by Leane VanderPutten
Quotes from Called to Life by Fr. Jacques Philippe
We’ve heard the term before….Domestic Monastery. I understand the sentiment and I think it is a lovely term that is loaded with possibilities within the home. Personally, my home couldn’t be mistaken for a monastery at any given time.
Having a Domestic Monastery, to me, means we are working each day to get our priorities in order….doing God’s will within our homes.
What does that look like and what does it mean?
For everyone and every family it is different…and yet, we will have a common, underlying theme. We will, if we are faithful Catholics, be responding to His call, every day, that presents itself to us each moment that the day unfolds.
When we get up in the morning, we have an “agenda”. This is good, we need a foundation that we can circle back to as the day progresses, when we can fulfill these projects. That’s why I present to you my calendars, planners, etc. We have planned and we know what we wish to accomplish that day.
But we need to remember that, though our plans are important, we are “called” to live each moment as God presents it to us.
Let me give you an example. I go to my list, I have had it in the back of my mind and rather excited to start checking off those “To-Do’s”! As soon as I roll up my sleeves to get started, the baby who has just laid down for a nap, wakes up! Ahhhhh…there goes the schedule!
Now, I have two choices. Well, actually, I haven’t got a choice….I have to go tend to the baby. But I have two choices on how to react… I can kick against the goad, and do it resentfully or at least begrudgingly…OR…I can remember that each moment I am being called by God….to tend to what is presenting itself at the time.
“Every yes to God’s call, even in the least matter, brings an increase of life and strength and encouragement, for God gives himself to those who are open to His calls and confers ever more freedom upon them.” -Jacques Philippe, Called to Life
This doesn’t mean that I don’t plan my time and that I don’t have those lists and schedules…they are important. But always remember that in our Domestic Monastery, when that “bell” goes off we tend to whatever or whoever is ringing the bell.
Responding to these calls throughout the day (and we women have SO MANY), is God’s will for us and we will grow in strength, character and happiness as we learn to respond to them cheerfully.
“God’s call can concern important life choices and be a vocation in the classic sense (a vocation to the consecrated life, to marriage, to a particular mission in the Church or in society). Often, though, the calls we receive from God bear upon smaller, everyday things: an invitation to pardon, an act of confidence in a difficult situation, a service to render to someone, a moment of prayer… It is as important to detect these calls and consent to them, for, small as they may seem, they mark out the path that leads to a far richer and more abundant life than we would otherwise know.“
Women everywhere are looking for happiness. Often it is being pursued through the fulfillment of their own desires, their projects, their dreams. Plans and projects are not a negative, but they are not an end in itself. To get up each day and say, “I have so many things I need to accomplish today!” and to be disgruntled when these don’t come to fruition is not the way to happiness and fulfillment.
We may have our projects, our dreams…but there needs to be a willingness to lay all aside to answer God’s call in our everyday life, as it presents itself. THAT is fulfillment.
“There is, however, one condition. We must give up our own agendas and allow ourselves to be led by life, in happy events and difficult ones, while learning to recognize and accept the calls addressed to us day by day. ‘Call’ is the keyword.
The idea, simple but very meaningful, is absolutely fundamental to our temporal and spiritual plans. Human beings cannot attain fulfillment solely by carrying out their own projects. These projects are legitimate and necessary, and we must bring our intelligence and energy to bear on accomplishing them. But that’s not enough, and in the event of failure it can lead to disillusionment.
Another attitude, one in the end more decisive and fruitful, must accompany our initiating and carrying out of projects: that of listening to the calls, the discrete, mysterious invitations that come to us continuously throughout life. This attitude of listening and availability takes priority over even the projects themselves.
I believe we can be fulfilled as human beings only to the extent that we perceive and respond to the calls life addresses to us day in and day out: calls to change, grow, mature, enlarge our hearts and our horizons, and leave behind hardness of heart and narrow-mindedness in order to welcome reality in a larger and more confident manner.” -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Called to Life
So, as our day progresses in our “Domestic Monastery”, let us respond to those “bells”, grab hold of those multitude of opportunities that will present themselves knowing that, by embracing them, we will attain a happiness that far surpasses any “project”or “accomplishment” we have attained. We will be accomplishing God’s will in our lives…which is what we are here for and is the greatest happiness a person can attain.
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The Spiritual Combat, first published in 1589, provides timeless guidance in spiritual discipline. St. Francis de Sales (1576-1622) read from it himself every day and recommended it to everyone under his direction.
Vigorous, realistic and full of keen insight into human nature, The Spiritual Combat consists of short chapters based on the maxim that in the spiritual life one must either “fight or die”. Fr. Scupoli shows the Christian how to combat his passions and vices, especially impurity and sloth, in order to arrive at victo
Rooted firmly in Scripture, these pages call on husbands to stop thinking of themselves simply as bosses and breadwinners. Rather, says author Clayton Barbeau, husbands should see themselves as co-creators with God, imitators of Christ’s love for His people, high priests in the domestic Church, teachers of their children, witnesses to society, providers of spiritual and material goods, and models of holiness.
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