IN THY COURTS (La Vocation à la Vie Religieuse)

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Message  Javier le Mer 10 Juil 2019, 1:47 pm

IN THY COURTS (La Vocation à la Vie Religieuse)

By Louis Vignat SJ 1907



ANALYSIS OF CONTENTS

(Reproduced from "Les Études")


I. "Jesus Christ and the Religious Life."

-Our Lord opposes as an antidote to the threefold concupiscence of the world the three substantial vows of religion. These vows constitute a state of life: the religious life. This state has Jesus Christ for author, for having established it by His example and teaching, He made it possible to our weakness by the shedding of His blood on Calvary.

II. "The Call of Jesus Christ."

-Most frequently, vocation is the ordinary action of the Holy Ghost that urges us to embrace the good and moves us even to the greater good. This supernatural movement of grace is now more, now less, lively; now more, now less, persistent. It must be controlled by external authority. The Holy Ghost prompts and excites; the Church approves and puts into execution. It is the confessor who in this acts in the name of the Church, but he must be a prudent and experienced confessor.

III. "How the Divine Call is made manifest."

-The first reason for becoming a religious is to secure one's salvation at any cost. Next, the love of God urges us to the imitation of the life of Jesus Christ. Sometimes the desire to make the best use of one's life and to spend it in the service of righteousness manifests the divine call. The emptiness of human joys and the trials and difficulties of life are also means which divine goodness makes use of. Finally, good example and the grace of a good retreat determine vocations.

IV. "The Struggle for a Vocation."

-To correspond with God's call difficulties arising from repugnance, anxieties, doubts, and unreasonable apprehensions must be overcome. Barriers, put in the way by even Christian families, must be broken down. The heart, as well as the mind, must make its defense -the latter by freeing itself from sophisms, always refuted, but forever springing up again; the former by severing the cords of too natural a tenderness.

In these short pages it was not the author's intention to dispense theologians from reading the treatment of this question by such authors as Saint Thomas, Suárez, Platus, Lessius, and Saint Alphonsus Liguori; but in thus summarizing the teaching of the masters he has done great service to the good of those souls who are seeking their own vocation, and who will therefore read these counsels with much profit.

L.G.

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Message  Javier le Jeu 11 Juil 2019, 2:20 pm

PREFATORY NOTE

"If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what you hast, and give to the poor and come follow me," 1 the special message of Eternal Wisdom to a soul of predilection - is the Gospel truth of which "In Thy Courts" would give us an exposé.

It is to point out in Revelation a Scriptural warrant for the special call, to give some definite notion of its nature, to describe some of the many forms of its manifestation to the individual soul -to speak a word of warning to the unwary amidst the difficulties of the struggle in faithfully following the Savior's invitation to a religious life voiced in love ineffable, that Father Vignat, a scholarly priest of the Society of Jesus, has written this booklet. It is especially timely since it appears as a guiding ray of light in the dark, troublesome storm now hovering over and disturbing dear old France, when Satan's shafts have been directed against the Church and with special violence against her lovely Child -the Religious. Never was such a booklet more useful than now to help with its mite in directing the many vocations which on every hand manifest themselves in France -the Mother of Missionaries- as well as in other countries, a striking proof that "the Church persecuted is the Church triumphant."

In these fruitful and immense gardens of the Church -our own dear America- the spirit of religion has taken firm root and put forth a vigorous growth in the many phases of Catholic and religious life. Hence, I welcome this little work in its English version and new title "In Thy Courts", the work of an American Jesuit teaching in the Archdiocese. While I willingly bless his efforts, I gladly and earnestly commend this book to the Catholic and non-Catholic public, and especially to the youth of our country who are desirous of knowing and of studying, and may be of heeding, the Master's Call.

J. Card. GIBBONS.
Baltimore, Md., May 1, 1907.

1. St. Matthew xix. 17.

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Message  Javier le Ven 12 Juil 2019, 12:26 pm

APOSTOLIC DELEGATION,                                            
             United States of America.
                                                                      1811 Biltmore Street,
                                                                           Washington, D. C.,
                                                                               April the 19th, 1907.


Reverend and dear Sir:

"IN THY COURTS," a translation of Father Vignat's little gem on the call of Christ to a life in Religion,
already approved by your Superiors, cannot fail to be of great service to English-speaking youths
who in their doubts and aspirations are seeking light and counsel in that most important subject
of Vocation.

Its treatment of the sources of the religious life in revelation, the nature and manifestation of a call
to such a life, and the struggle of the soul in yielding obedience to the voice of the Lord is particularly
timely and helpful in these practical days, when men give so sparingly to God and Religion.

Hence, whilst I praise your zeal and bless your efforts, I earnestly recommend "In Thy Courts" to all
those who wish to form an accurate idea of Vocation to Religion, and especially to those youths
whose hearts are receiving the first impression of that calm, sweet Voice of the Master.


Praying God to shower down upon you His choicest graces, I remain

                                                            Most faithfully yours in Xt,

                                                                                D. FALCONIO,
                                                                                  Apostolic Delegate.

REVEREND MATTHEW L. FORTIER, S.J.
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Message  Javier le Sam 13 Juil 2019, 1:40 pm

"IN THY COURTS"


CHAPTER I. JESUS CHRIST AND THE RELIGIOUS LIFE.

Only a very superficial idea of the religious life would be formed by any inquirer
who should not at the outset fix his attention upon the mystery of the Incarnation
itself and its incalculable consequences. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." 1

This is a fact of immense importance. It is none other than Eternal Wisdom
humbling Himself even to the lowliness of human nature to teach men with
His own divine lips.
It is the life of God made man exhibiting
from the Crib to Calvary
an ideal of holiness which the most ambitious of
moral greatness may strive after, though he can never fully attain its perfection.


More than this; by His death on the cross Jesus, at the price of His own blood, raises
us to a kind of equality with Himself. In the eyes of God, Christians in the state of
grace are no longer servants, but friends,2 brothers of Jesus Christ,3
adopted sons of God,4 temples of the Holy Ghost,5
partakers in the divine nature.6 This gift, like a divine
seed,7 transforms our nature into a new nature,8
intended to grow continually, under the breath of grace and the influence
of the sacraments, even to the full bloom of eternal happiness. In the mystery
of the Incarnation, it is indeed the divine nature that is poured out upon
the world. The life of Our Lord, His teaching, and His gifts raise man above
all that human reason could have conceived. Since God has loved us so much,
and enriched us with so many gifts, but little elevation of mind and nobility
of heart is required to put us out of conceit with that mere honest mean,
or even balance between opposite extremes on which the sages of old
used to plume themselves.


1 St. John, I-14
2 St. John, XV-15.
3 St. Matt., XII, 49-50.
4 I Ep. St. John, III-1.
5 I Ep. Cor., VI-19.
6 II Ep. of St. Peter, I-4.
7 I Ep. of St. John, III-9.
8. II Ep. Cor., V-17.


To be continued...

IN THY COURTS (La Vocation à la Vie Religieuse) Florence
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Message  Javier le Jeu 18 Juil 2019, 1:18 pm

Jesus calls on all His disciples -that is, on all Christians- to be perfect. 1

Now, Christian perfection is charity. Jesus himself has said that in the love of God and of our neighbor are contained the whole law and the prophets. 2 The more one loves God, the more does one advance toward perfection.

Charity, and consequently perfection, admit of degrees. The first, which is necessary for salvation, is the keeping of the Commandments. "If you love me, keep my commandments;" 3 and this a love that may at times require very much of the Christian. He must be ready to sacrifice all, even life, rather than offend God mortally by a grievous transgression of a single commandment. But charity can rise higher. True love of God does not rest satisfied with merely obeying His commands; it seeks in every way to fulfil His good pleasure; it forgets its own interests to be taken up with those of Jesus Christ alone; it devotes its life to His service -ready to spend and lose it for His honor and for His glory, for "greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 4


1. St. Matt., V-48.
2. St. Matt., XXII-40.
3. St. John, XIV-15.
4. St. John, XV-13.


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Message  Javier le Sam 27 Juil 2019, 11:57 am

The love of God is, then, the very ideal of perfection and of Christian life.
Now, is this love, even in its lowest degree, the observance of the Commandments, easily kept
ever alive without even casual failure? Above all, is it easy to carry this love to the self-renunciation
preached by Jesus-Christ? Alas! "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak." 1

God is not perceived by our senses. Though intimately and mysteriously present to each of us,
He does not force Himself upon our notice.
How quick we are to forget Him! Things of the senses,
on the other hand, unceasingly present themselves to entice the heart, to attract and captivate it by a
thousand cords of desire and enjoyment. How love God with one's whole heart when it is entirely taken up
with the things of the earth?
The divine sower passes and casts the seed of his love upon good ground,
which seems indeed well prepared;
but the cares of life and riches, like thorns, grow up and choke the
good grain.
2 "Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also," 3 saith Jesus.
If the heart is given up to riches, to luxury, to comfort, it cannot be devoted to God, for, continues Our
Lord, "No man can serve two masters: God and mammon." 4 The good things of this world
are the first hindrance to the love of God.



1 St. Matt., XXVI-41.
2 St. Luke, VIII-7-11.
3 St. Matt., VI-21.
4 St. Matt., VI-24.


To be continued...

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Message  Javier le Ven 02 Aoû 2019, 5:01 am

A second obstacle we bear within ourselves -an inclination, namely, to pleasure and enjoyment of the senses. There are pleasures that God blesses in lawful wedlock; yet even these divide the affections. "He that is with a wife," says Saint Paul, in his frank and unstudied speech, "is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife : and he is divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband." 2

If this be true of the lawful pleasures, what must be said of such as are not lawful ?  The animal nature which we bear within us, if we but slacken the reins or treat it with too much delicacy, will rebel and claim its prey. The more we yield to it, the more does it demand. Thus it is that so many Christians, fed for years with the Eucharistic Bread, like the prodigal son, wander away to squander, far removed from God, the best substance of their youth.


2 I Ep. to Cor., VII-33-34.

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Message  Javier le Lun 05 Aoû 2019, 6:27 am

A last obstacle to the love of God, and perhaps the greatest, because it emanates from a higher and more immaterial source,
is pride. Man so easily lends an attentive ear to the old temptation of the Earthly Paradise: "You shall be as Gods." 1 He wishes to be his own rule of conduct, to depend upon the lights of his own unaided reason, to do only his own will and make everything yield to its desires. He thus unavoidably comes into collision with the unbending law of God, and his charity, if it be not altogether destroyed, is always weakened.

Jesus Christ knew all this. And in His divine wisdom He had calculated the extent of the influence of these three obstacles. Thus to all who aspire to Christian perfection - that is to say, to persevere and to advance in the love of God - He holds out and counsels, without, however, imposing it upon them, a means as efficacious as it is radical.

Have you set your heart upon higher things ; is it your ambition to love God, as He deserves to be loved ? Ah then ! soul of my choice, follow me ; like me, embrace a life of poverty, of chastity, and of obedience. Poverty will free you from the dangers of riches; chastity will shield you from the deceptive and wayward attacks of the senses; obedience will shelter you from the peril of pride. And, mark it well, it is not some few isolated acts, performed, as it were, in passing, that Our Lord Jesus Christ counsels. He desires an irrevocable engagement in a permanent state of life. "No man putting his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." 2 "If thou wilt be perfect," He says to the young man, "go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me." 3


1 Gen., III-5.
2 St. Luke, IX-62.
3 St. Matt., XIX-21.


To be continued...

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Message  Javier le Mer 07 Aoû 2019, 12:45 pm

There is clearly no question of ever taking back again goods once sold or given away. To the disciples He proposes
a chastity such as, from the very terms He uses, can admit of no revocation. 1 If He invites us to follow
Him along the path of obedience, He is careful to let us know that, before us, He has been obedient unto death. 2
These are the reasons why the practice of the Evangelical Counsels implies a lasting engagement. There can be no religious life,
such as Jesus Christ conceived it, without abandonment of self to God. The vows must necessarily come in to transform
the best of desires and the most excellent of resolves into a permanent state of life.


Such facts and reflections lead clearly to the conclusion that the roots of religious life lie deep in the Gospel itself. It springs
from the Gospel as one of the choicest fruits of the teachings of Christ. 3

Let religious life disappear and the Church would remain mutilated and uncrowned. It would no longer accomplish its
full mission, since it would cease to teach mankind to keep and practise whatever Christ has taught.



1 St. Matt., XIX-12.
2 Ep. to Phil., II-8.
3 "The religious orders, as everyone knows, take their origin and their motive of existence from those sublime counsels
of the Gospel, which our divine Redeemer addressed, for the whole course of ages, to those who wish to reach Christian
perfection."
(Letter of Leo XIII to Cardinal Richard, December 23, 1900.)



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Message  Javier le Mar 13 Aoû 2019, 5:43 am

This is why Catholic doctors think that religious life, in all its essentials, will endure as long as the Church itself.
Like the Church, though in a different sense, it has Christ for its founder. He founded it by His teaching and by His example.


He has established the religious life in yet another way -by the merits of His precious blood. If in the days of Our Lord the wise
men of the world, then living, had heard Him proclaim the poor blessed, counsel abandonment of all possessions; if to disciples
who could not even understand the possibility of marriage without divorce, they had heard Jesus speak the praises of chastity
and of a life more angelic than human; if they had been present at exhortations to absolute self-renunciation and hatred of self,
surely these wise and prudent men would have smiled, and would have looked upon such a life as a chimera. But Jesus was God.
He sketched the plan of a perfect life, and then He shed His blood, and from that divine blood have sprung up thousands of men and
women devoted to voluntary poverty, virginity and obedience.
All the lights that have guided the founders of orders,
all the graces which have urged men and women to enter monasteries and religious houses, all the helps that secure their perseverance, were merited
for them on Calvary. It is not one of their least efforts, nor one of their least effectual spurs, for religious to be able to say to
themselves that the call which they have heard, that the graces which sustain them, that the very life they lead, have come forth
from the heart of Jesus upon the cross.



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Message  Javier le Sam 17 Aoû 2019, 1:07 pm

CHAPTER II - THE CALL OF JESUS CHRIST


But how does Jesus Christ call men to the religious life? With what voice does He reach the ear? What signs does He give of His invitation
and of His desires?

Some calls are indeed miraculous. Such, for example, is that of Saint Stanislaus receiving the Child Jesus in his arms, from the very hands
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and hearing the Queen of Heaven bidding him enter the Society of Jesus.

But facts and revelations like these are very rare indeed. Only a few are recorded in the lives of the greatest saints. God does not govern
the world of souls by miracle, but by the very effectual and yet very ordinary action of the Holy Ghost.

This action of the Holy Ghost is not a mystic theory, more or less open to question; it is a genuine Catholic dogma. That the devil
tempts us, no Christian can deny. Shall not God also exert an influence upon us? Surely He does influence us; but in a way diametrically opposed
to that of Satan. And how does Satan proceed? Can he give us new ideas, or make us form new images without any preexisting element? I do not
think so. He tempts us first by rousing in our imagination, through association of ideas, representations the outlines of which are already long since stored up in our memories. And this is precisely the reason why sensual passages in books, immoral spectacles, indecent pictures, are so very dangerous. They furnish the devil with weapons.


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Message  Javier le Lun 09 Sep 2019, 1:18 pm

God, on the other hand, urges us to well-doing in a more exalted manner,
not by acting on our imagination and through it on our passions, but on our
intellect and our will.
To do this He makes use of the truths of faith which we
already possess; He lights them up, as it were, before the eyes of our soul,
and He gives to the will a keener relish of them and a more ardent enthusiasm
in their pursuit. Some truth of faith, for instance, the love that God bears us,
which we well knew long since, becomes through the action of the Holy Ghost
within our souls more luminous. Heretofore it had left us cold and unmoved;
but now we are deeply touched by its consideration. By this stronger and more
penetrating light, under the action of God's influence, we draw practical
conclusions which we never thought of before, and we feel within ourselves
at last courage to be logical. The Holy Ghost tells us nothing we did not know
before; but He shows us what we know already under a light altogether new.



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