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Vocational Discernment for Men

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October 26th, 2008

04:21 am - Opus Christi Salvatoris Mundi
The Servants of the Poor of the Third World: "We are a missionary movement of contemplation in action, profoundly ecclesiastic in its fidelity to the eucharistic sacrament, to the Mother of God, the Most Holy Virgin Mary, whom we call by the name of "Mother of the Poor", and to the holy father.

More concretely, our Movement is an international catholic mission, whose main objective is to help the poor that live in the third world and other countries with similar problems, while the people that live and work in the Movement follow the path of continual conversion and sainthood."

Read more at their website.

Also, watch this outstanding video. They are headquartered in such a beautiful place!

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October 16th, 2008

05:48 am - Dominicans
What were the essentials of the Dominican life? How would the Friars live? They would be men of study, bound to the liturgy, to vowed life, to monastic discipline, and mobile. The Dominican is dedicated to truth, for God is truth. It is sacred truth, saving truth, that primarily concerns us here. God has called us into the intimacy of his own Trinitarian life, so that as sons in the Son we can cry out Abba, Father. And we are meant one day to see the glory, the power, the love, beauty, wisdom of God face to face. While we are on pilgrimage, we share in God’s own self-knowledge through faith in Him, as He reveals Himself in the Word made flesh and the Word as preached. The truth convicts, the truth redeems, the truth saves. The Dominican is to live in that truth, to be converted and sanctified by it, and to preach it.

“Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of scoffers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who ponders his law day and night.”

“To ponder his law day and night” is to contemplate and share with others the fruit of contemplation; to lead others into Christ who is truth. This is the essence of Dominican study. Dominic himself sent his preachers to hear theological lectures in Toulouse. He insisted that every house make provision for all its preachers to be continually studying the Word. It is no accident that the two books which Dominic carried with him were the works of the two rabbinic New Testament writers, Paul and Matthew, men with a rabbi’s love for God’s Word, men with a practical eye for organizing and strengthing local Churches. Dominican study aims to give the preacher the attitude of Saint Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach.”

As the Constitutions set down: “Our study ought principally to look to this: that we may be useful to the souls of our neighbors.” And living in service to sacred truth means working to find ways of conveying it, that is, to put other truth such as philosophy, literature, archeology, economics and language, at the service of the Gospel, so that it may be understood and believed. As Dominic’s successor put it: “The rule of the Friars Preachers … to live virtuously, to learn, and to teach.” Dominicans are to be given over to the liturgical life of the Church, to be genuinely taken up in the mystery of Christ which they proclaim. They are to offer the prayer of the Church for the good of the Church, to join in Christ’s own prayer in the heavenly sanctuary not made by hands. They are to live the vowed life, to be conformed to the example of Christ who was poor and loved the poor. Nudus nudum sequi Christum, “Naked to follow the naked Christ.” They are to be conformed to the example of Christ whose human love focused on the Father and on the whole human family. They are to be conformed to the example of Christ whose food was to do, not his own will, but the will of the One who sent him. By vows, they are freed for life in God, for witness and ministry in the Church.

The Dominican lives under the discipline of monastic observance. The disciplined round of daily routine requires him again and again to submit to the common good and the will of God, and it provides the environment in which contemplation becomes possible. At the heart of the Dominican ideal of community is the description in Acts 2 of the common life of the apostles. “And all who believed were together and had all things in common, and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those were being saved.”

The Dominican is called to apostolic mobility, to traveling light, to being available where needed. Dominicans are to be like other preachers sent out long ago, two by two, to proclaim the coming of God’s Kingdom in power, and on the road, they are to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature. As one early critic (by no means the last) of the Friars complained, “The world is their cell and the sea is their cloister.” Prayer, study, preaching, liturgy, monastic observance, community, mobility, vowed life: the essence of the Dominican life consists largely in an ordered integration of all these elements, thus forming the preacher who sits among his brothers and sisters at the Feet of Jesus, the Preacher and Word. Filled with the water of life, the water of mercy that flows from the Side of Christ, the Dominican is to turn and share that water as widely, as generously as he can. (source)

If you want to learn more about the Dominicans, this site looks like a good place to start.

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September 28th, 2008

06:07 am - Vincentians
When Vincent de Paul founded communities of priests, brothers, and sisters, he did so with the firm belief that they were to be active, vibrant forces for good in the Church and society. The shared life of prayer and community gives depth and strength to the mission of service to the poor in Jesus’ name. Unlike monastic and cloistered communities set apart from society, Vincent saw the wisdom of strength in numbers: “Let us love God, my brothers, but let it be with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brow.”

The mission- “to preach the Good News to the poor”- is both challenge and reward of community life. It is a constant challenge to be ready to serve Jesus in the poor wherever one is called to go forth. It is a reward to have brothers who join you in prayer, work, and community life as a support for living out that mission.

What binds Vincentians together in living this mission are vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The vows are a promise to God as well as a pledge to the community to trust totally in God and to support one another in prayer, ministry, and community life. Like community life, the vows are also for mission, as they include a promise that “I will spend the rest of my life evangelizing the poor.”

We serve Christ’s poor in our ministries of preaching, teaching, seminary and missionary work, wherever the Lord calls us. We serve in North/South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. God has provided our community with faith-filled priests and brothers to bring Jesus’ Good News of God’s love. But there is much more to do. We need to form men of prayer and action to continue the work of Jesus. Allow Jesus to touch your heart and you will do great things! (source)

To learn more about the Vincentians, please visit their website.

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September 20th, 2008

04:14 pm - Augustinians
Augustinians are, first and foremost, a community. Saint Augustine believed that God could be best discovered in the company of friends, and that is how we have chosen to serve God.

Our community life is built on the same qualities as friendship: mutual acceptance and respect, a willingness to listen to others and to open oneself to them, kindness and concern, a spirit of forgiveness. It is a way of life that puts far less emphasis on rules and regulations than on personal responsibility and decisions made together.

Part of our life is spent in contemplation and prayer, and part in ministry. We go where the needs of the Church call us—to the inner city, to rural and remote areas, to the campus, to foreign lands—and we serve in many ways: as preachers of the word and presiders at the sacraments, as pastoral ministers and missionaries, as chaplains and social workers, as teachers and scholars, as writers, professional counselors, musicians, and artists.

Whatever form our work takes, we bring with us our personality as Augustinians. Among those we serve, we try to create what we seek in our Order's own houses: a community of love and respect, where the presence of God can be recognized in each member. Our hearts strive to be on fire with the experience of God's love, and we desire always to share that fire with others.

The charism of Augustinians is love of God and love of neighbor, which are the foundation of the gospel of Christ and which Saint Augustine enunciates time and again in his writings, especially in his Rule. For Augustine and Augustinians, the interior manifestation of this charism is the life that his followers lead in common and the bonds of friendship that hold them together. It is externalized by the hospitality that Augustinians extend to others, our service to the world, recognizing that each member of our community and each person with whom we come in contact is a temple of God. Dii estis, "You are gods," is Augustine's famous phrase, quoting Psalm 82:6.

And so the gospel imperative of love of God and neighbor—which Augustine sees as one, since we love our neighbor in God and our God in our neighbor—becomes for the followers of Augustine their particular charism in friendship and hospitality. No human being is a stranger to an Augustinian. (source)

To learn more about the Augustinians, visit their website.

Also take a look at this video for the Augustinian fund.

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September 13th, 2008

06:33 pm - Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri
"The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is a Clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical right, that is, a community of Roman Catholic priests who do not take religious vows, but who work together for a common mission in the world. The mission of the Fraternity is two-fold: first, the formation and sanctification of priests in the cadre of the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, and secondly, the pastoral deployment of the priests in the service of the Church.

"Once the formation progamme has been completed, the Fraternity’s priests serve the faithful – under the direction of their bishop and within the terms of the Fraternity’s own constitutions – in its various apostolates in France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the USA, Australia, Canada, Great Britain , Nigeria and Benin. In the world, the priests of the Fraternity live in small communities and work to spread the Gospel by means of preaching, catechesis, youth education (scout troops, schools), and organizing pilgrimages and retreats, etc. With the full approval of the Holy See and the permission of local bishops, the priests provide a full sacramental life for the faithful, administered according to the liturgical books of 1962." (source)

For more information, please visit The FSSP website.

I'll try to post some brief profiles of other religious orders in the coming weeks.

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September 10th, 2008

09:35 pm - "Fear not, for I am with thee."
"Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, and called thee by thy name: thou art mine. When thou shalt pass through the waters, I will be with thee, and the rivers shall not cover thee: when thou shalt walk in the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, and the flames shall not burn in thee. Because thou art precious in my sight, and because I love thee, I will give men in return for thee, and peoples in exchange for thy life. Fear not, for I am with thee: I will bring back thy descendants from the east, and gather thee up from the west. I will say to the north: Give them up: and to the south: Hold not back: bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth. In the desert I will make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory. I have formed him, and made him. It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, thy transgressions, and will remember thy sins no more."
-- Isa. xliii. 1-2,4-6,19,7,25.

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September 3rd, 2008

09:14 pm - Holy Virginity
Therefore go on, Saints of God, boys and girls, males and females, unmarried men, and women; go on and persevere unto the end. Praise more sweetly the Lord, Whom ye think on more richly: hope more happily in Him, Whom ye serve more instantly: love more ardently Him, whom ye please more attentively. With loins girded, and lamps burning, wait for the Lord, when He cometh from the marriage. Ye shall bring unto the marriage of the Lamb a new song, which ye shall sing on your harps. Not surely such as the whole earth singeth, unto which it is said, "Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, the whole earth" : but such as no one shall be able to utter but you. For thus there saw you in the Apocalypse a certain one beloved above others by the Lamb, who had been wont to lie on His breast, and who used to drink in, and burst forth, the Word of God above wonders of heaven. He saw you twelve times twelve thousand of holy harpers, of undefiled virginity in body, of inviolate truth in heart; and he wrote of you, that ye follow the Lamb whithersoever He shall go. Where think we that This Lamb goeth, where no one either dares or is able to follow save you? Where think we that He goeth? Into what glades and meadows? Where, I think, the gardens are joys; not vain joys of this world, lying madnesses; nor joys such as shall be in the kingdom of God itself, for the rest that are not virgins; but distinct from the portion of joys of all the rest. Joy of the virgins of Christ, about Christ, in Christ, with Christ, after Christ, through Christ, for Christ. The joys peculiar to the virgins of Christ, are not the same as of such as are not virgins, although of Christ. For there are to different persons different joys, but to none such. Go (enter) into these, follow the Lamb, because the Flesh of the Lamb also is assuredly virgin. For this He retained in Himself when grown up, which He took not away from His Mother by His conception and birth. Follow Him, as ye deserve, in virginity of heart and flesh, wheresoever He shall have gone.
-- St. Augustine, De sancta virginitate, 27.27

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September 2nd, 2008

05:05 am - Sanctification
“We must never stop working, since in the spiritual life, not to advance is to go backwards.”
--Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.

To live well is to live a life of increasing sanctification; we ought to advance in holiness from year to year and grow into deeper communion with God. That, in a word, is our task, our telos; that is the combined aim of all our efforts upon earth. Holy God, we love you; helps us to love you. Blessed Virgin Mary, wrap us in the mantle of your purity, and, through your intercession, protect us from every evil. Amen.

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August 7th, 2008

12:59 am - Discerning a Vocation
Jesus said to me: "Do you see see how great the difference is between the light of the moon and the light of the stars? Such is the difference in heaven between a soul of a religious and a soul of a faithful Christian."
-- St. Faustina's diary

Please read this advice regarding religious vocations.

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July 28th, 2008

02:22 am
"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner 

This quote I discovered from the book A Sacred Voice is Calling by John Neafsey

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