convert your life into when you say you want to be like Christ). The Christ Principle has endured to this very day.
These disciplines are not easily mastered and may take a lifetime of conversion only to realize they are beyond mastery in this lifetime, but not in the next, and that you may approach them only when you love others as Christ loved you. Each day is a lifetime in this school. Conversion from your false self to your true self is the curriculum. There is no graduation. Christ is the only Master. His only command: love one another as I have loved you. This is a School of Spiritual Love where you practice the art of loving.
Cistercians (contemplative monks and nuns) and Carthusians (hermits) evolved from the Benedictine tradition c. 1090’s, with a desire to love Christ even more fiercely. They did this through their intense focus on contemplative prayers and practices (silence, solitude, work, prayer, and community), adapting the Rule of Benedict to each new generation. This is the same school that comes down to us today practicing same horaria, traditions, writings, wisdom, temptations, and graces in each age. It is an unbroken, monastic tradition.
Characteristics of a School of Love
LOVE: WHY DO HUMANS HAVE LOVE AND ANIMALS DON’T?
Animals don’t love, at least not human love that requires reason and free choice. They do have affection and respond to attention (and food). Humans, if you accept the premise that Erich Fromm suggests, that we are not born with love but must learn it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_Loving Where we get that love and how we apply in throughout our life has consequences. We call those moral choices. The World (physical and mental universes) sets forth some of the conditions of love: unconditional love, giving one’s life for another, sharing, respect, knowledge, presence, and giving. All of this is good and noble. Can we just love each other, in a good sense, without God? Yes, we can, but with a caveat. We are created by one who loved us, we are here for a purpose, we fulfill that purpose by loving others. Here is the caveat. We don’t move to the next level of maturation (I would say evolution but that has so much negative baggage associated with it), the spiritual universe, automatically. We must choose it freely. Not only that, but we must sustain it against the corruption of the World (Original Sin). For those who place God as their center of reality, there is the realization that we need help to fulfill our destiny as a human being. The Old Testament was written down to tell us what was authentic and what God wanted us to know. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old by showing us how to love as Christ loved us. We know love, in the fullest sense, by doing what Christ taught us. This is not just a way of life-based on how much you know, but how that knowledge opens your heart to all being. The School of Love helps provide direction, focus, sustainability, sharing, respect for each other, helping each other to grow in Christ, using contemplative practices to grow from self to God.
A danger in all this is that we focus on the School of Love as an endpoint of our actions. The School of Love is a means to an end. The end is love and we continue to learn the meaning of love through, with, and in Christ. God is love. The School of Love is an organized way to remind ourselves that we must love as Christ loved us. We are not assigned to a dark closet where we pray all day. Love is doing for others as Christ did for us. (Matthew 25:40 ff) The School of Love is where we find good soil in which to grow in Christ Jesus. It is the seminarium, greenhouse, where the tender young shoots can sprout and give their produce. A monastery is a particular setting for such a school, but more generic setting is all that is outside of the cloister. The principles are the same for both but the applications are much different.
WHAT DOES A SCHOOL OF LOVE DO?
If you wish to explore this topic more thoroughly, look up the following URLs.
The first time I attended the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours (4:00 a.m.) at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit (Trappist), Conyers, Georgia, I noticed that the monks were deliberate with their prayers and said them slowly. While trying to stay awake at that hour and concentrating on praying, their purposefulness was evident. Slowing down the prayers has the effect of moving deeper into prayer. The monks also paused at appropriate times for what seemed like two or three seconds between stanzas of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Slowing down my praying the Rosary, reciting prayers that put me in the presence of God, and even Lectio Divina has become more meaningful as I slowly take charge of my prayers. How do I do that? I find that by letting go of my urge just to recite the prayers for the sake of saying them, leads me to the next level of spiritual awareness, pray the Word. At first, it sounds strange when I purposefully slow down saying prayers. Now, I look forward to deliberately praying slowly. Try it.
There is no more challenging sign of contradiction of our Faith than that of the Church. At once, holy and sinful, one yet diverse, catholic yet individual, and apostolic and current in each age. The Ecumenical Council of Vatican II produced a profound statement that begins to address the Church in the Modern World.
|DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH |
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS
POPE PAUL VI
ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964
CHAPTER ITHE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH1. Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature,(1) to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church. Since the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission. This it intends to do following faithfully the teaching of previous councils. The present-day conditions of the world add greater urgency to this work of the Church so that all men, joined more closely today by various social, technical and cultural ties, might also attain fuller unity in Christ.2. The eternal Father, by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. Fallen in Adam, God the Father did not leave men to themselves, but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation, in view of Christ, the Redeemer “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature”.(2) All the elect, before time began, the Father “foreknew and pre- destined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that he should be the firstborn among many brethren”.(3) He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ. Already from the beginning of the world the foreshadowing of the Church took place. It was prepared in a remarkable way throughout the history of the people of Israel and by means of the Old Covenant.(1*) In the present era of time the Church was constituted and, by the outpouring of the Spirit, was made manifest. At the end of time it will gloriously achieve completion, when, as is read in the Fathers, all the just, from Adam and “from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,”(2*) will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church.3. The Son, therefore, came, sent by the Father. It was in Him, before the foundation of the world, that the Father chose us and predestined us to become adopted sons, for in Him it pleased the Father to re-establish all things.(4) To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom. By His obedience He brought about redemption. The Church, or, in other words, the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. This inauguration and this growth are both symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of a crucified Jesus,(5) and are foretold in the words of the Lord referring to His death on the Cross: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself”.(6) As often as the sacrifice of the cross in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried on, and, in the sacrament of the eucharistic bread, the unity of all believers who form one body in Christ (8) is both expressed and brought about. All men are called to this union with Christ, who is the light of the world, from whom we go forth, through whom we live, and toward whom our whole life strains.4. When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth (9) was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that He might continually sanctify the Church, and thus, all those who believe would have access through Christ in one Spirit to the Father.(10) He is the Spirit of Life, a fountain of water springing up to life eternal.(11) To men, dead in sin, the Father gives life through Him, until, in Christ, He brings to life their mortal bodies.(12) The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful, as in a temple.(13) In them He prays on their behalf and bears witness to the fact that they are adopted sons.(14) The Church, which the Spirit guides in way of all truth(15) and which He unified in communion and in works of ministry, He both equips and directs with hierarchical and charismatic gifts and adorns with His fruits.(16) By the power of the Gospel He makes the Church keep the freshness of youth. Uninterruptedly He renews it and leads it to perfect union with its Spouse. (3*) The Spirit and the Bride both say to Jesus, the Lord, “Come!”(17)Thus, the Church has been seen as “a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”(4*)5. The mystery of the holy Church is manifest in its very foundation. The Lord Jesus set it on its course by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Kingdom of God, which, for centuries, had been promised in the Scriptures: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand”(18). In the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ, this kingdom was clearly open to the view of men. The Word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field;(19) those who hear the Word with faith and become part of the little flock of Christ,(20) have received the Kingdom itself. Then, by its own power the seed sprouts and grows until harvest time.(21) The Miracles of Jesus also confirm that the Kingdom has already arrived on earth: “If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”.(22) Before all things, however, the Kingdom is clearly visible in the very Person of Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, who came “to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many:”(23)When Jesus, who had suffered the death of the cross for mankind, had risen, He appeared as the one constituted as Lord, Christ and eternal Priest,(24) and He poured out on His disciples the Spirit promised by the Father.(25) From this source the Church, equipped with the gifts of its Founder and faithfully guarding His precepts of charity, humility and self-sacrifice, receives the mission to proclaim and to spread among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God and to be, on earth, the initial budding forth of that kingdom. While it slowly grows, the Church strains toward the completed Kingdom and, with all its strength, hopes and desires to be united in glory with its King.6. In the old Testament the revelation of the Kingdom is often conveyed by means of metaphors. In the same way the inner nature of the Church is now made known to us in different images taken either from tending sheep or cultivating the land, from building or even from family life and betrothals, the images receive preparatory shaping in the books of the Prophets.The Church is a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ.(26) It is a flock of which God Himself foretold He would be the shepherd,(27) and whose sheep, although ruled by human shepherds; are nevertheless continuously led and nourished by Christ Himself, the Good Shepherd and the Prince of the shepherds,(28) who gave His life for the sheep.(29)The Church is a piece of land to be cultivated, the tillage of God.(30) On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the Prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about.(31) That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly Husbandman.(32) The true vine is Christ who gives life and the power to bear abundant fruit to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ without whom we can do nothing.(33)Often the Church has also been called the building of God.(34) The Lord Himself compared Himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the cornerstone.(35) On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles,(36) and from it the Church receives durability and consolidation. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God (37) in which dwells His family; the household of God in the Spirit;(38) the dwelling place of God among men;(39) and, especially, the holy temple. This Temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Holy Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem (5*). As living stones we here on earth are built into it.(40) John contemplates this holy city coming down from heaven at the renewal of the world as a bride made ready and adorned for her husband.(41)The Church, further, “that Jerusalem which is above” is also called “our mother”.(42) It is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless Lamb,(43) whom Christ “loved and for whom He delivered Himself up that He might sanctify her”,(44) whom He unites to Himself by an unbreakable covenant, and whom He unceasingly “nourishes and cherishes”,(45) and whom, once purified, He willed to be cleansed and joined to Himself, subject to Him in love and fidelity,(46) and whom, finally, He filled with heavenly gifts for all eternity, in order that we may know the love of God and of Christ for us, a love which surpasses all knowledge.(47) The Church, while on earth it journeys in a foreign land away from the Lord,(48) is like in exile. It seeks and experiences those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right-hand of God, where the life of the Church is hidden with Christ in God until it appears in glory with its Spouse.(49)7. In the human nature united to Himself the Son of God, by overcoming death through His own death and resurrection, redeemed man and re-molded him into a new creation.(50) By communicating His Spirit, Christ made His brothers, called together from all nations, mystically the components of His own Body.In that Body the life of Christ is poured into the believers who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ who suffered and was glorified.(6*) Through Baptism we are formed in the likeness of Christ: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body”.(51) In this sacred rite a oneness with Christ’s death and resurrection is both symbolized and brought about: “For we were buried with Him by means of Baptism into death”; and if “we have been united with Him in the likeness of His death, we shall be so in the likeness of His resurrection also”.(52) Really partaking of the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with Him and with one another. “Because the bread is one, we though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread”.(53) In this way all of us are made members of His Body,(54) “but severally members one of another”.(55)As all the members of the human body, though they are many, form one body, so also are the faithful in Christ.(56) Also, in the building up of Christ’s Body various members and functions have their part to play. There is only one Spirit who, according to His own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives His different gifts for the welfare of the Church.(57) What has a special place among these gifts is the grace of the apostles to whose authority the Spirit Himself subjected even those who were endowed with charisms.(58) Giving the body unity through Himself and through His power and inner joining of the members, this same Spirit produces and urges love among the believers. From all this it follows that if one member endures anything, all the members co-endure it, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice.(59)The Head of this Body is Christ. He is the image of the invisible God and in Him all things came into being. He is before all creatures and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the Body which is the Church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the first place.(60) By the greatness of His power He rules the things in heaven and the things on earth, and with His all-surpassing perfection and way of acting He fills the whole body with the riches of His glory.All the members ought to be molded in the likeness of Him, until Christ be formed in them.(62) For this reason we, who have been made to conform with Him, who have died with Him and risen with Him, are taken up into the mysteries of His life, until we will reign together with Him.(63) On earth, still as pilgrims in a strange land, tracing in trial and in oppression the paths He trod, we are made one with His sufferings like the body is one with the Head, suffering with Him, that with Him we may be glorified.(64)From Him “the whole body, supplied and built up by joints and ligaments, attains a growth that is of God”.(65) He continually distributes in His body, that is, in the Church, gifts of ministries in which, by His own power, we serve each other unto salvation so that, carrying out the truth in love, we might through all things grow unto Him who is our Head.(66)In order that we might be unceasingly renewed in Him,(67) He has shared with us His Spirit who, existing as one and the same being in the Head and in the members, gives life to, unifies and moves through the whole body. This He does in such a way that His work could be compared by the holy Fathers with the function which the principle of life, that is, the soul, fulfills in the human body.(8*)Christ loves the Church as His bride, having become the model of a man loving his wife as his body;(68) the Church, indeed, is subject to its Head.(69) “Because in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”,(70) He fills the Church, which is His body and His fullness, with His divine gifts (71) so that it may expand and reach all the fullness of God.(72)8. Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation (9*) through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element.(10*) For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body.(73) (11*)This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, (12*) which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd,(74) and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority,(75) which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”.(76) This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him,(13*) although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.Just as Christ carried out the work of redemption in poverty and persecution, so the Church is called to follow the same route that it might communicate the fruits of salvation to men. Christ Jesus, “though He was by nature God . . . emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave”,(77) and “being rich, became poor”(78) for our sakes. Thus, the Church, although it needs human resources to carry out its mission, is not set up to seek earthly glory, but to proclaim, even by its own example, humility and self-sacrifice. Christ was sent by the Father “to bring good news to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart”,(79) “to seek and to save what was lost”.(80) Similarly, the Church encompasses with love all who are afflicted with human suffering and in the poor and afflicted sees the image of its poor and suffering Founder. It does all it can to relieve their need and in them it strives to serve Christ. While Christ, holy, innocent and undefiled(81) knew nothing of sin,(82) but came to expiate only the sins of the people,(83) the Church, embracing in its bosom sinners, at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal. The Church, “like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God”(14*), announcing the cross and death of the Lord until He comes.”(84) By the power of the risen Lord it is given strength that it might, in patience and in love, overcome its sorrows and its challenges, both within itself and from without, and that it might reveal to the world, faithfully though darkly, the mystery of its Lord until, in the end, it will be manifested in full light.CHAPTER IION THE PEOPLE OF GOD9. At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right.(85) God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. He therefore chose the race of Israel as a people unto Himself. With it He set up a covenant. Step by step He taught and prepared this people, making known in its history both Himself and the decree of His will and making it holy unto Himself. All these things, however, were done by way of preparation and as a figure of that new and perfect covenant, which was to be ratified in Christ, and of that fuller revelation which was to be given through the Word of God Himself made flesh. “Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the house of Judah . . . I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord.(86) Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood,(87) calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God. For those who believe in Christ, who are reborn not from a perishable but from an imperishable seed through the word of the living God,(88) not from the flesh but from water and the Holy Spirit,(89) are finally established as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people . . . who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God”.(90)That messianic people has Christ for its head, “Who was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification”,(91) and now, having won a name which is above all names, reigns in glory in heaven. The state of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in His temple. Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us.(92) Its end is the kingdom of God, which has been begun by God Himself on earth, and which is to be further extended until it is brought to perfection by Him at the end of time, when Christ, our life,(93) shall appear, and “creation itself will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God”.(94) So it is that that messianic people, although it does not actually include all men, and at times may look like a small flock, is nonetheless a lasting and sure seed of unity, hope and salvation for the whole human race. Established by Christ as a communion of life, charity and truth, it is also used by Him as an instrument for the redemption of all, and is sent forth into the whole world as the light of the world and the salt of the earth.(95)Israel according to the flesh, which wandered as an exile in the desert, was already called the Church of God.(96) So likewise the new Israel which while living in this present age goes in search of a future and abiding city (97) is called the Church of Christ.(98) For He has bought it for Himself with His blood,(99) has filled it with His Spirit and provided it with those means which befit it as a visible and social union. God gathered together as one all those who in faith look upon Jesus as the author of salvation and the source of unity and peace, and established them as the Church that for each and all it may be the visible sacrament of this saving unity. (1*) While it transcends all limits of time and confines of race, the Church is destined to extend to all regions of the earth and so enters into the history of mankind. Moving forward through trial and tribulation, the Church is strengthened by the power of God’s grace, which was promised to her by the Lord, so that in the weakness of the flesh she may not waver from perfect fidelity, but remain a bride worthy of her Lord, and moved by the Holy Spirit may never cease to renew herself, until through the Cross she arrives at the light which knows no setting.10. Christ the Lord, High Priest taken from among men,(100) made the new people “a kingdom and priests to God the Father”.(101) The baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, in order that through all those works which are those of the Christian man they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the power of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.(102) Therefore all the disciples of Christ, persevering in prayer and praising God,(103) should present themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.(104) Everywhere on earth they must bear witness to Christ and give an answer to those who seek an account of that hope of eternal life which is in them.(105)Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.(2*) The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist.(3*) They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.11. It is through the sacraments and the exercise of the virtues that the sacred nature and organic structure of the priestly community is brought into operation. Incorporated in the Church through baptism, the faithful are destined by the baptismal character for the worship of the Christian religion; reborn as sons of God they must confess before men the faith which they have received from God through the Church (4*). They are more perfectly bound to the Church by the sacrament of Confirmation, and the Holy Spirit endows them with special strength so that they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ (5*). Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It.(6*) Thus both by reason of the offering and through Holy Communion all take part in this liturgical service, not indeed, all in the same way but each in that way which is proper to himself. Strengthened in Holy Communion by the Body of Christ, they then manifest in a concrete way that unity of the people of God which is suitably signified and wondrously brought about by this most august sacrament.Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from the mercy of God for the offence committed against Him and are at the same time reconciled with the Church, which they have wounded by their sins, and which by charity, example, and prayer seeks their conversion. By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of her priests the whole Church commends the sick to the suffering and glorified Lord, asking that He may lighten their suffering and save them;(106) she exhorts them, moreover, to contribute to the welfare of the whole people of God by associating themselves freely with the passion and death of Christ.(107) Those of the faithful who are consecrated by Holy Orders are appointed to feed the Church in Christ’s name with the word and the grace of God. Finally, Christian spouses, in virtue of the sacrament of Matrimony, whereby they signify and partake of the mystery of that unity and fruitful love which exists between Christ and His Church,(108) help each other to attain to holiness in their married life and in the rearing and education of their children. By reason of their state and rank in life they have their own special gift among the people of God.(109) (7*) From the wedlock of Christians there comes the family, in which new citizens of human society are born, who by the grace of the Holy Spirit received in baptism are made children of God, thus perpetuating the people of God through the centuries. The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state.Fortified by so many and such powerful means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, each in his own way, to that perfect holiness whereby the Father Himself is perfect.12. The holy people of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name.(110) The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One,(111) cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (8*) they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God.(112) Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints,(113) penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life.It is not only through the sacraments and the ministries of the Church that the Holy Spirit sanctifies and leads the people of God and enriches it with virtues, but, “allotting his gifts to everyone according as He wills,(114) He distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts He makes them fit and ready to undertake the various tasks and offices which contribute toward the renewal and building up of the Church, according to the words of the Apostle: “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit”.(115) These charisms, whether they be the more outstanding or the more simple and widely diffused, are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation for they are perfectly suited to and useful for the needs of the Church. Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after, nor are the fruits of apostolic labor to be presumptuously expected from their use; but judgment as to their genuinity and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good.(116)13. All men are called to belong to the new people of God. Wherefore this people, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and must exist in all ages, so that the decree of God’s will may be fulfilled. In the beginning God made human nature one and decreed that all His children, scattered as they were, would finally be gathered together as one. (117) It was for this purpose that God sent His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things,(118) that be might be teacher, king and priest of all, the head of the new and universal people of the sons of God. For this too God sent the Spirit of His Son as Lord and Life-giver. He it is who brings together the whole Church and each and every one of those who believe, and who is the well-spring of their unity in the teaching of the apostles and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.(119)It follows that though there are many nations there is but one people of God, which takes its citizens from every race, making them citizens of a kingdom which is of a heavenly rather than of an earthly nature. All the faithful, scattered though they be throughout the world, are in communion with each other in the Holy Spirit, and so, he who dwells in Rome knows that the people of India are his members”(9*). Since the kingdom of Christ is not of this world(120) the Church or people of God in establishing that kingdom takes nothing away from the temporal welfare of any people. On the contrary it fosters and takes to itself, insofar as they are good, the ability, riches and customs in which the genius of each people expresses itself. Taking them to itself it purifies, strengthens, elevates and ennobles them. The Church in this is mindful that she must bring together the nations for that king to whom they were given as an inheritance,(121) and to whose city they bring gifts and offerings.(122) This characteristic of universality which adorns the people of God is a gift from the Lord Himself. By reason of it, the Catholic Church strives constantly and with due effect to bring all humanity and all its possessions back to its source In Christ, with Him as its head and united in His Spirit. (10*)In virtue of this catholicity each individual part contributes through its special gifts to the good of the other parts and of the whole Church. Through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort to attain fullness in unity, the whole and each of the parts receive increase. Not only, then, is the people of God made up of different peoples but in its inner structure also it is composed of various ranks. This diversity among its members arises either by reason of their duties, as is the case with those who exercise the sacred ministry for the good of their brethren, or by reason of their condition and state of life, as is the case with those many who enter the religious state and, tending toward holiness by a narrower path, stimulate their brethren by their example. Moreover, within the Church particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (11*) and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it. Between all the parts of the Church there remains a bond of close communion whereby they share spiritual riches, apostolic workers and temporal resources. For the members of the people of God are called to share these goods in common, and of each of the Churches the words of the Apostle hold good: “According to the gift that each has received, administer it to one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”.(123)All men are called to be part of this catholic unity of the people of God which in promoting universal peace presages it. And there belong to or are related to it in various ways, the Catholic faithful, all who believe in Christ, and indeed the whole of mankind, for all men are called by the grace of God to salvation.14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”(12*) All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, seek with explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church are by that very intention joined with her. With love and solicitude Mother Church already embraces them as her own.15. The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (14*) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. (15*) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(16*) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (17*) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth.16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.17. As the Son was sent by the Father,(131) so He too sent the Apostles, saying: “Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world”.(132) The Church has received this solemn mandate of Christ to proclaim the saving truth from the apostles and must carry it out to the very ends of the earth.(133) Wherefore she makes the words of the Apostle her own: “Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel”,(134) and continues unceasingly to send heralds of the Gospel until such time as the infant churches are fully established and can themselves continue the work of evangelizing. For the Church is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do her part that God’s plan may be fully realized, whereby He has constituted Christ as the source of salvation for the whole world. By the proclamation of the Gospel she prepares her hearers to receive and profess the faith. She gives them the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ so that through charity they may grow up into full maturity in Christ. Through her work, whatever good is in the minds and hearts of men, whatever good lies latent in the religious practices and cultures of diverse peoples, is not only saved from destruction but is also cleansed, raised up and perfected unto the glory of God, the confusion of the devil and the happiness of man. The obligation of spreading the faith is imposed on every disciple of Christ, according to his state.(21*) Although, however, all the faithful can baptize, the priest alone can complete the building up of the Body in the eucharistic sacrifice. Thus are fulfilled the words of God, spoken through His prophet: “From the rising of the sun until the going down thereof my name is great among the gentiles, and in every place a clean oblation is sacrificed and offered up in my name”.(135)(22*) In this way the Church both prays and labors in order that the entire world may become the People of God, the Body of the Lord and the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and that in Christ, the Head of all, all honor and glory may be rendered to the Creator and Father of the Universe.
CHAPTER III ON THE HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH AND IN PARTICULAR ON THE EPISCOPATE18. For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body. For those ministers, who are endowed with sacred power, serve their brethren, so that all who are of the People of God, and therefore enjoy a true Christian dignity, working toward a common goal freely and in an orderly way, may arrive at salvation.This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father;(136) and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world. And in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion.(1*) And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful. Continuing in that same undertaking, this Council is resolved to declare and proclaim before all men the doctrine concerning bishops, the successors of the apostles, who together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ,(2*) the visible Head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God.19. The Lord Jesus, after praying to the Father, calling to Himself those whom He desired, appointed twelve to be with Him, and whom He would send to preach the Kingdom of God;(137) and these apostles(138) He formed after the manner of a college or a stable group, over which He placed Peter chosen from among them.(139) He sent them first to the children of Israel and then to all nations,(140) so that as sharers in His power they might make all peoples His disciples, and sanctify and govern them,(141) and thus spread His Church, and by ministering to it under the guidance of the Lord, direct it all days even to the consummation of the world.(142) And in this mission they were fully confirmed on the day of Pentecost(143) in accordance with the Lord’s promise: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth”.(144) And the apostles, by preaching the Gospel everywhere,(145) and it being accepted by their hearers under the influence of the Holy Spirit, gather together the universal Church, which the Lord established on the apostles and built upon blessed Peter, their chief, Christ Jesus Himself being the supreme cornerstone.(146)(3*)20. That divine mission, entrusted by Christ to the apostles, will last until the end of the world,(147) since the Gospel they are to teach is for all time the source of all life for the Church. And for this reason the apostles, appointed as rulers in this society, took care to appoint successors.For they not only had helpers in their ministry,(4*) but also, in order that the mission assigned to them might continue after their death, they passed on to their immediate cooperators, as it were, in the form of a testament, the duty of confirming and finishing the work begun by themselves,(5*) recommending to them that they attend to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit placed them to shepherd the Church of God.(148) They therefore appointed such men, and gave them the order that, when they should have died, other approved men would take up their ministry.(6*) Among those various ministries which, according to tradition, were exercised in the Church from the earliest times, the chief place belongs to the office of those who, appointed to the episcopate, by a succession running from the beginning,(7*) are passers-on of the apostolic seed.(8*) Thus, as St. Irenaeus testifies, through those who were appointed bishops by the apostles, and through their successors down in our own time, the apostolic tradition is manifested (9*) and preserved.(10*)Bishops, therefore, with their helpers, the priests and deacons, have taken up the service of the community, (11*) presiding in place of God over the flock,(12*) whose shepherds they are, as teachers for doctrine, priests for sacred worship, and ministers for governing.(13*) And just as the office granted individually to Peter, the first among the apostles, is permanent and is to be transmitted to his successors, so also the apostles’ office of nurturing the Church is permanent, and is to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops. (14*) Therefore, the Sacred Council teaches that bishops by divine institution have succeeded to the place of the apostles, (15*) as shepherds of the Church, and he who hears them, hears Christ, and he who rejects them, rejects Christ and Him who sent Christ.(149)(16*)21. In the bishops, therefore, for whom priests are assistants, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Supreme High Priest, is present in the midst of those who believe. For sitting at the right hand of God the Father, He is not absent from the gathering of His high priests,(17*) but above all through their excellent service He is preaching the word of God to all nations, and constantly administering the sacraments of faith to those who believe, by their paternal functioning.(150) He incorporates new members in His Body by a heavenly regeneration, and finally by their wisdom and prudence He directs and guides the People of the New Testament in their pilgrimage toward eternal happiness. These pastors, chosen to shepherd the Lord’s flock of the elect, are servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God,(151) to whom has been assigned the bearing of witness to the Gospel of the grace of God,(152) and the ministration of the Spirit and of justice in glory.(153)For the discharging of such great duties, the apostles were enriched by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon them,(154) and they passed on this spiritual gift to their helpers by the imposition of hands,(155) and it has been transmitted down to us in Episcopal consecration.(18*) And the Sacred Council teaches that by Episcopal consecration the fullness of the sacrament of Orders is conferred, that fullness of power, namely, which both in the Church’s liturgical practice and in the language of the Fathers of the Church is called the high priesthood, the supreme power of the sacred ministry.(19*) But Episcopal consecration, together with the office of sanctifying, also confers the office of teaching and of governing, which, however, of its very nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head and the members of the college. For from the tradition, which is expressed especially in liturgical rites and in the practice of both the Church of the East and of the West, it is clear that, by means of the imposition of hands and the words of consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is so conferred,(20*) and the sacred character so impressed,(21*) that bishops in an eminent and visible way sustain the roles of Christ Himself as Teacher, Shepherd and High Priest, and that they act in His person.(22*) Therefore it pertains to the bishops to admit newly elected members into the Episcopal body by means of the sacrament of Orders.22. Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together. Indeed, the very ancient practice whereby bishops duly established in all parts of the world were in communion with one another and with the Bishop of Rome in a bond of unity, charity and peace,(23*) and also the councils assembled together,(24*) in which more profound issues were settled in common, (25*) the opinion of the many having been prudently considered,(26*) both of these factors are already an indication of the collegiate character and aspect of the Episcopal order; and the ecumenical councils held in the course of centuries are also manifest proof of that same character. And it is intimated also in the practice, introduced in ancient times, of summoning several bishops to take part in the elevation of the newly elected to the ministry of the high priesthood. Hence, one is constituted a member of the Episcopal body in virtue of sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head and members of the body.But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.(27*) This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff. For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church,(156) and made him shepherd of the whole flock;(157) it is evident, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter,(158) was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with their head.(159)(28*) This college, insofar as it is composed of many, expresses the variety and universality of the People of God, but insofar as it is assembled under one head, it expresses the unity of the flock of Christ. In it, the bishops, faithfully recognizing the primacy and pre-eminence of their head, exercise their own authority for the good of their own faithful, and indeed of the whole Church, the Holy Spirit supporting its organic structure and harmony with moderation. The supreme power in the universal Church, which this college enjoys, is exercised in a solemn way in an ecumenical council. A council is never ecumenical unless it is confirmed or at least accepted as such by the successor of Peter; and it is prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to convoke these councils, to preside over them and to confirm them.(29*) This same collegiate power can be exercised together with the pope by the bishops living in all parts of the world, provided that the head of the college calls them to collegiate action, or at least approves of or freely accepts the united action of the scattered bishops, so that it is thereby made a collegiate act.23. This collegial union is apparent also m the mutual relations of the individual bishops with particular churches and with the universal Church. The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful.(30*) The individual bishops, however, are the visible principle and foundation of unity in their particular churches, (31*) fashioned after the model of the universal Church, in and from which churches comes into being the one and only Catholic Church.(32*) For this reason the individual bishops represent each his own church, but all of them together and with the Pope represent the entire Church in the bond of peace, love and unity.The individual bishops, who are placed in charge of particular churches, exercise their pastoral government over the portion of the People of God committed to their care, and not over other churches nor over the universal Church. But each of them, as a member of the episcopal college and legitimate successor of the apostles, is obliged by Christ’s institution and command to be solicitous for the whole Church,(33*) and this solicitude, though it is not exercised by an act of jurisdiction, contributes greatly to the advantage of the universal Church. For it is the duty of all bishops to promote and to safeguard the unity of faith and the discipline common to the whole Church, to instruct the faithful to love for the whole mystical body of Christ, especially for its poor and sorrowing members and for those who are suffering persecution for justice’s sake,(160) and finally to promote every activity that is of interest to the whole Church, especially that the faith may take increase and the light of full truth appear to all men. And this also is important, that by governing well their own church as a portion of the universal Church, they themselves are effectively contributing to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which is also the body of the churches.(34*)The task of proclaiming the Gospel everywhere on earth pertains to the body of pastors, to all of whom in common Christ gave His command, thereby imposing upon them a common duty, as Pope Celestine in his time recommended to the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus.(35*) From this it follows that the individual bishops, insofar as their own discharge of their duty permits, are obliged to enter into a community of work among themselves and with the successor of Peter, upon whom was imposed in a special way the great duty of spreading the Christian name.(36*) With all their energy, therefore, they must supply to the missions both workers for the harvest and also spiritual and material aid, both directly and on their own account. as well as by arousing the ardent cooperation of the faithful. And finally, the bishops, in a universal fellowship of charity, should gladly extend their fraternal aid to other churches, especially to neighboring and more needy dioceses in accordance with the venerable example of antiquity.By divine Providence it has come about that various churches, established in various places by the apostles and their successors, have in the course of time coalesced into several groups, organically united, which, preserving the unity of faith and the unique divine constitution of the universal Church, enjoy their own discipline, their own liturgical usage, and their own theological and spiritual heritage. Some of these churches, notably the ancient patriarchal churches, as parent-stocks of the Faith, so to speak, have begotten others as daughter churches, with which they are connected down to our own time by a close bond of charity in their sacramental life and in their mutual respect for their rights and duties.(37*) This variety of local churches with one common aspiration is splendid evidence of the catholicity of the undivided Church. In like manner the Episcopal bodies of today are in a position to render a manifold and fruitful assistance, so that this collegiate feeling may be put into practical application.24. Bishops, as successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord, to whom was given all power in heaven and on earth, the mission to teach all nations and to preach the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain to salvation by faith, baptism and the fulfilment of the commandments.(161) To fulfill this mission, Christ the Lord promised the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and on Pentecost day sent the Spirit from heaven, by whose power they would be witnesses to Him before the nations and peoples and kings even to the ends of the earth.(162) And that duty, which the Lord committed to the shepherds of His people, is a true service, which in sacred literature is significantly called “diakonia” or ministry.(163)The canonical mission of bishops can come about by legitimate customs that have not been revoked by the supreme and universal authority of the Church, or by laws made or recognized be that the authority, or directly through the successor of Peter himself; and if the latter refuses or denies apostolic communion, such bishops cannot assume any office.(38*)25. Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place.(39*) For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old,(164) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.(165) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.(40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.(41*)And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,(166) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals.(42*) And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.(43*) The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter. To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith.(44*)But when either the Roman Pontiff or the Body of Bishops together with him defines a judgment, they pronounce it in accordance with Revelation itself, which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with, that is, the Revelation which as written or orally handed down is transmitted in its entirety through the legitimate succession of bishops and especially in care of the Roman Pontiff himself, and which under the guiding light of the Spirit of truth is religiously preserved and faithfully expounded in the Church.(45*) The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, in view of their office and the importance of the matter, by fitting means diligently strive to inquire properly into that revelation and to give apt expression to its contents;(46*) but a new public revelation they do not accept as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith.(47*)26. A bishop marked with the fullness of the sacrament of Orders, is “the steward of the grace of the supreme priesthood,” (48*) especially in the Eucharist, which he offers or causes to be offered,(49*) and by which the Church continually lives and grows. This Church of Christ is truly present in all legitimate local congregations of the faithful which, united with their pastors, are themselves called churches in the New Testament.(50*) For in their locality these are the new People called by God, in the Holy Spirit and in much fullness.(167) In them the faithful are gathered together by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated, that by the food and blood of the Lord’s body the whole brotherhood may be joined together.(51*) In any community of the altar, under the sacred ministry of the bishop,(52*) there is exhibited a symbol of that charity and “unity of the mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation.”(53*) In these communities, though frequently small and poor, or living in the Diaspora, Christ is present, and in virtue of His presence there is brought together one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.(54*) For “the partaking of the body and blood of Christ does nothing other than make us be transformed into that which we consume”. (55*)Every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is regulated by the bishop, to whom is committed the office of offering the worship of Christian religion to the Divine Majesty and of administering it in accordance with the Lord’s commandments and the Church’s laws, as further defined by his particular judgment for his diocese.Bishops thus, by praying and laboring for the people, make outpourings in many ways and in great abundance from the fullness of Christ’s holiness. By the ministry of the word they communicate God’s power to those who believe unto salvation(168) and through the sacraments, the regular and fruitful distribution of which they regulate by their authority,(56*) they sanctify the faithful. They direct the conferring of baptism, by which a sharing in the kingly priesthood of Christ is granted. They are the original ministers of confirmation, dispensers of sacred Orders and the moderators of penitential discipline, and they earnestly exhort and instruct their people to carry out with faith and reverence their part in the liturgy and especially in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. And lastly, by the example of their way of life they must be an influence for good to those over whom they preside, refraining from all evil and, as far as they are able with God’s help, exchanging evil for good, so that together with the flock committed to their care they may arrive at eternal life.(57*)27. Bishops, as vicars and ambassadors of Christ, govern the particular churches entrusted to them (58*) by their counsel, exhortations, example, and even by their authority and sacred power, which indeed they use only for the edification of their flock in truth and holiness, remembering that he who is greater should become as the lesser and he who is the chief become as the servant.(169) This power, which they personally exercise in Christ’s name, is proper, ordinary and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately regulated by the supreme authority of the Church, and can be circumscribed by certain limits, for the advantage of the Church or of the faithful. In virtue of this power, bishops have the sacred right and the duty before the Lord to make laws for their subjects, to pass judgment on them and to moderate everything pertaining to the ordering of worship and the apostolate.The pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted to them completely; nor are they to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiffs, for they exercise an authority that is proper to them, and are quite correctly called “prelates,” heads of the people whom they govern.(59*) Their power, therefore, is not destroyed by the supreme and universal power, but on the contrary it is affirmed, strengthened and vindicated by it,(60*) since the Holy Spirit unfailingly preserves the form of government established by Christ the Lord in His Church.A bishop, since he is sent by the Father to govern his family, must keep before his eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister,(170) and to lay down his life for his sheep.(171) Being taken from among men, and himself beset with weakness, he is able to have compassion on the ignorant and erring.(172) Let him not refuse to listen to his subjects, whom he cherishes as his true sons and exhorts to cooperate readily with him. As having one day to render an account for their souls,(173) he takes care of them by his prayer, preaching, and all the works of charity, and not only of them but also of those who are not yet of the one flock, who also are commended to him in the Lord. Since, like Paul the Apostle, he is debtor to all men, let him be ready to preach the Gospel to all,(174) and to urge his faithful to apostolic and missionary activity. But the faithful must cling to their bishop, as the Church does to Christ, and Jesus Christ to the Father, so that all may be of one mind through unity,(61*) and abound to the glory of God.(175)28. Christ, whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, (176) has through His apostles, made their successors, the bishops, partakers of His consecration and His mission.(62*) They have legitimately handed on to different individuals in the Church various degrees of participation in this ministry. Thus the divinely established ecclesiastical ministry is exercised on different levels by those who from antiquity have been called bishops, priests and deacons.(63*) Priests, although they do not possess the highest degree of the priesthood, and although they are dependent on the bishops in the exercise of their power, nevertheless they are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity.(64*) By the power of the sacrament of Orders,(65*) in the image of Christ the eternal high Priest,(177) they are consecrated to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful and to celebrate divine worship, so that they are true priests of the New Testament.(66*) Partakers of the function of Christ the sole Mediator,(178) on their level of ministry, they announce the divine word to all. They exercise their sacred function especially in the Eucharistic worship or the celebration of the Mass by which acting in the person of Christ (67*) and proclaiming His Mystery they unite the prayers of the faithful with the sacrifice of their Head and renew and apply (68*) in the sacrifice of the Mass until the coming of the Lord(179) the only sacrifice of the New Testament namely that of Christ offering Himself once for all a spotless Victim to the Father.(180) For the sick and the sinners among the faithful, they exercise the ministry of alleviation and reconciliation and they present the needs and the prayers of the faithful to God the Father.(181) Exercising within the limits of their authority the function of Christ as Shepherd and Head,(69*) they gather together God’s family as a brotherhood all of one mind,(70*) and lead them in the Spirit, through Christ, to God the Father. In the midst of the flock they adore Him in spirit and in truth.(182) Finally, they labor in word and doctrine,(183) believing what they have read and meditated upon in the law of God, teaching what they have believed, and putting in practice in their own lives what they have taught.(71*)Priests, prudent cooperators with the Episcopal order,(72*) its aid and instrument, called to serve the people of God, constitute one priesthood (73*) with their bishop although bound by a diversity of duties. Associated with their bishop in a spirit of trust and generosity, they make him present in a certain sense in the individual local congregations, and take upon themselves, as far as they are able, his duties and the burden of his care, and discharge them with a daily interest. And as they sanctify and govern under the bishop’s authority, that part of the Lord’s flock entrusted to them they make the universal Church visible in their own locality and bring an efficacious assistance to the building up of the whole body of Christ.(184) intent always upon the welfare of God’s children, they must strive to lend their effort to the pastoral work of the whole diocese, and even of the entire Church. On account of this sharing in their priesthood and mission, let priests sincerely look upon the bishop as their father and reverently obey him. And let the bishop regard his priests as his co-workers and as sons and friends, just as Christ called His disciples now not servants but friends.(185) All priests, both diocesan and religious, by reason of Orders and ministry, fit into this body of bishops and priests, and serve the good of the whole Church according to their vocation and the grace given to them.In virtue of their common sacred ordination and mission, all priests are bound together in intimate brotherhood, which naturally and freely manifests itself in mutual aid, spiritual as well as material, pastoral as well as personal, in their meetings and in the communion of life, of labor and charity.Let them, as fathers in Christ, take care of the faithful whom they have begotten by baptism and their teaching.(186) Becoming from the heart a pattern to the flock,(187) let them so lead and serve their local community that it may worthily be called by that name, by which the one and entire people of God is signed, namely, the Church of God.(188) Let them remember that by their daily life and interests they are showing the face of a truly sacerdotal and pastoral ministry to the faithful and the infidel, to Catholics and non-Catholics, and that to all they bear witness to the truth and life, and as good shepherds go after those also,(189) who though baptized in the Catholic Church have fallen away from the use of the sacraments, or even from the faith.Because the human race today is joining more and more into a civic, economic and social unity, it is that much the more necessary that priests, by combined effort and aid, under the leadership of the bishops and the Supreme Pontiff, wipe out every kind of separateness, so that the whole human race may be brought into the unity of the family of God.29. At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed “not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.”(74*) For strengthened by sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his group of priests they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, of the word, and of charity to the people of God. It is the duty of the deacon, according as it shall have been assigned to him by competent authority, to administer baptism solemnly, to be custodian and dispenser of the Eucharist, to assist at and bless marriages in the name of the Church, to bring Viaticum to the dying, to read the Sacred Scripture to the faithful, to instruct and exhort the people, to preside over the worship and prayer of the faithful, to administer sacramentals, to officiate at funeral and burial services. Dedicated to duties of charity and of administration, let deacons be mindful of the admonition of Blessed Polycarp: “Be merciful, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all.”(75*)Since these duties, so very necessary to the life of the Church, can be fulfilled only with difficulty in many regions in accordance with the discipline of the Latin Church as it exists today, the diaconate can in the future be restored as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy. It pertains to the competent territorial bodies of bishops, of one kind or another, with the approval of the Supreme Pontiff, to decide whether and where it is opportune for such deacons to be established for the care of souls. With the consent of the Roman Pontiff, this diaconate can, in the future, be conferred upon men of more mature age, even upon those living in the married state. It may also be conferred upon suitable young men, for whom the law of celibacy must remain intact.
CHAPTER IVTHE LAITY30. Having set forth the functions of the hierarchy, the Sacred Council gladly turns its attention. to the state of those faithful called the laity. Everything that has been said above concerning the People of God is intended for the laity, religious and clergy alike. But there are certain things which pertain in a special way to the laity, both men and women, by reason of their condition and mission. Due to the special circumstances of our time the foundations of this doctrine must be more thoroughly examined. For their pastors know how much the laity contribute to the welfare of the entire Church. They also know that they were not ordained by Christ to take upon themselves alone the entire salvific mission of the Church toward the world. On the contrary they understand that it is their noble duty to shepherd the faithful and to recognize their ministries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in this common undertaking with one mind. For we must all “practice the truth in love, and so grow up in all things in Him who is head, Christ. For from Him the whole body, being closely joined and knit together through every joint of the system, according to the functioning in due measure of each single part, derives its increase to the building up of itself in love”.(190)31. The term laity is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in holy orders and those in the state of religious life specially approved by the Church. These faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.What specifically characterizes the laity is their secular nature. It is true that those in holy orders can at times be engaged in secular activities, and even have a secular profession. But they are by reason of their particular vocation especially and professedly ordained to the sacred ministry. Similarly, by their state in life, religious give splendid and striking testimony that the world cannot be transformed and offered to God without the spirit of the beatitudes. But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.32. By divine institution, Holy Church is ordered and governed with a wonderful diversity. “For just as in one body we have many members, yet all the members have not the same function, so we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another”.(191) Therefore, the chosen People of God is one: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”(192); sharing a common dignity as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope and one undivided charity. There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality on the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex, because “there is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all ‘one’ in Christ Jesus”.(193)If therefore in the Church everyone does not proceed by the same path, nevertheless all are called to sanctity and have received an equal privilege of faith through the justice of God.(194) And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, pastors and dispensers of mysteries on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ. For the distinction which the Lord made between sacred ministers and the rest of the People of God bears within it a certain union, since pastors and the other faithful are bound to each other by a mutual need. Pastors of the Church, following the example of the Lord, should minister to one another and to the other faithful. These in their turn should enthusiastically lend their joint assistance to their pastors and teachers. Thus in their diversity all bear witness to the wonderful unity in the Body of Christ. This very diversity of graces, ministries and works gathers the children of God into one, because “all these things are the work of one and the same Spirit”.(195)Therefore, from divine choice the laity have Christ for their brothers who though He is the Lord of all, came not to be served but to serve.(196) They also have for their brothers those in the sacred ministry who by teaching, by sanctifying and by ruling with the authority of Christ feed the family of God so that the new commandment of charity may be fulfilled by all. St. Augustine puts this very beautifully when he says: “What I am for you terrifies me; what I am with you consoles me. For you I am a bishop; but with you I am a Christian. The former is a duty; the latter a grace. The former is a danger; the latter, salvation” (1*).33. The laity are gathered together in the People of God and make up the Body of Christ under one head. Whoever they are they are called upon, as living members, to expend all their energy for the growth of the Church and its continuous sanctification, since this very energy is a gift of the Creator and a blessing of the Redeemer.The lay apostolate, however, is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself. Moreover, by the sacraments, especially holy Eucharist, that charity toward God and man which is the soul of the apostolate is communicated and nourished. Now the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth (2*). Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself “according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal”.(197)Besides this apostolate which certainly pertains to all Christians, the laity can also be called in various ways to a more direct form of cooperation in the apostolate of the Hierarchy (3*). This was the way certain men and women assisted Paul the Apostle in the Gospel, laboring much in the Lord.(198) Further, they have the capacity to assume from the Hierarchy certain ecclesiastical functions, which are to be performed for a spiritual purpose.Upon all the laity, therefore, rests the noble duty of working to extend the divine plan of salvation to all men of each epoch and in every land. Consequently, may every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.34. The supreme and eternal Priest, Christ Jesus, since he wills to continue his witness and service also through the laity, vivifies them in this Spirit and increasingly urges them on to every good and perfect work.For besides intimately linking them to His life and His mission, He also gives them a sharing in His priestly function of offering spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. For this reason the laity, dedicated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and wonderfully prepared so that ever more abundant fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne—all these become “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.(199) Together with the offering of the Lord’s body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God.35. Christ, the great Prophet, who proclaimed the Kingdom of His Father both by the testimony of His life and the power of His words, continually fulfills His prophetic office until the complete manifestation of glory. He does this not only through the hierarchy who teach in His name and with His authority, but also through the laity whom He made His witnesses and to whom He gave understanding of the faith (sensu fidei) and an attractiveness in speech(200) so that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in their daily social and family life. They conduct themselves as children of the promise, and thus strong in faith and in hope they make the most of the present,(201) and with patience await the glory that is to come.(202) Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but even in the program of their secular life let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestling “against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness.(203)Just as the sacraments of the New Law, by which the life and the apostolate of the faithful are nourished, prefigure a new heaven and a new earth,(204) so too the laity go forth as powerful proclaimers of a faith in things to be hoped for,(205) when they courageously join to their profession of faith a life springing from faith. This evangelization, that is, this announcing of Christ by a living testimony as well as by the spoken word, takes on a specific quality and a special force in that it is carried out in the ordinary surroundings of the world.In connection with the prophetic function is that state of life which is sanctified by a special sacrament obviously of great importance, namely, married and family life. For where Christianity pervades the entire mode of family life, and gradually transforms it, one will find there both the practice and an excellent school of the lay apostolate. In such a home husbands and wives find their proper vocation in being witnesses of the faith and love of Christ to one another and to their children. The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come. Thus by its example and its witness it accuses the world of sin and enlightens those who seek the truth.Consequently, even when preoccupied with temporal cares, the laity can and must perform a work of great value for the evangelization of the world. For even if some of them have to fulfill their religious duties on their own, when there are no sacred ministers or in times of persecution; and even if many of them devote all their energies to apostolic work; still it remains for each one of them to cooperate in the external spread and the dynamic growth of the Kingdom of Christ in the world. Therefore, let the laity devotedly strive to acquire a more profound grasp of revealed truth, and let them insistently beg of God the gift of wisdom.36. Christ, becoming obedient even unto death and because of this exalted by the Father,(206) entered into the glory of His kingdom. To Him all things are made subject until He subjects Himself and all created things to the Father that God may be all in all.(207) Now Christ has communicated this royal power to His disciples that they might be constituted in royal freedom and that by true penance and a holy life they might conquer the reign of sin in themselves.(208) Further, He has shared this power so that serving Christ in their fellow men they might by humility and patience lead their brethren to that King for whom to serve is to reign. But the Lord wishes to spread His kingdom also by means of the laity, namely, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace (4*). In this kingdom creation itself will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.(209) Clearly then a great promise and a great trust is committed to the disciples: “All things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”.(210)The faithful, therefore, must learn the deepest meaning and the value of all creation, as well as its role in the harmonious praise of God. They must assist each other to live holier lives even in their daily occupations. In this way the world may be permeated by the spirit of Christ and it may more effectively fulfill its purpose in justice, charity and peace. The laity have the principal role in the overall fulfillment of this duty. Therefore, by their competence in secular training and by their activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, let them vigorously contribute their effort, so that created goods may be perfected by human labor, technical skill and civic culture for the benefit of all men according to the design of the Creator and the light of His Word. May the goods of this world be more equitably distributed among all men, and may they in their own way be conducive to universal progress in human and Christian freedom. In this manner, through the members of the Church, will Christ progressively illumine the whole of human society with His saving light.Moreover, let the laity also by their combined efforts remedy the customs and conditions of the world, if they are an inducement to sin, so that they all may be conformed to the norms of justice and may favor the practice of virtue rather than hinder it. By so doing they will imbue culture and human activity with genuine moral values; they will better prepare the field of the world for the seed of the Word of God; and at the same time they will open wider the doors of the Church by which the message of peace may enter the world.Because of the very economy of salvation the faithful should learn how to distinguish carefully between those rights and duties which are theirs as members of the Church, and those which they have as members of human society. Let them strive to reconcile the two, remembering that in every temporal affair they must be guided by a Christian conscience, since even in secular business there is no human activity which can be withdrawn from God’s dominion. In our own time, however, it is most urgent that this distinction and also this harmony should shine forth more clearly than ever in the lives of the faithful, so that the mission of the Church may correspond more fully to the special conditions of the world today. For it must be admitted that the temporal sphere is governed by its own principles, since it is rightly concerned with the interests of this world. But that ominous doctrine which attempts to build a society with no regard whatever for religion, and which attacks and destroys the religious liberty of its citizens, is rightly to be rejected (5*).37. The laity have the right, as do all Christians, to receive in abundance from their spiritual shepherds the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the assistance of the word of God and of the sacraments (6*). They should openly reveal to them their needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ. They are, by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obliged to express their opinion on those things which concern the good of the Church (7*). When occasions arise, let this be done through the organs erected by the Church for this purpose. Let it always be done in truth, in courage and in prudence, with reverence and charity toward those who by reason of their sacred office represent the person of Christ.The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church. Let them follow the example of Christ, who by His obedience even unto death, opened to all men the blessed way of the liberty of the children of God. Nor should they omit to pray for those placed over them, for they keep watch as having to render an account of their souls, so that they may do this with joy and not with grief.(211)Let the spiritual shepherds recognize and promote the dignity as well as the responsibility of the laity in the Church. Let them willingly employ their prudent advice. Let them confidently assign duties to them in the service of the Church, allowing them freedom and room for action. Further, let them encourage lay people so that they may undertake tasks on their own initiative. Attentively in Christ, let them consider with fatherly love the projects, suggestions and desires proposed by the laity.(8*) However, let the shepherds respectfully acknowledge that just freedom which belongs to everyone in this earthly city. A great many wonderful things are to be hoped for from this familiar dialogue between the laity and their spiritual leaders: in the laity a strengthened sense of personal responsibility; a renewed enthusiasm; a more ready application of their talents to the projects of their spiritual leaders. The latter, on the other hand, aided by the experience of the laity, can more clearly and more incisively come to decisions regarding both spiritual and temporal matters. In this way, the whole Church, strengthened by each one of its members, may more effectively fulfill is a mission for the life of the world.38. Each individual layman must stand before the world as a witness to the resurrection and life of the Lord Jesus and a symbol of the living God. All the laity as a community and each one according to his ability must nourish the world with spiritual fruits.(212) They must diffuse in the world that spirit which animates the poor, the meek, the peacemakers—whom the Lord in the Gospel proclaimed as blessed.(213) In a word, “Christians must be to the world what the soul is to the body.”(9*)
CHAPTER V THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO HOLINESS IN THE CHURCH39. The Church, whose mystery is being set forth by this Sacred Synod, is believed to be indefectible holy. Indeed Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is praised as “uniquely holy,” (1*) loved the Church as His bride, delivering Himself up for her. He did this that He might sanctify her.(214) He united her to Himself as His own body and brought it to perfection by the gift of the Holy Spirit for God’s glory. Therefore in the Church, everyone, whether belonging to the hierarchy or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification”.(215) However, this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others; in a very special way this (holiness) appears in the practice of the counsels, customarily called “evangelical.” This practice of the counsels, under the impulsion of the Holy Spirit, undertaken by many Christians, either privately or in a Church-approved condition or state of life, gives and must give in the world an outstanding witness and example of this same holiness.40. The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and everyone of His disciples of every condition. He Himself stands as the author and consumator of this holiness of life: “Be you therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect”.(216)(2*) Indeed He sent the Holy Spirit upon all men that He might move them inwardly to love God with their whole heart and their whole soul, with all their mind and all their strength(217) and that they might love each other as Christ loves them.(218) The followers of Christ are called by God, not because of their works, but according to His own purpose and grace. They are justified in the Lord Jesus because in the baptism of faith they truly become sons of God and sharers in the divine nature. In this way, they are really made holy. Then too, by God’s gift, they must hold on to and complete in their lives this holiness they have received. They are warned by the Apostle to live “as becomes saints”,(219) and to put on “as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience”,(220) and to possess the fruit of the Spirit in holiness.(221) Since truly we all offend in many things (222) we all need God’s mercies continually and we all must daily pray: “Forgive us our debts”(223)(3*)Thus it is evident to everyone, that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity;(4*) by this holiness as such a more human manner of living is promoted in this earthly society. In order that the faithful may reach this perfection, they must use their strength accordingly as they have received it, as a gift from Christ. They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbor. In this way, the holiness of the People of God will grow into an abundant harvest of good, as is admirably shown by the life of so many saints in Church history.41. The classes and duties of life are many, but holiness is one—that sanctity which is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God, and who obey the voice of the Father and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. These people follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ in order to be worthy of being sharers in His glory. Every person must walk unhesitatingly according to his own personal gifts and duties in the path of living faith, which arouses hope and works through charity.In the first place, the shepherds of Christ’s flock must holily and eagerly, humbly and courageously carry out their ministry, in imitation of the eternal high Priest, the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. They ought to fulfill this duty in such a way that it will be the principal means also of their own sanctification. Those chosen for the fullness of the priesthood are granted the ability of exercising the perfect duty of pastoral charity by the grace of the sacrament of Orders. This perfect duty of pastoral charity (5*) is exercised in every form of episcopal care and service, prayer, sacrifice and preaching. By this same sacramental grace, they are given the courage necessary to lay down their lives for their sheep, and the ability of promoting greater holiness in the Church by their daily example, having become a pattern for their flock.(224)Priests, who resemble bishops to a certain degree in their participation of the sacrament of Orders, form the spiritual crown of the bishops.(6*) They participate in the grace of their office and they should grow daily in their love of God and their neighbor by the exercise of their office through Christ, the eternal and unique Mediator. They should preserve the bond of priestly communion, and they should abound in every spiritual good and thus present to all men a living witness to God.(7*) All this they should do in emulation of those priests who often, down through the course of the centuries, left an outstanding example of the holiness of humble and hidden service. Their praise lives on in the Church of God. By their very office of praying and offering sacrifice for their own people and the entire people of God, they should rise to greater holiness. Keeping in mind what they are doing and imitating what they are handling,(8*) these priests, in their apostolic labors, rather than being ensnared by perils and hardships, should rather rise to greater holiness through these perils and hardships. They should ever nourish and strengthen their action from an abundance of contemplation, doing all this for the comfort of the entire Church of God. All priests, and especially those who are called “diocesan priests,” due to the special title of their ordination, should keep continually before their minds the fact that their faithful loyalty toward and their generous cooperation with their bishop is of the greatest value in their growth in holiness.Ministers of lesser rank are also sharers in the mission and grace of the Supreme Priest. In the first place among these ministers are deacons, who, in as much as they are dispensers of Christ’s mysteries and servants of the Church,(9*) should keep themselves free from every vice and stand before men as personifications of goodness and friends of God.(225) Clerics, who are called by the Lord and are set aside as His portion in order to prepare themselves for the various ministerial offices under the watchful eye of spiritual shepherds, are bound to bring their hearts and minds into accord with this special election (which is theirs). They will accomplish this by their constancy in prayer, by their burning love, and by their unremitting recollection of whatever is true, just and of good repute. They will accomplish all this for the glory and honor of God. Besides these already named, there are also laymen, chosen of God and called by the bishop. These laymen spend themselves completely in apostolic labors, working the Lord’s field with much success.(10*).Furthermore, married couples and Christian parents should follow their own proper path (to holiness) by faithful love. They should sustain one another in grace throughout the entire length of their lives. They should embue their offspring, lovingly welcomed as God’s gift, with Christian doctrine and the evangelical virtues. In this manner, they offer all men the example of unwearying and generous love; in this way they build up the brotherhood of charity; in so doing, they stand as the witnesses and cooperators in the fruitfulness of Holy Mother Church; by such lives, they are a sign and a participation in that very love, with which Christ loved His Bride and for which He delivered Himself up for her.(11*) A like example, but one given in a different way, is that offered by widows and single people, who are able to make great contributions toward holiness and apostolic endeavor in the Church. Finally, those who engage in labor—and frequently it is of a heavy nature—should better themselves by their human labors. They should be of aid to their fellow citizens. They should raise all of society, and even creation itself, to a better mode of existence. Indeed, they should imitate by their lively charity, in their joyous hope and by their voluntary sharing of each others’ burdens, the very Christ who plied His hands with carpenter’s tools and Who in union with His Father, is continually working for the salvation of all men. In this, then, their daily work they should climb to the heights of holiness and apostolic activity.May all those who are weighed down with poverty, infirmity, and sickness, as well as those who must bear various hardships or who suffer persecution for justice sake—may they all know they are united with the suffering Christ in a special way for the salvation of the world. The Lord called them blessed in His Gospel and they are those whom “the God of all graces, who has called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself, after we have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen and establish”.(226)Finally all Christ’s faithful, whatever be the conditions, duties and circumstances of their lives—and indeed through all these, will daily increase in holiness, if they receive all things with faith from the hand of their heavenly Father and if they cooperate with the divine will. In this temporal service, they will manifest to all men the love with which God loved the world.42. “God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in Him”.(227) But, God pours out his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us;(228) thus the first and most necessary gift is love, by which we love God above all things and our neighbor because of God. Indeed, in order that love, as good seed may grow and bring forth fruit in the soul, each one of the faithful must willingly hear the Word of God and accept His Will and must complete what God has begun by their own actions with the help of God’s grace. These actions consist in the use of the sacraments and in a special way the Eucharist, frequent participation in the sacred action of the Liturgy, application of oneself to prayer, self-abnegation, lively fraternal service and the constant exercise of all the virtues. For charity, as the bond of perfection and the fullness of the law,(229) rules over all the means of attaining holiness and gives life to these same means. (12*) It is charity which guides us to our final end. It is the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor which points out the true disciple of Christ.Since Jesus, the Son of God, manifested His charity by laying down His life for us, so too no one has greater love than he who lays down his life for Christ and His brothers.(230) From the earliest times, then, some Christians have been called upon—and some will always be called upon—to give the supreme testimony of this love to all men, but especially to persecutors. The Church, then, considers martyrdom as an exceptional gift and as the fullest proof of love. By martyrdom a disciple is transformed into an image of his Master by freely accepting death for the salvation of the world—as well as his conformity to Christ in the shedding of his blood. Though few are presented such an opportunity, nevertheless all must be prepared to confess Christ before men. They must be prepared to make this profession of faith even in the midst of persecutions, which will never be lacking to the Church, in following the way of the cross.Likewise, the holiness of the Church is fostered in a special way by the observance of the counsels proposed in the Gospel by Our Lord to His disciples.(13*) An eminent position among these is held by virginity or the celibate state.(231) This is a precious gift of divine grace given by the Father to certain souls,(232) whereby they may devote themselves to God alone the more easily, due to an undivided heart. (14*) This perfect continency, out of desire for the kingdom of heaven, has always been held in particular honor in the Church. The reason for this was and is that perfect continency for the love of God is an incentive to charity, and is certainly a particular source of spiritual fecundity in the world.The Church continually keeps before it the warning of the Apostle which moved the faithful to charity, exhorting them to experience personally what Christ Jesus had known within Himself. This was the same Christ Jesus, who “emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave . . . becoming obedient to death”,(233) and because of us “being rich, he became poor”.(234) Because the disciples must always offer an imitation of and a testimony to the charity and humility of Christ, Mother Church rejoices at finding within her bosom men and women who very closely follow their Saviour who debased Himself to our comprehension. There are some who, in their freedom as sons of God, renounce their own wills and take upon themselves the state of poverty. Still, further, some become subject of their own accord to another man, in the matter of perfection for love of God. This is beyond the measure of the commandments but is done in order to become more fully like the obedient Christ.(15*)Therefore, all the faithful of Christ are invited to strive for the holiness and perfection of their own proper state. Indeed they have an obligation to so strive. Let all then have care that they guide aright their own deepest sentiments of soul. Let neither the use of the things of this world nor attachment to riches, which is against the spirit of evangelical poverty, hinder them in their quest for perfect love. Let them heed the admonition of the Apostle to those who use this world; let them not come to terms with this world; for this world, as we see it, is passing away. (235)(16*)
CHAPTER VI RELIGIOUS43. The evangelical counsels of chastity dedicated to God, poverty, and obedience are based upon the words and examples of the Lord. They were further commanded by the apostles and Fathers of the Church, as well as by the doctors and pastors of souls. The counsels are a divine gift, which the Church received from its Lord and which it always safeguards with the help of His grace. Church authority has the duty, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, of interpreting these evangelical counsels, of regulating their practice and finally to build on them stable forms of living. Thus it has come about, that, as if, on a tree which has grown in the field of the Lord, various forms of solidarity and community life, as well as various religious families have branched out in a marvelous and multiple ways from this divinely given seed. Such a multiple and miraculous growth augments both the progress of the members of these various religious families themselves and the welfare of the entire Body of Christ.(1*) These religious families give their members the support of more firm stability in their way of life and a proven doctrine of acquiring perfection. They further offer their members the support of the fraternal association in the militia of Christ and of liberty strengthened by obedience. Thus these religious are able to tranquility fulfill and faithfully observe their religious profession and so spiritually rejoicing to make progress on the road of charity.(2*)From the point of view of the divine and hierarchical structure of the Church, the religious state of life is not an intermediate state between the clerical and lay states. But, rather, the faithful of Christ are called by God from both these states of life so that they might enjoy this particular gift in the life of the Church and thus each in one’s own way, may be of some advantage to the salvific mission of the Church. (3*)44. The faithful of Christ bind themselves to the three aforesaid counsels either by vows or by other sacred bonds, which are like vows in their purpose. By such a bond, a person is totally dedicated to God, loved beyond all things. In this way, that person is ordained to the honor and service of God under a new and special title. Indeed through Baptism a person dies to sin and is consecrated to God. However, in order that he may be capable of deriving more abundant fruit from this baptismal grace, he intends, by the profession of the evangelical counsels in the Church, to free himself from those obstacles, which might draw him away from the fervor of charity and the perfection of divine worship. By his profession of the evangelical counsels, then, he is more intimately consecrated to divine service.(4*) This consecration will be the more perfect, in as much as the indissoluble bond of the union of Christ and His bride, the Church, is represented by firm and more stable bonds.The evangelical counsels which lead to charity (5*) join their followers to the Church and its mystery in a special way. Since this is so, the spiritual life of these people should then be devoted to the welfare of the whole Church. From this arises their duty of working to implant and strengthen the Kingdom of Christ in souls and to extend that Kingdom to every clime. This duty is to be undertaken to the extent of their capacities and in keeping with the proper type of their own vocation. This can be realized through prayer or active works of the apostolate. It is for this reason that the Church preserves and fosters the special character of her various religious institutes.The profession of the evangelical counsels, then, appears as a sign which can and ought to attract all the members of the Church to an effective and prompt fulfillment of the duties of their Christian vocation. The people of God have no lasting city here below, but look forward to one that is to come. Since this is so, the religious state, whose purpose is to free its members from earthly cares, more fully manifests to all believers the presence of heavenly goods already possessed here below. Furthermore, it not only witnesses to the fact of a new and eternal life acquired by the redemption of Christ, but it foretells the future resurrection and the glory of the heavenly kingdom. Christ proposed to His disciples this form of life, which He, as the Son of God, accepted in entering this world to do the will of the Father. This same state of life is accurately exemplified and perpetually made present in the Church. The religious state clearly manifests that the Kingdom of God and its needs, in a very special way, are raised above all earthly considerations. Finally, it clearly shows all men both the unsurpassed breadth of the strength of Christ the King and the infinite power of the Holy Spirit marvelously working in the Church.Thus, the state which is constituted by the profession of the evangelical counsels, though it is not the hierarchical structure of the Church, nevertheless, undeniably belongs to its life and holiness.45. It is the duty of the ecclesiastical hierarchy to regulate the practice of the evangelical counsels by law since it is the duty of the same hierarchy to care for the People of God and to lead them to most fruitful pastures.(236) The importance of the profession of the evangelical counsels is seen in the fact that it fosters the perfection of love of God and love of neighbor in an outstanding manner and that this profession is strengthened by vows.(6*) Furthermore, the hierarchy, following with docility the prompting of the Holy Spirit, accepts the rules presented by outstanding men and women and authentically approves these rules after further adjustments. It also aids by its vigilant and safeguarding authority those institutes variously established for the building up of Christ’s Body in order that these same institutes may grow and flourish according to the spirit of the founders.Any institute of perfection and its individual members may be removed from the jurisdiction of the local Ordinaries by the Supreme Pontiff and subjected to himself alone. This is done in virtue of his primacy over the entire Church in order to more fully provide for the necessities of the entire flock of the Lord and in consideration of the common good.(7*) In like manner, these institutes may be left or committed to the charge of the proper patriarchial authority. The members of these institutes, in fulfilling their obligation to the Church due to their particular form of life, ought to show reverence and obedience to bishops according to the sacred canons. The bishops are owed this respect because of their pastoral authority in their own churches and because of the need of unity and harmony in the apostolate.(8*).The Church not only raises the religious profession to the dignity of a canonical state by her approval but even manifests that this profession is a state consecrated to God by the liturgical setting of that profession. The Church itself, by the authority given to it by God, accepts the vows of the newly professed. It begs aid and grace from God for them by its public prayer. It commends them to God, imparts a spiritual blessing on them and accompanies their self-offering by the Eucharistic sacrifice.46. Religious should carefully keep before their minds the fact that the Church presents Christ to believers and non-believers alike in a striking manner daily through them. The Church thus portrays Christ in contemplation on the mountain, in His proclamation of the kingdom of God to the multitudes, in His healing of the sick and maimed, in His work of converting sinners to a better life, in His solicitude for youth and His goodness to all men, always obedient to the will of the Father who sent Him.(9*)All men should take note that the profession of the evangelical counsels, though entailing the renunciation of certain values which are to be undoubtedly esteemed, does not detract from a genuine development of the human persons, but rather by its very nature is most beneficial to that development. Indeed the counsels, voluntarily undertaken according to each one’s personal vocation, contribute a great deal to the purification of heart and spiritual liberty. They continually stir up the fervor of charity. But especially they are able to more fully mold the Christian man to that type of chaste and detached life, which Christ the Lord chose for Himself and which His Mother also embraced. This is clearly proven by the example of so many holy founders. Let no one think that religious have become strangers to their fellowmen or useless citizens of this earthly city by their consecration. For even though it sometimes happens that religious do not directly mingle with their contemporaries, yet in a more profound sense these same religious are united with them in the heart of Christ and spiritually cooperate with them. In this way the building up of the earthly city may have its foundation in the Lord and may tend toward Him, lest perhaps those who build this city shall have labored in vain. (10*)Therefore, this Sacred Synod encourages and praises the men and women, Brothers and Sisters, who in monasteries, or in schools and hospitals, or in the missions, adorn the Bride of Christ by their unswerving and humble faithfulness in their chosen consecration and render generous services of all kinds to mankind.47. Let each of the faithful called to the profession of the evangelical counsels, therefore, carefully see to it that he persevere and ever grow in that vocation God has given him. Let him do this for the increased holiness of the Church, for the greater glory of the one and undivided Trinity, which in and through Christ is the fount and the source of all holiness.
CHAPTER VII THE ESCHATOLOGICAL NATURE OF THE PILGRIM CHURCH AND ITS UNION WITH THE CHURCH IN HEAVEN48. The Church, to which we are all called in Christ Jesus, and in which we acquire sanctity through the grace of God, will attain its full perfection only in the glory of heaven, when there will come the time of the restoration of all things.(237) At that time the human race as well as the entire world, which is intimately related to man and attains to its end through him, will be perfectly reestablished in Christ.(238)Christ, having been lifted up from the earth has drawn all to Himself.(239) Rising from the dead(240) He sent His life-giving Spirit upon His disciples and through Him has established His Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, He is continually active in the world that He might lead men to the Church and through it join them to Himself and that He might make them partakers of His glorious life by nourishing them with His own Body and Blood. Therefore the promised restoration which we are awaiting has already begun in Christ, is carried forward in the mission of the Holy Spirit and through Him continues in the Church in which we learn the meaning of our terrestrial life through our faith, while we perform with hope in the future the work committed to us in this world by the Father, and thus work out our salvation.(241)Already the final age of the world has come upon us (242) and the renovation of the world is irrevocably decreed and is already anticipated in some kind of a real way; for the Church already on this earth is signed with a sanctity which is real although imperfect. However, until there shall be new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells,(243) the pilgrim Church in her sacraments and institutions, which pertain to this present time, has the appearance of this world which is passing and she herself dwells among creatures who groan and travail in pain until now and await the revelation of the sons of God.(244)Joined with Christ in the Church and signed with the Holy Spirit “who is the pledge of our inheritance”,(245) truly we are called and we are sons of God(246) but we have not yet appeared with Christ in glory,(247) in which we shall be like to God, since we shall see Him as He is.(248) And therefore “while we are in the body, we are exiled from the Lord (249) and having the first-fruits of the Spirit we groan within ourselves(250) and we desire to be with Christ”‘.(251) By that same charity, however, we are urged to live more for Him, who died for us and rose again.(252) We strive therefore to please God in all things(253) and we put on the armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and resist in the evil day.(254) Since however we know not the day nor the hour, on Our Lord’s advice we must be constantly vigilant so that, having finished the course of our earthly life,(255) we may merit to enter into the marriage feast with Him and to be numbered among the blessed(256) and that we may not be ordered to go into eternal fire(257) like the wicked and slothful servant,(258) into the exterior darkness where “there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth”.(259) For before we reign with Christ in glory, all of us will be made manifest “before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil”(260) and at the end of the world “they who have done good shall come forth unto resurrection of life; but those who have done evil unto resurrection of judgment”.(261) Reckoning therefore that “the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us”,(262) strong in faith we look for the “blessed hope and the glorious coming of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”(263) “who will refashion the body of our lowliness, conforming it to the body of His glory(264), and who will come “to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all those who have believed”(265).49. Until the Lord shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him (266) and death being destroyed, all things are subject to Him,(277) some of His disciples are exiles on earth, some having died are purified, and others are in glory beholding “clearly God Himself triune and one, as He is”;(1*) but all in various ways and degrees are in communion in the same charity of God and neighbor and all sing the same hymn of glory to our God. For all who are in Christ, having His Spirit, form one Church and cleave together in Him.(268) Therefore the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who have gone to sleep in the peace of Christ is not in the least weakened or interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the perpetual faith of the Church, is strengthened by communication of spiritual goods.(2*) For by reason of the fact that those in heaven are more closely united with Christ, they establish the whole Church more firmly in holiness, lend nobility to the worship which the Church offers to God here on earth and in many ways contribute to its greater edification.(269)(3*) For after they have been received into their heavenly home and are present to the Lord,(270) through Him and with Him and in Him they do not cease to intercede with the Father for us,(4*) showing forth the merits which they won on earth through the one Mediator between God and man,(271) serving God in all things and filling up in their flesh those things which are lacking of the sufferings of Christ for His Body which is the Church.(272)(5*) Thus by their brotherly interest our weakness is greatly strengthened.50. Fully conscious of this communion of the whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the pilgrim Church from the very first ages of the Christian religion has cultivated with great piety the memory of the dead,(6*) and “because it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins”,(273) also offers suffrages for them. The Church has always believed that the apostles and Christ’s martyrs who had given the supreme witness of faith and charity by the shedding of their blood, are closely joined with us in Christ, and she has always venerated them with special devotion, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the holy angels.(7*) The Church has piously implored the aid of their intercession. To these were soon added also those who had more closely imitated Christ’s virginity and poverty,(8*) and finally others whom the outstanding practice of the Christian virtues (9*) and the divine charisms recommended to the pious devotion and imitation of the faithful.(10*)When we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for seeking the City that is to come (274) and at the same time we are shown a most safe path by which among the vicissitudes of this world, in keeping with the state in life and condition proper to each of us, we will be able to arrive at perfect union with Christ, that is, perfect holiness. (11*) In the lives of those who, sharing in our humanity, are however more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ,(275) God vividly manifests His presence and His face to men. He speaks to us in them, and gives us a sign of His Kingdom,(12*) to which we are strongly drawn, having so great a cloud of witnesses over us (276) and such a witness to the truth of the Gospel.Nor is it by the title of example only that we cherish the memory of those in heaven, but still more in order that the union of the whole Church may be strengthened in the Spirit by the practice of fraternal charity.(277) For just as Christian communion among wayfarers brings us closer to Christ, so our companionship with the saints joins us to Christ, from Whom as from its Fountain and Head issues every grace and the very life of the people of God.(13*) It is supremely fitting, therefore, that we love those friends and coheirs of Jesus Christ, who are also our brothers and extraordinary benefactors, that we render due thanks to God for them (14*) and “suppliantly invoke them and have recourse to their prayers, their power and help in obtaining benefits from God through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Redeemer and Saviour.”(15*) For every genuine testimony of love shown by us to those in heaven, by its very nature tends toward and terminates in Christ who is the “crown of all saints,”(16*) and through Him, in God Who is wonderful in his saints and is magnified in them.(17*)Our union with the Church in heaven is put into effect in its noblest manner especially in the sacred Liturgy, wherein the power of the Holy Spirit acts upon us through sacramental signs. Then, with combined rejoicing we celebrate together the praise of the divine majesty;(18*) then all those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (278) who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and gathered together into one Church, with one song of praise magnify the one and triune God. Celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice therefore, we are most closely united to the Church in heaven in communion with and venerating the memory first of all of the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, of Blessed Joseph and the blessed apostles and martyrs and of all the saints.(19*)51. This Sacred Council accepts with great devotion this venerable faith of our ancestors regarding this vital fellowship with our brethren who are in heavenly glory or who having died are still being purified; and it proposes again the decrees of the Second Council of Nicea,(20*) the Council of Florence (21*) and the Council of Trent.(22*) And at the same time, in conformity with our own pastoral interests, we urge all concerned, if any abuses, excesses or defects have crept in here or there, to do what is in their power to remove or correct them, and to restore all things to a fuller praise of Christ and of God. Let them therefore teach the faithful that the authentic cult of the saints consists not so much in the multiplying of external acts, but rather in the greater intensity of our love, whereby, for our own greater good and that of the whole Church, we seek from the saints “example in their way of life, fellowship in their communion, and aid by their intercession.”(23*) On the other hand, let them teach the faithful that our communion with those in heaven, provided that it is understood in the fuller light of faith according to its genuine nature, in no way weakens, but conversely, more thoroughly enriches the latreutic worship we give to God the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit.(24*)For all of us, who are sons of God and constitute one family in Christ,(279) as long as we remain in communion with one another in mutual charity and in one praise of the most holy Trinity, are corresponding with the intimate vocation of the Church and partaking in foretaste the liturgy of consummate glory.(25*) For when Christ shall appear and the glorious resurrection of the dead will take place, the glory of God will light up the heavenly City and the Lamb will be the lamp thereof.(280) Then the whole Church of the saints in the supreme happiness of charity will adore God and “the Lamb who was slain”,(281) proclaiming with one voice: “To Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb blessing, and honor, and glory, and dominion forever and ever”.(282)
CHAPTER VIII THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
I. Introduction52. Wishing in His supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, “when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman…that we might receive the adoption of sons”.(283) “He for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary.”(1*) This divine mystery of salvation is revealed to us and continued in the Church, which the Lord established as His body. Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory “of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ”.(2*)53. The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.”(3*) Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.54. Wherefore this Holy Synod, in expounding the doctrine on the Church, in which the divine Redeemer works salvation, intends to describe with diligence both the role of the Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Incarnate Word and the Mystical Body, and the duties of redeemed mankind toward the Mother of God, who is mother of Christ and mother of men, particularly of the faithful. It does not, however, have it in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which the work of theologians has not yet fully clarified. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are propounded in Catholic schools concerning her, who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us.(4*)
II. The Role of the Blessed Mother in the Economy of Salvation55. The Sacred Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament, as well as ancient Tradition show the role of the Mother of the Saviour in the economy of salvation in an ever clearer light and draw attention to it. The books of the Old Testament describe the history of salvation, by which the coming of Christ into the world was slowly prepared. These earliest documents, as they are read in the Church and are understood in the light of a further and full revelation, bring the figure of the woman, Mother of the Redeemer, into a gradually clearer light. When it is looked at in this way, she is already prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent which was given to our first parents after their fall into sin.(284) Likewise she is the Virgin who shall conceive and bear a son, whose name will be called Emmanuel.(285) She stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from Him. With her the exalted Daughter of Sion, and after a long expectation of the promise, the times are fulfilled and the new Economy established, when the Son of God took a human nature from her, that He might in the mysteries of His flesh free man from sin.56. The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.(5*) Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God’s command, by an angel messenger as “full of grace”,(286) and to the heavenly messenger she replies: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word”.(287) Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.”(6*) Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.”(7*) Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “the Mother of the living,”(8*) and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary.”(9*)57. This union of the Mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to His death it is shown first of all when Mary, arising in haste to go to visit Elizabeth, is greeted by her as blessed because of her belief in the promise of salvation and the precursor leaped with joy in the womb of his mother.(288) This union is manifest also at the birth of Our Lord, who did not diminish His mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it,(10*) when the Mother of God joyfully showed her firstborn Son to the shepherds and Magi. When she presented Him to the Lord in the temple, making the offering of the poor, she heard Simeon foretelling at the same time that her Son would be a sign of contradiction and that a sword would pierce the mother’s soul, that out of many hearts thoughts might be revealed.(289) When the Child Jesus was lost and they had sought Him sorrowing, His parents found Him in the temple, taken up with the things that were His Father’s business; and they did not understand the word of their Son. His Mother indeed kept these things to be pondered over in her heart.(290)58. In the public life of Jesus, Mary makes significant appearances. This is so even at the very beginning when at the marriage feast of Cana, moved with pity, she brought about by her intercession the beginning of miracles of Jesus the Messiah.(291) In the course of her Son’s preaching she received the words whereby in extolling a kingdom beyond the calculations and bonds of flesh and blood, He declared blessed(292) those who heard and kept the word of God, as she was faithfully doing.(293) After this manner the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,(294) grieving exceedingly with her only begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart with His sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to His disciple with these words: “Woman, behold thy son”.(295) (11*)59. But since it has pleased God not to manifest solemnly the mystery of the salvation of the human race before He would pour forth the Spirit promised by Christ, we see the apostles before the day of Pentecost “persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren”,(296) and Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation. Finally, the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin,(12*) on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory,(13*) and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords(297) and the conqueror of sin and death.(l4*)
III. On the Blessed Virgin and the Church60. There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, “for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all”.(298) The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power. For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ.61. Predestined from eternity by that decree of divine providence which determined the incarnation of the Word to be the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin was on this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ. She presented Him to the Father in the temple, and was united with Him by compassion as He died on the Cross. In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace.62. This maternity of Mary in the order of grace began with the consent which she gave in faith at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, and lasts until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.(15*) By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.(16*) This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator.(17*)For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.The Church does not hesitate to profess this subordinate role of Mary. It knows it through unfailing experience of it and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that encouraged by this maternal help they may the more intimately adhere to the Mediator and Redeemer.63. By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.(18*) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother. (19*) By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God’s messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren,(299) namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.64. The Church indeed, contemplating her hidden sanctity, imitating her charity and faithfully fulfilling the Father’s will, by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By her preaching she brings forth to a new and immortal life the sons who are born to her in baptism, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of God. She herself is a virgin, who keeps the faith given to her by her Spouse whole and entire. Imitating the mother of her Lord, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, she keeps with virginal purity an entire faith, a firm hope and a sincere charity.(20*)65. But while in the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she is without spot or wrinkle, the followers of Christ still strive to increase in holiness by conquering sin.(300) And so they turn their eyes to Mary who shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Piously meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church with reverence enters more intimately into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her Spouse. For Mary, who since her entry into salvation history unites in herself and re-echoes the greatest teachings of the faith as she is proclaimed and venerated, calls the faithful to her Son and His sacrifice and to the love of the Father. Seeking after the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more like her exalted Type, and continually progresses in faith, hope and charity, seeking and doing the will of God in all things. Hence the Church, in her apostolic work also, justly looks to her, who, conceived of the Holy Spirit, brought forth Christ, who was born of the Virgin that through the Church He may be born and may increase in the hearts of the faithful also. The Virgin in her own life lived an example of that maternal love, by which it behooves that all should be animated who cooperate in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of men.
IV. The Cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church. Placed by the grace of God, as God’s Mother, next to her Son, and exalted above all angels and men, Mary intervened in the mysteries of Christ and is justly honored by a special cult in the Church. Clearly from earliest times the Blessed Virgin is honored under the title of Mother of God, under whose protection the faithful took refuge in all their dangers and necessities.(21*) Hence after the Synod of Ephesus the cult of the people of God toward Mary wonderfully increased in veneration and love, in invocation and imitation, according to her own prophetic words: “All generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me”.(301) This cult, as it always existed, although it is altogether singular, differs essentially from the cult of adoration which is offered to the Incarnate Word, as well to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and it is most favorable to it. The various forms of piety toward the Mother of God, which the Church within the limits of sound and orthodox doctrine, according to the conditions of time and place, and the nature and ingenuity of the faithful has approved, bring it about that while the Mother is honored, the Son, through whom all things have their being (302) and in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell,(303) is rightly known, loved and glorified and that all His commands are observed.67. This most Holy Synod deliberately teaches this Catholic doctrine and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and the practices and exercises of piety, recommended by the magisterium of the Church toward her in the course of centuries be made of great moment, and those decrees, which have been given in the early days regarding the cult of images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed.(22*) But it exhorts theologians and preachers of the divine word to abstain zealously both from all gross exaggerations as well as from petty narrow-mindedness in considering the singular dignity of the Mother of God.(23*) Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Holy Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always look to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity, and piety. Let them assiduously keep away from whatever, either by word or deed, could lead separated brethren or any other into error regarding the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to know the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love toward our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.
V. Mary the sign of created hope and solace to the wandering people of God68. In the interim just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come,(304) as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth.69. It gives great joy and comfort to this holy and general Synod that even among the separated brethren there are some who give due honor to the Mother of our Lord and Saviour, especially among the Orientals, who with devout mind and fervent impulse give honor to the Mother of God, ever virgin.(24*) The entire body of the faithful pours forth instant supplications to the Mother of God and Mother of men that she, who aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints, until all families of people, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Saviour, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the glory of God.Given in Rome at St. Peter’s on November 21, 1964.
From the Acts of the Council*‘NOTIFICATIONES’ GIVEN BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL
OF THE COUNCIL AT THE 123rd GENERAL CONGREGATION,
NOVEMBER 16, 1964A question has arisen regarding the precise theological note which should be attached to the doctrine that is set forth in the Schema de Ecclesia and is being put to a vote.The Theological Commission has given the following response regarding the Modi that have to do with Chapter III of the de Ecclesia Schema: “As is self-evident, the Council’s text must always be interpreted in accordance with the general rules that are known to all.”On this occasion the Theological Commission makes reference to its Declaration of March 6, 1964, the text of which we transcribe here:”Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding. The rest of the things which the sacred Council sets forth, inasmuch as they are the teaching of the Church’s supreme magisterium, ought to be accepted and embraced by each and every one of Christ’s faithful according to the mind of the sacred Council. The mind of the Council becomes known either from the matter treated or from its manner of speaking, in accordance with the norms of theological interpretation.”**The following was published as an appendix to the official Latin version of the Constitution on the Church.**A preliminary note of explanation is being given to the Council Fathers from higher-authority, regarding the Modi bearing on Chapter III of the Schema de Ecclesia; the doctrine set forth in Chapter III ought to be explained and understood in accordance with the meaning and intent of this explanatory note.
Preliminary Note of ExplanationThe Commission has decided to preface the assessment of the Modi with the following general observations.1. “College” is not understood in a strictly juridical sense, that is as a group of equals who entrust their power to their president, but as a stable group whose structure and authority must be learned from Revelation. For this reason, in reply to Modus 12 it is expressly said of the Twelve that the Lord set them up “as a college or stable group.” Cf. also Modus 53, c.For the same reason, the words “Ordo” or “Corpus” are used throughout with reference to the College of bishops. The parallel between Peter and the rest of the Apostles on the one hand, and between the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops on the other hand, does not imply the transmission of the Apostles’ extraordinary power to their successors; nor does it imply, as is obvious, equality between the head of the College and its members, but only a proportionality between the first relationship (Peter-Apostles) and the second (Pope-bishops). Thus the Commission decided to write “pari ratione, ” not “eadem ratione,” in n. 22. Cf. Modus 57.2. A person becomes a member of the College by virtue of Episcopal consecration and by hierarchical communion with the head of the College and with its members. Cf. n. 22, end of 1 1.In his consecration a person is given an ontological participation in the sacred functions [munera]; this is absolutely clear from Tradition, liturgical tradition included. The word “functions [munera]” is used deliberately instead of the word “powers [potestates],” because the latter word could be understood as a power fully ready to act. But for this power to be fully ready to act, there must be a further canonical or juridical determination through the hierarchical authority. This determination of power can consist in the granting of a particular office or in the allotment of subjects, and it is done according to the norms approved by the supreme authority. An additional norm of this sort is required by the very nature of the case, because it involves functions [munera] which must be exercised by many subjects cooperating in a hierarchical manner in accordance with Christ’s will. It is evident that this “communion” was applied in the Church’s life according to the circumstances of the time, before it was codified as law.For this reason it is clearly stated that hierarchical communion with the head and members of the church is required. Communion is a notion which is held in high honor in the ancient Church (and also today, especially in the East). However, it is not understood as some kind of vague disposition, but as an organic reality which requires a juridical form and is animated by charity. Hence the Commission, almost unanimously, decided that this wording should be used: “in hierarchical communion.” Cf. Modus 40 and the statements on canonical mission (n. 24).The documents of recent Pontiffs regarding the jurisdiction of bishops must be interpreted in terms of this necessary determination of powers.3. The College, which does not exist without the head, is said “to exist also as the subject of supreme and full power in the universal Church.” This must be admitted of necessity so that the fullness of power belonging to the Roman Pontiff is not called into question. For the College, always and of necessity, includes its head, because in the college he preserves unhindered his function as Christ’s Vicar and as Pastor of the universal Church. In other words, it is not a distinction between the Roman Pontiff and the bishops taken collectively, but a distinction between the Roman Pontiff taken separately and the Roman Pontiff together with the bishops. Since the Supreme Pontiff is head of the College, he alone is able to perform certain actions which are not at all within the competence of the bishops, e.g., convoking the College and directing it, approving norms of action, etc. Cf. Modus 81. It is up to the judgment of the Supreme Pontiff, to whose care Christ’s whole flock has been entrusted, to determine, according to the needs of the Church as they change over the course of centuries, the way in which this care may best be exercised—whether in a personal or a collegial way. The Roman Pontiff, taking account of the Church’s welfare, proceeds according to his own discretion in arranging, promoting and approving the exercise of collegial activity.4. As Supreme Pastor of the Church, the Supreme Pontiff can always exercise his power at will, as his very office demands. Though it is always in existence, the College is not as a result permanently engaged in strictly collegial activity; the Church’s Tradition makes this clear. In other words, the College is not always “fully active [in actu pleno]”; rather, it acts as a college in the strict sense only from time to time and only with the consent of its head. The phrase “with the consent of its head” is used to avoid the idea of dependence on some kind of outsider; the term “consent” suggests rather communion between the head and the members, and implies the need for an act which belongs properly to the competence of the head. This is explicitly affirmed in n. 22, 12, and is explained at the end of that section. The word “only” takes in all cases. It is evident from this that the norms approved by the supreme authority must always be observed. Cf. Modus 84.It is clear throughout that it is a question of the bishops acting in conjunction with their head, never of the bishops acting independently of the Pope. In the latter instance, without the action of the head, the bishops are not able to act as a College: this is clear from the concept of “College.” This hierarchical communion of all the bishops with the Supreme Pontiff is certainly firmly established in Tradition.N.B. Without hierarchical communion the ontologico-sacramental function [munus], which is to be distinguished from the juridico-canonical aspect, cannot be exercised. However, the Commission has decided that it should not enter into question of liceity and validity. These questions are left to theologians to discuss—specifically the question of the power exercised de facto among the separated Eastern Churches, about which there are various explanations.”+ PERICLE FELICI
Titular Archbishop of Samosata
Secretary General of the Second Vatican Ecumenical CouncilNOTES1 Cf. Mk. 16:15.2 Col. 1:15.3 Rom. 8:29.4 Cf. Eph. 1:4-5 and 10.5 Cf. Jn. 19:34.6 Jn. 12:32.7 1 Cor 5:7.8 Cf. 1 Cor. 10:17.9 Cf. Jn. 17:4.10 Cf Eph. 1:18.11 Cf Jn. 4:14; 7:38-39.12 Cf. Rom. 8:10-11.13 Cf. Cor. 3:16; 6:19.14 Cf. Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15-16 and 26.15 Cf. Jn. 16:13.16 Cf. Eph. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:4 Gal. 5:22.17. Rev. 22:1718. Mk. 1:15; cf. Mt. 4:17.19. Mk. 4:14.20 Lk. 12:32.21 Cf. Mk. 4:26-29.22 Lk. 11:20; cf. Mt.12:28.23 Mk. 10.45.24 Cf. Acts 2:36; Heb. 5:6; 7:17-21.25 Cf. Acts 2:33.26 Jn. 10:1-10.27 Cf. Is. 40:11; Ex. 34:11ff.28 Cf Jn. 10:11; 1 Pt. 5:4.29 Cf. Jn. 10:11-15.30 l Cor. 3:9.31 1 Rom. 11:13-26.32 Mt. 21:33-43; cf. Is. 5:1 ff.33 Jn. 15:1-5.34 1 Cor. 3:9.35 Mt 21:42; cf. Acts 4:11; 1 Pt. 2:7; Ps. 117:22.36 Cf. 1 Cor. 3:11.37 1 Tim. 3:15.38 Eph. 2:19-22.39 Rev. 21:3.40 1 Pt. 2:5.41 Rev. 21:16.42 Gal. 4:26; cf. Rev. 12:17.43 Rev. 19:7; 21:2 and 9; 22:1744 Eph. 5:26.45 Eph. 5:29.46 Cf. Eph. 5:24.47 Cf. Eph. 3:19.48 Cf. 2 Cor. 5:6.49 Cf. Col. 3:1-4.50 Cf. Gal. 6:15; 2 Cor. 5:17.51 1 Cor. 12:13.52 Rom. 6:15.53 1 Cor. 10:17.54 Cf. 1 Cor 12:27.55 Rom. 12:5.56 Cf. 1 Cor. 12:12.57 Cf. 1 Cor. 12.1-11.58 Cf. 1 Cor. 14.59 Cf. l Cor. 12:26.60 Cf. Col. 1:15-18.61 Cf. Eph. 1:18-23.62 Cf. Gal. 4:19.63 Cf. Phil. 3:21; 2 Tim. 2:11; Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12 etc.64 Cf. Rom. 8:17.65 Col. 2:19.66 Cf. Eph. 4:11-16.67 Cf. Eph. 4:23.68 Cf. Eph. 5:25-28.69 Ibid. 23-24.70 Col. 2:9.71 Cf. Eph. 1:22-23.72 Cf. Eph. 3:19.73 Cf. Eph. 4:16.74 Jn. 21:17.75 Cf. Mt. 28:18, f.76 1 Tim. 3:15.77 Phil. 2:6.78 2 Cor. 8:9.79 Lk. 4:18.80 Lk. 19:10.81 Heb. 7:26.82 2 Cor. 5:21.83 Cf. Heb. 2:17.84 Cf. 1 Cor. 11:26.85 Cf. Acts 10:35.86 Jer. 31:31-34.87 Cf. 1 Cor. 11:25.88 Cf. 1 Pt. 1:23.89 Cf. Jn. 3:5-6.90 1 Pt. 2:9-10.91 Rom. 4:25.92 Cf. Jn. 13:34.93 Cf. Col. 3:4.94 Rom. 8:21.95 Cf. Mt. 5:13-16.96 Neh. 13:1; cf. Deut. 23:1 ff; Num. 20:4.97 Cf. Heb. 13:14.98 Cf. Mt. 16:18.99 Cf. Acts 20:28.100 Cf. Heb. 5:1-5.101 Cf Rev. 6:1; cf. 5:9-10102 Cf. 1 Pt.2:4-10.103 Cf. Acts 2:42-47.104 Cf. Rom. 12:1.105 Cf 1 Pt. 3:15107 Cf. Rom; 8:17; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 4:13.108 Cf. Eph. 5:32.109 Cf. 1 Cor. 7, 7.110 Cf. Heb. 13:15.111 Cf. Jn. 2:20, 27112 Cf. 1 Thess. 2:13.113 Cf. Jud. 3114 1 Cor. 12:11.115 Cf. 1 Thess 5:12, 19-21.116 Cf. Jn. 11:52.117 Cf. Heb. 1:2.119 Cf. Acts 2:42.120 Cf. Jn. 18:36121 Cf. Ps. 2:8.122 Cf. Ps. 71 (72):10; Is. 60:4-7; Rev. 21:24.123 1 Pet. 4:10.124 Cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3.5.125 Cf. Rom. 9:4-5126 Cf. Rom. 1 l:28-29.127 Cf. Acts 17:25-28.128 Cf. 1 Tim. 2:4.129 Cf Rom. 1:21, 25.130 Mk. 16:16.131 Cf. Jn. 20:21.132 Mt. 2:18-20.133 Cf. Acts 1:8.134 I Cor. 9:16.135 Mal. 1:11136 Jn. 20:21.137 Mk. 3:13-19; Mt. 10:1-42.138 Cf Lk. 6:13.139 Cf. Jn. 21:15-17.140 Rom. 1:16.141 Cf. Mt. 28:16-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:45-48; Jn. 20:21-23.142 Cf. Mt. 28:20.143 Cf. Acts 2:1-26.144 Acts 1.8.145 Cf. Mk. 16:20.146 Cf. Rev. 21:14; Mt. 16:18; Eph. 2:20.147 Cf. Mt. 28:20.148 Cf. Acts 20:28.149 Cf. Lk. 10:16.150 Cf. 1 Cor. 4:15.151 Cf. 1 Cor. 4:1.152 Cf. Rom. 15:16; Acts 20:24.153 Cf. 2 Cor. 3:8-9.154 Cf Acts 1:8, 2:4, Jn. 20:22-23.155 Cf 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6-7.156 Cf. Mt. 16.18-19.157 Cf. Jn. 21:15 ff.158 Mt. 16:19.159 Mt. 18:18, 28:16-20.160 Cf . Mt. 5:10.161 Cf. Mt. 28:18; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 26:17 ff.162 Cf Acts 1:8- 2:1 ff, 9:15.163 Cf Acts 1:17, 25; 21:19; Rom. 11:13; 1 Tim. 1:12.164 Cf. Mt. 13:52.165 Cf. 2 Tim. 4:1-4.166 Cf. Lk. 22:32.167 Cf. 1. Thess. 1:5.168 Cf. Rom. 1:16.169 Cf. Lk. 22:26-27.170 Cf. Mt. 20:28; Mk. 10:45.171 Cf. Jn. 10:11.172 Cf. Heb. 5:1-2.173 Cf. Heb. 13:17.174 Cf. Rom. 1:14-15.175 Cf. 1 Cor. 4:15.176 Jn. 10:36.177 Heb. 5:1-10, 7:24, 9:11-28.178 1 Tim. 2:5.179 Cf. 1 Cor. 11:26.180 Cf. Heb. 9:11-28.181 Heb. 5:1-4.182 Jn. 4:24.183 Cf. 1 Tim. 5:17.184 Cf. Eph. 4:12.185 Cf. Jn. 15:15.186 Cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Pt. 1:23.187 1 Pt. 5:3.188 Cf 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1.189 Cf Lk. 15:4-7.190 Eph. 4:15-16.191 1 Rom. 12:4-5192 Cf. Eph. 4:5.193 Gal. 3:28; cf. Col. 3.11.194 Cf. 2 Pt. 1:1.195 1 Cor. 12:11.196 Cf. Mt. 20:28.197 Eph. 4:7.198 Cf. Phil. 4:3; Rom. 16:3ff.199 Pt. 2:5.200 Cf. Acts 2:17-18; Rev. 19:10.201 Cf. Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5.202 Cf. Rom. 8:25.203 Eph. 6:12204 Cf. Rev. 21:1.205 Cf. Heb. 11:1206 Cf. Phil. 2:8-9.207 Cf 1 Cor. 15:27208 Cf. Rom. 6:12.209 Cf Rom. 8:21.210 1 Cor. 3:23.211 Cf. Heb. 13:17.212 Cf. Gal. 5:12.213 Cf Mt. 5:3-9.214 Cf Eph. 5:25-26.215 l Thess. 4.3; cf. Eph.1:4.216 Mt. 5:48.217 Cf. Mk. 12:30.218 Cf. Jn. 13.34; 15:12.219 Eph. 5:3.220 Col . 3:12.221 Cf. Gal. 5:22; Rom. 6:22.222 Cf. Jas. 3:2.223 1 Mt. 6:12.224 Cf. 1 Pt. 5:3.225 Cf. 1 Tim. 3:8-10 and 12-1226 1 Pt. 5:10.227 1 Jn. 4:16.228 Cf. Rom. 5:5.229 Cf. Col. 3:14; Rom. 13:10.230 Cf. 1 Jn. 3:16; Jn. 15:13.231 Cf 1 Cor. 7:32-34.232 Cf Mt. l9:11; 1 Cor.7:7.233 Phil. 2:7-8.234 2 Cor. 8:9.235 Cf 1. Cor. 7:31ff.236 Ezech. 34:14.237 Acts 3:21.238 Cf Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:20; 2 Pt.3:10-13.239 Cf. Jn. 12:32.240 Cf. Rom. 6:9.241 Cf. Phil. 2:12.242 Cf 1 Cor. 10:11.243 Cf. 2. Pt. 3:13.244 Cf. Rom. 8:19-22.245 Eph. 1:14.246 Cf. 1 Jn. 3:1.247 Cf. Col. 3.4248 Cf. 1 Jn. 3:2249 2 Cor. 5:6.250 Cf. Rom. 8:23.251 Cf. Phil. 1:23.252 Cf. 2 Cor 5:15.253 Cf. 2 Cor. 5:9.254 Cf. Eph.6:11-13.255 Cf. Heb 9:27.256 Cf. Mt. 25:31-46.257 Cf. Mt. 25:41.258 Cf. Mt. 25:26.259 Mt. 22:13 and 25:30.260 2 Cor. 5:10.261 Jn. 5:29; Cf. Mt. 25:46.262 Rom. 8:18; cf. 2 Tim. 2.11-12.263 Tit. 2:13.264 Phil. 3,:21.265 2 Thess. 1:10.266 Cf. Mt. 25:31.267 Cf. 1 Cor. 15:26-27.268 Cf. Eph. 4:16.269 Cf. 1 Cor. 12:12-27.270 Cf. 2 Cor. 5.8.271 Cf. 1 Tim. 2.5.272 Cf. Col. 1:24.273 2 Macc. 12:46.274 Cf. Heb. 13:14; 11:10.275 Cf. 2 Cor. 3:18.276 Cf. Heb. 12:1.277 Cf Eph. 4:1-6.278 Cf. Rev. 5:9.279 Cf. Heb. 3:6.280 Cf. Rev. 21:24.281 Rev. 5:12.282 Rev. 5:13-14.283 Gal. 4:4-5.284 Cf. Gen. 3:15.285 Cf. Is 7:14; cf. Mich. 5:2-3; Mt. 1:22-23.286 Cf. Lk. 1:28.287 Lk. 1:38.288 Cf. Lk. 1:41-45.289 Cf. Lk. 2:34-35290 Cf. Lk. 2:41-51.291 Cf. Jn. 2:1-11.292 Cf. Mk. 3:35; Lk. 11:27-28.293 Cf. Lk. 2:19, 51.294 Cf. Jn. 19:25.295 Cf. Jn. 19:26-27.296 Acts 1:14.297 Cf Rev. 19:16298 1 Tim. 2:5-6.299 Rom. 8:29.300 Cf. Eph 5:27.301 Lk. 1:48.302 Cf. Col. 1:15-16.303 Col 1:19.304 Cf. 2 Pt. 3:10.SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES (*)Chapter I(1) Cfr. S. Cyprianus, Epist. 64, 4: PL 3, 1017. CSEL (Hartcl), III B p. 720. S. Hilarius Pict., In Mt 23, 6: PL 9, 1047. S. Augustinus, passim. S. Cyrillus Alex., Glaph in Gen. 2, 10: PG 69, 110 A.(2) Cfr. S. Gregorius M., Hom in Evang. 19, 1: PL 76, 1154 B. S Augustinus, Serm. 341, 9, 11: PL 39, 1499 s. S. Io. Damascenus, Adv. Iconocl. 11: PG 96, 1357.(3) Cfr. S. Irenaeus, adv. Haer, 111 24, 1: PG 7, 966 B; Harvey 2, 13i, ed. Sagnard, Sources Chr., p 398.(4) S. Cyprianus, De Orat Dom. 23: PL 4, 5S3, Hartel, III A, p. 28S. S. Augustinus, Serm. 71, 20, 33: PL 38, 463 s. S. Io. Damascenus, Adv. Iconocl. 12: PG 96, 1358 D.(5) Cfr. Origenes, In Matth. 16, 21: PG 13, 1443 C, Tertullianus Adv. Marc. 3, 7: PL 2, 357 C, CSEL 47, 3 p. 386. Pro documentis liturgicis, cfr. Sacramentarium Gregorianum: PL 78, 160 B.Vel C. Mohlberg, Liber Sactamentorum romanae ecclesiae, Romao 195O, p. 111, XC:.Deus, qui ex omni coaptacione sanctorum aeternum tibi condis habitaculum….. Hymnus Urbs Ierusalem beata in Breviario monastico, et Coclest urbs Ierusalem in Breviario Romano.(6) Cfr. S. Thomas, Sumtna Theol. III, q. 62, a. 5, ad 1.(7) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl Mystici Corporis, 29 iun. 1943 AAS 35 (1943), p. 208.(8) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl Divinum illud, 9 maii 1897: AAS 29 (1896-97) p. 6S0. Pius XII, Litt Encyl. Mystici Corporis, 1. c., pp 219-220; Denz. 2288 (3808).S. Augustinus, Serm. 268, 2: PL 38 232, ct alibi. S. Io. Chrysostomus n Eph. Hom. 9, 3: PG 62, 72. idymus Alex., Trin. 2, 1: PG 39 49 s. S. Thomas, In Col. 1, 18 cet. 5 ed. Marietti, II, n. 46-Sieut constituitur unum eorpus ex nitate animae, ita Ecelesia ex unil atc Spiritus…..(9) Leo XIII, Litt. Encycl. Sapientiae christianae, 10 ian. 1890 AAS 22 (1889-90) p. 392. Id., Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitium, 29 iun. 1896; AAS 28 (1895-96) pp. 710 ct 724 ss. Pius XII, Litt. Eneyel. Mystici Corporis, 1. c., pp. 199-200.(10) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis, 1. c., p. 221 ss. Id., Lin. Encycl. Humani genesis, 12 Aug. 1950: AAS 42 (1950) p. 571.(11) Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitum, 1. c., p. 713.(12) Cfr. Symbolum Apostolicum: Denz. 6-9 (10-13); Symb. Nic.-Const.: Denz. 86 (150), coll. Prof. fidei Trid.: Denz. 994 et 999 (1862 et 1868).(13) Dieitur. Saneta (catholica apostolica) Romana Ecelesia .: in Prof. fidei Trid., 1. c. et Concl. Vat. I, Sess. III, Const. dogm. de fide cath.: Denz. 1782 (3001).(14) S. Augustinus, Civ. Dei, XVIII, 51, 2: PL 41, 614.Chapter II(1) Cfr. S. Cyprianus, Epist. 69, 6: PL 3, 1142 B; Hartel 3 B, p. 754: inseparabile unitatis sacramentum ..(2) Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Magnificate Dominum, 2 nov. 1954: AAS 46 (1954) p. 669. Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, 20 nov. 1947: AAS 39 (1947) p. 555.(3) Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Miserentissimus Redemptor, 8 maii 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 171 s. Pius XII Alloc. Vous nous avez, 22 sept. 1956: AAS 48 (1956) p. 714.(4) Cfr. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 63, a. 2.(5) Cfr. S. Cyrillus Hieros., Catech. 17, de Spiritu Sancto, II, 35-37: PG 33, 1009-1012. Nic. Cabasilas, De vita in Christo, lib. III, de utilitate chrismatis: PG 150, 569-580. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 65, a. 3 et q. 72, a. 1 et 5.(6) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei 20 nov. 1947: AAS 39 (1947), paesertim p. 552 s.(7) I Cor. 7, 7: . Unusquisque proprium donum (idion charisma) habet ex Deo: alius quidem sic alius vero sic .. Cfr. S. Augustinus, De Dono Persev. 14, 37: PL 45, 1015 s.: Non tantum continenti Dei donum est, sed coniugatorum etiam castitas.(8) Cfr. S. Augustinus, D Praed. Sanct. 14, 27: PL 44, 980.(9) Cfr. S. Io. Chrysostomus, In Io. Hom. 65, 1: PG 59, 361.(10) Cfr. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 16, 6; III, 22, 1-3: PG 7, 925 C-926 Aet 955 C – 958 A; Harvey 2, 87 s. et 120-123; Sagnard, Ed. Sources Chret., pp. 290-292 et 372 ss.(11) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., Ad Rom., Praef.: Ed. Funk, I, p. 252.(12) Cfr. S. Augustinus, Bapt. c. Donat. V, 28, 39; PL 43, 197: Certe manifestum est, id quod dicitur, in Ecdesia intus et foris, in corde, non in corpore cogitandum. Cfr. ib., III, 19, 26: col. 152; V, 18, 24: col. 189; In Io. Tr. 61, 2: PL 35, 1800, et alibi saepe.(13) Cfr. Lc. 12, 48: Omni autem, cui multum datum est, multum quaeretur ab eo. Cfr. etiam Mt. 5, 19-20; 7, 21-22; 25 41-46; Iac., 2, 14.(14) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Apost. Praeclara gratulationis, 20 iun. 1894; AAS 26 (1893-94) p. 707.(15) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitum, 29 iun. 1896: ASS 28 (1895-96) p. 738. Epist. Encycl. Caritatis studium, 25 iul. 1898: ASS 31 (1898-99) p. 11. Pius XII, Nuntius radioph. Nell’alba, 24 dec. 1941: AAS 34 (1942) p. 21.(16) Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Rerum Orientalium, 8 sept. 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 287. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl Orientalis Ecclesiae, 9 apr. 1944: AAS 36 (1944) p. 137(17) Cfr. Inst. S.S.C.S. Officii 20 dec. 1949: AAS 42 (1950) p.142.(18) Cfr. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 8, a. 3, ad 1.(19) Cfr. Epist. S.S.C.S. Officii ad Archiep. Boston.: Denz. 3869-72.(20) Cfr. Eusebius Caes., Praeparatio Evangelica, 1, 1: PG 2128 AB.(21) Cfr. Benedictus XV, Epist. Apost. Maximum illud: AAS 11 (1919) p. 440, praesertim p. 451 ss. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Rerum Ecclesiae: AAS 18 (1926) p. 68-69. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Fidei Donum, 21 apr. 1957: AAS 49 (1957) pp. 236-237.(22) Cfr. Didache, 14: ed. Funk I, p. 32. S. Iustinus, Dial. 41: PG 6, 564. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. IV 17, 5; PG 7, 1023; Harvey, 2, p. 199 s. Conc. Trid., Sess. 22, cap. 1; Denz. 939 (1742).Chapter III(1) Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Sess. IV, Const. Dogm. Pastor aeternus. Denz. 1821 (3050 s.).(2) Cfr. Conc. Flor., Decretum pro Graecis: Denz. 694 (1307) et Conc. Vat. I, ib.: Denz. 1826 (3059)(3) Cfr. Liber sacramentorum S. Gregorii, Praefatio in Cathedra S. Petri, in natali S. Mathiae et S. Thomas: PL 78, 50, 51 et 152. S. Hilarius, In Ps. 67, 10: PL 9, 4S0; CSEL 22, p. 286. S.Hieronymus, Adv. Iovin. 1, 26: PL 23, 247 A. S. Augustinus, In Ps. 86, 4: PL 37, 1103. S. Gregorius M., Mor. in lob, XXVIII, V: PL 76, 455-456. Primasius, Comm. in Apoc. V: PL 68, 924 BC. Paschasius Radb., In Matth. L. VIII, cap. 16: PL 120, 561 C. Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Et sane, 17 dec. 1888: AAS 21 (1888) p. 321.(4) Cfr. Act 6, 2-6; 11, 30; 13, 1, 14, 23; 20, 17; 1 Thess. 5, 12-13; Phil. 1, 1 Col. 4, 11, et passim.(5) Cfr. Act. 20, 25-27; 2 Tim. 4, 6 s. coll. c. I Tim. 5, 22; 2 Tim. 2, 2 Tit. 1, 5; S. Clem. Rom., Ad Cor. 44, 3; ed. Funk, 1, p. 156.(6) S. Clem. Rom., ad Cor. 44, 2; ed. Funk, I, p. 154 s.(7) Cfr. Tertull., Praescr. Haer. 32; PL 2, 52 s.; S. Ignatius M., passim.(8) Cfr. Tertull., Praescr. Haer. 32; PL 2, 53.(9) Cfr. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 3, 1; PG 7, 848 A; Harvey 2, 8; Sagnard, p. 100 s.: manifestatam.(10) Cfr. S. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III, 2, 2; PG 7, 847; Harvey 2, 7; Sagnard, p. 100: . custoditur ,., cfr. ib. IV, 26, 2; col. 1O53, Harvey 2, 236, necnon IV, 33, 8; col. 1077; Harvey 2, 262.(11) S. Ign. M., Philad., Praef.; ed. Funk, I, p. 264.(12) S. Ign. M., Philad., 1, 1; Magn. 6, 1; Ed. Funk, I, pp. 264 et 234.(13) S. Clem. Rom., 1. c., 42, 3-4, 44, 3-4; 57, 1-2; Ed. Funk. I, 152, 156, 171 s. S. Ign. M., Philad. 2; Smyrn. 8; Magn. 3; Trall. 7; Ed. Funk, I, p. 265 s.; 282; 232 246 s. etc.; S. Iustinus, Apol., 1, 6S G 6, 428; S. Cyprianus, Epist. assim.(14) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitum, 29 iun. 896: ASS 28 (1895-96) p. 732.(15) Cfr. Conc. Trid., Sess. 23, ecr. de sacr. Ordinis, cap. 4; enz. 960 (1768); Conc. Vat. I, ess. 4 Const. Dogm. I De Ecclesia Christi, cap. 3: Denz. 1828 (3061). Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Cororis, 29 iun. 1943: ASS 35 (1943) p. 209 et 212. Cod. Iur. Can., c. 29 1.(16) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Et sane, 17 dec. 1888: ASS 21 (1888) p. 321 s.(17) S. Leo M., Serm. 5, 3: PL 54, 154.(18) Conc. Trid., Sess. 23, cap. 3, citat verba 2 Tim. 1, 6-7, ut demonstret Ordinem esse verum sacramentum: Denz. 959 (1766).(19) In Trad. Apost. 3, ed. Botte, Sources Chr., pp. 27-30, Episcopo tribuitur primatus sacerdotii. Cfr. Sacramentarium Leonianum, ed. C. Mohlberg, Sacramentarium Veronense, Romae, 195S, p. 119: ad summi sacerdotii ministerium… Comple in sacerdotibus tuis mysterii tui summam…. Idem, Liber Sacramentorum Romanae Ecclesiae Romae, 1960, pp. 121-122: Tribuas eis, Domine, cathedram episcopalem ad regendam Ecclesiam tuam et plebem universam.. Cfr. PL 78, 224.(20) Trad. Apost. 2, ed. Botte, p. 27.(21) Conc. Trid., Sess. 23, cap. 4, docet Ordinis sacramentum imprimere characterem indelebilem: Denz. 960 (1767) . Cfr. Ioannes XXIII, Alloc. Iubilate Deo, 8 maii 1960: AAS S2 (1960) p. 466. Pall1us VI, Homelia in Bas, Vaticana, 20 oct. 1963: AAS 55 (1963) p. 1014.(22) S. Cyprianus, Epist. 63, 14: PL 4, 386; Hartel, III B, p. 713: Saccrdos vice Christi vere fungitur .. S. Io. Chrysostomus, In 2 Tim. Hom. 2, 4: PG 62, 612: Saccrdos est symbolon . Christi. S. Ambrosius, In Ps. 38, 25-26: PL 14, 105 1-52: CSEL 64, 203- 204. Ambrosiascr In I Tim. S 19: PL 17, 479 C ct in Eph. 4, 1;-12: col. 387. C. Theodorus Mops., from. Catech. XV, 21 ct 24: ed. Tonneau, pp. 497 et 503. Hesychiu Hieros., In Lcv. L. 2, 9, 23: PG 93, 894 B.(23) Cfr. Eusebius, Hist. ecl., V, 24, 10: GCS II, 1, p. 49S; cd. Bardy, Sources Chr. II, p. 69 Dionysius, apud Eusebium, ib. VII 5, 2: GCS 11, 2, p. 638 s.; Bardy, II, p. 168 s.(24) Cfr. de antiquis Conciliis, Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. V, 23-24: GCS 11, 1, p. 488 ss.; Bardy, 11, p. 66 ss. et. passim. Conc. Nicaenum. Can. S: Conc. Oec. Decr. p. 7.(25) Tertullianus, de Iciunio, 13: PL 2, 972 B; CSFL 20, p. 292,lin. 13-16.(26) S. Cyprianus, Epist. 56, 3: Hartel, 111 B, p. 650; Bayard, p.154.(27) Cfr. Relatio officialis Zinelli, in Conc. Vat. I: Mansi S2,1 109 C.(28) Cfr. Conc. Vat. 1, Schema Const. dogm. 11, de Ecclesia Christi, c. 4: Mansi S3, 310. Cfr. Relatio Kleutgen de Schemate reformato: Mansi S3, 321 B – 322 B et declaratio Zinelli: Mansi 52 1110 A. Vide etiam S. Leonem M. Scrm. 4, 3: PL 54, 151 A.(29) Cfr. Cod. Iur. Can., c. 227.(30) Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Const.Dogm. Pastor aeternis: Denz. 1821 (3050 s.).(31) Cfr. S. Cyprianus, Epist. 66, 8: Hartel 111, 2, p. 733: .. Episcopus in Ecclesia et Ecclesia in Episcopo ..(32) Cfr. S. Cyprianus, Epist. SS, 24: Hartel, p. 642, line. 13: . Una Ecclesia per totum mundum in multa membra divisa .. Epist. 36, 4: Hartel, p. 575, lin. 20-21.(33) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Fidci Donum, 21 apr. 1957: AAS 49 (1957) p. 237.(34) Cfr. S. Hilarius Pict., In Ps. 14, 3: PL 9, 206; CSEL 22, p. 86. S. Gregorius M., Moral, IV, 7, 12: PL 75, 643 C. Ps.Basilius, In Is. 15, 296: PG 30, 637 C.(35) S. Coelestinus, Epist. 18, 1-2, ad Conc. Eph.: PL 50, 505 AB- Schwartz, Acta Conc. Oec. 1, I, i, p. 22. Cfr. Benedictus XV, Epist. Apost. Maximum illud: AAS 11 (1919) p. 440, Pius XI. Litt. Encycl. Rerum Ecclesiae, 28 febr. 1926: AAS 18 (1926) p. 69. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Fidei Donum, 1. c.(36) Leo XIII, Litt. Encycl. I Grande munus, 30 sept. 1880: ASS 13 (1880) p. 14S. Cfr. Cod. Iur. | Can., c. 1327; c. 13S0 2.(37) De iuribus Sedium patriarchalium, cfr. Conc. Nicaenum, I can. 6 de Alexandria et Antiochia, et can. 7 de Hierosolymis: Conc. I Oec. Decr., p. 8. Conc. Later. IV, anno 1215, Constit. V: De dignigate Patriarcharum: ibid. p. 212.-| Conc. Ferr.-Flor.: ibid. p. 504.(38) Cfr. Cod. luris pro Eccl. I Orient., c. 216-314: de Patriarchis; c. 324-399: de Archiepiscopis I maioribus; c. 362-391: de aliis dignitariis; in specie, c. 238 3; 216; 240; 251; 255: de Episcopis a Patriarch nominandis.(39) Cfr. Conc. Trid., Decr. de I reform., Sess. V, c. 2, n. 9; et Sess. I XXlV, can. 4; Conc. Oec. Decr. pp. 645 et 739.(40) Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Dei Filius, 3: Denz. 1712l (3011). Cfr. nota adiecta ad Schema I de Eccl. (desumpta ex.S. Rob. Bellarmino): Mansi 51, I 579 C, necnon Schema reformatum I Const. II de Ecclesia Christi, cum I commentario Kleutgen: Mansi 53, 313 AB. Pius IX, Epist. Tuas libener: Denz. 1683 (2879).(41) Cfr. Cod. Iur. Can., c. 1322-1323.(42) Cfr. Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Pastor Aecrnus: Denz. 1839 (3074).(43) Cfr. ecplicatio Gasscr in Conc. Vat. I: Mansi 52, 1213 AC.(44) Gasser, ib.: Mansi 1214 A.(45) Gasser, ib.: Mansi 1215 CD, 1216-1217 A.(46) Gasser, ib.: Mansi 1213.(47) Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Pastor Aesernus, 4: Denz. 1836 (3070) no. 26(48) Oratio consecrationis cpiscopalis in ritu byzantino: Euchologion to mega, Romae, 1873, p. 139.(49) Cfr. S. Ignatius M. Smyrn 8, 1: ed. Funk, 1, p. 282.(50) Cfr. Act. 8, 1; 14, 22-23; 20, 17, et passim.(51) Oratio mozarabica: PL 96 7S9 B(52) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., Smyrn 8, 1: ed. Funk, I, p. 282.(53) S. Thomas, Summa Theol. III, q. 73, a. 3.(54) Cfr. S. Augustinus, C. Faustum, 12, 20: PL 42, 26S Serm. 57, 7: PL 38, 389, etc.(55) S. Leo M., Serm. 63, 7: PL 54, 3S7 C.(56) Traditio A postolica Hippolyti, 2-3: ed. Botte, pp. 26-30.(57) Cfr. textus examinis in initio consecrationis episcopalis, et Oratio in fine vissae eiusdem consecrationis, post Te Deum.(58) Benedictus XIV, Br. Romana Ecclesia, 5 oct. 1752, p 1: Bullarium Benedicti XIV, t. IV, Romae, 1758, 21: . Episcopus Christi typum gerit, Eiusque munere fungitur. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis, 1. c., p. 211: . Assignatos sibi greges singuli singulos Christi nomine pascunt et regunt.(59) Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Satis cognitum, 29 iun. 1896: ASS 28 (1895-96) p. 732. Idem, Epist. Officio sanctissimo, 22 dec. 1887: AAS 20 (1887) p. 264. Pius IX itt. Apost. ad Episcopol Geraniae, 12 mart. 1875, et alloc. onsist., 15 mart. 187S: Denz. 112-3117, in nova ed. tantum.(60) Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Pastor aeternus, 3: Denz. 1828 ( 3061) . Cfr. Relatio Zinelli: Mand 1 2, 1114 D.(61) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., ad ephes. 5, 1: ed. Funk, I, p. 216.(62) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., ad phes. 6, 1: cd. Funk, I, p. 218.(63) Cfr. Conc. Trid., Sess. 23, sacr. Ordinis, cap. 2: Denz. 958 (1765), et can. 6: Denz. 966 (1776).(64) Cfr. Innocentius I, Epist. d Decentium: PL 20, 554 A; sansi 3, 1029; Denz. 98 (215): Presbyteri, licet secundi sint sa erdotcs, pontificatus tamen api em non habent.. S. Cyprianus, Epist. 61, 3: ed. Hartel, p. 696.(65) Cfr. Conc. Trid., l. c., Denz. 962-968 (1763-1778), et in specie l an. 7: Denz. 967 (1777). Pius l II, Const. Apost. Sacramentum ordinis: Denz. 2301 (38S7-61).(66) Cfr. Innocentius I, 1. c. S. Gregorius Naz., Apol. II, 22: PGS, 432 B. Ps.-Dionysius, Eccl. ier., 1, 2: PG 3, 372 D.(67) Cfr. Conc. Trid., Sess. 22: Denz. 940 (1743). Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, 20 nov. 1947: AAS 39 (1947) p. 553; Denz. 2300 (3850).(68) Cfr. Conc. Trid. Sess. 22: Denz. 938 (1739-40). Conc. Vat.II, Const. De Sacra Liturgia, n. 7 et n. 47.(69) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mediator Dei, 1. c., sub. n. 67.(70) Cfr. S. Cyprianus, Epist. 11, 3: PL 4, 242 B; Hartel, II, 2, p. 497.(71) Ordo consecrationis sacerdotalis, in impositione vestimentorum.(72) Ordo consecrationis sacerdotalis in praefatione.(73) Cfr. S. Ignatius M. Philad. 4: ed. Funk, I, p. 266. S. Cornelius I, apud S. Cyprianum, Epist. 48, 2: Hartel, III, 2, p. 610.(74) Constitutiones Ecclesiac aegyptiacae, III, 2: ed. Funk, Didascalia, II, p. 103. Statuta Eccl. Ant. 371: Mansi 3, 954.(75) S. Polycarpus, Ad Phil. 5, 2: ed. Funk, I, p. 300: Christus dicitur . omnium diaconus factus .. Cfr. Didache, 15, 1: ib., p. 32. S.Ignatius M. Trall. 2, 3: ib., p. 242. Constitutiones Apostolorum, 8, 28, 4: ed. Funk, Didascalia, I, p. 530.Chapter IV(1) S. Augustinus, Serm. 340, 1: PL 38, 1483.(2) Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Quadragesimo anno 15 maii 1931: AAS 23 (1931) p. 121 s. Pius XII, Alloc. De quelle consolation, 14 oct. 1951: AAS 43 (1951) p. 790 s.(3) Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Six ans se sont ecoules, 5 oct. l9S7: AAS 49 (19S7) p. 927. De mandato et missione canonica, cfr. Decretum De Apostolatu laicorum, cap. IV, n. 16, cum notis 12 et 15.(4) Ex Praefatione festi Christi Regis.(5) Cfr. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Immortale Dei, 1 nov. 188S: ASS 18 (188S) p. 166 ss. Idem, Litt. Encycl. Sapientae christianae, 10 ian. 1890: ASS 22 (1889-90) p. 397 ss. Pius XII, Alloc. Alla vostra filfale. 23 mart. l9S8: AAS S0 (145R ) p. 220: Ia Iegittima sana laicita dello Stato ..(6) Cod. Iur. Can., can. 682.(7) Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. De quelle consolation, 1. c., p. 789: Dans les batailles decisives, c’est parfois du front que partent les plus heureuses initiatives..Idem Alloc. L’importance de la presse catholique, 17 febr. 1950: AAS 42 (1950) p. 256.(8) Cfr. l Thess. S, 19 et 1 lo. 4, 1.(9) Epist. ad Diogneum, 6: ed. Funk, I, p. 400. Cfr. S. Io.Chrysostomus, In Matth. Hom. 46 (47) 2: PG 58, 78, de fermento in massa.Chapter V(1) Missale Romanum, Gloria in excelsis. Cfr. Lc. 1, 35; Mc. 1, 24, Lc. 4, 34; Io. 6, 69 (ho hagios tou theou); Act. 3, 14; 4, 27 et 30;Hebr. 7, 26, 1 Io. 2, 20; Apoc. 3, 7.(2) Cfr. Origenes, Comm. Rom. 7, 7: PG 14, 1122 B. Ps.- Macarius, De Oratione, 11: PG 34, 861 AB. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. II-II, q. 184, a. 3.(3) Cfr. S. Augustinus Retract. II, 18: PL 32, 637 s. Pius XII Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis, 29 iun. 1943: AAS 35 (1943) p. 225.(4) Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Rerum omnium, 26 ian. 1923: AAS 15 (1923) p. 50 ct pp. 59-60. Litt. Encycl. Casti Connubii, 31 dec. 1930: AAS 22 (1930) p. 548. Pius XII, Const. Apost. Provida Mater, 2 febr. 1947: AAS 39 (1947) p. 117. Alloc. Annus sacer, 8 dec. 1950: AAS 43 (1951) pp. 27-28. Alloc. Nel darvi, 1 iul. 1956: AAS 48 (1956) p. 574 s.(5) Cfr. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. II-II, q. 184, a. 5 et 6. De perf . vitae spir., c. 18. Origenes, In Is. Hom. 6, 1: PG 13, 239.(6) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., Magn. 13, 1: ed. Funk, I, p. 241.(7) Cfr. S. Pius X, Exhort. Haerent animo, 4 aug. 1908: ASS 41 (1908) p. 560 s. Cod. Iur. Can., can. 124. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Ad catholici sacerdotii, 20 dec. 1935: AAS 28 (1936) p. 22 s.(8) Ordo consecrationis sacerdotalis, in Exhortatione initiali.(9) Cfr. S. Ignatius M., Trall. 2, 3: cd. Funk, l, p. 244.(10) Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Sous la maternclle protection, 9 dec. 1957: AAS 50 (19S8) p. 36.(11) Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Castf Connubii, 31 dec. 1930. AAS 22 (1930) p. 548 s. Cfr. S. Io Chrysostomus, In Ephes. Hom. 20, 2: P. 62, 136 ss.(12) Cfr. S. Augustinus, Enchir. 121, 32: PL 40 288. S. Thomas Summa Theol. II-II, q. 184, a. 1. Pius XII, Adhort. Apost. Menti nostrae, 23 sept. 1950: AAS 42 (1950) p. 660.(13) De consiliis in genere, cfr. Origenes, Comm. Rom. X, 14: PG 14 127S B. S. Augustinus, De S. Viginitate, 15, 15: PL 40, 403. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. I-II, q. 100, a. 2 C (in fine); II-II, q. 44, a. 4 ad 3(14) De praestantia sacrae virginitatis, cfr. Tertullianus, Exhort. Cast. 10: PL 2, 925 C. S. Cyprianus, Hab. Virg. 3 et 22: PL 4, 443 B et 461 A. A. S. Athanasius (?), De Virg.: PG 28, 252 ss. S. Io. Chrysostomus, De Virg.: PG 48, 533 u.(15) De spirituali paupertate et oboedientia testimonia praccipua S.Scripturae et Patrum afferuntur in Relatione pp. 152-153.(16) De praxi effectiva consiliorum quae non omnibus imponitur, cfr. S. Io. Chrysostomus, In Matth. Hom. 7, 7: PG S7, 8 I s. 5. Ambrosius, De Vidu s, 4, 23: PL 16, 241 s.Chapter VI(1) Cfr. Rosweydus, Viqae Patrum, Antwerpiae 1628. Apophtegmata Patrum: PG 65. Palladius, Historia Lausiaca: PG 34, 995 ss.; ed. C. Butler, Cambridge 1898 (1904). Pius XI, Const. Apost. Umbratilem, 8 iul. 1924: AAS 16 (1924) pp. 386-387. Pius XII, Alloc. Nous sommes heureux, 11 apr.1958: AAS 50 (1958) p. 283.(2) Paulus VI, Alloc. Magno gaudio, 23 maii 1964: AAS 56 (1964) p. 566.(3) Cfr. Cod. Iur. Can., c. 487 et 488, 40. Pius XII, Alloc. Annus sacer, 8 dec. 1950, AAS 43 (1951) p. 27 s. Pius XII, Cons. Apost. Provida Mater, 2 Febr. 1947: AAS 39 (1947) p. 120 ss.(4) Paulus VI, 1. c., p. S67.(5) Cfr. S. Thomas, Summa Theol. II-II, q. 184, a. 3 et q. 188, a. 2. S. Bonaventura, Opusc. X, Apologia Pauperum, c. 3, 3: cd. Opera, Quaracchi, t. 8, 1898, p. 245 a.(6) Cfr. Conc. Vat. I. Schema De Ecclesia Christi, cap. XV, et Adnot. 48: Mansi 51, 549 s. et 619 s. Leo XIII, Epist. Au milieu des consolations, 23 dec. 1900: AAS 33 (1900-01) p. 361. Pius XII, Const. Apost. Provida Mater, 1. c., p. 1145.(7) Cfr. Leo XIII, Const. Romanos Pontifices, 8 maii 1881: AAS 13 (1880-81) p. 483. Pius XII, Alloc. Annus sacer, 8 dec. 1950: AAS 43(1951) p. 28 8.(8) Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Annus sacer, 1. c., p. 28. Pius XII, Const. Apost. Sedes Sapientiae, 31 maii 19S6: AAS 48 (1956) p. 355. Paulus VI, 1. c., pp. 570-571.(9) Cfr. Pius XII Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis, 19 iun. 1943: AAS 35 (1943) p. 214 s.(10) Cfr. Pius XII, Alloc. Annus sacer, 1. c., p. 30. Alloc. Sous la maternelle protecrion, 9 dec. l9S7: AAS 50 (19S8) p. 39 s.Chapter VII(1) Conc. Florentinum, Decretum pro Graecis: Denz. 693 (1305).(2) Praeter documenta antiquiora contra quamlibet formam evocationis spirituum inde ab Alexandro IV (27 sept. 1958), cfr Encycl. S.S.C.S. Officii, De magne tismi abusu, 4 aug. 1856: AAS (1865) pp. 177-178, Denz. 1653 1654 (2823-2825); responsioner S.S.C.S. Offici, 24 apr. 1917: 9 (1917) p. 268, Denz. 218 (3642).(3) Videatur synthetiea espositi huius doctrinae paulinae in: Piu XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis AAS 35 (1943) p. 200 et passilr(4) Cfr., i. a., S. Augustinus, Enarr. in Ps. 85, 24: PL 37, 1095 S. Hieronymus, Liber contra Vigl lantium, b: PL 23, 344. S. Thomas In 4m Sent., d. 45, q. 3, a. 2. Bonaventura, In 4m Sent., d. 45, a. 3, q. 2; etc.(5) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis: AAS 35 (1943) p. 245.(6) Cfr. Plurimae inseriptione in Catacumbis romanis.(7) Cfr. Gelasius I, Decretalis De libris recipiendis, 3: PL 59, 160, Denz. 165 (353).(8) Cfr. S. Methodius, Symposion, VII, 3: GCS (Bodwetseh), p. 74(9) Cfr. Benedictus XV, Decretum approbationis virtutum in Causa beatificationis et canonizationis Servi Dei Ioannis Nepomuecni Neumann: AAS 14 (1922 p. 23; plures Allocutiones Pii X de Sanetis: Inviti all’croismo Diseorsi… t. I-III, Romae 1941-1942, passim; Pius XII, Discorsi Radiomessagi, t. 10, 1949, pp 37-43.(10) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl : Mediator Dei: AAS 39 (1947) p . 581.(11) Cfr. Hebr. 13, 7: Eccli 44-50, Nebr. 11, 340. Cfr. etia Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mediati Dei: AAS 39 (1947) pp. 582-583(12) Cfr. Cone. Vaticanum Const. De fide catholica, cap. 3 Denz. 1794 (3013).(13) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis: AAS 35 (1943) p. 216.(14) Quoad gratitudinem erga ipsos Sanctos, cfr. E. Diehl, Inscriptiones latinae christianae vereres, 1, Berolini, 1925, nn. 2008 2382 et passim.(15) Conc. Tridentinum, Sess. 25, De invocatione… Sanctorum: Denz. 984 (1821) .(16) Breviarium Romanum, Invitatorium infesto Sanctorum Omnium.(17) Cfr. v. g., 2 Thess. 1, 10.(18) Conc. Vaticanum II, Const. De Sacra Liturgia, cap. 5, n. 104.(19) Canon Missae Romanae.(20) Conc. Nicaenum II, Act. VII: Denz. 302 (600).(21) Conc. Florentinum, Decretum pro Graecis: Denz. 693 (1304).(22) Conc. Tridentinum Sess. 35, De invocatione, veneratione et reliquiis Sanctorum et sacris imaginibus: Denz. 984-988 (1821-1824); Sess. 25, Decretum de Purgatorio: Denz. 983 (1820); Sess. 6, Decretum de iustificatione, can. 30: Denz. 840 (1580).(23) Ex Praefatione, aliquious dioecesibus concessa.(24) Cfr. S. Petrus Canisius, Catechismus Maior seu Summa Doctrinae christianae, cap. III (ed. crit. F. Streicher) pas I, pp. 15-16, n. 44 et pp. 100-1O1, n. 49.(25) Cfr. Conc. Vaticanum II Const. De Sacra Liturgia, cap. 1 n. 8.Chapter VIII(1) Credo in Missa Romana: Symbolum Constantinopolitanum: Mansi 3, 566. Cfr. Conc. Ephesinum, ib. 4, 1130 (necnon ib. 2, 665 et 4, 1071); Conc. Chalcedonense, ib. 7, 111-116; Cow. Constantinopolitanum II, ib. 9, 375-396.(2) Canon Missae Romanae.(3) S. Augustine, De S. Virginitate. 6: PL 40, 399.(4) Cfr. Paulus Pp. VI, allocutio in Concilio, die 4 dec. 1963: AAS 56 (1964) p. 37.(5) Cfr. S. Germanus Const., Nom. in annunt. Deiparae: PG 98, 328 A; In Dorm. 2: col. 357. Anastasius Antioch., Serm. 2 de Annunt., 2: PG 89, 1377 AB; Serm. 3, 2: col. 1388 C. S. Andrcas Cret. Can. in B. V. Nat. 4: PG 97, 1321 B. In B. V. Nat., 1: col. 812 A. Hom. in dorm. 1: col. 1068 C. – S. Sophronius, Or. 2 in Annunt., 18: PG 87 (3), 3237 BD.(6) S. Irenaeus, Adv. Hacr. III, 22, 4: PG 7, 9S9 A; Harvey, 2, 123.(7) S. Irenaeus, ib.; Harvey, 2, 124.(8) S. Epiphanius, Nacr. 78, 18: PG 42, 728 CD; 729 AB.(9) S. Hieronymus, Epist. 22, 21: PL 22, 408. Cfr. S. Augwtinus, Serm. Sl, 2, 3: PL 38, 33S; Serm. 232, 2: col. 1108. – S. Cyrillus Hieros., Catech. 12, 15: PG 33, 741 AB. – S. Io. Chrysostomus, In Ps. 44, 7: PG SS, 193. – S. Io. Damasccnus, Nom. 2 in dorm. B.M.V., 3: PG 96, 728.(10) Cfr. Conc. Lateranense anni 649, Can. 3: Mansi 10, 1151. S. Leo M., Epist. ad Flav.: PL S4, 7S9. – Conc. Chalcedonense: Mansi 7, 462. – S. Ambrosius, De inst. virg.: PL 16, 320.(11) Cfr. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Mystici Corporis, 29 iun. 1943: AAS 35 (1943) pp. 247-248.(12) Cfr. Pius IX, Bulla Ineffabilis 8 dec. 1854: acta Pii IX, I, I, p. 616; Denz. 1641 (2803).(13) Cfr. Pius XII, Const. Apost. Munificensissimus, 1 no. 1950: AAS 42 (1950) ú Denz. 2333 (3903). Cfr. S. Io. Damascenus, Enc. in dorm. Dei gcnitricis, Hom. 2 et 3: PG 96, 721-761, speciatim col. 728 B. – S. Germanus Constantinop., in S. Dei gen. dorm. Serm. 1: PG 98 (6), 340-348; Serm. 3: col. 361. – S. Modestus Hier., In dorm. SS. Deiparae: PG 86 (2), 3277-3312.(14) Cfr. Pius XII Litt. Encycl. Ad coeli Reginam, 11 Oct. 1954: AAS 46 (1954), pp. 633-636; Denz. 3913 ss. Cfr. S. Andreas Cret., Hom. 3 in dorm. SS. Deiparae: PG 97, 1089-1109. – S. Io. Damascenus, De fide orth., IV, 14: PG 94, 1153-1161.(15) Cfr. Kleutgen, textus reformstus De mysterio Verbi incarnati, cap. IV: Mansi 53, 290. cfr. S. Andreas Cret., In nat. Mariac, sermo 4: PG 97, 865 A. – S. Germanus Constantinop., In annunt. Deiparae: PG 98, 321 BC. In dorm. Deiparae, III: col. 361 D. S. Io. Damascenus, In dorm. B. V. Mariae, Hom. 1, 8: PG 96, 712 BC-713 A.(16) Cfr. Leo XIII, Litt. Encycl. Adiutricem populi, 5 sept. 1895: ASS 15 (1895-96), p. 303. – S. Pius X, Litt. Encycl. Ad diem illum, 2 febr. 1904: Acta, I, p. 154- Denz. 1978 a (3370) . Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Miserentissimus, 8 maii 1928: AAS 20 (1928) p. 178. Pius XII, Nuntius Radioph., 13 maii 1946: AAS 38 (1946) p. 266.(17) S. Ambrosius, Epist. 63: PL 16, 1218.(18) S. Ambrosius, Expos. Lc. II, 7: PL 15, 1555.(19) Cfr. Ps.-Petrus Dam. Serm. 63: PL 144, 861 AB. Godefridus a S. Victore. In nat. B. M., Ms. Paris, Mazarine, 1002, fol. 109 r. Gerhohus Reich., De gloria ct honore Filii hominis, 10: PL 194, 1105AB.(20) S. Ambrosius, l. c. et Expos. Lc. X, 24-25: PL 15, 1810. S.Augustinus, In lo. Tr. 13, 12: PL 35 1499. Cfr. Serm. 191, 2, 3: PL 38 1010; etc. Cfr. ctiam Ven. Beda, In Lc. Expos. I, cap. 2: PL 92, 330. Isaac de Stella, Serm. 51. PL 194, 1863 A.(21) Sub tuum praesidium(22) Conc. Nicaenum II, anno 787: Mansi 13. 378-379; Denz. 302 (600-601) . Conc. Trident., sess. 2S: Mansi 33, 171-172.(23) Cfr. Pius XII, Nunius radioph., 24 oct. 1954: AAS 46 (1954) p. 679. Litt. Encycl. Ad coeli Reginam, 11 oct. 1954: AAS 46 (1954) p. 637.(24) Cfr. Pius XI, Litt. Encycl. Ecclesiam Dei, 12 nov. 1923: AAS 15 (1923) p. 581. Pius XII, Litt. Encycl. Fulgens corona, 8 sept. 1953: AAS 45 (1953) pp. 590-591.
There was a casino scene in a James Bond Film, Casino Royale, where the suave and debonaire Mr. Bond plays against the bad guys. The thing I remember about it is that players can make various degrees of wagering. One in particular that has interested me is “Going All In” where you bet all the chips you have on your hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbY5DiKR-Yk
I am not much on gambling, but the fact of betting all you have, win or lose, is intriguing. When I think about my spiritual life, there might be a similar parallel with the core directive of Christ in Matthew 22:34-40. New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
The Greatest Commandment34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Do you notice the words ALL in this quotation? It is that word that has me up at nights. Although I have some disagreements with a friend of mine over the use of ALL, my contention is that I don’t use ALL of my human potentials at any one time. Using my assumption, I can never reach ALL when I love God, think about God, or try to do what God asks of me in loving others. I always fall short in this lifetime. With Christ, however, He makes up in me that which I lack, so I actually don’t lose sleep over it.
The implications of this word ALL plays out in the way I live out my Lay Cistercian spirituality. My reach always is short of my grasp. I must try to love with ALL my heart, my mind, and my strength each day to move from self to God. At the beginning of each day, I begin from scratch. Each day is like a lifetime. When I accepted that my purpose in life was “have in you the mind of Christ Jesus,” (1962) I didn’t know that I would continue to reach out for Christ each day and each day fails to grasp Him. When you think of it, our Western mentality is that we possess what we grasp and, if we read Scriptures correctly, we never quite possess God. Adam and Eve tried that but with disastrous consequences. The Eastern mysticism approach is that we never actually reach God but that our lot in life is to reach out for that which is so far beyond our grasp. With the coming of Christ, we have tools where we can begin to help our reach (Eucharist, Lectio Divina, Rosary, Scripture Reading, Sacraments) and have it make some sense in terms of the purpose of life. (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:34-40)
REFLECTIONS ON THE ALL OF LIFE