Thursday, September 14, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 14

Obedience  September 14

I, N.N. do profess and promise obedience to God and to you, N.N., Master General of the Order of the Holy Cross, and to your successors, in accordance with the Rule of Augustine and the Constitutions of the Brethren of the Holy Cross, in such wise that I shall be obedient to you and your successors … until death (Const. 10.8).

The Order's formula of profession of vows makes allusion to only a single vow, that of obedience.  In this point of view, to be radically consecrated to the demands of the Kingdom implies the evangelical counsels of poverty and chastity as well.  What’s more, in the tradition of the Order, the first profession, called simple or temporary, is considered a profession for rest of one’s life.  Or is it possible to commit to the Gospel in a provisional way?  Authentic response to the call of Christ has to be forever.  After a determined amount of time, the Order asks for a solemn celebration of the profession already made.  The solemn profession brings with it more legal rights and responsibilities, but this does not affect the original Gospel commitment of the person, which remains constant.  Profession of vows is made in the presence of the Master General of the Order or his delegate in order to affirm that the one making profession wishes to be "of one mind and one heart in search of God" with the other confreres.

No one follows the path to the cemetery twice.  (Ntomba)

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 13

Obedience  September 13

The superior should be obeyed as a father with the respect due him so as not to offend God in his person . . . (Rule  44).

Obedience, as with the other vows, is observed essentially for faith reasons and not just because it facilitates community life.  The vow of obedience does not look only to the good functioning of the community as a social structure.  The vow is a personal and community commitment to be radically available for God’s call, no matter where it is heard.  Religious are obedient because they hold themselves accountable to the Word of God.  As Christians, religious accept the fact that Jesus designated pastors in the Church who are charged with guiding listening to God for the accomplishment of the Kingdom.  "The one who welcomes someone I have sent welcomes mes, and the one who welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me" (Jn 13 :20).  They are confident that every superior, including theirs, who remains in communion with these pastors, participates in their commission and merit obedience.  In this way, religious submit to the Kingdom of God which is realized in the world.  Obedience to the superior has nothing in the end to do with his age, experience or virtue.  It has to do with the fact that faith proposes him as interpreter of the Word of God with and for the community.  He is the spokesman of God.  This is his primary service and the heaviest burden of his conscience.

The chant intoned by the director is the one to respond to.  (Rwanda)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 12

Obedience  September 12

[The superior's] role in community interaction and deliberation is one of creativity and leadership (Const. 9.3).

The story is told of a man who was ordained a priest at the age of sixty-five.  He was a successful banker during his life and, at his retirement and after the death of his wife, he felt a calling to the priesthood.  He approached his bishop, who sent him to a seminary with a program for older candidates.  The old man was ordained and his children and family were overjoyed.  Some time afterwards, a younger priest met him and had a question for him.  He was captivated by the situation of the older man.  He wanted to know how the older priest’s life in the world influenced his pastoral vision.  The young priest asked, “Father, what is your ministerial vision, given all the experience you had before being ordained?”  He responded, “I see my priestly task as guaranteeing that the precepts of Canon Law are all observed.”  The young priest was astounded.  Such an answer was not possible!  Was that the pastoral discernment of this man of the world?  What a disappointment!  The young priest left, convinced that the “signs of the times” and the creativity they asked for were a far larger and more fruitful ministry than simply the imposition of Canon Law.  Would that all Christian leaders, including religious superiors, shared this opinion!

A big nose without nostrils has no value.  (Toucouleur)

Monday, September 11, 2023

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 11

Obedience  September 11

The vow of obedience requires . . . acceptance of the decisions of the Chapter and/or of the superior (European Provincial Statutes, 1.26).

I profess obedience because:
            --I see in Christ Risen that God has a plan for humanity, the objective of which is the re-creation of the world in glory;
            --I believe that this plan is communicated always and everywhere by God's Word in the Church and in the events and persons in the contemporary world;
            --I have confidence in the gift of leadership given to the Church by Christ, which my superiors participate in to verify the way;
            --I accept the tradition of the Church that invites me to submit to the judgment of legitimate authority on the way to the Kingdom rather than favor my own judgment;
            --I expect to hear the call of God in the sharing of believers and, more particularly, in the dialogue that happens in my religious community;
            --I retain the right to speak prophetically when I judge that the integrity of the Gospel is being threatened;
            --I count on my personal conscience to guide me in situations where I doubt the morality of what obedience demands of me.

Even if the elephant is skinny, it remains king of the forest.  (Duala)