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housing and land tax law b.e. 2475 and Community Development Tax Law b.e. 2508 | Pollux (1)

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Magazine for Religious - Number 35.4 (July 1976) (1976)

Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

(Video) Is Earth.2.0 just a Massive Scam | Analyzed by an Accountant

Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus

(Video) On Local Government Local Income Tax and Farmland Assessment Changes

Issue 35.4 of the Review for Religious, 1976. ; REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS IS edtted by faculty members of St Louis University, the edttorlal offices being located at 612 Humboldt Building, 539 North Grand Boule-vard; St. Louis, Missouri 63103. It is owned by the Missouri Province Educational Institute; St. Louis, Missouri. Published bimonthly and copyright © 1976 by REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS. Composed, printed, and manufactured in U.S.A. Second class postage paid at St. Louis, Missouri. Single copies: $2.00. Subscription U.S.A. and Canada: $7.00 a year; $13.00 for two years; other countries, $8.00 a year, $1.5.00 for two years. Orders should indicate whether they are for new or renewal subscriptions and should be accompanied by check or money order payable to REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS in U.S.A. currency only. Pay no money to persons claiming to represent REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS. Change of address requests should include former address. Daniel F. X. Meenan, S.J. Everett A. Diederich, S.J. Joseph F. Gallen, S.J. Robert Williams, S.J. Jean Read Editor Associate Editor Questions and Answers Editor Book Editor Assistant Editor July 1976 Volume 35 Number 4 Renewals, new subscriptions, and changes of .address should be sent to REvx~w FOR RELmiOVS; P.O. Box 6070; Duluth, Minnesota 55802. Correspondence with the editor and the associate editor together with manuscripts and books for review should be sent to REviEw vOa RELmIOUS; 612 Humboldt Building; 539 North Grand Boule-vard; St. Louis, Missouri 63103. Questions for answering should be sent to Joseph F. Gailen, S.J.; St. Joseph's College; City Avenue at 54th Street; .Phil'adelphia, Pennsyl-vania 19131. "Jesuits Today" Horacio de la Costa, S.J. Father de la Costa wrote the March contribution to'our series on the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, "A More Authentic Poverty." He resides at Xavier House; P. O. Box 2722; Manila 2801; Phil!ppines. ' Just. before it adjourned, the 32nd General ~Congregation of the Society o[ Jesus arrived at a clear and distinct,idea of why it had met. This realiza-tion is expressed.in its In~troductory Dec.rce,~ which, being introductory, ~was of course taken up last. The decree makes several points. First, that the congregation immedi-ately, preceding, the 31st, sought toadapt Jesuit life to the directives of the Second Vatican Council. Second, that it did so in documents which '~ccuraiely and faithfully.~ express the genuine spirit and tradition of the Society." Third, that during the decade that followed, "significant" success attended the effort to reduce these documents to practice. Fourth, that that success Was circumscribed by "two exaggerations, each tending in an op-posite direction," the one a resistance, to renewal as being "somehow a de-parture from the genuine Ignatian spirit," ~the other an adaptation of Jesuits and their work to the needs of the world w.hich is excessix, e,,,and in fact "runs counter tom the .Gospel message." Fifth, that these conflicting tend-encie~ not only "threatened unity within the Society," but gave "cause for concern" both to the superior general of. the order and to the Pope. And hence, sixth, that the aim of the 32nd General Congregation was, by recog-nizing and removing these exaggerations, to achieve "a balanced renewal of 0religious life and a discerning re-dedication to apostolic service." A~ congregation delegate put it more imaginatively by saying that the 31st General Congregation had launched a satellite, to which the 32nd then 481 4a2 / Review for Religious, l/olume 35, 1976/4 proceeded to transmit certain course corrections, its intention being not to modify, much less to reverse its trajectory, but rather to focus it more ac-curately on its moving target. And that, while engaged in this exercise, the said congregation received a fairly strong input from the Vatican com-puters. The focus which the congregation decided to give the 'Society today centers on the concept of mission. More than ever before, mission--the act or state of being sent--must be a key element of the Jesuit's self-iden-tity. "A Jesuit . . . is essentially a man on a mission: a mission which he receives immediately from the Holy Father and from his own religious su-periors, but ultimately from Christ himself, the one sent by the Father. It is by being sent that the Jesuit becomes a companion ot~ Jesus.''1 Well, then, what is the mission on which Jesuits are being sent today? Considering only the multiplicity of works in which Jesuits are actually en-gaged, and leaving aside the multiplicity of works in which they think they should be engaged, it covers a very wide range indeed. But are these works merely a miscellany chosen at .random, a collection without internal co-hesion? Or is there some unifying, some integrating factor-pulling them together in a convergent thrust? The congregation decided that if there isn't there should be, and that it should be the service of faith and the pro-motion of justice considered as complementary facets of an undivided whole. "The mission of the Society of Jesus today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement.'''~ This is the "basic choice," the "priority of priorities" for the Society at which the congregation arrived. How did it arrive at it? It may be well to consider this briefly, to consider not only the product, but the process by which it was produced. The product is this handful of documents which .~esuits are supposed to translate from words to action; to bring to iife in their lives. Well and good. The trouble is that they are texts, and legisla-tive texts at that. Paragraphs On parade, marching down page after page in neatly numbered companies, footnotes following after like a baggage train; all spick-and-span, i's dotted and t's crossed, treadling the measured tread of ecclesiastical Latin. Parade-ground texts, remot~ely reminding us of a battle, butobearing only a faint resemblance to a battlefield. ~ How can we make these texts come alive? Would it help to have re-course to one of Saint Ignatius' little devices for making things come alive? "First prelude, the history of what I am about to contemplate. Second pre-lude, a composition of place. Here it will be to see with the eyes of the imagination . '"~ Very well; and what will it be here? Perhaps, to try to see these texts as people; the people who produced them; the congregati 1GC 32, "Jesuits .Today," n. 14. :GC 32, "Our Mission Today," n. 2. 3Spi~ritual Exercises, n. 102. "Jesuits Today" / 4113 whom the Society sent to Rome to discern what its response should be to the call of Christ. See them there in that hall on Holy Spirit Street--Borgo Santo Spirito --men from widely different national, cultural, occupational, experiential backgrounds, who, in trying to fulfill their brothers' commission, strove strenuously not only with each other but with themselves, and in the pro-cess got confused, enlightened, dismayed,_ heartened, disheartened; lost courage and regained it; got bored, doodled, dreamed of home; went to the Gesfi to celebrate the Eucharist; got an insight; tried it out on a couple of companions over a plate of pasta and a flagon of Frascati; and finally ar-rived at the consensus congealed in these texts. We must not, then, be deceived by the asceptic neatness of these docu-ments. They are the fai'r cop, y of whai:at first looked like an illegible scrawl, but; in the end,. surprisingly, made sense. If God writes straight with crooked lines, then the g.roping and searching, the backing and filling, the findin.g and losing, the consolations and desolations which filled the house on Holy Spirit Stri~et with tongues of fire disguised as will-o'-the-wisps were the crooked lines with which God wrote straight for Jesuits; and it may help to see how straight God has written if we have some idea of how crooked were the lines. I am not, of course, suggesting that the congregati thought crooked. QO the contrary; the~y were straight-thinking, straight-shooting men. The trouble was that the targets they were shooting at seemed to weave wantonly from side to side, and sometimes to disappear altogether. I think most of them will agree that there was hardly a moment during the congregation when they were not in one way or another confused: confused by the ap-palling diversity of the Society's apostolic initiatives and commitments; con-fused by the added complication that Jesuits are inserted {hus variously in a world iri process of rapid change; confused by tensions old and new, in the Society and outside it, between generations, between the backward-looking and the forward-looking, between innovation and tradition, be-tween development and liberation, between ideology and praxis, between capita!ism and socialism, between the two sides of the Iron Curtain, between East and West. A confusion so great that if a consensus emerged--as it did --it is more than likely that that straight line was drawn not by the hand of man.but by the finger of God. The consensus is what is embodied in our text~; and what I am really trying t'o say, I suppose, is that to appreciate the consensus it is necessary to have some idea of the confusion that preceded it. The Introductory Decree speaks of "two exaggerations, each tending in an opposite direction," which "have threatened the unity of the Society.''~ 4n. 4. 41~4 / Review ]or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 One cannot say that the exaggerations themselve~ ~vere present at the con-gregation., but one might suggest that the tendencies they exaggerat~ were. The congregation seems to have brought into confrontation two radically different ways of thinking about the Society ~nd its mission, so different as to seem irreconcilable. One approach was conservative, traditional, back-ward- looking; the other was radical, inno.vati~;e, forward-looking. In Commission I on the Norms of the ApoStolate, Commission II on the Missiofi of the Society, and Commission IV on the Promotion of Jus-tice, what the "radicals" seemed to be saying was this: "Let's start from the facts'. Let's" look at what has to be done in th~ world and let's do that. What kind of work? Never mind what kind o,f work, as long as it works! We must do only 'Jesuit' works? There are no 'Jesuit' works! What does Pedro Arrup~e say? 'Jesuit identity ~s to have no identity!' " To which the "conservatives" seemed to r~eply: "Now, wait. You can't possibly mean that. ~'ou can't possibly mean that there is no specifically Jesuit apostolate. There must be something 'Jesuit' a Jesuit is supposed to do. Start with the facts? What facts? Real facts, or what are alleged to be facts by those who have already de,ideal ffhat they want to do? Let's not start with such facts. Let's start with something more certain and secure: the Formula of the Institute, the Constitutions, the Spiritual Exercises, the directives of Paul VI. Let's reflect on what the~, say we should be doing, and let's do that. There are others in the Church ahd in the world ~;~o c/an do the rest, and do it better. What does John Janssens say? 'We can-not be Divine Providence.' " Two approaches to the apostolate. Two "niind-sets," each convinc6d that"it was i'ight and the other wrong. And so there was debate. No need to pl~y down the fact that there was debate: a cl~ish of argument' on a corn= mon ground of discourse. It will not do to give ttiis congregation the image of a group of gi-6wn men politely bowing to each other and saying, "Ah, so? That is what you think? How nice! Thank y.ou very much!" And each or~e going off, as the poet says, "eonvinced against~ his will, but of the same opinion still." A "confrontation, then, conducted for the. most. part with sweet reason-ableness, but not without sound and fury. Such at least was the impression given by couriers to the staff officers of the Deputatio ad Secernenda Pos-tulata (the commission to validate initiatives taken by Jesuits, individually or corporately, for consideration of the co.ngi'egation), standing on.their rise o~ ground ab.o~ve the smoke of battle: Committee Room P, fourth floor. But when the smoke of battle cleared, and the field glasses went up to sur-vey the sh~m. bles, it became visible even to the naked eye that,what began a's a confrontati6n had turned out to be a convergence. What happened? Some would say that debate had given way to discern-ment, It may well be. 1 do not know enough about discernment to be cer-tain. My personal observation is that as the~congregation progressed people "Jesuits Today" / 485 were listening more to each other, and were more inclined to question not only those from whom they differed, but themselves. Thus: We must promote justice. That is the conclusion imposed by the facts. Yes; but what is justice? What do I really mean by it? Or rather, what does the Gospel say it is? , Or again: The. Formula of the Institute says that we are a society founded for the .defense and propagation of the faith, Yes; but how do you defend and propagate the faith? By word alone? Also by wit'ness? What kind of witness? What kind of witness in a divided' world? And further: Jesuits in the developed world must be chiefly concerned with secularism, with the~ marginalization of Christianity in societies an-ciently Christian. Jesuits in the underdev.eloped world, on the other hand, must be chiefly concerned with underdevelopment, with' the marginalization of the powerless in unjust societies. Certainly; but are these two phenomena completely distinct? Or are they somehow related? How related? And finally: Take a look at the Constitutions, Part VII, where Saint Ignatius lays down his norms for the selection of ministries: the more uni-versal good, the more lasting good;,.help to those most in need of help, works that have a "multiplier" effect, spiritual works by preference, but corporal works if more urgent. Apply these norms to our moment of his-tory, and what do you corne up with? ~ . It was by some such process of shared reflection that the two mind-sets we have described discovered, initially to their discomfiture, increas~ ingle, to their delight, that they were saying the same thing. More precisely, that they were in the same boat; rowing, ,bailing, or busily polishing brass, but in the same boat, with Diakonia Fidei (Service of Faith) stenciled on the port side and' Promotio lustitiae on the starboard side. ,A pretty rocky boat, to be' sure; not quite,rigged and already slightly battered; with cracks to be sealed, sails to be set, a course to be charted; but one boat, not two planks from a shipwreck. And not completely at .sea, either; for we now have, by this callida.iunctura of faith and justice, a focus to our apostolate, a destination for our mission. The convergence can be more clearly seen by juxtaposing nn. 4 and 10 of the document "Jesuits Today" and nn. 2 and 3 of the document "Our Mission Today." We arrive at this basic choice' from several different points of departure. The postulata received from the provinces, the panorama of the state of the Society presented at the congregation, and the suggestions given us .by the PoPe, ~all direct our .attention to the vast expanse, and circuit of this globe and the great multitude and diversity of peoples therein . We are con-firmed in this basic choice by being led to it from another point of departure, namely; the original inspiration of the Society as set ~forth in the Formula of the Institute hnd the Constitutions . 486 / Review]or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 The mission of the Society of Jesus today is the service of faith~ of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement . In one form or another, this has always been the mission of the Society; but it gains new meaning and urgency in the light of the needs and aspirations of the men of our time, and it is in that light that we embrace it anew. Put that way, it sounds pretty obvious. The point, however, is that when the congregation began it was by no means obvious; that it became obvious by a convergence of two different approaches in a process of interaction; and that this convergence was, for many in the congregation, a discovery. Closely allied to the problem of what Jesuits do is the problem of what Jesuits are. There was a far greater number of postulata from the provinces concerning the first problem than concerning the second. However, there were enough for the Deputatio ad Secernenda Postulata to decide to form an Intercommission on Jesuit Identity. Why an "intercommission"? For two reasons, First, because its members were recruited from the regular commissions which had already been formed. Second, because the Deputatio's instructions were that this group should be a link between the other commissions; or rather, a listening post, lis-tening in on all of them to pick up and put together what they were saying that could have a bearing on Jesuit identity. But why did the question of identity come up at all? What gave rise to the postulata on the subject? One reason might have been the feeling that many of those who leave the Society do so because they no longer have, perhaps never had, a clear idea of what it is to be a Jesuit, or why they should be Jesuits rather than something else. Or else, the concern that we are engaging in all sorts of development work, justice promotion, political action, and other efforts to build up a more human world, but doing so according to the norms, ideals, and procedures of secular agencies or move-ments engaged in the same enterprise; in effect, that we are identifying our-selves with them instead of making the' original, the unique contribution we are called upon to make as an apostolic, religious, sacerdotal body. Which, incidentally, is what the.more reflective among the secular humanists them-selves expect us to make. They don't expect us to do0what they are already doing: They expect us to do "our thing." But what is "our thing"? We do not seem to be quite clear on that. This intercommission, then, was told to do something about the problem, but it was also very distinctly told that it was not to make up "Jesuit iden-tity" oui of its own head. It was by all means to avoid being creative. Its job was simply to find out what the congregation itself was saying about Jesuit identity, explicitly or imlSlicitly, in the course of its deliberations on mission, formation, poverty, government, community lift; and if it succeeded in drafting a statement on the subject, to sub/nit the draft to the congrega-tion for approv~il. The result is the document entitled "Jesuits Today." An earlier title, "Jesuit Identity," was rejected by the congregation, and "Jesuits Today" / 4117 rightly so. This document is in no sense a formal definition of the Society or of the Jesuit. It is simply a descriptive summary of some of the attributes that may serve to identify Jesuits both to themselves and to others. Even as a description it is certainly not definitive, for Jesuit identity, like that of any other personality, is, first of all, elusive; it cannot be pinned down or exhaustively catalogued in any statement. And it is elusive chiefly because it is in [ieri, in process of becoming: the identity of a living and growing thing which keeps changing while remaining itself. Some future congrega-tion will doubtless find it necessary to draw up another statement of Jesuit identity. That is why it was finally decided to call this document simply "Jesuits Today." As the effort at self-understanding of persons who do not take them-selves too seriously, it was given, inevitably, other, less formal titles. "Cari-dent: the toothpaste with Formula 32, a special blend of charism and iden-tity, guaranteed to enhance that dazzling, distinctive Jesuit smile." "ldenti-kit." the police portrait of the mystery man going around holding up people and asking them, 'Who am I?' " But "identikit" is not just a gibe. It contains a thought of Father Arrupe's which he expressed to the Intercommission on Identity~ I hope I may be forgiven for paraphrasing it here. A photograph of Jesuit identity is not possible, only an approximate likeness, as in an identikit. Why? Interiorly, spiritually, we do have an iden-tity:, the Ignatian spirit, insofar as we live it. But exteriorly, apostolically, what is Jesuit identity? It is to have no identity. We have no specifically Jesuit ministries, as other religious institutes might have: not education, not social action, not parishes, not this or that form of action or contemplation, 'but only what here and now God wants done. The document begins with the first and most obvious clue to a Jesuit's identity: his name: Jesuitbsomeone who pertains to, who belongs to, Jesus. Everyone knows how tenaciously Saint Ignatius clung to that name. Nothing could induce him to change it, This complete certitude that he and his company are something that belong to Jesus seems to be based on the spiritual experience Ignatius had at La Storta, a.wayside chapel just outside Rome. He was making his way to Rome from the north on foot, and all the way he was praying to Our Lady that he might be "placed with the Son." Arrived at La Storta, he had this vision, or enlightenment, or insight, in which the Eternal Father asks Jesus carrying his cross to take this pil-grim into his company. And Jesus accepts him. It is interesting that in all this the Lord is not called Christ but Jesus. Jesus, his personal name. Which suggests that for Ignatius being "placed with the Son" meant entering into a personal relationship with him, a rela-tionship of personal love. This is confirmed by the fact that when his com-panions asked him what our Lord's words to him ("I shall be propitious to you at Rome") meant, Ignatius replied with great joy, "I don't know. Maybe it means we shall b~ crucified with him in Rome!" A love relation- 488 / Review ]or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 ship, then, not just between servant and master, not just between soldier and cat~tain, but between sinner and Savior. This brings us to what the document sees as another clue to Jesuit iden-tity. The Jesuit is a man who has come to a vivid realization not only of his sinful acts but of his isinfulness; and with equal vividness has come to realize that his conversion, his turning back to God, began not with him but with Jesus: the saving love of Jesus reaching out to him, in his sinful-ness. "You did not choose me; no, I chose ~,ou.'''~ If, then, the Jesuit is' one who, following Ignatius, asks to be placed with Jesus, it is because he is responding to love: the love of Jesus which, beyond,all expectation, antici-pates and seeks his love. His response is that of the converted sinner. These are the two related thoughts with which the document begins: "What is it to be a Jesuit? It is to know that one is a sinner, yet called to be a companion of Jesus.''G There was some objection at the congregation~'to beginning the docu-ment with" this confession of sinfulness, this "beating, of breasts." It was thought to be overacting~ or over-reacting to the alleged Jesuit.propensity to arrogant ~triumphalism. Does this show.of humility really counteract that impression--if, indeed, it is the impression Jesuits give? Is it not, in fact, a kind of triumphalism in reverse? Why not simply ~and immediately focus on the central element of Jesuit. identity, that of being socius lesu: the com-panion of Jesus, the man who has answered the call of the Eternal King? Perhaps. But the point is that that is not how~Ignatius began. And that is not how the Spiritual Exercises begin. Ignatius the Jesuit begins with what James Brodrick calls the "pilgrim years," when this wandering penitent signed his letters "Ignacio pecador": Ignatius, sinner. And the Exercises begin not with 'the Meditation on the Kingdom but with the First Week: with the effort to realize thfit the love of Jesus has reached out to me in my sinfulness. They begin, in fact, even before that. They .begin with the First Principle and Foundation: with the love of Jesus reaching out to me in my nothingness; by the act of creation choosing me out of nothing. That in the. mind of Ignatius it is-Jesus who does this, is suggested by the fact that both in the Exercises and the Con-stitutions there is constant attribution to the Second Person incarnate not only the title of Savior but of tfiat of Creator. The next few paragraphs of the document: bring out what seems to be another essential i~ngredient of Jesuit identity. It is outward-looking more than it is inward-looking. After his conversion, the Jesuit fixes his gaze not so much on what goes on in tlie soul within him ~at on what goes on in the world around him. We are all familiar with the popular (and, one hopes, .~Jn 15.16. G"Jesuits Today," n. Ol. 7nh. 4-9. "Jesuits Today" / 4119 distorted) image of the Jesuit as a worldling, inclined to involve himself in mundane affairs which are none of his business; conducting himself in a manner far removed from the popular (and equally distorted) image of the "man of the cloth" as so completely wrapped up in, things divine that he cannot even change a blown fuse when the lights go out. Well; let's face it. There is an element of truth in this. We will find it in the initial response of the converted sinner as expressed in the key colloquy of the First Week of' the Exercises: "What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ?. What must I do for Christ?" What to do. What, and where, is the action. This is not the initial response of other types or schools of spirituality. By way of contrast, we might paraphrase a passage from the Chinese phi: losopher Mencius, of which', surely, there are echoes in the Western world: Yoti wish to find God? God is in the heavens, .the infinite heavens. But the infinite heavens are reflected in a small pool deep.in a,well-~-the well of your soul. Plunge, then, into your soul, and there find God. But that is not what the Jesuit does.~ What the Jesuit does.is go into the Second Week of the.Exercises. There he hears Christ calling for-com-panions to go with him to conquer the~world,s There ~he looks up to God in his .Trinity of persons and finds their gaze also, fixed on the world, whose salvation they are d~ciding to accomplish? There,.he, sees Christ choosing mento send into the world to proclaim his sacred tehching,to persons ot~ every class and calling.~° From which it appears that the Jesuit instinct (or charism) is not to withdraw from the world to be~alone with God, but rather to turn to the world and ask himself, "Wh~t~ can Io do for God. in this world in whose midst I am, and to which I am sent?" This would seem to be the force of Saint Ignatius; assertion that the grace,by which the Jesuit is driven to serve men is identical with the grace by which he achieves his pe~:sonal salvation.1~ Or, as our document puts,it: "The grace of Christ that enables ~nd impels us to seeko'the salvation~and perfection.of souls' or what might be called in contemporary terms the integral liberation of man, leading to participation in the life, of God himself is the same grace by which we are enabled and impelled to seek 'our own salvation and perfection.' ,,1~ It was suggested earlier that "Jesu.its Today." is an "echo" document, echoing in the key of identity what the other documents of the congregation say about mission, compa~nionsh]p, freedoha, dis~ernment,~ and love. The emphasis ,on mission: that the Jesuit is essentially a man who is sent by Christ through the mediation ot~ those who hold Christ's authority, is clearly an echo of the document "Our Mission Today." 8Spir. Ex., n. 95. .~lbid., nn. 106-107. aOlbid., n. 145. a~General Examen, n. 3. ~-~"Jesuits Today," n. 1~1. 490 / Review for Religious, °l~'olume 35, 1976/4 The emphasis on companionship: that the Jesuit is essentially a com-panion, a companion of Christ first, but in Christ also of those whom he has called to the same companionship, is similarly an echo of the document on "Union of Minds and Hearts." The emphasis on freedom: that the Jesuit is essentially a man who is free, or rather, a man who has been set free, and this, paradoxically, by the vows that bind him, is an echo, at least in part, of the document on Poverty. The attitude towards the vows here brought out as characteristi-cally Jesuit is that they are not meant to enclose a man, to protect him from the world, to pluck him from the madding crowd and wall him up in some pleasance of peaceful contemplation--in the matchless phrase of Fray Luis de Le6n~ ~'la escondida senda por donde han ido/los pocos sabios que en el ~mundo hart sido"---but to detach him; to hack away from him all en-cumbering armor, and thus to free him from the constraints that may hold him back from any service in the world that Christ working in the world may require of him. The emphasis on discernment: that obedience for the Jesuit not only permits but demands discretion, is an echo, again, ,both of "Our Mission Today" and "Union of Minds and Hearts." It recalls Ignacio Iparraguirre's dictum that the Constitutions are not so much law-book as guide-book, and Pedro Arrupe's oft-repeated saying that being told what to do does not exempt us from the necessity of discerning how to do. In thi~ connection, it is surely significant that the command "to water a dry stick, or "to bring a lioness unto him (the superior)" of the Ignatius/Polanco Letter on Obedi-ence does not include detailed instructions on where to get the water or how to persuade the lioness. And, finally, the emphasis on love: that the Jesuit is essentially a man moved by a personal love for the personal Christ, is an echo not of any particular document but of what might be called the La Storta insight, which seems to have been recaptured, to a greater or less degree, by so many of the delegates to this congregation. As Father General Arrupe, bouncing up the back stairs of the house on Holy Spirit Street after breakfast one morning, put it to one of them, sleepily drifting down: "We proclaim the Gospel in poverty and humility-- fine. But perhaps to add: in love. There is much concern today about loving the Mystical Christ, seeing and serving him in our fellow men, espe-cially the poor; and that is good. But if we do this, is it not because we love Christ in himself, in his Person? Is it not because each of us, pilgrims with Ignatius, prays to the Father 'ponerme con el Hijo' (place me with the Son)?" Which obiter dictumomay serve to explain why our document says: "In love: a personal love for Jesus, whom we seek to know with an ever more inward knowledge that we may the better love and follow him; Jesus, whom "Jesuits Today" / 491 we seek, as Saint Ignatius Sought, to experience; Jesus, Son ot~ God, sent to serve, sent to set free, put to death, and risen from the dead.''~3 There is a lack of definition in what the document says about the So-ciety as a priestly body.TM It strongly asserts the elements which make up this attribute: that the core, as it were, of our membership is a group of brdained priests; that the vocation .to the Society is one; that it is the whole body of the Society that is priestly; and, consequently, that all its members share in that priestly attribute, even those who are not ordained ministers" of the Gospel. But as to the precise nature of that participation the document says nothing. This reflects pretty much the state of the question as the con-gregation left it. The general sentiment was that further theological reflec-tion was needed to say anything more on the subject, and it was hoped that this reflection would form a vital part of our ongoing renewal of spirit. If we now take a look at the document as a whole, we will notice that it has a certain quality of movement: this movement being, basically, that of the Spiritual Exercises. In other words, Jesuit identity is conceived not as state but as process. Companionship with Jesus begins with conversion: the realization that having been called to life by God Creator, then estranged from him by sin, I have been recalled to life by God Redeemer. This realization draws me to stand before (~hrist crucified and make my first oblation: What will I do for Christ? The First Week. Hard upon this conversion comes the call of Christ the King: "I want you to b~come my companion, and the companion of these Others whom I have also called." To do what, Lord? "To be sent, as I was sent. Into the world; not away from it. This world, your world; in all its diversity, agony, tragedy, hope: Sent to share with people the saving faith I have shared with you, and in my justice to reconcile men to God and men with each other." My response to which is my second oblation, the~Kingdom obla-tion: to bring Christ to men not by the witness of word alone but by the witness of life: in poverty, humility, and love. The Second Week. What is 'the range of this oblation? It involves all that the apostolate involves--for Jesus as well as those Who have asked to be'placed with him. Some' experience of success, certainly, and an abiding serenity; but also frustration, b~trayal, defeat, nakedness to p~in. An oblation to failure. An oblation t6 the CrosS. The Third Week. But out of the depths of failure, joy. The joy of total and mutual self-giving: Jesus to me, myself to Jesus. Day by day joyfully going to ttie work site with God the Workingman--habet se ad modum laborantis to build a world at once more human and more divine. My third oblation. Take and receive. 131bid., n. 27. 14Cf. ibid., nn. 21-22. The Freedom and Detachment of Submission Sister Mary Catherine Barron, C.S.J. Sister Mary Catherine last published in our pages in the March, 1976 isstie of Review for Religious. She resides at 808 Cypres.s St.; Rome, NY 13440. ' In his Asian-Journal, under a November 19 entry, Thomas Merton speaks of three doors which he posits as desirable for the eschatological pilgrim to enter: "the door of emptiness, the door without sign, the door without wish."' And in an earlier work of his, C~ontemplation in d Worl~l~of Action, Merton tells of the internal spiritual liberation which such surrender of self brings: ". a kind of permanent vacation in the original sense of 'emptying.' ''~ Perhaps it would be fitting for each of us in our individual lives to pon-der the possibility of taking a "vacation" through these three rather unin-viting doors. ~ Father JohnoQ. Haughey, S.J., in his most recent.book Should Anyone Say Forever? recounts a pos~sible interpretation of the statement of Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 where he tells his disciples to "enter by the narrow gate" since this alone "leads to life." Father Haughey says: "The narrow gate Jesus was alluding to probably refers to the gate in Jerusalem which could only ~accommodate people unaccompanied by their possessions and camels and donkeys.''3 If we are to become such a people "v~cationing" through 1Thomas Merton. "The Himalayas/November 1-25." The Asian Journal ot Thomas Merton (New York: New Directions Paperback, 1973), p. 154. '-'Thomas Merton, "Problems and Prospects," Contemplation in a World o] A'ction (New York: Image Books, 1973), p. 36. aJohn C. Haughey, S.J., "The Underpinnings," Should Anyone Say Forever? (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975), p. 21. ,~ 492 The Freedom and Detachment o[ Submission / 493 ngaargreo-w-t ghaetne si ta nsed. te_~rr.ar.inss"p athreant tw doe omrsu, sutn benecguinm tbheere jdo ubyrn eexyc ewssit the mtwpoor raal tbhaegr- im-portant spiritual qu~ilities: freedom and detachment. And since Jesus never exhorted his foil6wers to any endeavor that he himself would not surpas, singly complete, qt would be well to follow in. his footsteps on the roadway to and through t_,hese beckoning (but sometimes, frightening) entrance-ways to the Kingdom. " The Free Christ '-Jesus was' a free man, able ~o commit himself to a way of life which in-evitably and irrev6.cab.!y would end in ignominious agony. Because he wa's free,,,he was also. supremely detached froin the picayune compromises Of life by which we' s6 ~asi!y bind ourselves to ~he transient. Categorically'~l~eaking, it seems that Jesus was free enough to:°sub-ject himself to 6th~rS (in his case, always his inferiors); subject himself to the law (re, ligi~'s and civil); subjeCt~ himself to the Transcendent (his Faiher). And ~e.c.a.u.s.e he was' unafraid of that type of subjection which we, in ~so utterly a human stance, avoid, C'firist becomes the detach.ed and liber-ated man, par ~exi~ellenc¢--i.nfi.nitely able to detach and .liberate us for him-self. Submission to Others ~,, In all. of hi,s relationships with others . (his creatures).,~ Jesus is able to submit{ His first profound submissibh in the womb of Mary initiates the patter.n of "nm:row gate" and "doors ,w, ithout signs" that he follows through-out 'his. life. Frbm the early Temple .expe.rience: "And he then~.went down with them . .;.'~and lived under their au, thority" (Mary and,. Joseph.), to Ca~a: "They have no wine" (whe~ he lberforms his first miracle through the intercession Of his mother), thro~ugh .his public, life: "Lord, that I may see~gain" (miracle after miracle upon request), to Calvary:" . ~h et y¯, . ,~,.led him awfiy to crucify, him,'! Jesus fi~lfills~ th6 will of others. Had he .done so out b.f mere fiuman weakness, or .the inability to assert himself and dominate, or through the petty hop~ of gaining prestige and popularity, wealth and'status, his final submission atGolgotha would be but the ~pathetic end,to an :already. doomed demi,gOd. But Jesus submits freely--in total self, surrender--comPletely in control o~ his own life and that of his corn temporaries. Knowingly, willingly, in complete gix;enness, he yields to others. Why? Why such a profound stooping into emptiness, into human obliterr ation, into the undesired door of death to self? "I have come that they may have life and have. it to the full,"-.J'~.sus answers (Jn 10:10). The words are haunting because they imply that fullness of life commensurately grows as we become more liberated and detached for others. If this is the pat-tern for Christ, can it be any,different for his followers? ~ 494 / Review [or Religioux, ~'olume 35, 1976/4 Submission to the Law Jesus also demonstrates throughout his earthly, existence that interior freedom enables one to become so detached from self that adherence to imposed human statutes becomes possible. He is born according to the law of the Scriptures, in fulfillment of the prophetic words and visions trumpeted through the ages of Salvation His-. tory, in complete accordance with all the signs and symbols which mani-fest his coming. And he dies in the same manner, as derided and rejected as Isaiah had seen that he would be, "lifted up" as he himself proclaimed, under Jewish rejection and Roman assent. And situated between those two n~atural, human laws of birth and death remain the countless daily submis-sions to civil and religious law which Christ fully and freely accepts. He announces in the Temple that "this day the Scriptures are fulfilled in your midst" (and in his person) while at the same time having scrupu-lously adhered to the proscribed religious rites. In response to the legalistic baiting by which the Pharisees hop,e to entrap him: "Master, is it permissi-ble for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" (Lk 20:22) Jesus judiciously replies: "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; to God the things that are God's," thus delineating the parameters of civil and religious obedience. Ironically, it is his fulfillment of religious law (the feast of the Passover) which brings him to Jerusalem--to Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate who sen-tence him to death. In the presence of these designated earthly authorities, Jesus, detached, submissive, and free, recalls the only reason for anyone's submission to human law: "You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above" (Jn 19:11). Knowing this and authorizing it, Christ, freely gives himself over to these misguided, conniving, fearful, self-centered representatives of the Law, who wash their hands of him and conclude that "it is better for one man to die than that the whole nation perish" (Jn ~11:50). Again we are tempted to ask the question "why"--why this submission to human laws and human beings by one who is their Source and Origin? Perhaps the better question would be "how"? How do we become liberated and detached enough to do the same? Submission to the, Transcendent Once again Jesus provides us with the answer: "The world must be brought to know that I love the Father and that I am"doing exactly what the Father told me" (Jn 14:31). In other words, he tells us that we will only be able to submit ourselves to temporal rules and temporal persons if we have first submitted to the Eternal Rule and the Eternal Person: "Love the Lord, your God with your whole heart and soul and mind" (Lk 10:27). Christ did; Totally, constantly, unswervingly, he submitted to his Father: "I come not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me" (Jn 5:30). And it is this~awareness of the Father's will and the Father's The Fr'eedom and Detachment of Submission / 495 love that is the motivating force of all of Christ's other submissions: "No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son who is nearest to the Father's heart, who has made him known" (Jn 1:18). Christ makes the Father known through his execution of the Father's will In the name of his Father, he cleanses the Tempir, restoring it as a place of worship, proclaiming it his Father's hous~e, and thus establishing, in one dramatic act, the power of his filial submission. In all his conversations with men, Christ consciously mentions the Father. To Nicodemus, he confides the reason that he has been commis-sioned by his Father: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life" (Jn 3: 17). To the Samaritan woman, he outlines the "kind of wor-. shipper the Father wants" (Jn 4:23). To the Jews, he openly acknowledges his dependence on the Father: "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can 0nly do what he sees the Father.doing" (Jn 5:19). And when his disciples ask him to "show us how to pray," .Christ refers them to the Father. Even when he teaches, Christ does so in the name of the Father. And the only authority he possesses for his teaching derives from his submis-sion to the Father: "The works my Father has given me to carry out, these same works of mine testify that the Father hasjsent me" (Jn 5:36); His final great submission to the Father coincides with Christ's final great submission to religious and civil law as dispensed through the hands of his human subjects. In perfect freedom, detachment, and submission, Christ foretells and then completes his passion and death. When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing of myself: what the Father has taught me is what I preach; He who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him (Jn 8:28-29). Having uttered these profrundly simple words, Jesus stoops through the "narrow gate" of death, passes through the ."door of emptiness, the dorr without a sign, the door without desire"--the Cross. The Father loves me because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, And as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father (Jn 10:17-18). What liberation and detachment infuse these submissive words! 496 / Review for Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 The Paradox Merton would be among the first to assent to the paradox inherent in freedom, detachment, and liberation. He states: "Obedience [submission] is, paradoxically, the one guarantee of . . . charismatic, inner liberty" ~Contemplation, p. 34). And Christ himself was the first to demonstrate the paradoxical dimension inherent in following him: "Anyone who loves his life loses it; anyone ~vho hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" i, Jn 12:25). The choice~is ours to mal~e. Haughey cogently reminds us that b~, our choices we are irrevocably defined (Should Anyone ¯ . . , p. 32). And Christ urgently.prods us to make his own irrevocable ~hoice. ours, when he claims:~ Eternal life is this; to know you, " the only true God ~" ~'~ ~ and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (Jn 17:4). In such knowledge, indeed, resides the foUndatiori arid reward for all the liberation, detachment~ and Submissidn of thepi!grim heart. ~ t'The three doors (they are one door) . .' Christ said: '!~am the door. I am the op~er~ing, the. '.shewing,' the revelation'" (Asian-Journal, pp. 154- 155). "Come follow m6"--through the "narrow gate~" through the "'un-marked, undesired doors;" into thd liberation and detachment of submis-sion- the Chri~tic "vacation" of love. The ,,'Active-Contemplative" Problem in Religious Life David M. Knight Father Knight is a member of the House o! the Lord community which staffs a "house of prayer" established in Memphis under the jurisdiction of Bishop Dozier. His present work is mostly in the. area of priests' retreats and team approaches to parish missions. He has published" before in 6ur page~, his latest title concerning religious government and obe~lience (July, i97]). His address: Nazarettl 'House of the Lord; 1306 Dellwood Ave.; Memphis, TN 38127. Can we still use the terminolbgy: "active-cQntemplative-mixed" to char-acterize religious life today? Aiad if we do use these tdims, ar, e we really using them in the way St. Thomas understood them--a way that carries oo the aut.horit3~ of his own tSrestige? Father Ladislas Orsy, S.J., suggests:that we abandon this terminology with its threefold division 9f religious life:" The arguments against the division are manifold. First,, all religious institutes are called to .be con~templative. Then, there cannot be true apostolic action in the ,full sense without its being rooted in the inspiration and strength of the Spirit which is contemplation." Finoally, tl~e express!on "mixed life" does not make s+nse. Action has to grow fi'om contemplation; they are 6rganically united, not mixed. ¯ . . "~here~'ore, so far as the distinction has a foundation, it must lie in the external way of life of these communities; in the specific approach to the realization of contemplation and action. TO avoid confusion, it might be better to describe this differentiation among religious by spe~king about fully enclosed life. moderately enclosed life, and fully open way of life. (Open to the Spirit, Washington (Corpus Books), 1968, pp. 271-272). 497 4911 / Review for Religious, l/'olume 35, 1976/4 Fathers Thomas M. Gannon, S.J., and George W. Traub, S.J. present St. Thomas's division as a distinction between "the contemplative life, the active life, and the apostolic life" (The Desert and the City, New York: Macmillan, 1969, p. 142). So far as I have been able to discover, St. Thomas does not use the term "apostolic" any more than he uses the term "mixed'" to describe a category of religious life (see George E. Ganss, S.J., " 'Active Life' or 'Contemplative Life'" in REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS 22 (1963) pp. 53-66, esp. p. 61). He teaches that human life in general is divided simply into "active life" and "contemplative life" (Summa Theo-logica, II-II, Q. 179, art. 1) and that, in itself, the contemplative life is "more excellent" than the active (ibid., Q. 182, art. 1). But he adds that a man might be "called away from the contemplative life to the works of the active life on account of some necessity of the present life, yet not so as to be compelled to forsake contemplation altogether. Hence it is clear" that when a person is called from the contemplative to the active life, this is done by way not o] subtraction but o] addition" (ibid., ad 3, emphasis added). There is much evidence in St. Thomas's treatment of this subject to conclude that Thomas would consider all religious as belonging essentially to the category of contemplative life. Some reasons for this are: 1. The religious state is directed to the perfection of charity, which extends to the love of God and of 6ur neighbor (Q. 188, aLt. 2). But to direct one's whole life to growing in loving knowledge of God without which the perfection of charitY is impossible is to embrace the goal of the contemplative life. 2. The active life has two senses for St. Thomas: a) a life directed to the practice of the moral virtues as con-trasted with the theological virtues. The moral virtues (pru-dence, justice, temperance, fortitude) aim at the correctness of man,s external actions toward persons and things in this world (Q. 181, art. 1 and Q. 180, art. 2, Sed contra). The theological virtues (faith, hope, charity)aim at knowledge and love of God himself, as object. It is obvious that no one striving for the "perfection of charity" can make th~ moral virtues the goa.1 of his life. And Thomas teaches explicitly that if a person is practicing the moral virtues in order to arrive at contemplation, he is in the contemplative rather than in the active life (Q. 181, art. 1 and 2). And this is what religious do. b) In a second meaning, the active life is one which is taken up with external activities, such as active works of service to the neighbor. When Thomas argues in favor of this for religious he always seems to be working on the assump-tion that the religious in question is in the contemplative life, The "Active-Contemplative" Problem / 499 but that he accepts to leave contemplation partly or tempo-rarily and add works of the active life "in order that God's will may be done and for His glory's sake" (Q. 182,~ arts. 1 .~ and 2). That he assumes this to be the case when religious engage in active works is indicated by his answer to the question "Whether a religious order should be established for the works of the active life?" One objection against the proposition is that' every religious order belongs to the state of perfection, but the perfection of the religious state consists in the contemplation of divine things (Q. 188, art. 2, obj. 1). Thomas doesn't contradict this. He ~imply answers, "Since religious occupy themselves with' the works of the ' " active life for God's,sake, it follows that their action-results~ ]rom their contemplation o] divine things. Hence, they are not entirely deprived of the fruit of the contemplative life." (Emphasis added.) St. Thomas recognizes; however, that active work may result from contemplation in two ways. It may be that the work results from the full-ness of contemplation. A man contemplates God until"he is filled with a wisdom, an insight into the mind and heart of God, a graced understand-ing of the Scriptures, that overflows his heart and is shared with the neigh-bor 'in preaching or teaching. For St. Thomas, obviously, preaching and teaching are not something°'a .man .is prepared to do by academic study. The intellectual who is not a contemplative cannot teach or preach in St. Thomas's sense of the words, which refer precisely to a sharing with others of the fruits of one's contemplation. The merely academic teacher of theology, the eloquent intellectual in the pulpit, are nothing but sounding brass' and tinkling cymbal; their activity does not even enter into this dis-cussion. There are other works of the active life which do not presuppose the fullness of~contemplation: active works of service for the neighbor, such as taking care of guests, nursing the sick,., and so forth. And yet, if they are engaged in such works out of love for God and a desire to serve him perfectly in his Body on earth, they do proceed at least from a beginning of contemplation; from a prayerful response to the Scriptures. (If, such work should, in any given person, proceed from a merely humanitarian concern for others, it ~would not.be~ a Christian act, and again would not even enter into our discussion here. )" Also, St. Thomas presumes that, in religious, such activity is directed to the end of religious life, which is the '~perfection of charity." And since, as we have seen, this perfection cannot be conceived apart from contemplation which attains God directly in faith, hope and love, we must conclude that this activity, in a religious, is directed to the end of the contemplative life. In other words, a religious engaging in such active labors is; in 'fact, a contemplative.A given religious may not 500 / Review lot Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 be a contemplative in the sense of having already attained that degree of spiritual deepening and prayer., which enables him or her actually to con-template in the full sense of this word, or to share with others the fruits of contemplative insight into the mysteries of God. But the religious is still a contemplative by reason of the.end to which his or her life is directed. Thus a postulant or candidate in a religious house who has not yet begun to pray seriously, who perhaps has little or no spiritual ~xperience to share with his neighbor~ and who spends his day washing dishes in the kitchen or teaching some secular shbject in a school--that person is, nevertheless, already in the "contemplative life." He is a contemplative in the same sense that a fetus in the womb is a human being: he is not yet sufficiently developed to function fully as a contemplative, but he is already intrinsically ordered, by a free choice of his destiny, to the "perfection of charity," to loving knowledge of God answered by a total gift of oneself. We should also apply to this qtiestion St. Thomas's reasoning about the pursuit of moral virtues belonging to the contemplative rather than to the active life if contemplation is its ultimate end (Q. 181, art. 1 and 2). If a man engages in :active works, but with the intention that through these he will rise to a more and more loving knowledge of God (contempla-,, tion), then this man, too, is inthe contemplative life, although .he.is occu-pied in the ,w~orks of the active life. We should remember here that even a monk in the most enclosed contemplative monastery is still engaged :in the works of the '.'active life"---even though he.is called a contemplative~ so long as he is at that stage of spiritual growth in which his main concern is acquiring moral virtues, and his prayer life is sti'il on the level of active meditation, spiritual reading, and such (see John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book II, ch. 17, par. 4). To be engaged in the "works of~ the active life" not only means doing what we popularly refer to as "active work"--teaching, nursing, repairing houses, keeping books, etc. In its most fundamental sense this expression means actively using one's human powers to bring about, a change, whether in oneself or in outside reality, whether one does this through carpentry or through meditation on the. gospels. Contemplation, on the other hand, is resting in what one has~ already learned, already come to love, letting oneself be transformed without labor (not without pain) into what one sees. Where meditation is studying,~,think-ing, deciding, contemplation is looking, listening, loving. Thus we conclude that religious, even though entirely taken up with° external activity, truly belong in the category of "coritemplative life" so long as their works-- whether of moral virtue or of service to others--are not, for them, ter-minal activities in themselves, but means to arrive at a more loving knowP-edge of and union with God. As St. Thomas puts it: "When a man makes use of~ things pertaining to the active life, merely as dispositions to con-templation, such things are comprised under theocontemplative life" (Q. 181, art. 1; and see Q. 180, art. 4). We might have to. question ~ind The "Activ~e-Contemplative'" Problem / 501 qualify the word "merely" in this sentence, but the main point is clear: so long as a religious is aiming at the perfection of faith, hope and love, which is inseparable from contemplation, he is in the "contemplative Aife." What we call. the "active life" for religious, then, is one of two things: first, it~might be an overflow of contemplation. This might take the form of an overflow of love as well as of knowledge. That is, it might take the form,~not just of preaching and teaching, the two examples St. Thomas gives, but of heroic service in nursing, counseling, social action, or the like. In this first sense, then, a religious might be an "active" contemplative through any form of activity which is, .in this individual, so impregnated with grace and love that it~ results, in the given case~ from the "fullness of contemplation." In a second sense, the "works of the actiVe, life" might be a stage of growth toward contemplation--not towa~:d spending long hours in formal prayer, necessarily, but toward habitual contemplation, toward such intimacy with God in faith, hope and love, that° one is always, in a sense, seeing the face of God, and reflecting it (see Q. 182, art. 3). In the words of Gannon and Traub (The Desert and the City, p, 148), ¯ . . In Thomas' understanding as well as in the usage of other ascetical writer~ ~ ofthe time, the active life and the contemplative life designate successive but interacting stages of growth.ifi the interiorqife of a Christian' seeking "spiritual .growth, whether he be a religious or a layman. The active life is the earlier , stage where, seriously 'beginning his pursuit of living spiritually, he struggles ~ against sin and imperfections in himself and both learns and practices the moral virtues and the exterior acts @hich spring from them. Activity thus comprises the'Ltwo stages of spiritual growth which were later named "~he pur- ~. ~gative way of the beginners" and "the illuminative way of th6 advancing:" The :contemplative life, on the other hand, is a higher stage where the Chris, , tian practices c,.hiefly the theological virtues, especially charity, and under its inspiration works of love that witness to it. Among these manifestations of charity one often finds a growing desire to withdraw into solitude in order to achieve undistracted contemplation of God°. We are now better able to understand St. Thomas's comparison of the three kinds of religious orders. (Q. 188, art. 6): .° . The work of the'~active life (that is, the work that religious can do) is of two kinds. One proceeds from the fulness of contemplation, such as teaching and preaching . And this work is more excellent than simple contempla, tion. For even .as it is better to enlighten than merely to shine, so it is better to give to others the fruit of one's contemplation than merely to Contem-plate. The other work of the active life consists entirely in. outward occupa-tion, for instance, almsgiving, receiving guests, aiad the like, Which are less excellent than the works of contemplation, except in cases of necessity, as stated above.'. Accordingly, the highest place in religious orders is held by those which are, directed to teaching and preaching . The second place belongs to those Which are directed 10 contemplation, and the third to those which are occupied ~vith external acii0ns. J Tl~e lowest 'place among religious orders is held by those "which are 502 / Review ]or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 occupied with external actions." Understand here that these actions are not such that they must proceed from the "fullness of contemplation," such as authentic--that is, spiritually effective--preaching and theological teach-ing must be, but actions which achieve their proper end equally well whether the one performing them is a beginner in the spiritual life or a mystic. A candidate of one day in a religious order, if she is a skilled nurse, can nurse as well as another who has twenty years of contemplative prayer behind her. However, we must also understand that these actions can pro-ceed from the fullness of contemplation, in which case more will be taking place than just the action itself. A nurse who is a mystic will communicate the love of God, to her patient as well as she communica'tes all the human concern implied in good nursing care. If a given religibus order is set up in such a way that it effectively fosters in the members a contemplative spirit that will make all the external actions come from the fullness of con-templation, then that order belongs in the first, and highest, category .of religious ordersEnot in the third one. Likewise, an order established for teaching and preaching, if it is no longer such that it effectively fosters contemplation in the members, does not belong in the first category of religious life, but in this third, and lowest one. What we call here an "ac-tive" order, then, is one which is basically in the contemplative life, because it has loving knowledge of God as its end, but which is not really organized to produce this loving knowledge of God very effectively. An individual religious here and there might attain it, but the order as such does not concentrate on the attainment of. contemplative union with God, but just on the active work to be done. In such an order contemplative union with God will not be excluded as an end, of course; in fact, it will be specifically proposed (in words) as an end, and there will even be some prayer, or other spiritual exercises, prescribed or suggested to help the members attain union with God. But it will be obvious from the real structures and policies of the community that what the order as such is bent on is active service, with or without much progress in loving knowledge of God. If the com-munity's particular mixture--harmony, balance, formula--of prayer and service are such that they do, in fact, lead one to ri~e through the active stage of growth (active methods of prayer and emphasis on moral virtues as well as active service) to the loving knowledge of God that belongs to developed faith, hope and love, i.e. to the plane of developed contempla-tive life, then in that measure the order does not. belong in this third category of "active" .religious c6mmunities. We might ask here whether any "active" orders as we have just de-scribed them really exist. Here we have to distinguish between existing in ]act or existing juridically; i.e., existing as active orders because they have degenerated into mere service organizations or because that is what they were founded and accepted by the Church to be. ~It may be that in ]act, the majority of the orders we call "active" in the popular sense today The "'Active-Contemplative" Problem / 503 (meaning not strictly contemplative) have become ~tctive as described above. Juridically, however, many, perhaps most, were not founded to be this, as is clear in the history and constitutions of such communities as the Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, and so forth. If, though, there are orders actually founded to be active in the sense we have described, then they were probably founded on a double principle of practical realism: first, some active task had to be performed, and dedicated hands were needed to perform it. Secondly, it was assumed that the persons who would be called to such a life would not be, as a general rule, apt material for a way of life that aimed at much more than solid moral virtue and a sound, con-sistent piety that kept one living and functioning as a dependable worker in the vineyard of the Lord. God might, of course, raise one to the highest contemplation and mysticism in such a way of life; but the life as such did not presume to aim so high. Let us be frank in admitting the possibility of a certain class distinction in this. Just as St. Ignatius hesitates to give to rudes (the crude, uninstructed, ignorant) more than the "First Week" of the SpiritualExercises (namely, the part that aims at conversion from, sin and systematic practice of the moral virtues: see Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Annotation 18: Louis J. Puhl, editor, Loyola Uni-versity Press, Chicago, 1951, pp. 7-8) so the founders of some religious communities seem to have assumed that their recruits would be mostly uneducated peasant girls, whose interior life would be adequately nourished by a few simple exercises of piety and a strongly structured community life. I do not know if this was the case, any more than I know if any "ac-tive, .order as we have described it was ever approved or founded to be such in the Church. But if such an order exists, it is easy to see why St. Thomas would give it the lowest place in his hierarchy of religious com-munities. It is also easy to see why the Church so ~asily grants permission to transfer from an active order to a contemplative order, if even part of the description of active orders as we have presented it above should be true. The second place on the scale of religious orders belongs to those "which are directed to contemplation." Since all orders are ordered to con-templation indirectly, at .least, this category obviously applies to those orders which occupy themselves primarily and directly in-exercises which by their very nature tend to foster contemplative prayer. We must recall that many of these exercises may belong, of themselves, to the "active life"; the practice of moral virtue, active methods of meditation and prayer, etc. To be a member of a contemplative order does not mean that one has already attained to contemplative prayer, or that one's life is actually char-acterized by a deep and habitual awareness of God in faith, hope and love. But it means that one's life is organized directly to foster this spiritual growth. Obviously this is a "higher" form of religious life than the active life described above. It is not yet the highest form of religious life, in St. 504 / Review [or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 Thomas's opinion, 'becausethe aim of the community is just the interior development°of its own members., The community is like a tree whose energies are all bent towards growth, but which is not yet mature enough~ to produce fruit. It,is better to aim at full developme]at than to be content with giving lesser fruit on a lower level, A developing fruit tree is a "higher" form of life than" a bush already serving to prevent erosion. So the orders we call "contemplative" are in themselves on a higher,plane than those we have described ~here as "active." The contemplative at least aims directly at~ spiritual growth towards contemplation, while the active qife seems to be designed for beginners who are going to remain on a non-contemplative plane of spiritual activity. St. Thomas assigns the "highest place" among religious orders to those "which are directed to teaching and preaching,"' but with the understand-ing that "preaching and teaching" presuppose contemplation: that what is preached'and taught is precisely the fruit of a contemplative life. He is not referring to those who teach secular subjects, or even to those who teach academic theology unless what they teach proceeds from the fullness of their contemplative prayer. We might add to St. Thomas's teaching' here-and pr~opose that "teaching and preaching" as the fruit of contemplation might be equally the work of a cloistered, contemplative commianity or of a community of Social activists busily reforming social structures in the political ~arena. What is r~quired for ,"teaching °and preaching" is not presence in the classroom or pulpit, but simply the fact ,of communicating to others the truth of God as this proceeds from that loving sureness of vision 'which is a mark of authentic contemplative prayer, It may well be that in" our day no teaching and preaching are more eloquent, or more needed, than the silent, inescapable witness of the,,monasie~ on the moun-tain top. Still another way to teach and preach has been brought very much before.~our consciousness these days. The Synod of Bishops, 41974, spoke of the "intimate connection" between the Church's work and concern for social justice and her task of evangelization. An earlier synod, 1971, went so far as to say that "action on behalf of justice and participation, in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel." (Both texts available from U.S. Catholic Conference,Publications Office, passages cited fr6m p. 1'8 and p. 34, respectively.) By0 this principle any"outward occupation, even the very active one of political struggle for social justice, is. a form of Christian teaching and preaching--and 'in the sense that St. Thomas. uses the terms --provided that it truly proceeds from the fullness of contemplation and is done in such a way that what clearly appears to the world is the truth 'of Christ's own mind and heart~ embodied in unambiguous action. St. Thomas's argument for this hierarchy of religious orders is based on' two principles. The first concerns the value of the end that is aimed at; the second concerns the effectiveness of the means employed, to achieve The !'Active-Contemplative" Problem / 505 the end. Orders which share the r+sults of their contemplation with others are more excellent than those whic~h just, contemplate, because these orders aim at the end of all religious life, the perfection of charity, in a way that includes more of the end, more of[the good that "charity" embraces. They organize their lives in a way design,'ed both to bring them to a more loving knowledge of God,in contemplati,~n, and to be of service in love to the neighbor (Q. 188, art. 6). Remember that, as we have explained this, any .I religious order, from the most clo~.stered contemplatives to the most active workers in the Church, can belon~g to this third and highest category of rehg~ous life provided that the commumty truly has a. formula for living that combines prayer and service in such a way that the community "speaks" to the Church out of tl~e fullness of contemplative insight into God. The superiority of such an order is based on the fact that the end to which it is directly ordered includes, both the good of contemplation and the good ,of active service to the! neighbor. It is obviously this kind of community St. Thomas has in mi~d when he argues that a religious order i . can be founded for works of the acuve life because their activity "results from the contemplation of divine ihings" (Q. 188, art. 2) and that~ a per-son who is in the contemplative life can .be called away from exercises of contemplation to works of the active life without losing anything bec~ause his engagement in active works is idone "by way not of subtraction but of addition" (Q. 182, art. 1 ). In suctl a case one does not forsake contempla- . tion entirely, but only partly or te~mporardy in order to add works of the active life (ibid. and art. 2). Thus such a community is "better" because "its end is a greater good." I Hence a religious order is preferable to another if it be directed to an end that is abso.lutely more excellent eit,her because it is directed to a greater goo~!,~ or. to more goods (A. 188, art. 6). This is the first principle by ~vhich St. Thomas rates religi6us orders, the principle that looks to the goo~d or end they are directly structu.red to attain. The second principle looks ito the suitability of the means emplpyed to achieve the end: !. If, however, the end be the same, 'ithe excellence of one religious order over another depends secondarily, not o~ the amount of exercise, but on the pro-portion of the exercise to the end in view. Wherefore, in the Conferences of The Fathers (Coll. ji, 2), Blessed Anthony is quoted~.as preferring discretion, wherebY, a man moderates all his at c¯ tions, to fastings, watchings, and all such observances ( ibid). I In evaluating a religious community we should look to its structures. The question is not really how austere the community is, or how strict its life appears to be. Nor is the question how human the community is, or how free its members, seem to be. The real question is: how well are its structures adapted to helping the members attain the goal of religious lile? 506 / Review Jor Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 A tight ~community is no better than a loose one--and no worse. Whatever leads persons to the perfection of charity--towards God and neighborm is the ideal of religious community policy. St. Thomas warns that a religious order is not better because it has more penitential practices than another, more prayer than another. But in our day we may be failing into the same error he warns against under a different form. In our reaction against some of the rigidities and distorted practices of the past, we have perhaps apotheosized another set of values, made idols out of some other very particular and limited ideals. We have refocused our attention on-freedom and personalism, discernment and dialogue, community life and social involvement. And because these values are good,~we are under the illusion that in pursuing them we are renewing religious life. The truth of the matter is that religious life is not renewed by .any community exercise as such, whether it be dialoguing or taking the dis-cipline together. Religious life is renewed by discovering, in prayer and surrender to the Holy Spirit, an integral and harmonious set of structures that correspond to the complete goal of the community. If growth in con-templation, for example, understood as loving knowledge of God, is an integral part of the community's aim in life, then the community must in-corporate into its life-style specific and effective structures that really promote this growth. To affirm the ideal in words in the Constitutions is not enough. Communities should be evaluated, not by the orthodoxy of their statements, but by the effectiveness of their structures. What a com-munity really is should be judged, not by the goals it proposes to itself, but by the means it is willing to commit itself to in order to achieve these goals: and commit itself to realistically by building them into its life-style. We might ask what point there is in comparing religious orders. After all, the "best" order for any individual is the one which is most suited to his own temperament, stage of growth, and particular call from God. What point is there in comparing'religious orders in the abstract? I think that the precise point of all this is that the three categories we find in St. Thomas are not meant to be--or at least cannot be taken today to refer to---three different patterns for authentic life. We are not really offered three different choices of what a religious order can aim at. I believe that in St. Thomas's sense every religious order must be founded for "~teaching and preaching" if it is to be Christian. For the teaching and preaching that we intend here is nothing more specific or less spiritually profound than Christian witness. A religious vocation is a gift from God. But it ig a gift like those St. Paul speaks of in 1 .Corinthians, chapters 11- 14: manifestations of the Spirit given for the common good. A purely active religious order that really did not provide within the structures and policies of its communal living, means effectively to promote spiritual growth--growth towards deeper and deeper contemplation (under- The "Active,Contemplative" Problem / 507 stood not as longer hours of forma!, contemplative prayer, but as an ever more constant loving awareness of God and of all other things in the authenticity of their being as relation to God) would hardly be a legitimate form of life in the Church. At the most it would be legitimate as a com-munity that understood and accepted itself, with frank humility, as a com-munity for persons incapable of ~rogressing beyond the level of moral virtue in the spiritual life. But can.[we believe that any such category ac-tually exists? And would such a community really be viable? Would its apostolate really be valid? Yet I think we have around us in the present day examples of communities which have become in fact, if not in desire, purely "active" communities. The level of prayer is very low. Deep under-standing of the life of grace is praciically non-existent. This is not in every individual, of course, but it is embodied in the communal expression of the community as a whole. In these, communities does an authentic "apos-tolate" really exist? We may run sc,hools or hospitals, may engage in social service or social action with enthusiasm, and labor to the point of exhaus-tion. But by our fruits we must be judged. Are our schools producing peo-ple who have been touched by an ,encounter with Jesus Christ as a person --real in himself and active in his ,Body on earth today? Are our hospitals symbols and witnesses to the whol~ world of Christ's healing concern for the poor, the suffering, the afflict~ed? Is our reform of social structures permeated with the spirit of the beatitudes. Where the labor and service of an "active" order does not reail3} "teach and preach" the truth of Christ and the gospel, is that labor reall~ an apostolate? And can one's activity express the truth of the gospel if it! does not rise from a loving con.templa-tion of that truth within one's own!, heart,° a contemplation that makes one alike in one's being to, what one sees? Let us suppose, on the other h~nd, a more contemplative order, either a cloistered community or a veryI explicitly prayerful, active commumty. And let .us. suppose that it is so turned in-on itself, so defensive against all that is going on in the Church, sd protective of its own traditional struc-tures in their last, rigid detail, thatlthe community as a whole is not a wit-ness to anyone in the Church. Or w.orse: let us say the community ',speaks" to a diehard minority of crustacean Catholics who are clamped like barnacles onto anything in the ChUrch that~has the appearance of a rock. Suppose the community really exists to encourage a faction in the Church to believe, in opposition to the main body of the hierarchy, that Vatican II is only a passing wave:~that will soon get over us, leaving things exactly as they were before? It would be hard to accredit such a community as truly contemplative, of course, no matter how much time they spent in silence and stances of prayer. But one clear reason why the community would be invalid even as a contemplative community is that the com-munity would have no truly apostohc d~mens~on. They would not .be preaching and teaching--not in ~the name of the Church and for the 508 / Review lor Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 Church--but in the name of a factional spirit that is resisting the life of the People of God. Sucti communities are teaching a spiritual archeology and calling it biology:' holding up fossils to the world as the living Body of Christ. Let us suppose another.contemplative order, one still in its beginning stages. Let us say it is set up to be ~a community of solitaries. In its first efforts to really achieve solitude and a true spirit of prayer this community may have to defend itself to some extent even from contacts with the main body .of the Church. "It may ~have to. withdraw far into' the wilderness, far from the paths of men, and jealously guard its privacy for a while. To this extent it'can appear, momentarily at least, as a "counterwitness" to the ~solidarity of the whole Church's sharing in the charismatic .gifts of ~every member and group. But soon, if the community's charism is authentic, the flow of life back into the Church in the form of "teaching and preach-in~" .must begin anew. The monastery will begin to shine as a 4ight in the world--and most visibly to. the Church--through its manner of life and prayer. More than lik.ely pilgrims and pray~ers will begin to come, and they will be welcomed in the spirit of open faith traditional to monastic communities: a spirit of hospitality which receives each guest as possibly sent from God to receive or to give a blessing only God foresees in its details. On a level that is deeper yet than hospitality, and theologically more fundamental, the community must always understand itself, very con-sciously, as called and gifted for the benefit of the whole Church: The community must be aware of, and concerned about, what its life is "saying" to the Church, and what the Church's life is saying to it: how its self-understanding matches and fits into the ~ Church's contemporary under-standing of herself. The enclosed life must not" be a seIJ-enclosed life. There is no self-enclosed life in the living Church, the organically-inter-dependent mystical Body .of Christ. The reactionary community, be it monastic or non-monastic, is a non-apostolic community. Whether it spends twenty-four hours a day behind monastic wails or eighteen hours a day exhausting itself in the inner city, the community that has ceased to inter, act vitallywith tile Church is a non-apostolic community. How can a group that has sealed itself off from the Church's life claim in spite of this to be "sent" by the Church or to the Church? It is not possible, therefore, for a contemplative (or any other kind of) community to be authentically Christian. if it opts 'to live solely in its own little ~world of private tradi-tions, and practices, oblivious to all that is taking place in the life of the worldand the Church around it. To be truly contemplative, 'then, is to be apostolic by that very fact. And to be authentically ~apostolic one must be contemplative. And to be either, or both, in .the Church one must be in vital, responsive contact with. the. rest of the Body of Christ on earth. This contact crosses denominational The "~4ctive-Contemplative~' Problem. / 509 . lines: an authentically prayerful com, munlty of Protestant Christians (Taiz6, for example) speaks very eloquent!y to Catholics, and vice-versa. But a community that has set itself up as[ a standard for the Church, in opposi, tion to the movement of the Holy Spirit in the Church, speaks to no one. If the community is factional in a ]reactionary sense, clinging, to the past while the (~hurch moves into the future with God, its teaching becomes a "spiritual necrophilia," a fascinatioo with what is dead and controllable, based on fear of responsible encouhter with the Living God. °If the com-munity is factional in a progressive '~ sense, caught up in the .current of this world:rather than moved by the v~inds of the Spirit, then its teaching is idolatry: 'it receives man-made images from the pagans, or shapes them: from its contemplation of the worla, and presents them to the People of God as a ~graven image, a reflectioh of man's own contemporary face, to Worship as the new face of God. What, then, should We say in conclusion about the traditional threefold division of religious orders into "active," "contemplative" and "mixed"? First we should recognize that the word "mixed" may not legitimately claim a place in our tradition aldngside the categories of "active" and "contemplative." To describe the th'ird category as !'apostolic" rather than mixed (as G;innon arid Traub do) is misleading,~ because it implies that' the other, two categories, are non-i~postolic. This could be justified,° per-haps, if we_use "apostolic" t,o :refer~ in a very strict sense to precisely the kind of life the twelve Apostles' le, d,.as Father Orsy does (Open to the Spirit, pp. 273ff.). But', this is not thee meaning the word "apostolic" evokes when we ,:use it. In current usage~ "apostolic" means bringing grace to others as Christ's instrument, contributing by~(~ne's life' to the redemptive work, of the Church. Father Orsy"p0ints out this distinction very succifctly when .'he~ Says of rehg~ous, All are ,apostles but not all apostles follow the~ apostles', way of iife" (ibid.):ii, St. Thomas seems to recognizeIonly two categories of life for human beings, the contemplative and the active. He seems to assume that all re-ligious are in the contemplative li~fe by °virtue of the fact that they are striving for the "perfection of charit:y," which cannot be conceived of apart from that loving knowledge ~of God which is c'ontem~lation. Likewise all religious must be apostolic, 'became love of neighbor is included in the perfection of charity., . In the organization; the~structufing of religious life, however, one com-munity differs from another. Some ~ommunities organize their lives almost entirely toward actiVe works of sergice: Contemplation is still a recognized goal (asit is of every fully Christian life), but the community as such does not directly aim at it in any signifidant way through communal policies or structures. So far as the communl!y as a whole is concerned, its visible stance, embodied in structures, points it: only toward active service, and toward the active stage of spiritual "growth. Spiritually the community is 510 / Review [or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 geared to the level of moral virtue. Each member is expected to labor generously in the vineyard of the Lord, and to live peacefully and coopera-tively in community. The vows as such are not stressed except as a basic and not particularly elevated platform on which to live and work. Mem-bers are called upon to live celibately and purely, to make simplicity and sharing the characteristics of their relationship to material things, and to subordinate personal preferences to the decisions and goals of the com-munity where the common good requires this. This life of "reasonable service" is nourished by workshops, discus-sions, and reading; by some sustaining prayer, and methods of personal and communal evaluation and accountability. Good liturgies and theological input are welcomed where available. Spiritual direction is encouraged for those who feel the need of it and can find a director. Everyone is expected to find time to make an annual retreat of five to eight days, and allowed to make it usually, on whatever level of depth the individual desires. If a person lives a morally virtuous life within this framework, causes no trouble in community, and does his or her work well, the community will ask nothing more: This describes the kind of religious community we have called "single-mindedly active," and it may correspond to the reality St. Thomas defines in his comparison of religious orders as a community "occupied with external actions." There is a direct concern for the spiritual life in these communities, but the level of spiritual life aimed at is that which will sustain the members in their active work for the Church and in their inter-action with one another in community life. For anything beyond this the individual must seek means and support on his own. Other communities are singlemindedly contemplative. They embrace structures and organize their lives in such a way that the way of life itself is a constant impetus toward growth in specifically Christian faith, hope and love. In these communities the life is so designed that anyone who is simply leading a life, of good moral virtue and pei'forming well in com-munity and in his work will have it brought home to him with increasing conviction that he is nothing but a "useless servant" (Lk 17:10). The whole manner of ~living is specifically designed not to. make sense except as an expression of the mystery of Christian. faith. And therefore a person must be constantly aware of this mystery to find the life even bearable. The key here is not austerity as such, but simply the absence of any rea-son within this world for living as one does. This "faith or foolishness" quality, stands out with dramatic clarity in the cloistered contemplative life, where not even work can be used as a justification for the way one lives. The active religious might be able to tell himself in moments of waver-ing faith that even if there is no God it is worth the sacrifice of family and possessions just to devote oneself to one's fellow man in his poverty, his sickness, his ignorance. It is certain that many active religious and priests The "~4ctive-Contemplative" Problem / 511 pour themselves out in work in order not to have to face the deeper ques-tions of their relationship to God in fi~ith. It is more difficult for the cloist6red contemplative to do this. He ~ight try, but everything in the life-style he is submerged in will cry out to him what he is doing. The cloistered orders give a place to prayer that is obviously not intended just to support a life of moral virtue or keep people generous in their work. The poverty, pursued by these communities is, as a rule, a level of deliberately-sougllt deprivation not imposed by circum-stances or embraced just out of a s~nse of solidarity with the poor, a style ~of life designed to be congruous. Religious obedience is recognized, not just as a means to harmonious, cooperative living, but as a form of kenosis and a way of surrendering to the Holy Spirit in the Mystical Body of Christ. And the structures of com-munity life embody this understanding of religious obedience and of the government that corresponds to it. ~Within such a context celibacy is both understood and expressed as a poSitive way of relating to God through Christ in a relationship of growing lintimacy, mutual comprehension--and gift, ' Communities designed to express and to lead to' the fullness of Chris-tian knowledge and love of God and of all other things in the light of God are obviously, in St. Thomas' opinion, preferable in themselves to communities that do not aim at this. If it came to a choice between one or. the other--an either-or alternatave Thomas would say the second kind of community is the better choice in itself. It is better, in the abstract, to be a singieminded contemplativ~ than to be singiemindedly active. It might be, however, that for a givenl individual, or in a given set of circum-stances~ it would be a better thing in the concrete case tO choose the more active form of life. But are we really faced, in theory at least, with an either/or alterna-tive. Granted that the choice betw,een an enclosed, a cloistered life and a non-enclosed life is an either/or alternative. Granted again that the choice between a life of solitude and continuous contemplation in the sense of an undistracted intellectual preoccupation with God is an either/or alternative to a life of active, absorbing labor.' Still, "actively' and "contemplative" do not have to be either/or alternatives. Contemplation need not be restricted in its meaning to the absorption of the intellect in God during periods of formal prayer, Contemplation can be, and ought to be, a total and con-tinuous attitude of mind and heart; an ~rientation toward God and an awareness of relationship with God in all that one does and encounters (see Gannon and Traub's seventh ]chapter, "Finding God in AllThings," op. cit., p. 152ff.). This awarenes~l of God in all things is fostered both by periods of formal prayer (experience teaches that. these are normally indispensable) and by a total life~-style that expresses emphatically and 512 / Review for Religious, l/olume 35, 1976/4 unambiguously the faith, hope and love of which one wishes to remain aware. For St. Ignatius of Loyola the key to continuous contemplation is an ever-growing abnegation of self and a continuous stance of renunciation towards this world embodied in concrete choice (see Gannon and Traub, op. cit., chapters seven and eight: "Finding God in All Things" and "The Logic of Christian Discernment," esp. pp. 158- 172). For St. Thomas Aquinas the choice presented by the active and con-templative life-options is not an either/or choice but a triple one: either the active life, or the contemplative life, or both. In the third option one chooses to live in a way that leads to contemplation and in additio.n to this to share with one's neighbor i.n service the results of one's contemplative life. It may be--this We neither defend or dispute--that St. Thomas made too much of a distinction between contemplation and action, conceiving of contemplation too narrowly in terms' of an explicitly intellectual absorp-tion in formal prayer. It may also be, as I believe the case, that he did not understand, or at least develop, how many kinds of activity could be included under the term "teaching and preaching" that for him designates the kind,.of work in which th~ fruits of contemplation are shared. But if we follow the principles of St. Thomas's doctrine, I believe we arrive at an ideal of, religious life towardwhich every community can aim. This is re-ligious life characterized by a double end: that of growing explicitly in loving knowledge of God in faith, hope, and love while explicitly ordering one,s life to the spiritual benefit of the neighbor. Such a life must not only be explicit about its end. It must also incorporate effective means to produce the contemplative spirit and apostolic effectiveness sought. In the measure that a given form of religious living really does produce contemplative peo-ple and really does "speak" to the Church in a solid and effective way, that life corresponds to St. Thomas's ideal. This ideal of St. Thomas~was expressed in,Vatican Council II as the ideal, not of one particular category of religious order, but of religious life itself: ", ¯ . . As they seek God before all things and only Him, the members of each community should combine, contemplation with apostolic love. By the former they adhere to God in mind and heart; by the latter they strive to associate themselves with the work of redemption and to spread the Kingdom of God. (Decree on the Renewal o] Religious Li]e, part 5, Abbott p. 47~0. See also Orsy, op. cit., chapter seven, "Filled with Grace and Power: Contemplation," esp. pp. 209, 254). The "mixed" life, in other words, is not really an option in religious life:if we use the term in the sense developed here, it has tobe an aim. To'~be practical we should suggest in conclusion that every religious take a good, hard look at.the concrete reality of his or her community's life. What concrete structures, policies, activities, or provisions: of com- The "Active-Contemplative" Problem / 513 munity life are specifically designed ~to foster the contemplative spirit? How effective are they? What real priod~ty are they given in the actual life of the community? How much do they influence community decisions? In what visible ways do they determiqe the community life-~style. Secondly, what is the life of the community saying to the Church? What are the real effects of the c~mmunity's work? What are the fruits of its apostolate? Is the communityiin reality working for the Kingdom of God, or just working and offering ~hat work in some general way for the Kingdom .of God? Is the .community corporately ~fiware of the difference between a life of moral virtue and a life of theolbgical virtue? Is there an insistence, in visible, concrete ways, that each member keep growing to the level of perfect faith, hope, and love? Or d~es the community in its actual policies insist only on a good day's work and a cooperative spirit in community? To be a "good religious," an acceptable member of the community, how much contemplative spirit is required? Are prudence,~justice, temperan.ce, and fortitude enough? o. ~ It is certainly legitimate for an individual to live the "active" life during certain periods of his spiritual growth. But this is only legitimate if th~ active life is seen as a phase of growth ordered toward achieving contem-plation. Or the active life can be added to the contemplative as a way of sharing its fruits with others. But ithe active life as such cannot be the final goal or total plan of any serious;Christian's life. What is legitimate for individual~ is legitimate for communities. That is, a community can structure its corp9rate; its communal life to be "active" for some members or for a certain~ time. But this is legitimate only if the community situates its active life-s~tyle within the broader context of an identifiably contemplative life-style~. The community must .be able to identify the explicit elements in its overall style of living--its structures and policies--that present the contemplative life to its members and foster its growth. The community must be able to show that it is concretely geared --and not just abstractly committed~to bring its members to the "per-fection of charity," the fullness of the loving knowledge of God. If a community is not willing or able to do this, it should take the responsibility of redefining itself. It should present itself to its members and to the ~world as a singlemin~ledly "active" community, a "service orgamzatlon in the Church. This ,;vould be,' in St. Thomas's explanation, a third class religious order. A second-class religious order ~would be one that is committed and geared toward achieving contemplation, but which frankly acknowledges that it is not strong enough in itsl contemplative life to take on an ex-plicitly apostolic dimension. By "apostolic dimension" I do not mean, of course, just active work. A comm.hnity of solitaries strictly cloistered in the desert can have a fully-developed apostolic dimension. By "apostolic 514 / Review ]or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 dimension" I mean an explicit concern about what one's life is "saying" to the Church. (This is, I believe, a legitimate interpretation of what St. Thomas means by "teaching and preaching.") Any community can put this concern aside temporarily. A novitiate house, for example, or a new religious older in its first beginnings; might have to forget for a while about what it is saying to the Church in order to concentrate exclusively on what God is saying to it. But a community which did not see itself as ever having any concern~except the growth and sanctification of its own members would have to acknowledge itself as a second-class religious order--a sort of spiritual hospital for people who are never expected to become strong enough to share the burden of the Church's mission. I seriously question whether either of' these first two choices~ are legitimate options in religious life. If religious life (like every,.valid Christian life) has the per[ection of charity as its goal, it seems a contradiction in terms that one would accept to be a second- or third-class religious. Realistically, I think ,the value of St. Thomas's distinctions lies in the help they give us in recognizing situations that ought to be temporary in the life of religious communities; situations we might be tempted to accept as permanent. We have mentioned a legitimately' exclusive preoccupation with one's own spiritual growth, provided it is temporary. We see in the life of the active orders around us a-similar preoccupation at this moment in history, but which might not be recognized for what it is. After Vatican II, when religious renewal began in a massive way, one religious com-munity after another awoke to the distortions that had crept into our understanding of religious life. We realized that in our efforts to become spiritual we had lost s~ight of ,what it was to be human. Words like "ful-fillment" and "interpersonal relationships" began to punctuate our con-versations. We threw ourselves into the rediscovery of our emotional and affective lives. We made acceptance of ourselves h religious goal, and embraced as a duty the grateful enjoyment of this world as God's gift. Words like "renunciation" and "abnegation" became "trigger" words, sym-bols of a repressive' and distorted spirituality that blanketed human values and suffocated human personality under an all-covering mystique of self-sacrifice. Religious began to pursue courses and workshopg for their own intellectual and psychological development. Individuals began to take responsibility for their own decisions and to speak up like adults in com-munity discussions. We went in for group decision-making and discern-ment. The emphasis was placed on personal responsibility. Bells were abolished, the time and place for prayer left up to each individual. Supe-riors were abolished, too, in many cases and group accountability substi-tuted for personal, spiritual ,government. People began to furnish their rooms in ways that expressed acceptance of the world rather than austerity. Convents went in for bright curtains, pink bed spreads and teddy bears. A rich variety of food and drink became available twenty-four hours' a day. The "Acttve-Contemplative" Problem / 515 Smoking and drinking ceased to be tabu to nuns. The ancient practice of the "peculium" so constantly condemned in religious tradition, came back in the form of personal budgets. Nuns and priests started dressing to ex-press their individual personalities as well as their maleness or their womanhood. Sisters experienced what it was to "feel like a woman again," for better or for worse. Priests and seminarians fell in love with sisters,~ and sisters fell in love with them. Some left religious life and got married. Those who remained began to speculate on the "complementarity of tlie sexes," and to ask how one's human sexuality could be integrated into a celibate life without compromise to chastity. Experiments were acted out, mistakes were made. Growth resulted, tragedy resulted; there was good and evil! In all of this there has been in religious community life an absorbing corporate preoccupation with "self." Religious communities have turned their gaze inwards, trying to straighten out their own house. For the time beirig many communities have become more concerned with what religious life is saying to them than they are with what their religious life is saying to the Church. In many specific instances, communities have defied alike the prejudices of the laity and the precepts of Rome. In their intense ef-fort to listen authentically to what God is saying to them, it would seem that some religious have become less attentive to the voice of the wider Church, whether this comes from the ranks of the People of God or from the official representatives of that People. A temporary preoccupation with self is legitimate and good, even on the community level. But no real discernment.or renewal of religious life can take place in the long run in isolation from the People of God. Re-ligious cannot ignore what their life is saying to the rest of the Church. As long as a community is doing this, or has to do it, it is engaged more in spiritual therapy for its own members than in making its contribution to God's people. It may well be that for a certain time a religious community may have to direct all its efforts toward "becoming human." Perhaps the human values of responsibility, affectivity, self-acceptance, and interper-sonal relationship have been lost through a distorted way of living in the past. These values may have to be recovered. But if a religious community accepts as its permanent goal in life, and as its normal guideline for community policy, the ideal of "becoming human," that community must inquire into its place in the overall community Of the People of God. So long as a community is mainly preoccupied with the healing of its own self-inflicted wounds it falls, I believe, into St. Thomas's second cate-gory of religious life. Whether the community is exclusively preoccupied with becoming divine through contemplation, or with becoming human through sensitivity sessions and the use of creatures that reinforce people's sense of personal ~worth, it is not yet strong and mature enough to share with others the fruits of a healthy and developed spiritual life. We should 516 / Review for Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 recognize this and make sure that we do not accept a temporary, therapeu-tic situation as normal policy for religious life. We can set up spiritual hos-pitals for oursel~,es on a temporary basis. But .if the raison d'etre of our lives is just to constitute a healing milieu of humanness, our expectations for the future should be that no healthy human'beings will apply. Religious life is intended to lead people through active and contempla-tive stages of growth to that developed maturity of life, both human and divine, which allows each person to become a word of grace made flesh; a word of light, of life, and of love spoken tothe People of God. Religious life structured to this goal is the first, the highest, and I believe: the only authentic form of religious life. St. Thomas's distinctions invite us to look at three levels of value in religious life and tO ask" ourselves if our own communities are concretely and effectively geared to achieve them all. To a Young Sister on Her Final Profession Day You .,ask me for a poem, Sister, in honor of this day on which you place for all eternity, your life. your total self~ within the Heart of Him who called you, drew you, in a thousand subtle ways to 'love Him for Himself alone. But how can words of human speech express what is forever inexpressible, what can be only numbly felt :by hearts too grossly fles!! Even the Psalmist's flame-tipped words that ride ~he winds and pierce the clouds fall, helpless, to the ground. The only poem I can give you, Sister, is a prayer, whispered in the depths of nay own heart, to Him who dwells there too, as in Your own. And even that prayer says less in words than in desire. Love Him---trust Him--always, Sister, until that day when there will be no need of poems or words but only of that Word who is all love that ever was or is ° or can be. He is your poem, Sister! Sister Mar~c'Luke, c~S.]. 3556 Rocky River Drive Cleveland, OH 44111 The Incomplete Conversion J. 'Rankin, King~ . Mrs. Kin"g graduated from St. Louis University in 1973. She has pfiblished poetry in The Haiku Anthology, Poet atid~,C~itic arid elsewhere. She 'is presently engaged in research fin the .field of comparative re!igious,experience. Her address:. Nativity Hermi-tage;. Taos, NM 87571. We are b~ now, as participant observers,, nearly used to~ the revived in-terest in spirituality which has characterized the seventies, jStudies .and ex-periments inthe practices of Eastern Orthodox and Asian traditions oc-cupy~. a small but well educated and serious° number of cgntemplative re-ligious: Monumental tasks of research and translation by monastic scholars pr_o_mise considerable assurance that the monastic renewal will be both sound, and profound. A. reawakened interest at. the popular level in the role of .the, Holy Spirit in Christian life heightens mass awareness of God's saving ,pr.e~sence. ,Chri_stocent~ic~,incarnationalism, more intellectual than the popular movement, less comprehensive than the monastic effort, pro.- vides a vehicle for renewed devotion to th.~:, humanity of Christ among many priests and religious. These tendencies exist beside, and tend to color th_e spiritualities o.f, the religio_us orders which are more and more coming to be seen as mutations of and variants upon the one-basic spiritually of ~the Church Universal, simple ,and whole, the spirituality of the ages. Of all these, this essay .will °attempt to deal 0nly with the contemporary popular tendency. It, will stress its weaknesses rather than its strengths, its situation of risk rather than its posture of promise, because it is, among the trends developing at pres_ent, at once the most massive and the most fragile. It. is my hope that this approach will contribute more at the pres-ent moment to the ongoing recovery of spiritual discipline among us than the positive one which has been the more common over the past few years. 517 518 / Review ]or Religious, F'olume 35, 1976/4 While the popular spiritualities of the prayer group and the pentecostal meeting discover their sources in traditions outside the Church, they may also be accurately described as reactions to the conventional spirituality that preceded them. That earlier spirituality stressed rule and form, this proposes the Spirit and the spontaneous. That spirituality was rooted in the prescriptions of the spiritual manuals, this adventures without them. If that spirituality had nearly forgotten the Illuminative Way, this is ignorant of the Purgative. That spirituality put affectivity to its bow and aimed it upward, often so austerely as to be accused of being cold. This is charac-terized by a diffuse and volatile emotion. Conventional spirituality was a spirituality of reserve, interiority. Popular spirituality celebrates the mani-fest, effuses. Their differences are sufficiently radical to render them remote and, in a very profound way, both antipathetic and antithetical to one another. ~ And yet both have this in common, that the first had forgotten and the second has yet to learn the meaning of metanoia~f metanoia not as moment but as process. It is ironic that popular spirituality, in setting out to recapture the Spirit and the Life, should bear within itself, also, that precise element the want of which drained the previous spirituality of ex-actly those things. For it was certainly °its failure to grasp and implement the mechanics of the Purgative Way--that radical reaction to the discovery of one's own sinfulness--which stripped the previous spirituality of its vitality and left it, intact in all its structures but resoundingly,empty, a prey to that kind of renewing which obliterates altogether. It is characteristic of reactionff to~ over-react and, sometimes, to miss the point, Iri this case the.point was not that there was something wrong with the spirituality of the manuals: it was, hfter all, the Catholic spiritual-ity, the spirituality of the ages; but that there was something dreadfully wrong with those .who professed it. Specifically, they were not half sorry enough for their sins. On the contrary, they often thought themselves very good folk°'indeed. It is not perhaps surprising that their ~lateral~descendants should harbor a similar misapprehension, and that it. should produce, spon~ taneity to 'the contrary, a similar chill of ';righteousness"; a characteristic which proclaims as clearly as any antinomianism; the Spirit's absence. Genuine metanoia is a process. It begins, to be sure, with a haoment: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee: Wherefore I abhor.myself, and repent in dust and ashes,''1 I abhor myself~ an abhorrence that generate~ an ongoing and ever deepening reaction. We have called that reaction the Way of Beginners, the Purgative Way. We have identified with precision its stages; its characteristic rhythms of prayer, its temptations, its joys and sorrows, its goals and the interior technology which must be employed if they are to be attained. And we know its term: aJb. xlii, 5:6~ The Incomplete Conversion / 519 a sincere and complete conversion; .and'its consequence: a man sufficiently iiast to bear experimental cbntact with the Spirit of God in illumined faith-- a man who has the justice, the prudence, the temperance and the fortitude to worShip in Spirit and Truth under the influence of infused prayer. ¯ At the present time 'the popular movement recognizes the moment but is unaware'0f the process. Its characteristic exercises--shared and peti-ti0riaty prayer and Scripture reading--are not primary metanoiac agents. It is difficult to see how the movement is to proceed, if it does not assim, ilate a technology" of interior change. Popular spirituality's mistaken guess that the first gift of the Spirit is joy prevents it from cultivating that sorrow, with its concommitant hatred of sin and the filial fear of the Lord which dreads' to lose him, which are, in fact, the Spirit's choicest gifts to the youngest of his Chosen. ~'Its apprehension of a fullness of some kind, when overly encouraged, acts as a bar to its experiencing its own poverty. A dollar may indeed look like a great deal to a man who has known only'plugged nickels all his life but. it remains, nevertheless, a dollar, with a dollar's purchasing power. There seems tO be some danger of the popular renewal's forgetting that the ish seddqdh~ the just man, is ?a member of the an~wim, God's afflicted ones: the poor, the weak, the humble, the meek, the oppressed . the needy, the broken hearted, the crUshed in spirit.''-~ In its search for signs of the Spirit's presence, it is prone to overlook the "Sign of'Jonah" proposed to a previous unbelieving generationhthe death, burial and resurrection of the Lord and i.s, in consequence, diverted from living any coherent program of its own daily dying which is, after all, the Christian's only entrde to the higher life. "There is an apophthegm of Pambos," writes Andre Louf,'a "that is all the more pointed for its brevity: 'Acquire a heart and you can be saved.' 'Acquire a heart': this implies that we do not yet have that spiritual sensi-tivity, that alertness of heart, that can discern and understand the things of the Spirit." The popular, spirituality is of~theopinion that it can. There is perhaps no greater bar to the acquisition oL a heart than the persuasion that one has one. "Better just to smeil a~ flower in the garden or something like that," wrote Thomas M~rton,4 "than to have an unauthentic experience of a much higher value." * A concept of change nearly defines traditional spirituality. Life in Christ is metamorphosis. Its dynamism is the life of God in Trinity which enters the soul 'at the time of its baptism or through the"second and "labo-rious" baptism of penance. Conversion, then, i.s not an arrival :but a de- 2David Holly, The Quest ]or Biblical Living; Cistercian Studies,~ Vol. X, Nos. 3 and 4, p. 235. aAndre Louf, Spiritual Experience, Cistercian Studies, Vol. X, no. 2, p. 128. 4Patrick. Hart, ed., Thomas Merton, Monk (New York: Sheed & Ward; 1974), p. 190. Review. ]or Religious, Volume 35, 1976/4 parture.: To delay upon the platform, cheering the trains as they come in, is nearly always fatal. The Kingdom of Heaven withers when .it finds~a pos.t-conversion ?'level". and is staticized there. Transformation is'the primary work of the Holy Spirit. ,It is' to this--a definitive delivery~ffrom sin--that" his chief inspirations tend, for he is indeed the very SpiriL.of Christ, he who came to ~.set free the captive, to deliver those Iying in prison, To un. derestimate the extent of,the captivity, the depth of the dungeon, is to miss entirely the pointoof the Mission of the Spirit. . We often hear~it said today that because God loves us he accepts us. That is, of course, the one thing he will never do-,-because he loves us. "When he said 'Be perfect,' he meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hanker-ing after is harder--in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard4or an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to, fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you.cannot go on. in-definitely being just an ordinary, decent,;egg. Wg must be hatched or go bad.''~ , Perhaps we could say that contemporary popular spirituality is in a situation of vulnerability at the moment because it does not dream that~it is an egg. It would seem to be a fatal diversion to cultivate joy if "real spiritual joy is one of the rarest fruits of the., spirit, to be attained only near the summit of the way, after all evil ,habits and thoughts are overcome, all passions conquered, and reconciliation with God is reached?'~ If "the true signs of sincere penitence .are the taming of the beast of anger and absti-nence from all condemnation.of others''~ and if only sincere pen.itence can open the way to any kind of consistent experience of God, then it would seem to be the better .part of enlightenment to .work at those hydra-headed passions. That, at any rate, seems to be what the Spirit.has always bee.n saying to t.he Churches. ; It wbuld not,.perhaps, be necessary to notice the belief clusters and attitudes in popular spirituality which .hinder its. developing genuine in-teriority if it had not attained a very rapid and, indeed, massive growth and were not now showing a decided disposition to impose .itself wherever possible on the rest of theoChurch. Now it is, of course, highly d~e~irable that we should all be more committed Christians, but it may be4hat a good many of us do not desire to be imposed upon, nevertheless. ~Especially by those whose light does not exceed our own. The prospect of spending the rest, of one's spiritual life occupied in "praise"~ and intercessory prayer, punctuated by predictable prophecies will not appeal to everyone . While enthusiastic neo conversi may be able to speak winningly and cohvincingly of their ~newly discovered life in Christ, it is the Church's ex- ;'C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1974), p. 169. ~-~ "Iulia de Beausobre, ed., Russian Letters b] Direction, 1834-1860, beiiig the l~tter~ of Staritz Macarius of Optino.(St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1975), p. 106. rlbid., p. 169. The Incomplete ~onversion / 521 perience that fruitful apostolates are the result of a mature Christian life. And it is, besides, the spiritual doctrine of Catholicism that too great an eagerness to teach others is, in beginners, a sign of sp!r!tual pride.i, Although it is typical of evangelical Christianity to send its converts immediately into the field, it has not been the apostolic Church's custom. Following the example of her Lord, who spent thirty years in obscurity be-fore undertaking his public mission, she has preferred that her children nurture the life of grace in humble penance, in mortification and in prayer before sending them "as sheep among wolves." ". when we are fully grown men," writes Tauler in full fidelity to the tradition, "we may come and live in the land of Judah. 'Judah' means 'to confess God.' Then you can teach and admonish in Jerusalem . You can cross over into Galilee which means 'overcoming all things'. ,,8 The facility with which the technique for inducing a Pentecostal type conversion experience can, apparently, be acquired, makes it tempting to the popular movement to adopt evangelical traditions of proselytization. The maturer fruits of conversion oin terms of authentic interior cleansing will not be likely to develop, however, under condition~ 6f forc6d acti~on. Th6 spirit of "results" apparent among the'fastest paced evang'el!qa~l,16rom0i~r~ today should give us pause. For that spirit is not the meek Spirit, the Holy ~pir!t, thee Spirit of repentance which the popular spiritua!ity ~has claimed for its own. "I realize," wrote Andre Louf in a rece6t ar~ic, le, that repentance is not o_nly~ a difficult theme to touch on today, but is also~ g~ven the .complexes of our times--one of the most. difficult to pin down and live authentically. And yet it remains essential. In general, repentance is:'re-fused today. We live at the turning point between th~ obsessive neurosis (if ~ - I may call it that) characterizing the pe~:iod immediately before our own, and °~ the adolescent effervescence add aggressivity of a period that is now freeing ~ itself;of~ that neurosis. ProoL~that he has sinned can only create unbearable ~, ~anguish in one ~ho is already eate.~ up with anguish. Sin was intolerable for the l~eriod immediately before our own, and people tried to free them-selves from it by what the Fathers used to call dikaioma, the pretension to ° justice. Sin-is unbearable, so one claims to be just by an outward observance of law, or rather, of a certain n~n~ber of r~gulations; in r~hlity one is fleeing from me~tanoia. Today instead we hav~ an adolesc,eni effervescer~ce and aggreg- '~sivi~y which is~just as~ neurotic and ~'for which sin is just as uhbea'rable; the solution now, however, is to say there is no such thingP " ~ '" -~or to bury it under the cliches Of "love" and "joy" and "community" and "perice." ~' " The question for the next few years or s6, so far as the popular spirithal-itY goes, is whether ~it ~ill be able radically, to assimilate to its present spirit the basic spirituality of the Church and its metan~iac techniques. Or will the conversion remain incomplete? ¯ - SJohn Tauler, O.P., Spiritual Con]erences (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1961), p. 38. aAndre Louf, Spiritual Experience, Cistercian Studies, Vol. X, no. 2, p. 132. Ministry, Grace and the Process of Humanization Rev. Stephen J. Duffy Father Duffy is Associate ProfessOr and Chairmarl of the Department of Religious Stud.ies; L6yolaUr~iversity; New Orleans, LA 70118. My" subject ~is ttie very topical "theology of liberation.''a Before we plunge into the subject, however, there are some contextual questions that demand an answer. Why should w~ be concerned with grounding Christian pastoral or social ministry in theology at all? In this connection, is talk about a theology of liberation just a pep-talk or a sales pitch to send enthusiasm soaring? Are institutes and courses on pastoral ministry some kind bf inter-lude before we all get back to our real work? Do they amount to little more than abstract and theoretical discussions designed to titillate, the more intellectually inclined? My strong conviction is that a theology of liberation and discussions of pastoral ministry in that context should be far more than any of these. ZGustavo Guti6rrez, A Theology o] Liberation (Maryknoll: Orbis B~oks, 1973)." See also his "Notes for a Theology of Liberation," Theological Studies 31 (1970), pp. 243-261. Guti6rrez is prob~b~ly the most widely read and mo~t influential single theologian of liberation. For a good overview accompanied by a rather, complete bibliography, see Phillip Berryman, "Latin American Liberation Theology," Theolog-ical Studies 34 i(1973,), pp. 357-395. A variety of liberation theologies has been flourishing outside the Latin American situation. Cf. e.g., James H. Cone, A Black Theology o! Liberation (Philadlephia: J. B. Lippincott, 1970); R. Lauren.tin, Libera-tion, Development and Sa/v~ttion (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1972); J. B. Metz, Theology o] the World" (New York: Seabury Press, 1973); R. Reuther, Liberation Theology (New York: Paulist Press, 1972);~F. Herzog, Liberation Theology (New ¯ York: Seabury Press, 1972). 522 Ministry, Grace and Humanization / 5~23 '~ I am convinced first of all that there is a deep theological meaning to pastoral ministry. One of the most important contributions of Vatican II's Constitution on the Church is' the notion of Church as mystery. According to Vatican II, the. Church is first and foremost a mystery, a "kind of. sign of intimate union with God," and of the unity of all mankind." The Church is ,an outward sign and instrument, at once concealing and dis-closing the invisible action of God in the world. But if the Church is a mystery, then all its activity in the world is mysterious too, sharing in the very mystery of God. And if0'the Church is not solely the hierarchy or a voice speaking infallibly, or some vague entity.floating serenely above the chaos of this world, but is rather a community of persons, then our ac-tivities, too, share in the mysterious character of the,Church's action. As individual Christians, and as persons engaged in a work more or less clearly identified in some way as the Church's, there is no esCaping the fact ,that our activities will not be merely social or economic or educational or political .or psychological, but will bear a dimension that is Christian, and therefore mysterious. In the second place i believe'it is highly important for us to understand theologically this Christian dimension of our work, to grasp something in our own lives of this mysterious sign simultaneously revealing and con-cealing the. mystery of God. It is crucialfor us to understand what w~ are doing, for it is difficult to do a task well or enthusiastically without under-standing its purpose and meaning. Crucial, I say, because the meaning of Christian ministry cannot be exhausted by political~ sociological, economic, educational, or psychological interpretations. As sharers of the Chris'tian vision we affirm, in fact, that all such human acti'~ities, abstracted from their Christian dimension, would be ultimately meaningless. Thirdly, as students of theology, or :at least as persons with something of a professional interest in the Work of the Church, we must learn to think in theological terms about our ministry in the world. One of the emphases of liberation theology is that if theology has any meaning at all, it .must be applicable to real-life~ situations. Theoria .and praxis must be wed. I think that here our Christian education is :often lacking. We go through hours of religious instruction, even theology, without a hint that sometiow this must have practical implications. Few attempts are made to show the student how to relate what he has learned in °the classroom with what he is meeting in the s~reets. When Thomas Aquinas faced the prob-lem, at the very beginning of his Summa~ whether theology is a practical or a speculative science; he answered that it is both. From our~practice think we would have to deduce that we consider it to be purely speculative. The popular image of the priest closing his theology books on ordination, never to reopen ttirm again, is, unfortunately, close to the truth. Now I do not in the least want to downgrade theoretical or specuiative theology. I do not want it thrown out in favor of pastoral or even biblical Review ]or Religious, Volume 35; 1976/4 theology, I. feel it should.be even more emphasized, in the sense thaf each one should be trained, not merely to accept passively the theology he. or she is taught, .but rather to be able to reflect actively, creatively, theologi-cally, not only about classroom matter, but about the whole spectrura o1~ Christian :life in the world. If that is not done the pastoral gimmicks taught today will be obsolete in ten years, Critical theological reflection, by rel-ativi

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The taxes plus interest plus a penalty keep adding up until the elderly or disabled homeowner dies. Then, the estate must pay the taxes, interest, and penalties. A surviving spouse between the ages of 55 and 65 can keep the decedent's exemption by applying at their local tax appraisal office.

Does IRS go after senior citizens? ›

Although it is rarely done, the IRS can garnish 15 percent of a senior's Social Security for past-due income taxes. However, this garnishment will never happen without the senior being first notified. The IRS will almost never garnish pensions and other retirement income.

Does an 80 year old have to file a tax return? ›

If you are over the age of 65 and live alone without any dependents on an income of more than $11, 850, you must file an income tax return. If part of your income comes from Social Security, you do not need to include this in the gross amount.

Does my 90 year old mother have to file taxes? ›

If Social Security is your sole source of income, then you don't need to file a tax return, says Turbo Tax. The exceptions to this are as follows, if you are over 65 and… you are married, filing jointly and your combined gross income is $27,400 or more - social security is not included in income.

How much can a 70 year old earn without affecting Social Security? ›

In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit. In 2023, this limit on your earnings is $56,520.

What is the average Social Security check at age 70? ›

Average Social Security Benefit at 70

As of December 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, the average Social Security benefit at age 70 was $1,768.94. This is up 8.3% from December 2020, when the average benefit for a 70-year-old was $1,632.82.

Can you collect Social Security at 70 and still work full time? ›

Because you are age 70 or older, you should apply for your Social Security benefits. You can receive benefits even if you still work. Waiting beyond age 70 will not increase your benefits.

What taxes do seniors pay in Texas? ›

Well, yes, it's true that there are no income taxes in Texas...which means no taxes on Social Security benefits, pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, or any other type of retirement income.

How can I reduce my property taxes in Texas? ›

There are generally two ways that Texas homeowners can reduce their property taxes, through tax exemptions or protesting their property's assessed value. Tax Code Section 25.18 states that all appraisal districts must complete appraisals on every property in their district at least every three years.

Is there a limit to how much property taxes can go up in Texas? ›

According to state law, the taxable value for a homestead cannot increase more than 10 percent a year. That 10 percent cap is why our net appraised value for 2022 is preliminarily pegged at $409,372, not $656,039. But that's not the end of the story for us. Let's take a look at our property taxes in 2021.

What is the over 65 tax exemption? ›

Overview. You may not have to pay Income Tax (IT) if you or your spouse or civil partner are aged 65 or over. This applies if you are single, married, in a civil partnership or widowed.

How to protest property taxes and win Texas? ›

At an informal protest, you simply need to present data on your home to your appraisal district. In most cases, you can simply visit your appraisal district office and wait to meet with an appraiser. The number one recommendation for winning an informal protest is simple – be kind.

What benefits do seniors have in Texas? ›

Programs for Older Texans
  • Medicaid provides health coverage to eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, and people who are older or who have disabilities. ...
  • Medicare is our country's health insurance program for people age 65 or older.

Which states do not tax seniors? ›

States That Don't Tax Retirement Income

Those eight – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming – don't tax wages, salaries, dividends, interest or any sort of income.

What state is best for seniors on Social Security? ›

1. Iowa. Iowa tops the list for best states to live on just a Social Security check thanks to a number of factors. Overall, the cost of living is about 11% below the national average, while one-bedroom rents are about one-third less than national norms.

What states have no income tax for seniors? ›

Eight states have no income tax whatsoever, which means that retirement benefits — including Social Security retirement benefits — remain untouched by the state taxman. Let's start with the eight states that have no income tax whatsoever: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

How much income is exempt from house property income tax? ›

30% of net annual value of the house property is allowed as deduction if property is let-out during the previous year. b) In respect of self-occupied residential house property, interest incurred on capital borrowed for the purpose of acquisition or construction of house property shall be allowed as deduction up to Rs.

What is an example of exempt property? ›

Exempt property is any property that creditors cannot seize and sell in order to satisfy debt during chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. The type of property exempted differs from state to state but often includes clothes, home furnishings, retirement plans, and small amounts of equity in a house and car.

What are exemptions in house property? ›

Homeowners can claim a deduction of up to Rs 2 lakh on their home loan interest, if the owner or his family resides in the house property. The same treatment applies when the house is vacant. If you have rented out the property, the entire home loan interest is allowed as a deduction.

What triggers a property tax reassessment in California? ›

Once the county assessor has determined that a change in ownership has occurred, Proposition 13 requires the county assessor to reassess the property to its current fair market value as of the date ownership changed.

Can my parents gift me a house without tax implications? ›

Unless the gift amount exceeds the entire estate exemption (which is $24.12 million for married couples in 2022), no taxes will be due on the gift.

Do you have to pay property taxes forever in California? ›

You get five years after you fall behind in taxes to get current on the delinquent amounts. Paying off the debt is called "redeeming" the home. After five years, if you don't redeem, the tax collector can sell your home.

At what age do seniors stop paying property taxes in California? ›

The requirements, as of April 1, 2021, for Proposition 19 exclusion include, but are not limited to: The principal claimant or the claimant's spouse who resides with the claimant must be at least 55 years of age at the time the original residence is sold.

Does California freeze property taxes for seniors? ›

You asked for a description of laws in California and Florida that freeze property taxes for homeowners who meet age and income eligibility requirements. Neither state has a property tax freeze program. However, two California programs protect seniors from property tax increases.

How do you get around high property taxes? ›

  1. Understand Your Tax Bill.
  2. Ask for Your Property Tax Card.
  3. Don't Build.
  4. Limit Curb Appeal.
  5. Research Thy Neighbors.
  6. Walk the Home With the Assessor.
  7. Allow the Assessor Access.
  8. Look for Exemptions.

How long do you have to pay taxes on land before it becomes yours in Texas? ›

There is a five-year period if a person acquired the land by a duly registered deed and has been using, cultivating or enjoying the land, and also has been paying the property taxes.

How many acres can you own in Texas? ›

A residence homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead. What residence homestead exemptions are available? There are several types of exemptions you may receive.

What is the 10 acre rule in Texas? ›

A System is exempt from permitting if it serves a single family residence on a continuous tract of land that is 10 acres or larger and is the only single family residence on that tract of land and is not required to have a permit from the local permitting authority.

How long can property taxes go unpaid in Texas? ›

If the lien is not satisfied within a reasonable amount of time, the lienholder has the right to foreclose on the property. The period in which this occurs can range from 60 days to more than 120 days. It all depends on the taxing authority and local market conditions.

Can I get my property back after a tax sale in Texas? ›

The "right of redemption" refers to one's ability to reclaim the property even after the foreclosure sale takes place. In Texas, the "right of redemption" is only available for specific kinds of foreclosure actions such as foreclosures of certain tax liens and property owners association assessment liens.

Do I have to pay inheritance tax on my parents house in Texas? ›

Once again, Texas has no inheritance tax. This means that the Texas Constitution also limits the Texas Legislature from imposing an inheritance or estate tax on real and personal property. So inheritors should not expect to pay any property tax on real estate acquired from a deceased parent as it is real property.

Who owns a property when the owner dies? ›

If the deceased held property in their sole name, and they left a valid will dealing with the property, then the property will usually pass in line with the will. If the deceased left no valid will, or a will that did not deal with the property, it is dealt with under the law of intestacy.

Who is responsible for medical bills of deceased parent in Texas? ›

Texas is a community property state, meaning the debt must be paid off by the loved one.

Who is exempt from paying property taxes in Michigan? ›

Pursuant to MCL 211.51, senior citizens, disabled people, veterans, surviving spouses of veterans and farmers may be able to postpone paying property taxes. Eligible taxpayers can apply for a summer tax deferment with the City Treasurer.

What is the senior tax exemption in Michigan? ›

The exemptions would increase to $40,000 and $80,000 after age 67, when combined with existing retirement income exemptions for that age group. Whitmer's tax plan, by contrast, would increase the Earned Income Tax Credit and phase back in exemptions for public pensions from the 4.25% personal income tax.

Is Michigan tax friendly for seniors? ›

Is Michigan tax-friendly for retirees? In short, Michigan is a relatively tax-friendly destination for retirees. It does not tax Social Security and it provides a sizable deduction for seniors on other types of retirement income. Sales taxes are somewhat below average, while property taxes are above average.

How long can property taxes go unpaid in Michigan? ›

Real property tax delinquency entails a three-year forfeiture and foreclosure process in Michigan. Parcels are forfeited to the county treasurers when the real property taxes are in the second year of delinquency.

Can someone take your property by paying the taxes in Michigan? ›

Yes. Property owners who had delinquent taxes under the old law could also lose their property, but they had at least four (4) years to pay. Under the new law, if your taxes are delinquent for two (2) years, your property is foreclosed and you lose title to it.

Can you write off your property taxes in Michigan? ›

Michigan's homestead property tax credit is how the State of Michigan can help you pay some of your property taxes if you are a qualified Michigan homeowner or renter and meet the requirements. You should complete the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit Claim MI-1040CR to see if you qualify for the credit.

What is the tax benefit for senior citizens? ›

Further Section 80DDB of the Income Tax Act allows tax deduction on expenses incurred by an individual on himself or a dependent towards the treatment of specific diseases as stated in the act. The maximum deduction amount in case of a senior citizen is ₹ 1 lakh (₹ 40,000 for Non-Senior Citizen taxpayers).

What state is best financially to retire in? ›

Iowa. This state topped the list from MoneyRates, tied with West Virginia, scoring points for nursing care capacity, a strong economy, and a low crime rate. Social security benefits are not taxed by the state, and beginning in 2023, retirement income is exempt for taxpayers over age 55.

Do seniors still get an extra tax deduction? ›

Increased Standard Deduction

When you're over 65, the standard deduction increases. The specific amount depends on your filing status and changes each year. For the 2021 tax year, seniors get a tax deduction of $14,250 (this increases in 2022 to $14,700).

Do you pay income tax on over 65? ›

Generally, retirees do not need to file a tax return if Social Security benefits are their sole source of retirement income, the IRS said. If you're still unsure, the IRS can help. The agency has a tool on its site for individuals to know if they need to file a tax return.

How do I freeze my property taxes at age 65 in Texas? ›

How do I apply for the senior exemption and freeze? You, or your spouse, will qualify for the senior exemption and freeze on the date you become age 65. To receive this benefit, you must complete a homestead exemption form and return it to the Tarrant Appraisal District at the address on the form.


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