Usually something really exciting or really intersting happens to us over the weekend. But this weekend, was an exception (although we did find a good home for the lone surviving puppy-that is EXCITING-believe me.)
Saturday morning was rainy. I spent a few hours finishing up the syllabae for the courses I am teaching this fall. Our neighbor came by to invite us to pick more figs. The boys will have to do it without me today because of Saturday's rain. I spent some time teaching a couple young ladies how to drive a manual transmission. I guess that was exciting at times too!
Sunday after Mass, Mrs. Curley and I attended the Discalced Carmelite study group. (Oh yes, Fr. O'Holohan is back from vacationing in Ireland-and we are glad to have him back!) We are learning about Carmelite spirituality. Some questions came up...
One thing that was said was that Carmelites shouldn't be working soup kitchens. This certainly brought up some discussion as to whether this applies to secular Carmelites and how to reconcil this with the Gospel. I don't know the answer-especially as I am not an expert on Carmelites, but I surmise that it is something like this:
1. There are many different charisms in the Church;
2. Everyone has a unique vocation and is called to some sort of apostolate;
3. Every apostolate must have a prayer life as its basis;
With these premises, let's take some examples; NB all examples assume a prayer life of some meditation, the rosary, daily Mass whenever possible, frequent confession, etc.
A. Bobbi does pro-life work. She does sidewalk counciling on Saturday mornings outside abortion clinics. She volunteers at the local crisis pregnancy center and is the pro-life coordinator for her parish. She works as a nurse in the local nursing home. While she believes her vocation is to work in the pro-life area, and this is where she spends 90% of her 'apostolic time', she also donates food or clothing to the St. Vincent dePaul Society when they are doing a drive and has volunteered in a soup kitchen when her called up and they were short workers. However, her focus is on pro-life work.
B. Josh works with the poor. He works in a soup kitchen every Wednesday afternoon. He heads up his parish St. Vincent dePaul Society. He leads a coat drive every winter for the homeless etc., etc. He also meets once a month with friends to say a rosary to end abortion, writes an occasional letter to his congressman to try to convince him to be a pro-life legislator, and gives money to the crisis pregnancy center every Christmas-yet he spends 90% of his 'apostolic time' (for want of a better term) feeding and clothing the poor.
C. Billy is a secular Carmelite. He spends 90% of his 'apostolic time' in prayer. Prayer is his apostolate. He also donates money to pro-life causes, fills in at the soup kitchen if there is a shortage of workers, writes his congressman, etc. -after all, he is a lay man living in the world. But his apostolate is primarily that of prayer. The time that Bobbi spends on sidewalk on Saturday mornings outside the abortion clinic, and the time Josh spends Wednesday afternoon in the soup kitchen, Billy spends in prayer.
Do I have this right? We are all called to a deep prayer life (to be contemplatives in the world, let's say) but are also called to build up God's kingdom with the talents and unique vocation to which we are called as the laity. Any particular person cannot do everything-yet there is so much work to do. (I just selected a few examples above.) The laity have a different vocation than the cloistered-yet even here, any one person can't do everything, but must follow his unique call to a unique apostolate-one of which may be an apostolate of prayer...
What say y'all?