Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Merton: How interior life of laity is modeled by that of clergy

Thomas Merton wrote in 1956:
"The interior life of the ordinary Christian depends in large measure on the instruction, the example, and the prayers of the clergy. If the faithful are to enter into the liturgy, the priest himself must appreciate and understand the liturgy. And if the priest is to appreciate the great liturgical mysteries, he is obliged to meditate on them, to immerse himself in them at all times. Strengthened by meditation, the priest is able to rise to the level of his great vocation to "orient his life towards that sacrifice in which he must needs offer and immolate himself with Christ. Consequently he will not merely celebrate Holy Mass, but will live it out intimately in his daily life." (Menti Nostrae). In a word, the priest must strive after a life of sanctity which requires a "continual communication with God." (ibid)"- The Living Bread by Thomas Merton (Farrar, 1956).
A reader writes: "John Paul II warned us against the laicization of the clergy and the clericalization of the laity. Between 1870 and 1905 the laity had an apostolate in France second to none. (vide Daniel Moulinet, Laicat Catholique, Eds. du Cerf) Their activity was entirely parallel to the work of the clergy and there was no confusion of roles."

[Hat tip to A.S.]