Sunday, October 10, 2010

Importance of Formation

As I was doing my usual web browsing and surfing over the net looking for documents that I could use on my research about our Secular Order, I happened to have chanced upon and downloaded a document written by our former Superior General Rev. Fr. Luis Arostegui, OCD regarding the pastoral care of the Secular Order, which dates back, 14th of December 2006.

Practically, the document is a guideline pertaining to the Pastoral Care of the Secular Order. (You can download a copy of this document here.

Curious about its contents, I started reading it.

What struck me though was in the first five paragraphs of the document as he states the rationale of this document.

It is where Fr. Superior General started to describe the start of the Secular Order, which dates back to the time of St. Francis of Assisi and his comparison between the different structure and purpose of the lay members of a Mendicant order, known as "Seculars" and the Monastic Orders that predates before the time of the Franciscan Order, better known as the "Oblates".

He pointed out that “one might say that the involvement of lay persons with monastic life was to bring those persons in the world into the spirituality of the monastery, and the involvement of lay persons with mendicant life was to bring the spirituality of the Mendicant Orders into the life of lay persons in the world."

This document although specifically addressed to the Provincials, Provincial Delegates and Spiritual Assistants, fully elaborates and answers a common question that we always encounter (at least in our community), regarding the importance of our formation and the different possible apostolate that each of our members can partake.

What's the connection then?

Allow me tell my story and to elaborate before I continue.

When I first learned (discovered is the usual word that I use) about the OCDS here in Subic, what really took my attention was the formation program that was written in the brochure that was given to me by one of our Elders.

As a Cursillista and a Rollista for a Cursillo Movement based in Metro Manila, who has been isolated from my group for years (I had been isolated from my Cursillo Group for almost 10 years since we transferred in Zambales and aside from the fact that I was problematic then), when I learned about the OCDS, the word "formation program" hit me like a lightning hitting a tree, that immediately made me more interested in joining the group and more convinced of the reasons why I was called to Carmel.

Only to realized that my expectations of formation greatly differs then, to the kind of formation that our community was doing. What I was expecting was more of classroom type formation, were we are required to study the history, origin, reasons of existence of the Order, etc.

Eventually the kind of formation that we had then, were focused more on the experiences of each member (which is, personally I believe is also important).

But during those days, frankly speaking, I was more interested to know more about the Order in itself (Trivia, the only time that I found out that St. Therese of the Child Jesus was a Carmelite, was when I joined the OCDS).

Until, the OCDS-Formation Program was used in the formation process (now were getting somewhere... just kidding).

Although we have already started to use the OCDS-Program of Formation before it was mandated by our Provincial Delegate (I had already finished it before my promotion to Novitiate), there were still problems that needs to be address by the community, and some of those were pockets of small resistance that questions the importance of the formation program and the methods of delivery per se...

The Importance of Formation

“…the involvement of lay persons with mendicant life was to bring the spirituality of the Mendicant Orders into the life of lay persons in the world.”  - Rev. Fr. Luis Arostegui, OCD

The words that our Fr. Superior General have used to state the mission in general, of members of a mendicant secular Order already provides an idea of how important formation is.

For already it states in principle that in accomplishing our task as members of a Secular Mendicant Order, we are required to bring to the world the very spirituality that we have learned.

And since we are not monastic and do not “exercise its responsibility in the convent or in the monastery, but in the world (saeculum)”, there is a need for us to communicate the Spirituality of our Order to the world around us through our connection with the Friars.

Thus the moment we become members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, not only the Order, but the Universal (Catholos) Church as a whole, expects something from us, which is to fulfill a mission, " bring the spirituality of the Mendicant Orders into the life of lay persons in the world..." and in order to fulfill this mission there is a need to strengthen our conviction, which can only be made possible through our formation.


Pastoral care of the Secular Order, Rev. Fr. Luis Arostegui, OCD, December 14, 2006


This document is part of the Introductory Lecture that I have prepared For Part 1 “Introduction to the Aspirancy “Lesson 1 – Orientation, of the OCDS-Program of Formation Syllabus for the Aspirancy . Titled “the importance of Formation”

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Articles written in this blog, unless otherwise sourced, is the sole opinion of the writer and does not carry nor imply the opinion of the Entire order of Carmel, the Vatican nor the Universal Church. With this, all my personal writings, I hereby subject to correction by the teaching Authority of the Catholic Church, the keeper and Authority on Divine Revelations.

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