by Joseph H. Lackner, SM
Rome’s declaration of Father Chaminade as “blessed” affirms him as an experienced spiritual guide who systematized his insights into a coherent whole. As Carol Ramey comments in the foreword, Father Lackner “bridges the spiritual insight of Father Chaminade with contemporary explorations into theology and psychology,” thus making this book easy to understand and eminently practical.
Spirituality or spiritual growth can sound very nebulous. Father Lackner’s title, Virtues for Mission, sets the reader on the path of seeking spiritual development for a reason: to prepare oneself to be an active participant in the Christian mission, to be purposeful, to have a goal. This book presents a path (not the only or the path), but a path, tried and proven over the years since the foundation of the Society of Mary. In the present crisis of insufficient priests at the parish level, lay people need to be thinking ahead about how we can prepare ourselves to minister to each other. Part of that preparation can well be formation. The process of formation has traditionally been part of religious life and the priesthood. It has served to form attitudes, dispositions, feelings and behaviors to enhance whatever ministry one has been called to. Now lay people are being called by present and future circumstances to assume more active roles in their parish. This book is an excellent guide that can be used individually, but especially in a group setting where challenge and support are helpful.
. . . Silence—no radio, no TV, nothing but the sounds of nature—creates room within us to hear God’s Word in a world in which words go around ceaselessly. It gives us space to get in touch with ourselves, to put aside distractions, to become quiet enough to hear the deepest voice within us speak. It has restorative powers, enabling us to regain balance and perspective in our lives, families, communities, and work. In its stillness we can stand back from what blares or squeaks the most in order to see all the aspects of our lives, even those that clamor for attention, in their proper place—at best, even to the point of seeing them within God’s perspective. Thus, silence empowers us to bear and nurture Christ in this world, for those who do this best are those who hear God’s Word and appreciate life from the sweep of God’s vision.
Marianist Spirituality . . . What Does that Mean
1 The Five Silences
3 Preparatory Obedience
4 Support of Mortification
5 Confidence in God
6 Distrust of Self
7 Recourse to Counsel
9 Renewal of Resolutions/Perseverance
10 Resistance of Temptations
13 Renunciation of the World
14 Abnegation of Self