Exercising proper judgment in our life so that we share in God's glory

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St John the Baptist & St Dominic.jpgLast week the novices of the Order of Friars Preachers --the Dominicans of the Province of Saint Joseph-- heard the following talk by Dominican Father André-Joseph LaCasse. Father LaCasse is the pastor of the Church of Saint Gertrude, Cincinnati, OH. I am not a Dominican but I have great affection for the Dominican vocation and many friends are of that persuasion, however many readers of this blog are not Dominicans. So, I thought after reading LaCasse's talk there is something we can all be helped by what was said about the fraternal life the Dominican Order. In my estimation Father LaCasse's thoughts are applicable to all states of the Christian life: the single person, the married couple, the Capuchin, the secular priest, bishop, etc. In the School of Community (of CL) we've been working on Father Luigi Giussani's notion of charity and sacrifice and are about to start the section on virginity. And I ask myself: How is it that as a Christian I live in a state of perpetual discernment of faith, hope and charity through a life of sacrifice? In what concrete ways do I live honestly? Well, I'm off to confession to find that out. You?

You are privileged here because you live with friars who have lived this life for quite some time. In our community we have two jubiliarians, one who is close to being a jubiliarian, and the rest of us who have lived this life for over twenty years. Our lives as religious is a steady progress towards perfection, but a perfection that experiences many imperfections along the way. Our lives are not extraordinary. None of us has won prestige. None of us is in the limelight. We live ordinary lives of consecration, hoping that we can do our best to advance the cause of Jesus Christ and his Church.

The Dominican life is a life of prayer, study, and the apostolate. Most days are ordinary days where you are called to be simple servants of the Church. Do you desire to be a servant? Are you willing to die to your own desires in order to do the desire of God manifested through the will of our superiors? In a real sense you will not be able to answer this question until something is asked of you that takes real sacrifice and humility. But still the question needs to be asked now: Am I willing to die to myself and become a servant of the Church? The question needs to be answered now because from the very beginning of your discernment you must be brutally honest with yourself.

Why have you been called to our life? Certainly not because somehow you will receive consolation from the brethren. Trust me that will not happen. What you will receive from the brethren are men who place expectations on one another to strive for perfection. I live this life because I know that left to myself I could not be the Catholic man that God has called me to be without my Dominican life. I depend on my brothers to expect me at prayer, and I miss brothers who for whatever reason cannot be at prayer. I depend on my brothers to join me at the conventual Mass, and I miss the brothers who cannot attend. I depend on my brothers to see my faults and take me to task, and although I'm not fond of being corrected, I would never want to live with brothers who ignore my weaknesses.

I depend on the fellowship and companionship of my brothers, but I desire intimacy with Christ and Our Lady alone. Only too often in my life I have seen brothers who disregard the fundamentals of our life, and each and every times they have left our fraternity.
For we who are Dominicans, the unexamined life is unacceptable. Dominicans are a critical group of men living together. If you are not good at taking criticism you are certainly not meant to be a Dominican. You won't survive if you can't take criticism. Nothing, absolutely nothing, does not receive review in our lives; hopefully from yourselves and assuredly from your brothers.

St. Paul tells us today, stop passing judgment before the time of the Lord's return. Although in the end it will ultimately be God who judges our soul, the time of the Lord's return could be any time, and proper judgment is critical for our lives. As St. Paul reminds us today, God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and manifest the intentions of the hearts. So what is your intention and is it pure? Have you come to our life because you are inspired by our life, and does that desire to make a difference continue to burn in your hearts?

The Prophet Isaiah this morning in the Office of Readings told us, The noble man plans noble things, and by noble things he stands. So are you striving for noble things? Why exactly are you here and does staying here still make sense for you? I certainly hope it does.

In the end we depend completely on God's grace. St. Irenaeus told us this morning, "By his own powers man cannot see God, yet God will be seen by men because he wills it." God wills that we be in communion with him. This is the greatest gift of a religious vocation: to see God.

St. Irenaeus continues: "As those who see light are in the light sharing its brilliance, so those who see God are in God sharing his glory, and that glory gives them life. To see God is to share in his life."

To be a Dominican is to share in God's glory, anything else is a compromise of our life as Dominicans.

Please be assured of the prayers of your senior brothers as you continue discerning your calling to our way of life.


Is it the picture painted by the Blessed Fra Angelico?What is its title and where one can see it?

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on December 21, 2010 5:38 PM.

In Saint Joseph we look to the future with confidence & courage, total trust in God's mercy, Pope says was the previous entry in this blog.

O Antiphon: O King is the next entry in this blog.

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