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?