AND THE TRAMPLED VINEYARD
"And now I have
set foot in thy gates, O Jerusalem ..."
vineyard has indeed been trampled and the hedges breeched. It is
undeniable except to the most doctrinaire of those who pulled down
her walls and whose disaffection from the Church remains as virulent
as the pschedlic miasma of the '60's that still hovers as a pall
of smoke over the ruins. The swath of the destruction of Religious
Life ... consecrated life lived in community as it had been for
well over 1000 years ... in the name of "Renewal" ... has been so
overwhelming as to render the Church effectively unrecognizable
from a mere generation ago. Vestiges remain, but they are vestiges
only, redolent of a continuity no longer grasped, and in large part,
no longer construed as real.
that had been holy within had fled when the walls were pulled own
in the "Renewal
that became a requiem"
— and the world
rushed in, pillaging what was sacred, and leaving in its wake profane
litter and utter desolation — a mausoleum of dreams that once flourished
in a monastery.
still await the "renewal" 50 years later — even as we watch
our Churches close and our monasteries crumble. We had traded vestments
for vests and habits for habiliments. We went into the
world and we became the world's own. We became of the world,
converted to the world, sanctified every obscenity and
called it holy, placed the self, and no sacrifice, on an
altar of our making ... and declared the "Renewal" a success ...
winds are stirring in the East. The generation that wandered for
40 years in the desert can now, at long last, see beyond the Jordan
... but they themselves who had been feckless with God will never
cross it. Another generation will gather up our bones and cross
that bourne. It is our children who will proclaim that,
"When the Lord brought
back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming. Then was our
mouth filled with laughter; and our tongue with rejoicing!"
(Psalm 125.1). Our captivity to the world may well be at hand, our
exile from the land of our fathers at a close. It is not us, not
us, but our children who will utter as at the end of an arduous
"And now I have
set foot within thy gates, O Jerusalem!"
Do not, then, be discouraged by the paucity
of present vocations. Did not Christ himself say,
"Many are called, but few are chosen"?
Our Holy Mother St. Colette said, "The
end is approaching, many are called but few are chosen. Many solemnly
pronounce their vows, but alas, how few there are who acquit themselves
of them to God who knows all things!"
A life lived with God, in God, for God, calls for nothing less than
conspicuous heroism, unflinching courage, unfailing love —
in short, a total response to God's invitation.
Not in numbers does strength and power reside, but in love Christened
as holy, for God Himself is holy; in the unstinting self-giving
of the soul to God, "Qui potens est"
as Mary joyfully declares in her Magnificat!
Do not be afraid that you are little, have little ... for it has
pleased Christ to do great things through that which the world esteems
small and insignificant.
Ours is to trust, to hope and to pray, in obedience to
for holy and zealous vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life
— for the fields are, perhaps as never before,
"Who is mighty"
(St. Luke 1.49)
St. John 4.35
A Poor Clare Colettine
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