Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Immorality, Impurity, Licentiousness, Drinking Bouts, Orgies


I have added the Daily Readings to the sidebar, it appears to be from the American lectionary.

Gal 5:18-25 Brothers and sisters: If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

A thought...
I am not sure how much
immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry,
jealousy,outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,dissensions, factions, occasions
of envy, drinking bouts, orgies,
there were even in the convents 0f Spain that were not touched by St Theresa's reform of the Carmelite order, there was certainly hatred, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions and occasions of envy these are all spoken of in St Theresa's writings, in fact she herself was often the object of hatred, factions etc.

But let us think about the other things: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, drinking bouts, orgies, in St Paul lists (I'll leave idolatry and sorcery). They are part of fallen human nature, so even if they actually didn't happen in St Theresa's convents, I suspect they happened in the minds of her sisters. They seem to be the object of many penitents concerns, especially today. Many good young men and women seem to struggle with these things, as it is Brighton, sometimes in fact, we have orgies here and certainly there is drinking to the extreme.
None of the great monastic writers deal with these things, St Benedict never mentions how to deal the fantasies of his monks, he does deal with violence and anger. St Theresa is the same.

What both deal with are not the negative things of the "flesh" but the positive ones of the "the Spirit",
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

They are concerned not with taking out darkness bucketful by bucketful but turning on the light. Conversion for them is not about arguement but the power of the Spirit.
At the heart of the great monastic writers is this vision of what we are called to become. The daily monastic cycle enables the monk or nun to transcend the "old man". The rule of life of prayer, manual work and communal living impose both a discipline and vision.

So how do we transcend the "old man", the flesh?

Regular Prayer - important for that vision of God, especially daily Mass

Manual work - it keeps us occupied, but it also gives us a sense of accomplishment and creativity, even digging the garden.

Communal living - aloneness is good but loneliness which leads to self obsession and stimulates us to live in a fantasy world is the great enemy to spiritual growth. Friendship is necessary to sanctity.

4 comments:

Adele said...

Those are great suggestions Father. Do you have any others as well, as those ones don't seem sufficient to keep a pregnant mom (expecting #5), with four kids under four (one hearing impaired) from blowing her cork at least once a day and saying a few very crabby things and wanting to run off to a convent.

(I'm not complaining about all the kids, I'm delighted we have them, and hope we have lots more, just wish I was a more patient mom.)

What did the reading mean yesterday about "Give alms and all will be clean to you." I know there are monetary alms, but does it mean anything else as well?

God bless,
Adele

Volpius Leonius said...

You missed out mortification Father.

Jackie Parkes said...

Great post on a a great saint!

gemoftheocean said...

Well, given the tendency for people to worship material things and all this wicca business I'm not so sure you should leave out idolatry and sorcery! Love of material things has been going around since Adam and Eve .... but this witchcraft as religion is positively frightening. they don't want ot believe in tried and true belief in the one true God, so they get cynical and satanism steps in the void.