Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ruth's Point

"Ruth" e-mailed expressing desire to join the Order of the Present Moment.  That prompted the writing about what to do to join, which of course is nothing specific other than to pray and make assent to God's will, and then to begin in whatever present moment, living in Christ and desiring to climb the stairway to heaven.  

Ruth brings up a point about insights posted previously regarding the only group we need belong to is the Body of Christ.  She wondered about religious orders, for example.  I admit that the non-necessity of groups and sub-groups, for and as Christians, is an ideal.  

In the spiritual reality we are each and all to be in the Body of Christ. Groups and sub-groups are historically formed out of deprivation needs, even in instances of order reform.  Our need ought be fulfilled in Christ and His Church.  Conceivably, if need is fulfilled in Christ and His Church, there would not be need to create a group.  

Jesus did not exemplify a physically setting apart in groups from others.  He would go to a deserted place to pray, for hours or overnight, not for years.  More, He explained the inner room for prayer, within our hearts, in His Heart. Jesus heralded the kingdom of God, called all to be part of God's kingdom.  

As for temporal efforts within the temporal Catholic Church, if the spiritual focus is set, and we are through Him, with Him, and in Him, then we would function as Christ living in us, not as ourselves, as paraphrase of St. Paul:  

For through the law, I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me (Gal. 2:19-20).

However, the scrapping erupts--either voiced or silent, overt or covert--sooner or later, in groups and sub-groups from the smallest formed committee to the largest traditional religious order, we do not realize nor anticipate the spiritual power of the Body of Christ, and of our participation in the Church as spiritual beings living out the will of God, accomplishing all things in Him who strengthens us.  Pope Benedict in his paper on Communion, Community, and Mission, delves into the term communio to express what I have attempted to express as gatherings of one or many within the Body of Christ, doing the will of the Father, outpouring love in action.  

That pretty much means if we dissolve the secular imprint of groups and sub-groups and comprehend the call to living in Christ in each present moment, seek, find and climb the stairway to heaven. Engage the spiritual ascent that assures death to self and life in Christ in actual and tangible manifestations. Recycle into the world: each of us as transformed enactors, loving God above all things and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Ruth comprehends this.  Ruth is a young, married Catholic,  expecting a little girl in about three months.  Ruth grasps the necessity for the spiritual life as Jesus expresses, explains, infers, implies, and lives (past, present, future) in His words, His life, and His living plan for the Church.  

Schnackenburg's Jesus in the Gospels fleshes the reality in clear citations, such as:  Mary chose the better part and Who are my mother, brother, sister?  Those who seek and do the will of the Father, among numerous other implicit and explicit examples.  Jesus lays out the ideal as a reality to be not only grasped, but implemented and lived now, by us, in Him--the will of the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Why do some, perhaps embedded in outlook and practice, dispute?  The Irish Da, a priest two-thirds a century, is invigorated by and grasps the spiritual reality.  Perhaps those who dispute, mistrust my credibility.  I admit not having stepped beyond the heavenly stairway's stoop.  

Regardless, someone suggests God's creatures as validating groups.  The reasoning is that animals are in groups (flock, herd, bevy, gaggle).  But the very root of group means "to crop" [cut, sever, reduce].  Definitions include to classify, identify, set in order.  Jesus Himself said, Those who scatter will not gather.  

As for animal classifications and behaviors to model necessity of groups in the Body of Christ, we must note the instinctual nature of animal "groups"  for breeding, protection, feeding, and migrating.  We also note pecking orders, dominance traits, survival of the fittest, predatory and other base behaviors within and between animal "groups."  

Of course, animals do not possess souls as do humans, so they do not make a strong case for comparison.  However, as we often turn to nature for lessons in simplicity and God's creative beauty, animals may serve to augment the negative realities that surface sooner or later in human groups and subgroups.  But envision the spiritual ideal Christ teaches and lives.  Be as a hind's feet in high places.

Our newest adherent, Ruth, points out that in most family gatherings, we desire to interact with everyone for it is an opportunity to "catch up" in personal, loving exchange.  What about the family rifts, the black sheep?  Well, if the spiritual focus is set, and the identity is not of selves but as members of the Body of Christ, those with this spiritual identity will love as the father to his sons in the Parable of the Prodigal, or as the shepherd who stops at nothing to bring back the lost sheep, or as Christ who sacrificially loves, suffers and dies for the redemption of all.

One wonders what if's.  What if Mother Teresa had continued helping the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, with others joining in, wanting to help, as they did--but without eventually organizing into a specific, identifiable group or order? Could they, would they persist in the spiritual view that obviously infused and enacted the holy, Christ-like spirit and work?  Will the group, or has it already, develop fissures, or in future need reform?  

What if the foundress of the now-suppressed Intercessors of the Lamb,  had not left the cloistered Sisters of the Cross (now Contemplatives of the Good Shepherd) of her vows but rather remained...or if she had left but to live the spiritual life in Christ on the order of the present moment, as a member of the Body of Christ, as one among many?  

What if St. Francis lived his saintly life that others admired and followed, but had not (reluctantly) succumbed to their demands to write a rule by which they structured a religious order that he did not want? And even in his brief life developed divisions, within a century required St. Colette's reform, and 800 years hence has multi-fragmented into subgroups and/or cyclically reforming?  

What if the successors of St. Stephen of Muret had simply continued the spiritual life the saint modeled as a member of the Body of Christ, in Christ, rather than organizing into a group after his death with attendant group detriments, St. Stephen's spiritual purity lost?  

But we must not continue conjecturing the what if's. Nor must we reduce this discussion to a semantic debate, group or otherwise.  Rather, we must grasp and live the spiritual perspective of our true identity in Christ as a member of His Body, the Church, doing the will of the Father.  

We must radically relinquish our perceived, conditioned, set needs of group and subgroup mentality and function as Christians--no longer us but Christ living in us.  We will perceive and act in the temporal from the spiritual living waters, not as animals, not as birds, not as secularists, not this or that group label, not with our identities forged to any other than: Christ.  

Have written for several hours on something perhaps not interesting to most. Yet I continue to ponder not needing structured groups within the Church. Seems if we would spiritually actualize "being" in the Body of Christ, and let His reality permeate  all our relationships and gatherings, we'd be better off.  Seems that is what Christ exemplifies.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Author cannot enter into discussion and/or debate with readers on topics. The purpose of the writing is to offer this author's insights, thoughts, and experiences. It is a web log, spiritual in nature.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.