Posted by: Peadar Ban | December 2, 2011

Last Night

Last night was our first Advent meeting at St. Christopher’s.  We are a smallish group each Thursday evening of those who can take the time away from the busy world, members of something called The Families of Nazareth.  That is a bigger organization spread across the globe, founded in Poland and concentrated on working toward “Communion of Life With Christ Through Mary” (whew!).  We enjoyed a peaceful time of adoration and recitation of the Joyful Mysteries punctuated by short meditations chosen specifically for each Mystery by one of our number.

The pervading theme of the meditations was to await and prepare for Jesus’ personal coming to us at each Holy Mass in a kind of  “Eucharistic Advent”.  As Advent is a time of cleansing and preparation for our commemoration of the Incarnation  said the short meditations from one of the Movement books, “The Mystery of Faith” by Fr. Tadeusz Dacjer, the Polish priest who founded the Movement, so too are we given the opportunity to cleanse and prepare ourselves for each time we participate in and receive the mystery of Christ’s coming to each of us in each Holy Eucharist.  Now, as I continue to think about the import of that, I realize that in some way that time of preparation can lengthen and spread gradually from a few minutes  of silent recollection before Holy Mass to an ever increasing time of preparation, until all time is involved in a kind of preparation for/presence in the One Who Comes to me/us.

That was brought home to me when we listened to the words from Father Dacjer’s book contained in the material for Spiritual Reflection supplied to each participant.  I excerpt the part that struck me:

“If we desire to progress towards sanctity, then through various stages of purification we can once again reach this particular state of immaculateness that we have wasted through being unfaithful to the graces of Baptism.  Our whole path to sanctity is nothing other than achieving the same state of our soul that we received at the moment of Baptism.… Progress in our interior life depends on an ever stronger desire to actualize the graces of Baptism, graces of being molded into the image of Christ by living in the spirit of the eight Beatitudes: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,” said Christ (Mt 16:25). This “losing of one’s life” begins with the sacrament of Baptism and is to be actualized throughout our entire life. We should lose our life for the sake of Christ by trying to imitate Him ever more fully on the path of our life according to His will and His plan for us. We have to be ‘buried’ with Christ. Because of this, we must go through our own death. That is why, as far as we have not died to everything that separates us from God, our holiness, our life “hidden with Christ in God” (cf. Col 3:3), cannot become a reality. By losing our life for Christ, we respond to the call to find ourselves in Him who is “the whole fullness” (Col 2:9).”    Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer, The Gift of Faith, pp 151-153 (Emphasis mine)

As I read those comments by Dacjer, comments about everyone’s spiritual journey being along a path of return to the “immaculateness” of our state at the time of our Baptism I felt as if I had been as the Irish say, “gob smacked”.  It was another one of those statements I have often heard or read since becoming involved in the FNM that I find so utterly true, yet so utterly abandoned and ignored by me as life rushes me by such truths; a convicting and, at the same time, liberating statement, a breath of fresh air.  I joined that to the thoughts in the rosary meditations and realized the abundance of graces and the vast amount of time I have wasted, frittered away when I could have been in the intimate company of God.  I was as immaculate, then, as Mary was all her life.  What is more, the simple and bold truth, the promise, is that we all can achieve that state, can return to it, with the help of God’s grace.

That was one of the things I gathered from the sharings after we had given some thought to the reflection materials.  I began to understand, as I listened and reflected, that all along two things were being asked of me, two really very simple things.  Quietly it dawned on me that the “imitation” of Jesus did not demand of me any heroic or Herculean efforts, no manly many muscled spirituality.  I was simply being asked to live a life in harmony with the way God had created the world to be in harmony with His loving will for it, to allow Him to guide me, and to unite my efforts…small as they are…to His greater and better ones; to live as Jesus lived, leaving the outcome to His Father.  The second thing I owe to the presence of another person.  It is the clear understanding that my life can be seen to be, when lived in harmony with God’s will, as a kind of “repayment”, if you will, to Christ for his generosity to me, a giving back, and an offering of gratitude, a Eucharistic life.  That is the meaning of “imitation” and turns us all in a mysterious way into a eucharist with a small “e”.  That gives everything I do so much greater …in fact eternal…significance.

As dawn  breaks now, that seems to me the most clear thing I have thought in the longest while.

I apologize for being long winded, but, as you can see, a lot happened to us last night who were there, and I thought it worth sharing.  We prayed for all who were unable to join us, and I hope that you were able to pray for us wherever you were.  I will do my best to keep praying for you during Advent, that you prepare for Christ’s birth in your hearts, and His making a home there.

Dare I say I long to see you all along the path and at the journey’s end?

Wishing you a journey to immaculateness with our Holy Mother in Christ’s Peace,

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Responses

  1. I love this book by Dajczer. I’ve read it at least three times. I didn’t realize that you were members of the Family of Nazareth. I have good friends who were exploring the possibility for themselves, and that’s how I got introduced to Fr. Dajczer. I have recommended his book numerous times . . . A blessed Advent!

    • Iwould be happy to put your friends in contact with people in Michigan who are involved in FNM. That book and the spirituality have changed my life in ways I would not have thought possible.

  2. Peter,
    I have been mulling over the great loss of pious practices in our Church. We seem to be too much preoccupied with having a direct effect on the world, forgetting how little effect or influence our efforts have on kings and consorts. We keep banging our heads against the plain orneriness of the human creature. And we waste our time in doing it.

    Is it not rather in prayer, as all our saints without exception, tell us that we have the greatest effect? Every forest is made of single trees; every country of single persons.

    • Hello Gabriel,

      I think that I could not agree more with you. Part of our “plain orneriness” as you so trenchantly put it is the annoyingly wrong headed conclusion that we are the solution to our own problems and the forest (to borrow your metaphor) of unintended consequences which springs up whenever and wherever we rush in where angels fear to tread. Meekness is not natural to us, the meekness which allows us to be silent and wait. We will find out what to do I suspect.

      Imagine a world filled with people of that sort. Imagine only 12 people of that sort. Well, we don’t actually have to imagine that, do we?

  3. Thanks, Peter, for the offer, but they have decided otherwise. However, I was introduced to Fr. Daczjer through them and for that I am forever thankful.

    • Well, that is as it will be. Should you, yourself ever wish more contact with FNM, please allow me to be of some service. There is one other book Fr. Dacjer wrote before he died, and there are several other books dealing with the spirituality of the movement if you should ever be interested.

    • Is it his book on the Eucharist? I do have some of the other books as well, mostly by Biela.


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