Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Church is a vision of values and actions

For Spirituality and Health's last issue of 2008, Thomas Moore writes about his decision to leave the monastic Servite order when he was twenty-five years old, in "Leaving the Church?".
"Forty years have passed since that morning of decision, and I have tried to follow the monastic ideals in my own way. I continue to enrich my layperson married writer’s life with the Servite spirit. But little by little, all that religion has become invisible in my life and personality. If you looked closely at me and my life, you wouldn’t see the things that typically identify a religious person, but in my own view I am more Catholic, more religious, and more spiritual than ever.

So, it seems that I didn’t leave the order that morning, nor did I leave the Church. On the contrary, I have been moving farther into it. Today, I lecture and give sermons in churches of every denomination. The Church is not a building, not a creed, not a membership, not an authority, not even a community, unless it is the community of all beings. It’s a vision, expressed in values and action, shared with the entire world.

Being in the Church and maintaining the monastic spirit in my life means being more engaged with life itself, more connected to the community of the world, and catholic — meaning universal, openly engaged in every moment, in every place, with every thing. I know that I have not created this path. It was laid out there for me from the beginning. I had only to accept the invitation to follow it. I know it isn’t for everyone, probably for very few. I haven’t the slightest need to convert anyone to it. I don’t even understand it."
Moore concludes, "I thank God for the gift of being invited one fateful autumn day into a bigger world and a larger sense of religion."

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