All: Catholic Values

On Friday last, 14th June 2013, a local priest at Newcastle Cathedral, made a couple of interesting observations in his Friday homily on dealing with the causes of sin.  I think they’re well worth pondering.

His comments went something like this:

If we venture out into bright sunlight, we’ll probably suffer from excessive glare and may  even get sunburnt.  So we try to filter the harsh light of the sun with sunglasses, and we filter the harmful ultra-violet rays of the sun with sunscreen.  Similarly, we need to screen and protect ourselves from the constant barrage of toxic and even spiritually lethal effects of the world – i.e. our society – through the filter of Catholic Values.

This seems to me a compelling reason for our studying the Seven Deadly Sins and, hopefully, implementing the Seven Lively Virtues with Fr. Robert Barron, as we’ve been doing for several months.

I like to think of the Seven Lively Virtues as some of the Catholic Values the priest spoke of.  So too are the Beatitudes  that Matthews’s gospel presents as a summary of Jesus’ teaching at the start of the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt 5 – 7).  Of course, there are many other values too, but these are especially relevant to our current formation study.

The Beatitudes figure significantly in our Constitution (cf Article 16 on p19) and are specifically referred to in our Ritual. (cf article 42 on pp159-160 of the Constitutions booklet.)

The commitment to the promise to live the spirit of the beatitudes:

16. The beatitudes are a plan of action for life and a way to enter into relationship with the world, neighbours and co-workers, families and friends. By promising to live the beatitudes in daily life, Secular Carmelites seek to give evangelical witness as members of the Church and the Order, and by this witness invite the world to follow Christ: “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6).

We’ll look more closely at the beatitudes in another post shortly.

A final word from St Teresa on how to acquire the virtues:

“Meditation is the basis for acquiring all the virtues, and to undertake it is a matter of life and death for all Christians.”  (The Way of Perfection, Chapter 16)

Which of us is prepared to ignore St Teresa in this matter?

About Les

I'm Les Walters, Immediate Past President in our OCDS Community from 17 July 2016 to August 2018. Now First Councillor - August 2018 till August 2021 and Secretary
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2 Responses to All: Catholic Values

  1. Madelyn says:

    Thank you for sharing this Les.

    Society is very accepting (or knowingly turns a blind eye) to the toxicity we are faced with daily, especially via the media. Those of us that have been taught our faith or are developing their faith, at least have some capacity to filter the toxicity. In this ”capacity” – in living the Beatitudes and following the lives and virtues of our Saints in Carmel, we need to be the active filter amongst our children and grandchildren where this toxicity in the ‘norm’. I was looking at children’s dolls and toys the other day, they were very spiritually dark. I know that many games & cartoons are of such nature. Children’s hearts have always been open to the presence of God – let us not close their hearts by opening their eyes, ears & minds to the toxicity that is thrown at them.

    So, upon reflecting on the Beatitudes, the Seven Deadly Sins and your quote:
    “Meditation is the basis for acquiring all the virtues, and to undertake it is a matter of life and death for all Christians.” (The Way of Perfection, Chapter 16)
    ….let us, as seculars, also reflect on how those around us, need us as their filters ….”as a matter of life and death” for their souls to rest in Eternity with the Lord.

    I will end with a quote from St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face:
    “I made the resolution never to consider whether the things commanded me appeared useful or not…. it is love alone that counts. Forget about whether something is needed or useful; see it (the demand, rule, obligation, etc.) as a whim of Jesus.”


  2. Madelyn says:

    Following my post above, a good friend from my parish sent me the following, which further supports the initial comments made by Les:

    Deuteronomy 6:6-9
    ‘These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates’.

    We have a responsibility to pass along the truth of who God is to our children. This is a “pull out all the stops” message. Do whatever it takes so that your children know that the Lord is God and there is no other! Constantly tell stories and relate your children’s experiences with stories that tell of God’s greatness. Let them know that they are part of a grand design, and that they are not alone! Speak to them with love and mercy, showing a collision of discipline, correction, and wisdom. Live your live in such a way that the gospel is on display, that they would meet Jesus!

    Finally, from St. John of the Cross:
    “Who can free themselves from lowly manners and limitations if you do not lift them to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will human beings begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to you, Lord, if you do not raise them with your hand that made them?”
    St. John of the Cross, from Prayer of a Soul Taken in Love

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