The Charitist Voice

                     “For the sake of the Kingdom”


                                                                                                                                               September,2003


(Editor’s mea culpa: I find this new endeavor exciting, but have not a clue what I’m doing. Please be patient with my efforts,

 as I learn along the way. —bmg)





                             ~~~News from all over~~~


Blessings on our postulant Dauriel as she celebrates her birthday this month. Happy Birthday, Dauriel, and we wish you many many more!!


Brother Mark went on holiday this month, visiting family and Sister Suzanne. On behalf of the Order, he received Sr. Suzanne back into community. Welcome home, Sister!


Postulant Yossi’s partner has had a health issue this month, please remember him in your prayers.


Sister Pat and Bro M Guadalupe fly to Oakland, CA this month to meet Bro Lou Anthony and a group of perspective candidates. They will also be working on the Foundation Program; our formation agenda for new members. This is an important part of our growth, so please pray for blessings on their efforts.


Sister Catherine Benet is at a turn in the road regarding a job offer; please pray for guidance as she and her husband Wayne make a decision.


Bro M Guadalupe was invited to speak about the EOC at a recent Adult Forum at his parish of St John’s Episcopal Church. It was well received, and there is the potential for perspective candidates because of his presentation. Pray that the Spirit settle on those who are considering a call to the Ecumenical Order of Charity, and that the All-Holy guide their discernment.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------- It was that time in the Sunday service for the Children’s Sermon, and the Pastor invited all the little ones to the altar.

One small girl was wearing a particularly beautiful dress, and as she sat down, the Pastor leaned over and said, “That is a very pretty dress.....is it your Easter dress?” The little girl replied directly into the Pastor’s clip-on microphone, “ Yes it is, and my Mommy says it’s a BITCH to iron.” ----------------------------------------------------------------------                                      

                                          Did you know?


There are 293 different ways to make change for a dollar.


A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.


Two thirds of the world’s eggplant is grown in.......New Jersey.


On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament

building is an American flag.


The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert

the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


In England, The Speaker of the House is not allowed to speak. =============================================

   


            Friends for the Journey...........Holy Souls whose lives bear testimony to the Charitist Spirit and Principles.


                                                                                            

                                                                                            

                                                                                                       

                                                        Dag Hammarskjold

                                    Secretary General to the United Nations

                                                               1905-1961



On September 18th, 1961, a plane crash in Central Africa took the life of Dag Hammarskjold, who, as Secretary General of the U.N. was on his way to broker a cease-fire between the Congo government and a group of sessionist rebels in Katanga. It was a typical mission for him throughout his time at the U.N. He strove to live out his commitment to Peace and self sacrifice on its behalf.


It was only upon his death the World discovered that this public servant and global leader was a man of deep faith. A manuscript was found, containing his thoughts and reflections that was later published under the title, Markings, a record of “my negotiations with myself, and with God.”


Hammarskjold came from a wealthy and prominent Swedish family; his father was himself a former prime minister. Dag studied law and economics as a young man, and served in various posts of government. He was offered, and accepted, the post as Swedish ambassador to the newly formed United Nations.


He seemed the personification of a diplomat: suave, genteel, charming and skilled at serving the needs at hand over his own needs or opinions. But few if any of his friends had any idea of the deepness of his faith. But he let a hint of that slip in an interview:


“From generations of soldiers and government officials on my father’s side, I inherited a belief the no life was more satisfactory than the one of selfless service to your country.....or to Humanity. From the scholars and clergymen on my mother’s side, I inherited a belief that.....all men were equals as Children of God, and should be met and treated by us as our masters.”


His journals show a deep attraction and respect for many Christian mystic writers, and biblical quotes filled many a page. But, in contrast, there are virtually no references to the things he was involved with in the outside world. Later biographers have had to piece meal the writings to correspond to external events during his public service. The only record of his election to the post of Secretary General of the U.N. is the brief phrase:

“ Not I, but God in me.”


It is clear that Dag lived day by day in a very conscious confrontation with the Absolute. It is close to impossible to pick out the threads of his spiritual development during his years of public service, but some months before his death he wrote,

 “ I don’t know Who---or What—put the question, I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer YES to Someone—or Something—and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self surrender, had a Goal.....I came to a time and place where I realized that the Way leads to a triumph which is castastrophe, and to a castastrophe which is a triumph, that the price for committing one’s life would be a reproach, and that the only elevation possible to man lies in the depths of humiliation. After that, the word COURAGE lost its meaning, since nothing can be taken from me.”


His death at 56 robbed the world of a great servant of Peace. For him, his life of public service was more that simply a career or means to power, it was a religious vocation. May he always be remembered for his faithfulness to God.



     “In our Era, the road to Holiness necessarily passes through the world of Action.”

                                                                                                                —Dag Hammarskjold


                                                      Excerpted and adapted from the book,

                                                      ALL SAINTS, by Robert Ellsberg



                                                                                                  

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                           Brother Lupe’s musings


Did you know we have our very own Madonna? The festival day of Our Lady of Charity is September 8th. It is a precious devotion for Cuban Catholics, who fondly refer to her as “La Cachita.”


The pious legend states that around 1608, two men and a young black slave boy (each of them named Juan) set out from Santiago del Prado on the Cuban coast to retrieve salt for the copper miners to preserve their meat.

While on the way a menacing storm blew up, and they decided to wait it out on shore, as their fragile canoe offered no protection.


The next morning as they returned to sea, a bundle wrapped in white slowly sailed up to them. It was discovered to be a 16 inch statue of a young Lady holding the Christ Child in her left arm and a golden crucifix in her right. She and the babe were dressed in white garments, and the wooden plank on which they sailed had the inscription: Yo soy la Virgen de la Caridad. (I am the Virgin of Charity.)


They quickly returned to Santiago del Prado and a church was built to house the statue and its veneration. The city was later renamed El Cobre because of all the copper mines. And the statue’s named was modified to Our Lady of Charity of Copper (for the city where the church was built.)


The Mother of Jesus has been venerated under many titles in many places, in virtually every land on Earth. My name in religion is taken from her visits to Mexico. But I think she has been misunderstood and misrepresented by devotees and the Church itself.


The Church has always been quick to accent the tradition of her perpetual virginity. Whether she was or not, in the final analysis, does not impact the victory worked out by her Son. But this very tradition has been used by the Church throughout the ages to support the concept that only the virginal can truly please God, that to be less than a virgin makes one’s service to the Kingdom as tarnished and rather insignificant.


Please don’t misunderstand me: virginity and celibacy can be good if lived out to the honor of God. But just as honorable is the person who is in touch with themself, and feels moved to share themself with someone they love. After all, “God is Love,” says St John in his first epistle. Each state, lived out honestly and honorably, can give Glory to the Eternal. I myself have known many “monastic virgins” that were ANYthing but gentle, holy, kind or Christlike. And I’ve known people who had all of the above attributes, and had many children, or had been through more than one partner, married or not.


All states can and should please God, if they are lived to their fullest, and constantly respect, support and encourage the other states of life that God has provided for Humanity.


The Lady Mary has been exploited by various religious groups as well. Followers of Santeria, the Voodoo religion popular throughout the Caribbean, claim our own Lady of Charity as the Yaruba Goddess Ochun.


Various New Age groups, and even segments in the traditional branches of the Universal Church say that Mary of Nazareth is simply the Feminine face of the Divine.


I myself see her as Jesus’ first and most faithful disciple. As to perceiving her as the Feminine side of God, I have never felt comfortable with that interpretation. After all, the word for Spirit in Greek (pneuma) and Hebrew (ruach) are both feminine in gender. For me, that means that the Holy Spirit is the Feminine side of the All-Holy. This seems more sensible to me, because to maintain that “Father-Son-Spirit” are all male would create the most intimate and awesome SAME SEX UNION that Creation has ever seen! I wonder what fundamentalist Christians of every persuasion would think of that?


The translators of Scripture, even today, still hold to a male dominated interpretation. If they actually translated literally, we would strive for the

“Queendom of God” and the Spirit would be the gentle, persuasive, loving MOTHERLY face of God....the very same Comforter promised by Jesus to his followers in the Gospel of St John. One of the names for God in Judaism is: El Shaddai. Translated literally, it means” Full Breasted One.”


If the Church paid closer attention to Mary’s Song of Praise in the Gospel of Luke, we would celebrate the fact that she was blessed because she was the MOTHER of the coming Messiah, NOT because she was a virgin.


Virginity was important to the Ancients because it was a proof of “unspoiled” property. In the ages of the Hebrew Scriptures, love had rarely if anything to do with a marriage. The dowry paid by a perspective husband was the price of his new bride. At the wedding banquet, the groom took his new wife to an adjoining room to consummate the marriage. Once it was proven to the new husband’s satisfaction that the new bride was in fact unspoiled, and that he was the “first,” the marriage party began. Perhaps that whole attitude became transposed to the Christian movement of the first centuries.


No matter what, I have felt the Lady Mary’s presence and prayers throughout my life. She has been a constant friend and someone I want to emulate. I celebrate her as the First of the Heavenly Congregation; the One who can turn to God and pray for me and WITH me; I count her as a companion on my faith journey. Now I can call on her with a new title:

Our Lady of Charity.


May she walk with us, and pray for us, today and every day...........Amen.

  

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                 A Story of SIMPLICITY AND Forgiveness           

Once, in a small hamlet in the Austrian mountains, lived a devout widow. She attended Mass every day, and was known for her gentleness and spirit of prayer. It happened one evening while praying, that the Almighty spoke to her. She was not frightened in the least, but immediately asked the LORD to bless all those she was praying for; and they were blessed.....abundantly. Word of her nightly conversations with God spread throughout the valley and mountain. Folks from far and wide began to come to her with their petitions, asking her to speak to the LORD on their behalf.


The parish priest initially dismissed all this “foolishness” as the superstitious rantings of uneducated Christians. But he began to notice a change blossom around him: people who were sick, came away healed; those confused and uncertain, came away focused and confident; those with doubts and fears, came away with glowing smiles.


Determined to get to the bottom of this, he approached the widow himself.


“Guten Tag, Frau,” he said to her one morning after Mass. “What’s this I am hearing about you and your nightly conversations with the LORD?” “Yes, Father, when I start to pray, God pulls up a chair and speaks to me. Why, I cannot describe the beauty His glowing smile, when He draws near and asks who I have for Him to bless that night!”


This is ludicrous, thought the priest to himself. God doesn’t work that way. He’s

 not going to deal with an untrained soul. What does she know of sin, suffering and theology? I must expose her for the fraud she is. After all, to think that the Creator of all things would have time to pull up a chair and visit...with the likes of her and not someone like a priest, or even the Holy Father?


“Well,” he said, “I have something for you to ask God. Would you do that for me?” “Of course, Father! What would you like me to ask about?”


The priest pondered what kind of test to give her and remembered something that she would never be able to guess. “Tonight, when you see the LORD, ask Him to tell you what it was I did 10 years ago that was so bad, I had to struggle with myself for a long time to go to confession. Ask Him that for me, okay? Then tell me tomorrow after church.”


The next morning after Mass, the priest waited on the steps for the little lady to make her way out of church. He felt self satisfied as she approached him with a perplexed look on her face.


“Well,” he said, “Did the LORD drop in for tea last night?” “Oh yes, Father, God came to visit me last night, as He always does. Of course, we have so much to talk about, there was no time for tea.”


“So did you ask Him? Did He tell you what it was I did that was so bad?”


“I brought you up and God smiled.....and I asked Him if he recalled that time ten years ago of which you spoke. He said that He clearly remembered how much you needed Him at that time, and that you finally came to Him in confession.”


“And? What did God tell you? Don’t you remember?”

 

“Umm, God said He clearly recalls how He waited for you anxiously.”


“Yes yes.....but WHAT did He TELL you? Out with it, woman!”


“Well, Father, He says that after He forgave you, He can’t remember a thing, except.......how much He has always loved you.”

                                               -----adapted from a story told by Greg Tamblyn,

                                                      Singer, composer, story teller and music minister                    

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                  .....a word, from the WORD.....


Have you never heard or understood? Don’t you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the Earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to those who are tired or worn out; He offers strength to the weak. * Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with My victorious right hand. * To the poor, oh LORD, You are a refuge from the storm. To the needy in distress, You are a shelter from the rain and heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall. * When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. * Do not throw away this confident trust in the LORD, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. “For in just a little while, The Coming One will arrive and not delay.”


                                        –Morning devotion for September 2nd; taken from the book,

                                          DAILY LIGHT, a book of readings compiled 200 years ago by an Englishman and his family for their use.

                                       Various verses of scripture were gathered by theme and Woven into reflections for every day of the year, morning And evening. (The New Living Translation was used.)

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                                      Thoughts to ponder.....


Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.



Life is sexually transmitted.


If quitters never win, and winners never quit, then who is the boob who said,” Quit while you’re ahead?”


Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.


Some people are like Slinkies: not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one of them tumble down the stairs.


Why does a SLIGHT tax increase cost you $200.00, and a SUBSTANTIAL tax cut save you thirty cents?


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     Lifting up one another in Prayer............



For Birthday blessings on Dauriel this month;


For Sister Seal and Brother Arnie, that the Spirit overshadow them as they work to resolve the various obstacles in their lives............that all go well and smoothly;


For traveling mercies on Sr. Pat and Bro. Guadalupe, who join Bro. Lou Anthony next month to meet perspective candidates and finish work on the Foundation Program handbook;


For Humanity and all the troubled spots of the World:

Afghanistan and Pakistan;

Liberia, the Sudan, the Ivory Coast, Yemen;

Northern Ireland and North Korea;

For these United States;


And for anywhere that one of God’s own raises a hand against another

in judgement, anger, hate or revenge;


For all the victims and makers of war and want;


For all our dear ones near and far;

For the sick, and those with any need;

For our departed Charitist Companions and all the Departed;

For the Community, Companions and Associates of the Order of Charity;

For our various ministries and all our private petitions;

For all our praises and thanksgivings;

 

We lift all these concerns to the Light, and thank you oh God,

for all Your blessings upon us.....

 



For all You are, and all You do,

Oh God-Creator, Redeemer and Renewer of all things,

accept our deepest praise, worship and thanksgiving.

Amen. 

                                                                     

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“The life of a good Religious must be seen as strong in all the virtues. But often what people see is only the spit and polish; that is to say, in some respects the Interior life lags behind the Exterior life. Therefore, the good Religious should appear to the rest of the world not as s/he really is, but as s/he wishes s/he were. Nonetheless, one’s Interior life is ALWAYS to be evaluated on a higher scale than one’s Exterior life.


The reason for all this is that our Inspector General is GOD, Whom we ought to reverence in all our pomps and poops. We never leave His sight. Wherever we go, we should walk, step smartly, and march with the angels.


Every day we ought to renew our commitment and excite ourselves to fervor. We should recapture the excitement of that first day of our conversion.


To that end we should say: “Help me, Lord God, in good commitment and holy service, and grant that I may begin this day as though it were my birthday in the Lord, for what I’ve done up to now is more the work of a mole than a monk.”


The course of our spiritual progress has already been charted by our religious commitment. That’s to say, the Religious of goodwill has to progress with all possible diligence toward the ‘Ultimate Goal.’ ”


                                             Excerpt adapted from pgs 30-31, from the book,

                                              The Imitation of Christ, a modern translation

                                               By William Griffin



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                        A prayer for the night


     Unseeable,


     I have seen You this day

     In the lights of the skies,

     In the green of the Earth,

     In flowing waters.


     Untouchable,


      I have felt You this day

      In the warmth of the Sun,

      In the wildness of the Wind,

      In the Touch of another.


      In and beyond my senses,

      In Taste and Touch and Sound,

      Your Mystery has been made known.


     At the ending of the day,

     In the darkness of the night,

     In and beyond my senses....


     Let me know Your Presence, oh God,

     Let me know Your Everlasting Presence.

                               

     Amen.


       —the opening prayer for Saturday night, taken from the book,

               Sounds of the Eternal, A Celtic Psalter, by J. Phillip Newell