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Sunday 18 November 2012

The Brothers and Sisters of the Crown of Trent

An idea came to my mind when I was at the monastery and I am throwing it out into the blogasphere for feedback. A group, which I do not think I can call an order, of men and women whose have pledged themselves to pray for priests and seminarians who specifically say the Tridentine Mass.

The group would have to make some commitments to belong.

The name of the group is the Brothers and Sisters of the Crown of Trent.

This is a feeler posting.

First, daily prayer for all sems and priests in Latin Mass orders and seculars who say the Latin Mass, such as Father Z.

Second, a promise to read at least two of the hours of the breviary a day, such as lauds and vespers, or sext and compline, etc.

Third,  a promise to do three hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament a week, either in the Exposed Host in a monstrance, or adoring Christ hidden in the tabernacle.

Four, abstinence from meat one day a week.

Five, if possible, if more than one person can join in this endeavor in an area, for those two or more to meet up once a month and pray and communicate, supporting the ministry.

What do you think, readers? Can there be such a grouping starting online?

On offering things up

I would like to challenge an old and useful phrase, "offer it up". For our times, I want to change the sentiment to "absorb it". What do I mean?

The crosses we endure provide us with THE opportunity to become one with God, the Trinity. By absorbing pain of any kind, we cooperate with a mysterious plan in the purgative stage. We cannot live the life of the virtues without absorbing these pains. The illuminative stage, which follows that of purgation, allows the soul to see and experience that all is in God, whether good or evil, loss or gain. Such purgation cleans the heart and mind so that one can love those who hate them, criticize them, spurn them, judge them. Illumination reveals that the love of God is in all things and all people. One can love the enemy.

My mother lost three children. Is this God's Will? I had cancer. Is this God's Will? Some people have horrible experiences, such as abuse as children. Is this God's Will?

He has seen from all time the evil which men and women do to each other. After the Fall, the choice of Adam and Eve to rebel against God's plan for them, the Trinity allowed all of us our free wills, to do good or evil.

We have all done both.

That God allows such freedom is a scandal to some, but Love can only happen in freedom. Love is an act of the free will and heart, not a coercion.

That God freely loves me and that I live and move and have my being in that Love is FREE GIFT.

Does it matter how I came to accept this free gift of love?

What matters is that the illumination of God's love puts all failure and pain into perspective. As I sit in a student flat wondering what will be my next step in God's plan, I move with and in God.  How I got here and where I am going next does not matter. That failures happen does not matter if one sees that God has allowed certain events to break down the self-will and rebellion left from the First Parents' defection from God.

May I add that we are not alone in this journey. We each, those of us who are baptized, have an angel guardian to help us on the way. Pray to your angel. There are other angels who God may send to help one, just as God sent Raphael to help Tobit.

On Perfection and Indifference

Following up this theme of the possibility of the lay person achieving the sanctity of one in the religious life must be presented along with the idea that the lay person has duties and graces from baptism. As the sacrament which makes one a child of God and heir to heaven, the sacrament changes one forever. The ebb and flow of the active and contemplative life can be adjusted in a lay life, but with great difficulty. What the nuns and monks have is a greenhouse situation tailor made for the pursuit of perfection, which therefore, happens more readily and quickly. That we are not in this special environment, or called to the obedience, and strict observance of rules does not let us off the hook in the pursuit of perfection. In addition, I look at the lives of SS. Teresa of Avila, Bernard, and many others, realizing that they were busy in the world as well.

The contemplative prayer and meditation allowed them to be effective in the world. St. Catherine of Siena was a great player in the world, despite or because of her intense interior life. How can we do this, while working or studying, or commuting? Of course, the singing of the seven hours and the silence is not possible, but the ebb and flow of being attuned to grace in a balance of activity and reflection must be possible. The Jesuits managed it for centuries. The key is discipline of a different sort We waste so much time and miss the pursuit of holiness in that waste. We also miss the vision of holiness by concentrating on nonessentials. So, how can a lay person follow the purgative, illuminative and unitive way? First of all, one must find a good spiritual director.

This is very hard, as I know from personal experience. Secondly, one must believe that every event in one's life has been ordained by God. That the pattern of one's life reveals the way to holiness. One may be following, by God's choice, the way of affirmation or the way of negation.

Suffering comes to us all, but the way of negation would include a life of suffering and denial, imposed by the Holy Spirit. Once one realizes the pattern and sees how God is working, through love in one's life, the vocation is seen more clearly. For example, I thought my life was a series of failures. God showed me that none of these events were failures but part of the larger pattern of the breaking down of my desires for worldly things, pleasures, success, a place in the sun. What the nuns learn by being obedient to Mother Prioress, God has taught me through suffering of a different kind. Both ways lead to self-denial and finally, to an indifference.

Indifference is key. One must not care what happens, not in a quietist way (see previous posts on this danger of quietism) but, in the acceptance of the Will of God, and the freedom of the thrall of slavery to things and relationships not ordained by God. Those saints who have been martyred did not come to their martyrdom easily, but through a process of steps, which freed them to experience pain and loss of status, prestige, life. St. Oliver Plunkett, for example, was a great bishop, but slandered and treated with contempt. How many of us could absorb that type of hatred without his humility and the grace of God?

But, laity, this is possible for us as well. Believe me, that the Church and God in His Trinity wants us to reach out and be saints NOW. We are being prepared for heaven daily.