Sunday, March 31, 2013

Counsels of Perfection: Lent to Easter Transition

 First, Happy Easter to all!  
He is risen, Alleluia!

Just a few things I wanted to mention about our book study as we move from Lent to Easter:


When I was listing examples of Rules of Life a couple of weeks ago, I forgot to include an excellent resource for the homeschool mom, Andrea Chen's Avilian Homeschool Routine.    We've talked about how a Rule is both more and less than a horarium or timetable, but I know that I am not the only mom of several who craves some specific guidance in managing time and getting it all done.    Andrea takes several monastic schedules and lays them side by side in a table, and then adapts the general principles to the life of a homeschooling mom.

She makes the point that monastic life often includes more "leisure" (in the classic, holy sense, not the idle entertainment sense) than the life of many moms, and that this is a good thing.   Work is important for the soul but isn't suppose to consume every moment or thought. 

She also makes the point that our domestic churches aren't supposed to copy monastic life but rather, that we can take the general ideas and apply them.    Monastic rules were originally developed to minimize the dangers of solitary religious life, and Benedict, for example, consciously built his model after that of family life.   The details will differ.   But many of the basic themes, like balance, moderation, respect for weaker members and so on, will apply.


Another thing I wanted to mention was that I made a simple free printable review/examen based on the first part of Counsels of Perfection which we have been discussing.  

counsels of perfection photo counselsofperfection.jpg
When I was writing these out, I was hoping that they didn't sound either too vague or too dreadful to the perfectionist soul.    I am no spiritual authority. I am just another mom.   I took the basic ideas of the different chapters of the book as I saw them and put them in a question form.   I hope they may be somewhat useful to someone as a sort of reconsideration of the chapters of the book we have been reading.     



Finally, I realized that in my last discussion post I didn't mention chapter 11 on Affections and Aversions, which we were supposed to read along with Chapters 9 and 10.   The ideas of guarding your affections and overcoming your aversions is a very important one, but I am going to ask you simply to read it and get what you can out of it.    The matter of affections is a very delicate one.    Here are some passages from Francis de Sales on the subject:

The essence of the cautions against dangerous attachments is that your peer group and the society you mix in will influence you deeply.  So it's important to carefully guard your heart and preserve your relationship with God and bring all your friendships before Him.

Then there are also our natural aversions.   Sometimes we have to be around someone we just don't like.  Too often the most irritating people in our lives are those to whom we owe some kind of respect or interaction... perhaps our relatives or co-workers or even our own children or spouse.   Again we have to guard our reactions and make sure we are acting and thinking justly, and again, that means examining our relationships before God.

I have found it helpful when I am either overly attracted or overly repelled to a person in my life to pray for them and engage in tiny and hidden acts of charity towards them.  I say "hidden" because I think that avoids the dangers of trying to curry favor with or manipulate someone I like or dislike strongly.

Msgr Lejeune warns that if your affection for someone is likely to lead you towards emotional or actual infidelity -- run, don't walk, away from the situation altogether! 

When I was pondering this I was wondering if books and movies can present some of the same dangers of igniting unruly affections and inclinations.  I have read that romantic fiction and cinema can be a spiritual danger to women.  Something to consider anyway.


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