Our Church is the heart of our life of prayer as an Apostolic and Catholic religious congregation. It is where we pray, where we meditate, and where we approach the Gate of Heaven, at which we receive the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is where we listen attentively for God's voice in and through the Eternal Word.
The life in Christ is fundamentally a life of the word. God's first action in the Holy Scriptures is not to make but to speak. He said, "Let there be light." As the Prologue of St. John's Gospel teaches us, God made the world with a Word, an Eternal Word (being of one substance with the Father) and was not anything made that was made apart from His Word, the Instrument of Creation. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is a Word, a Logos.
For reasons unknown to us, God found it essential that Adam name the creatures, which the Word had made. And our Lord Jesus Christ during His public ministry relied upon parables so extensively in His teachings that His disciples wondered at the preponderance of them. St. Paul equated the Gospels with the power of God, and as far back as we can tell, people have relied upon the Scriptures to hear God speak directly and specifically into their lives and particular situations. This practice is known as Lectio Divina, or divine reading. And why not? For St. Paul called the Holy Scriptures "the oracles of God" (Rom 3:2). We ought not forget that the living breath of the word was thought to be so holy that the books that we now read as the Bible were not written down for decades but existed, like the Iliad or the Odyssey, only in oral form.
In prayer, in meditation, in discernment of God's will for each person and vocation, religious life is the life of the word. Miraculously, through that word God is able to speak differently into countless lives in as many different ways all at the same time yet using one reading. In a sense, each person is the center of the universe for that golden instance without trampling upon the lives or rights of any other person. For such is the Kingdom of Heaven.
The life of a religious is guided and instructed by two great wheels that turn over the course of each year: the Temporale and the Sanctorale. The Temporale relates the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ — from Advent and the Nativity to the year's final feast of Christ, the Risen King. The Sanctorale celebrates the lives of the saints, whose "saint days" recur annually. As the Lord's life and ministry is recorded in several different sources, the Temporale is observed using diverse readings celebrating the same annual feasts: in the space of three years for the Sunday Eucharistic readings and in two years for the weekday Eucharistic readings. The Divine Office lectionary requires two years to complete while the whole Psalter is read every month or every 70 days depending on the options chosen.
We seek to hear the same lessons each day that the greatest number of Catholics around us hear, so we follow the Lectionary of the Roman Catholic Church. In that same spirit, we seek universality in our worship; our Mass is fundamentally the same Mass that the Western Church has been celebrating throughout its two-thousand year history — which is to say, by the greatest number of people and for the longest period of time. It is far closer to the reverent and holy Latin Mass than is the contemporary Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, our Missals, purchased second-hand, were used previously in a Tridentine Rite (Latin Mass) Roman Catholic Church. We normally use chanted Gregorian settings for the principal parts of our Mass, and chant the Divine Office in Anglican Plainsong. so favored by Paul VI and Benedict XVI. We pray traditional Catholic prayers such as the Angelus, the Salve Regina, and the Alma Redemptoris Mater.
Please join us in meditating on the word by clicking on Spiritual Reflections.