Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Musings

A few random thoughts and ponderings to start the week...

Over at the blog Roma locuta est there has been an ongoing series of posts pertaining to the new translation of the Roman Missal. The scope and depth of this series is far beyond anything I could present here, but I would urge anyone who has the time and the interest to check out this page, which compiles all of the posts in the series. It is an ongoing endeavor, so check back periodically for updates.

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I read this on someone's Facebook page:

"In the Bible Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead.... God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called!"

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A non-Catholic friend recently asked me: Why does the Catholic Church have nuns? Where did that idea come from?

My reply:

From the earliest times Christians have always held in high honor those who committed themselves to a life of virginity and dedication to serving God. Paul wrote that he wished more people would take up the unmarried lifestyle (as he did) so that they can dedicate themselves to God more fully. Paul wrote: “I would that all men were even as myself; but every one hath his proper gift from God .... But I say to the unmarried and to the widows, it is good for them if they so continue, even as I.” (1 Corinthians 7:7-8) He goes on to point out that people who get married are wrapped up in concerns for worldly things, for their family, for their work, trying to get ahead in the world, etc. But those who are not married can give themselves more completely to God, they are dedicated more fully to the Lord because they have cut their ties to earthly concerns (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

So there has always been a sense that some Christians are called to a different lifestyle which sets them apart from worldly living. Both men and women answer this call. By the late 200’s A.D. men and women who chose to live celibate lifestyles and who dedicated themselves to prayer and doing good works, began living in communities and organizing into groups. Often they were forced out into the desert when Christians were being persecuted and there they formed monasteries and convents as we know them today. They established rules to govern these communities and each member took vows promising obedience to the leadership of the community.

So “nuns” have always been a part of the Church, in some form or fashion.

Perhaps another question might be: Since the early Church had men and women who dedicated themselves to God in this way, why does your church NOT have nuns?

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