Such as we are, such are our times

What an encouraging reading from the prophet Baruch (5:1-4) today! I read it as complimenting our Carmelite Rule in a way.

Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress

Put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever.

Wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you,

Put the diadem of the glory of the eternal on your head,

Since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven.

The beautiful imagery reminds me strongly of the battle armour imagery of v19 of the Rule of Albert

[19] Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no pleasing God without faith; [and the victory lies in this -- your faith]. On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.

We’re certainly going through a rough, messy period of Church life as we deal with the distressing issue of clerical sexual abuse. But we need to keep the big picture in mind as we struggle to remove the evils that have infiltrated the Church and see justice done for the victims.

As I pointed out on our Facebook page recently, three Doctors of the Church made some very apt comments which might help us take to heart the way out of the mess.

“The times are bad! The times are troublesome!” This is what humans say. But we are our times. Let us live well and our times will be good. Such as we are, such are our times.  . – St. Augustine  (Sermon 80, 8)

Our own St Teresa said this about Carmel, but I think her words apply equally to the Church’s situation:

“Nor is it in any way good for persons to complain if they see their order in some decline; rather, they should strive to be the kind of rock on which the edifice may again be raised. For the Lord will help towards that.”  (St Teresa of Avila, The Foundations: Chap 4 Par. 7)

St Bernard of Clairvaux said;

“If you want to be a channel, you must first be a reservoir” (cf serm 18 on Song of Songs)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, quoted St Bernard in his recent intervention on evangelization at the Synod of Bishops.   The Cardinal was speaking about the crucial importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s well worth a read.

It seems to me it’s all about getting back to essentials – intimacy with Jesus Christ. Everything flows from that.

Let’s ‘strive to be the kind of rock on which the edifice may again be raised’.

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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One Response to Such as we are, such are our times

  1. Les says:

    That quote from St Bernard reminded me of another quoted by Rev. Fr Thomas Dubay SM: “As Jesus said to one of his favorites, Angela of Foligno, ‘Make yourself a capacity, and I will make myself a torrent’.”

    There’s an interesting article with much valuable info about prayer and contemplation by Fr Dubay here…

    The Angela of Foligno quote points me to Fr Iain Matthew’s ‘summary’ of St John of the Cross; something like, “God is always pressing in to give Himself. Our job is to ‘make space’. And the good news is, God makes the space”. (See “Impact of God” Part III – Space)

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