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.
All that had
been holy within had fled when the walls were pulled own in the
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.
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 ...
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,
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
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
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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