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Sun Chat: Vocations and Devotion

Devotion Adorns and Beautifies a Vocation
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On Sunday we will chat about The Nature and Excellence of Devotion.
We continue with Part I, Chapter 3: Devotion is Suitable to Every Vocationn and Profession from An Introduction to the Devout Life. Here Saint Francis emphasises that devotion must be proper to one’s own state in life.

When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind; and even so He bids Christians,–the living trees of His Church,–to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation. A different exercise of devotion is required of each–the noble, the artisan, the servant, the prince, the maiden and the wife; and furthermore such practice must be modified according to the strength, the calling, and the duties of each individual. I ask you, my child, would it be fitting that a Bishop should seek to lead the solitary life of a Carthusian? And if the father of a family were as regardless in making provision for the future as a Capucin, if the artisan spent the day in church like a Religious, if the Religious involved himself in all manner of business on his neighbour’s behalf as a Bishop is called upon to do, would not such a devotion be ridiculous, ill-regulated, and intolerable? Nevertheless such a mistake is often made, and the world, which cannot or will not discriminate between real devotion and the indiscretion of those who fancy themselves devout, grumbles and finds fault with devotion, which is really nowise concerned in these errors. No indeed, my child, the devotion which is true hinders nothing, but on the contrary it perfects everything; and that which runs counter to the rightful vocation of any one is, you may be sure, a spurious devotion. Aristotle says that the bee sucks honey from flowers without damaging them, leaving them as whole and fresh as it found them;–but true devotion does better still, for it not only hinders no manner of vocation or duty, but, contrariwise, it adorns and beautifies all. Throw precious stones into honey, and each will grow more brilliant according to its several colour:–and in like manner everybody fulfils his special calling better when subject to the influence of devotion:–family duties are lighter, married love truer, service to our King more faithful, every kind of occupation more acceptable and better performed where that is the guide.
It is an error, nay more, a very heresy, to seek to banish the devout life from the soldier’s guardroom, the mechanic’s workshop, the prince’s court, or the domestic hearth. Of course a purely contemplative devotion, such as is specially proper to the religious and monastic life, cannot be practised in these outer vocations, but there are various other kinds of devotion well-suited to lead those whose calling is secular, along the paths of perfection. The Old Testament furnishes us examples in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, David, Job, Tobias, Sarah, Rebecca and Judith; and in the New Testament we read of St. Joseph, Lydia and Crispus, who led a perfectly devout life in their trades:–we have Saint Anne, Martha, Saint Monica, Aquila and Priscilla, as examples of household devotion, Cornelius, Saint Sebastian, and Saint Maurice among soldiers;–Constantine, Saint Helena, Saint Louis, the Blessed Amadaeus,and Saint Edward on the throne. And we even find instances of some who fell away in solitude,– usually so helpful to perfection,–some who had led a higher life in the world, which seems so antagonistic to it. Saint Gregory dwells on how Lot, who had kept himself pure in the city, fell in his mountain solitude. Be sure that wheresoever our lot is cast we may and must aim at the perfect life.
Questions to ponder:
  1. How can we be certain to practice the devotion that is suitable for our state of life and not judge people for choosing a different way to practice devotion?
  2. What can we learn from St. Francis about the word vocations? (Notice he does not use the word to refer only to priests and religious.)
  3. When we live a life according to God has designed us we will have a more joyful time living a life of devotion. How can we discover our true vocation and true devotion?
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Day 3- American Visitandines in Rome

Friday, January 29th, 2016 our attendance at “Consecrated Life in Communion,” began in earnest. The early morning became routine: a quick breakfast with 38 Visitandines in a private refectory setting with the Sisters of Charity, off to the bus, or in our case, sometimes a taxi and then to our place of meeting.

Because Mother Emmanuel’s walker wasn’t the best vehicle for transport for cobblestoned streets and swarming crowds of religious, the Sisters of Charity lent us a wheelchair and Mother Rosemarie became her main companion. One of the other of us would take a leisurely ride in the taxi with them.

When we arrived to enter Paul the 6th Hall at the Vatican, we were again met by the scanners and long lines of 4000 religious. Thus we were separated as those with special needs were taken to different areas.

The Hall was spacious enough for all of us. In our bags we were given tiny red “translator” machines with earphones and these worked fora while, at least, although many of them needed battery changes and that ran out eventually too.

The first talk was by Cardinal A João Braz de Aviz  the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life . He spoke about Consecrated life in the unity of charisms.Some of his key points were:

The closing of the Year of Consecrated Life is an historic event. Five continents of religious were meeting for the first time in the “House of Peter”

He emphasized: joy, waking up the world, religious as experts in communion, going to the existential outskirts, to listen and be courageous.

Religious are to confess the Holy Trinity and insert ourselves into the life of the Trinity.

To be compassionate and joyous; service is a source of joy.

We are to be prophets and a prophet testifies how Jesus lived on this earth, not solitary but in communion. We are to be a school of communion.

We must adapt to new needs  and not have a self-referential approach.

Unfortunately, this writer’s translation device then failed and I was unable to understand the remaining talks, which were in Italian or Spanish.

We lunched at Urbano College, and had evening prayer there as well.