Prisms: November is the month in the Catholic liturgical tradition devoted to a commemoration of the faithful departed.
Thomas Merton's Legacy: A Personal Reflection
Richard Hauser SJ gives personal witness to Thomas Merton's influence in five areas of spirituality: models of spirituality, personal prayer, the sacred and the secular, nonviolence, and interreligious understanding. Father Hauser writes from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska
Excerpts: "Merton's approach to spirituality focuses not on behavior but on the habitual consciousness underlying actions. . . . Merton gave me the theology and language to explain and justify what has become my regular practicer of personal prayer. . . Merton helped me realize that Western understandings of the person foster secularism, individualism, materialism, competition, and a sense of superiority."
Our Ethnicity en Route to God
Ruth Bolarte IHM recalling her early religious formation as a Peruvian woman in the United States, points out the need for everyon's ethniccultural roots to be recognized and made good use of in spiritual direction and in faith and religious-life eduction. Sister Ruth is director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Excerpts: "Becoming conscious of my longing to 'belong' while also recognizing my 'uniqueness' and sense of independence marked the beginning of a long road home. . . As my own 'true self' was gradually revealed to me and then to others, a new person emerged, one that was freer to relate to God and others."
Constitutions and Heart Knowledge
Beatrice Eichten OSF proposes that women and men religious may well review their constitutions and question how they live out in practice thier community life and governance today. This article was adapted from a talk given to a Franciscan Sister's community.
Excerpts: "Fundamentally, then, constitutions existto articulate 'heart knowledge,' 'and are not the mere sets of rules and laws that a legalistic mindset too easily makes them. . . . In our constitutions and in ourliving of them we are called to center our lives on God, realizing that God longs for us and desires our love. The problem for religious today is not that we are not good people, doing good things, but that we are not great people."
Can New Life Arise from the Rule Book?
Nestor Gregoire OMI suggests ways that the Rule Book of a religious congregation can become user friendly and be a part of the community's prayer life. Father Gregoire lives in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Excerpt: "The Rule Book must be more than a reference book that the novices study, consult, and know parts of from memory. It must become user friendly and be a living part of the community's prayer life. A good indicator of this would be how worn the pages of our personal copy of the Rule Book are. Are they library fresh, or do they have finger prints, personal notations, and other signs of frequent use? Does the book appear to be one that is close to the heart of a community member?
Monasticism's Rooted Adaptations
Joel Rippinger OSB paints a picture of the contemporary demands on the monastic community and the adaptation required to remain true to monastic life. Father Rippinger has again writes from Marmion Abbey in Aurora, Illinois.
Excerpts: "The hospitality called for in the monastic tradition trumps demands for orthodoxy or religious conversion. . . The fact that some monastic communities are dying is a reminder that this is part of a historical cycle that has been in place for well over 1500 years. . . Monasteries of the third millennium have broader borders than their predecessors. . . . Monasticism in the third millennium can count on doing what it has always done: adapt its timeless liturgical round and its particular work of community life to fit the needs of a changing world and ever more complex demands."
William P. Clark OMI ruminates on all the richness that the virtue of hope gives to our daily living and to our witnessing to our Christian faith. Father Clark in active retirement resides at St. Henry's Oblate Residence in Bellevill, Illinois.
Excerpts: "Christian hope is not based on self-confidence. . . In the Christian tradition we find much more emphasis on faith and charity than on hope. . . By faith we not only believe in God but we also believe that God believbes in us. . . It is important re realize that Christian hope is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking. It is a Christian virtue, not a purely human virtue. . . Christian hoping come only as a gift of grace."
Becoming All Fire: Thoughts on Religious Identity
Hedwig Lewis SJ offers reflection on the Jesuit as "a man on fire" in the light of Decree 2 of General Congregation 35. Though applied here to the Society of Jesus, the ideas have relevance for all women and men religious and for others who desire greater commitment to the Lord. Father Lewis resides at St. Xavier's College in Gujarat, India. His website is http://joygift.tripod.com.
Excerpts: "The very name Ignatius suggests fire. . . The fire at the heart of a Jesuit's identity and mission is Jesus Christ. . . The 'man on fire' is an alter Christus, for Christ is his constant companion. . . The Jesuit 'man on fire' must realize that 'the Jesuit identity is relational.'"
A Source of Prayer Undreamt Of
A. Paul Dominic SJ proposes ways that we might find content for our prayer in the dreams that God may use in speaking to us. Father Dominic is a frequent writer in our journal, he lives in South America in Guyana.
Excerpts: "A Christian, like other believers, may be inclined to consider dreams to be experiences of God. . . Dreams serve as a game of hide-and-seek that God plays with us, and our praying of dreams can hapily prolong the game. . . God penetrates the good and the bad in the recesses of our hearts and reveals it to us awake or dreaming to help us become better. . . The language of God is the experience that God writes into our lives. One experience is dreams. God writes into our lives not only in our waking periods but also during sleep."
Scripture Scope:The New Perspective on St. Paul
Eugene Hensell OSB continues his Scripture essays, a regular feature of each issue of Review for Religious. Fr. Hensell travels about giving retreats and workshops his home is at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana.
Canonical Counsel:The Lacuna Canon: Common and Constant Opinion
Elizabeth McDonough OP continues her on-going series of canonical information and reflection. She serves as canonical counsultant for many religious communities and for several dioceses. She is Bishop Griffin Professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical College Josephinum.
A Birthing by Paulson V. Veliyannoor CMF
Dark Matter by Barbara Mayer OSB
Book Shelf Life
Mini reviews by Philip Fischer SJ