Issue 18.1 of the Review for Religious, 1959.
A.M.D.G. Review for Religious JANUARY 15, 1959 Cloistered Contemplatives .......... Plus XII Keeping the Rules ............ p. DeLetter Mental Illness Among Religious . . . Ricl~arg P. Vaugl~an Christ and the Supernatural Life . Daniel ,J. M~ Callahan Book Reviews :(~.uestio~s and Answers Delayed Vocations Roman Documents about: China Sacred Music and the Liturgy VOLUME 18 NUMBER REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS VOLUME 18 JANUARY, 1959 NUI~IBER 1 CONTENTS EDITORIAL NOTE ........................................ 3 PIUS XII’S ALLOCUTION TO CLOISTERED CONTEMPLATIVES~ Translated by Frank C. Brennan, S.J ........................ 4 KEEPING THE RULES~P. DeL~tter, S.J ..................... 13 OUR CONTRIBUTORS ............. i ....................... 24 DELAYED VOCATIONS .................................... 24 SEVERE MENTAL ILLNESS AMONG RELIGIOUS-- Richard P. Vaughan, s.J ................................... 25 COMMUNICATIONS ...................................... 36 CHRIST THE AUTHOR AND SOURCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL LIFE-- Daniel J. M. Callahan, s.J ............................ ~ ......37 SURVEY OF ROMAN DOCUMENTS~R. F. Smith, S.J ......... 42 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: 1. "Brain-washed" Religious ............... i~ ................. 49 2. Custom of General Permission for Christmas Gift.s ...........50 3. Is Permission All That Is Required in Poverty ................ 51 4. Changing the Constitutions on the Eucharistic Fast ............51 SOME BOOKS RECEIVED ................................... 52 SUMMER INSTITUTES .................................... 52 BOOK REVIEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS ................. 53 REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS, January, 1959. Vol. 18, No. 1. Published bi-monthly by The Queen’s Work, 3115 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis 18, Missouri. Edited by the Jesuit Fathers of St. Mary’s College, St. Marys, Kansas, with ecclesiastical approval. Second class mail privilege authorized at St. Louis, Missouri. Copyright, 1958, by The Queen’s Work. Subscription price in U.S.A. and Canada: 3 dollars a year
50 cents a copy. Printed in U.S.A. Editor: R. F. Smith, S.J. Associate Editors: Augustine G. Ellard, S.J.
Gerald Kelly, S.J.
Henry W’illmering, S.J. Assistant Editors: John E. Becker, S.J.
Robert F. W’eiss, S.J. Departmental Editors: Joseph F. Gallen, S.J.
E~arl A. Weis, S.J. Please send all renewals, new subscriptions, and business correspondence to: Review for Religious, 3115 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis 18, Missouri. Please send all manuscripts and editorial correspondence to: Review for Religious, St. Mary’s College, St. Marys, Kansas. Review For Religious EDITOR R. F. Smith, S.J. ASSOCIATE EDITORS Augustine G. Pllard, S.J. Gerald Kelly, S.J. Nenry Willmering, S.d. ASSISTANT EDITORS John E. Becker, S.J. Robert F. Weiss, S.J. DEPARTMENTAL EDITORS Quest:ions and Answers-- Book Reviews-- Joseph P, Gallon, S.J. Earl A. Weis, S.J. Woodstock College West Baden College Woodstock, I~a~land West Baden Springs, Indiar~a Volume 18 1959 Editorial Office ST. MARY’S COLLEGE St:. Marys, Kansas Publisher THE QUEEN’S WORK St:. Louis, Missouri Published in January, March, May, July, September, November on the fifl
eenth of the month REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS is indexed in the CATHOLIC PERIODICAL INDEX EDITORIAL NOTE SEVENYETARES’ agEo inNJanuary, 1942, REVIEW FOR "RELIGIOUS published its first issue. The publication of that issue was due to the initiative of three men: Father Augustine G. Ellard, Father Adam C. Ellis, and Father Gerald Kelly, all of the Society of Jesus .and members of the teaching staff of St. Mary’s College, St. Marys, Kansas. As co-founders of the l/1WIE\\r, they also served as the editorial board for the new magazine, cbntinuing this to the° year 1955
ih that: year Father .Ellis, finding it necessary to curtail his work, withdrew from the editorial board of the I/ErIE\\
, being replaced by Father Henry Willmering, S.J. Now as REVIEW FOIl RELIGIOUS begins’its eighteenth’ ye.ar of publication, further editorial changes have been found advisable. H~nceforth the editorship of the REVIEW will be entrusted to an individual, assisted by associate, assistant, and departmental editors. On the occasion of /uch a cha~ge it is only" fitting that the new editor should express in a public way hi/ appreciation and his congratulations to the members of the former editorial board for the time and effort [vhich they generously gave to the I/EVlEW aid which made of it so successful a magazine. It is a matter of great satisfaction to him that the members of the former editorial board will remain as associate editors to gi.v.e the REVIEW the frdit of their knowledge and their long experience. It is also fitting on this occasion that a special word of thanks be given to Father Gerald Kelly. .For a long time the major part of the editorial work" of the Ill
VIEW has been borne by him
¯ accordingly, to a large extent the. godd that the RF.VIEW has done is due to ¯his ufistilating’ ~fforts. From the rdaders of REVIEW FOIl RELIGIOUS the new editor seeks first of all prayers that the REVIEW in it~ future issues may continue to serve, religious as well as it has done in the past
.secgndly he requests suggestions for changes and improvements in the magazine. The Editor Plus XIl’s AIIocu ion I:o Clois!:ered Cont:emplat:ives Translat:ed by Frank C. Brennan, S.J. [The successive parts of this allocution, which will" be published in this and two following issues of the REVIEW FOR RELIGIOUS, were broadcast by Plus XII on July 19, July 26, and August 2, 1958. The official text of the allocution is to be found in Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), v. 50 (1958), pp. 562-86. All divisions and subtitles in the translation are also found in the official text.] GLADLY YIELDING to your many iequests, We are happy, beloved daughters, to address all the cloistered nuns of the Catholic world on the subject which is closest to their hearts: their vocation to the contemplative life. At times you have perhaps envied the joy of pilgrims who fill to overflowing the gre.at basilida of St. Peter and the audience chambers of the Vi~tican to assure Us of their pride in belonging to the Catholic Church and of their delight in welcoming the words of its universal head. At this time We are mindful- of your three thousand two hundred monasteries spread throughout the whole world and in each of them We visualize a recollected audience which, though silent and invisible, yet pulsates with the charity that unites you. How could you be absent from Our mind and Our heart--you who constitute a chosen group in the Church, called as you are to a more intimate participa-tion in the mystery of the redemption? Thus it is with all Our paternal affection that We wish you to preserve intact that religious life o~ yours which in its essential elements is identical for all of you but" whidh varies ~evertheless in accord-ance "with the inspiration of your different founders and according to the historical circumstances through which their work has lived. The canonical contemplative life is a path toward God, an ascent which is often rough and austere but in which the labor of each day, supported as it is by divine p~omises, is enlightened by the obscure yet certain possession of Him toward Whom you strive with all your strength. In order to CLOISTERED CONTEMPLATIVES respond better to your vocation, listen to Our message which will help you to understand it more, to love it~ with a purer and more generous love, and to realize it more perfectly in every detail of your lives. This ascent toward God is not the simple movement of inanimate creation, nor is it merely the impulse of beings who, endowed with reasofi, recognize God as their Creator and adore Him as the infiriite Being Who transcends immeas-urably all that is great and true and beautiful and good) It is more than the ascent of the ordinary Christian life, more even than the general tendency toward perfection’. It is an ideal of life, fixed by the laws of the Church, and for this reason called thecanonical contemplative life. Far from being restricted, however, to one rigidly determined form, it is of various types corresponding to the character and customs dis-tinctive of and proper to each of the various religious families such as the Carmelites, the Poor Clares, the Cistercians, the Carthusians, the Benedictines, the Dominicans, the Ursulines, and the Visitandines. This contemplative life
diversified as it is by the different religious orders and even within each of them by the subjects themselves, is a path toward God. God is the beginning and end of it
God it is who sustains its fervor and perva~es it entirely. PART I: KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE Knowledge of the Contemplative Life as a Way Leading to God "First of all, We wish to speak to you of the knowledge of the contemplative life as a way leading to God. In order to live out in its fullness the ideal which you propose to your-selves, it
is important .that you know what you are and just What you are seeking to accomplish. The apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi of November I, 1950, includes in its first part’-’ a discussion of "virgins See the Vatican Council, Session III, Chapter 1
Denzinger n. 1782. 2AAS, v. 43 (1951), pp. 5-10. P~us,XII Review for Religious consecrated to God," as constituting a state of life which.has existed from the beginnings of Christianity down to the most recent, institutes of nuns. Without repeating what We there wrote, We’ call to your attention the advantag~ which you reap from a knowledge, at least in summary form, of the evolution of the religious life for women, and of the different forms it has taken throughout the ages. Thus .you~ will better appre-ciate the dignity of your state of life, as well as the originality of the order to which you belong and its bond with the whole Catholic tradition. General Principles Concerning the Nature of the Contemplative Life At this time We shall dwell only on those general prin-ciples which distinguish your life from that of others. For this purpose we have recourse to the sound and reliable teach-ing of St. Thomas. According to this master of Catholic theology, human activity can be distinguished into active and contemplative, jugt as the unde’rstanding, that uniquely human power, can be considered either as active or passive.’~ The human intellect is ordered either to the knowledge of truth-- and this is the work of the contemplative understanding, or to external action--and this is proper to the active or practical intellect. But the contemplative life, according to St. Thomas, far from being confined to a lifeless intellectualism or abstract speculation, also brings into play the heart and the affections. The reason for this he finds in the very nature" of man. Since it is the human will which impels the other human faculties to act, it is likewise the will which moves the intellect to operation. Now the will belongs to the domain of the affections
accordingly it is love which moves the under-standing in all of its acts, whether it be love of knowledge itself or love of the thing which is known. Citing a text St. Gregory, St. Thomas underlines the part played by the love of God in the contemplative life in the expression "... Summa Theologiae, 2-2, q. 179, a. 1 ad 2
a. 2 in c. January, 1959 CLOISTERED CONTEMPLATIVES in quantum scilicet aliquis ex dilectione Dei inardescit ad eius pulchritudinem conspiciendam" (in as far as one is inflamed by love of God to seek the contemplation of His beauty). The love of God which St. Thomas places at the very beginning of contemplation he also proposes as its final goal, for contemplation reaches its fullness in ’that joy and peace which the soul tastes when it possesses the beloved object of its search) Thus the contemplative life is completely permeated by divine charity which, inspires its very. first steps and rewards its efforts. The object of contemplation for St. Thomas, is prin-cipally divine truth, the final goal of human life. Contem-plation requires, as a necessary preparation, the , subject’s exercise of the moral virtues
and it is aided throughout its development by other acts of the understanding. Before arriv-ingat the end of its search, it is also aided by the visible works of creation which reflect invisible realities) But its ultimate perfection is achieved only in the contemplation of di, v.ine truth, the supeme beatitude of the human spirit." Misunder-standing, narrow mindedness, and. erroneous opinions will be avoided if in speaking of the contemplative life, care is taken to recall the Angelic Doctor’s teaching which We have just outlined in its essentials." The Nature of the Contemplative Life According to the Apostolic Constitution Sponsa Christi We must now determine the nature of the canonical contemplative life which you are leading. We take our defini-tion of it from the apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi, Article 2, parggraph 2: "On the general statutes of cloistered nuns." "By the canonical contemplative life we do not mean that interior, God-centered life to which all sbuls living in religion and even in the world are called and which each one can lead individually. Rather we mean the external profession of a Summa Theologiae, 2-2, q. 180, a. 1 iffc. 5See Rom. 1:20. Sumraa Theologiae, 2-2, q. 180, a. 4 in c. PIus XII Review for Religion,s religious life which, whether by cloister or by exercises of piety, of prayer, and of mortification, or finally by the labor which is requii:ed of the nuns, is so ordered to interior con-templation that the whole of life and every detail of it can and should be easily and efficaciously penetrated by the search after this contemplation.’’v Subsequent articles in the consti-tution single out other features in the canonical contemplative life for women. Among these are the solemn vows of religion, pontifical cloister, the divine o~ce, the autonomy of monas-teries, the federation and confederation of monasteries, monas-tic work, and .finally the apostolate. We do not propose to treat each of these points here but only to explain briefly the definition cited above. What the Contemplative Life is Not We shall first of all state what the canonical contempla-tive life is not. It is not, according to the constitution, "that interior, God-centered life to which all souls living in religion and’~even in the world are called and which each one can lead individually."s The constitution Sponsa Christi adds no further distinc-tion to this negative part of its definition. It makes it clearly understood that it will not discuss this aspect of the religious life and that it is not addressed to those who practice it exclu-sively. It further states that all are invited by Christ to this kind of life, even those who live in the world in whatever state of life, including that of marriage. But since the "apostolic constitution does not speak of this kind of contemplative life, We wish here to single out the existence of a contemplative life practiced in secret by a small number of persons who live in the world. In Our allocution of December 9, 19:57, to the Second International Congress of the States of Perfection,9 We said that there are today Christians "who, known to God alone, are engaging in the practice of the evangelical counsels AAS, v. 43 (1951), pp. 15-16. Ibid., p. 15. AAS, v. 50 (1958), pp. 34-43. Janl~ary, 1959 CLOISTERED CONTEMPLATIVES by private and secret vows, and are guided with respect to obedience and poverty by persons whom the Church has deemed fitted for this work and to whom she has entrusted the direction of others in the exercise of perfection." These people lead an authentic life of Christian perfection although it is outside any canonical form of the states of perfection. And We concluded this address by saying that "none of the elements which constitute Christian perfection is found want-ing among these men and women. They truly participate, therefore, in the life of perfection, even though they may not be engaged in any juridical or canonical state of perfection.’’~° We can repeat this statement now in connection with a type of life wherein one strives toward perfection by living a contempla-tive life and by the practice of the three vows of religion, but privately and independently of the canonical forms envisioned by the apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi. No doubt, the external conditions necessary for such a life are more diffi-cult to verify than those required for the active .life
but they can be met. Since these persons are not protected by any kind of canonical cloister, they practice solitude and recollection in a heroic manner. We find a good example of this in the Gospel of St.~’ Luke wl~ewree read of the prophetess Anna, a widow after seven years of marriage, who retired into the Temple wher~ she served the Lord night and day in prayer and fasting.’1 Such a private form of the con-templative life is not unknown in the Church, and the Church approves of it in principle. Primacy of Contemplation in the Canonical Conti~mplative Life The positive part of the definition given in paragraph 2 of the Constitution Sponsa Christi defines the canonical con-templative life as "the external profession of a religious life that is so ordered to interior contemplation that the whole of PIUS XII Review for Religious life and every detail of it can and should be easily and effica-ciously penetrated by the search after this contemplation." Among the prescriptions of religious discipline the text speci-fies cloister, exercises of piety, of prayer, of mortification, and finally the manual labor which is suitable for nuns. But these particulars are enumerated only as means of attaining the essential goal which is interior contemplation. What is first of all required of the nun is .that she so unite herself to God in prayer, meditation and ~ontemplation that. all herthoughts and actions be suffused with a realization of God’s pr.esence and be ordered to His service. If that should ever be lack-ing, the very soul of the contemplative life would be lacking, and no canonical pr~scription could supply it. The contem-plative life, to be sure, is not restricted exclusively to contem-plation. It includes many other elements, but contempla-tion does occupy the first place. We might go so far as to say that contemplation completely pervades the contempla-tive life, not in the sense that it prevents one from thinking of anything else or from doing other things, but in the sense that in the ultimate analysis it is contemplation that gives meaning, value, and orientation to the contemplative life. What we wish to emphasize with all Our authority is the preemi-nence of meditation and contemplation over every other path to perfection, over all practices and all forms of organiza-tion and federation. If you are not firmly anchored in God, if your mind is not continually returning to Him as to a pole of irresistible attraction, then it must be said of your con-templative life what St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Corin-thians said of certair~ Christians who overestimated the charis-’ matic gifts and failed to accord first place to charity: "If I have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or.a tinkling cymbal..... If I have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.’’1"~ It can rightly be said of a contemplative life without con-templation that "it profiteth nothing." 12 1 Cor. 13 : 1 and 3. 10 January, 1959 CLOISTERED CONTEMPLATIVES just as the human body in possession of all its organs but bereft of the soul. is not .a man, so all the rules and exer-cises of a religious order do .not constitute the’ contemplative life when contemplation itself, the vital principle, is absent, Formation of Religious in the contemplative Life If the~reti~al comments, such as the one We have just sketched," can help" to enrich .your.okn~wledge of the con-templati~, e life, ’certainly. the daily practice of your vocation brings, for its part, an abundant variety of lessons/For cen- ~ur~!~s hol~" women, ~hether they be Carmelites, Ben~edictines, Poor Clares, Dominicans, Ursulines, or Visitan-din. es, have reached a profound under.standing of the nature and of the requirements .of. the canonical contemplative life. From their very entrance intg" t.h.e .cloiste~r, candidates are taught the rules and the customs of their order
and this fo’rmation 6f mind and will which" is .begun in the novitiate continues ~throughOut their entire religious life. Such is the purpose of the instruction and spiritual direction given by superiors of the order br by the priests who are confessors, spiritual directors, and retreat masters. Usually nuns Who live according" to a ~listinctive .spirituality are directed by priests belonging to the masculine branch of their, order and there-fore possessing the s~me"spi~ituality. In addition, the Church h~ts throughout the ages cultivated the science of mystical theology which "has proved itself not only useful but ever~ necessary for the direction of c~ontemplatives. It gives proper orientation and renders signal service by ferreting out illu-sions and by distinguishing what is authentically supernatural from what is pathological., In this delicate field women them-selves have been of great service to theology and to directors of souls. ,It is enough to mention here. the writings of-the great St. Theresa of Avila who, as we know, when ther~ was question of settling difficult proble~ms of.the contemplative life,~ preferred the advice of an experienced theologian to that of a mystic who lacked clear and precise theological knowledge.. 11 P~us XII In order to deepen by daily practice your appreciation of. the contemplative life, it is important to remain receptive to the teaching that is provided, to welcome it with attention and with the desire of mastering it, each one according to her capacity and stage of development. It would be equally erroneous to let your aim be too high or too low, or to try following only one way identical for all, or to demand of all the same efforts. Superiors responsible for the formation of their subjects will know how to establish a just mean. They will not demand too much from the less gifted nor will they compel them to go beyond the limits of their abilities. Like-wise an Asian or an African will not be obliged to adopt religious attitudes that are natural for Europeans. A cultured and carefully’educated young girl will not be bound to a form of contemplation which is suited .to those who are less gifted.. At times the invectives of St. Paul against worldly wis-dom, found in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, are cited to thwart the legitimate desire of nuns wishing to reach a degree of contemplation in keeping with their abilities. These words of the Apostle are quoted to them: "We preach Christ crucified’’’~ and "I have desired to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’’’4 But this is a mis-understanding of St. Paul, who intends to denounce the vain pretensions of human knowledge. The desire to have an ade-quate spiritual formation is not at all reprehensible nor in any way opposed to tha~ spirit of humility and self-denial which a sincere love of the cross of Chris~ demands. We here conclude, beloved daughters, the first part of our discussion
and We call down upon you the light of the Holy Spirit that He may help you to understand the splendor of your vocation and to live it Out in all its fullness. As a pledge of these divine favors, We impart to you with all Our heart Our paternal and apostolic benediction. I Cor. 1:23. Ibid., 2:2. 12 Keeping !:he Rules P. DeLel:t:er, S.J. IWILL BURST ASUNDER rather than transgress volun-tarily even the least order or regulation." Thus resolved the young Jesuit saint, John Berchmans. And the future apostle of the Sacred Heart, Blessed Claude de la Colombi~re, when in tertianship, took a vow to keep his rules according to a formula approved by his director. Both this resolve and this vow express an identical faith in the religious rules and a like love for them. Both John and Claude believed in their rules as the divinely intended way to holiness, and they loved them as directing their eager desirefor progress along the way of the divine will and good pleasure. This faith and this love led them to a grim determination of fidelity at any price. But they were saints! and of another time! Today, religi-ous are liable to take a different view of the practice of their rules. Modern people, it is ~aid, and particularly the young, loathe regulations and constraint. They dream of a free expan-sion of their personalities
they have greater faith in their own initiative and personal inventions than they have in external laws and rules. Not surprisingly, they sometimes lose their balance and incline to depreciate and neglect accepted ways and customsla one-sidedness that is not without risk and dan-ger. Religious today~ who once lived according to these ideas of the "world" and who continue to live and work in the midst of this world without being of it may well fail to keep immune from this dangerous stand concerning rules and regulations. Unless they shield themselves against influences from the world by prayer and reflection, they gradually fall victims to this sort of practical "modernism," both in their theoretical views of the rules and in their practical observance or non-observance of them. They do believe, no doubt, that it is their duty to keep the rules’, that. this fidelity is for them 13 P. DELETTER Review for Religious the safe way to sanctity and apostolic .fruitfulness traced out by unmistakable providential indications. But at times, particularly on busy days or at times of spiritual low ebb, they may feel perplexed about how to manage to keep all the rules. There are so many of them
it is scarcely possible to know and remem-ber, let alone to keep them! In those moments especially, the iriclination to depreciate and .neglect ’the rules is fanned by the breeze" that blows from the outside world into the precinct~ of the cloister. Unless they build up by prayer and meditation a firm motivation and an enlightened resolve to keep the rules, religious may unwittingly be contaminated by the modern dis-esteem for regulations. It may be well then to" ask ourselves: What do:we mean by keeping the rules? How shall we manage ifi practice? Why must we take the trouble? Rules of Two Kinds Among the religious rules which of themselves do not bind under sin--we leave aside the rules that determine the "matter of the vows and for that reason entail obligations under pain of sin--we should for our present purpose distinguish two cate-gories or kinds. There are the disciplinary’prescriptions which concern mainly external observances and community order. These aim in the first place at the common good of the insti-tute and the external discipline .of the religious communit~y. They impose on individual-religious, members of the community, some ways of speaking, acting, or dealing with people
an order of the day, times of silence and of talking, of work and rest or re.creation. They concern the religious as. members of the community .and .determine. their individual, contributions to the good of the community
they do not directly or primarily intend their personal spiritual profit, but only indirectly and consequently, ’to the extent that each individual religious cannot fail to profit by the regularity and’order’ of a community life in which these rules are properly kept and by the° personal sacrifices this "regularity demands of each of them. 14 Jan~ary~ 1959 KEEPING THE RULES There are also in the religious rules spiritual directives that propose to our endeavors ideals for the spiritual life and for the Work of the apostolate and the means to strive after them. These determine the particular spirit of each institute, its. form of spirituality, and its apostolate. They often explicitly state the proper virtue of the institute. They aim directly at the spiritual perfection of individual religious’ and at their spiritual apostolate, indirectly at ~he common spiritual good of the com-munity and the institute, since the fervor of a community and of an institute results from the spiritual and apostolic quality of its members. These rules prescribe and propose obligations that are more a matter of interior spirit than of external practice and, consequently, are less open to control and check than are disciplina.ry rules. It requires little reflection to see that keeping the rules means one thing with regard to the first category and another with regard to ’the second. Keeping Disciplinary Rules We keep disciplinary rules when we actually do what they prescribe, for example, keep silence, make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, study, or follow the common exercises, and do not do what they forbid, for instance, not go out without due leave nor recreate outside the appointed time. This external fulfillment of the rule is an easy matter to control. We can easily know, and others too can see whether we do and omit what is expected of us. It may be well, however, to note that an occasional break-ing o~ a rule which is not frequent or habitual and happens out of human frailty and forgetfulness, however regrettable, need not and generally does not take away our real desire and resolve to keep the rules. Our fidelity remains intact even then, provided we endeavor to make good our neglect as far as we can and do penance for our transgression even on our own initiative and without awaiting official correction. These occa- 15 P. DELETTER Review for Religion,s sional failures generally imply, on the part of the religious, little guilt. They can and should be rather an occasion for humility and patience
never should they be a reason for open or hidden discouragement. They do not affect our fervor and, when taken humbly and patiently, can turn to greater spiritual good. Moreover, they gradually decrease in number and in guilt in the measure that our resolve of fidelity grows in intensity and we by practice acquire the habit of living according to the rules. Nor do these occasional lapses much affect the common good, which is the first purpose of disciplinary rules. They do not ruin the general discipline and regular observance. This regularity supposes that we habitually keep the rules and correct occasional failings. It does not demand of us the impossible ideal that human beings should as it were turn angels and be raised above all human frailty. It is a saint who said that the difference between a fervent and a lax community does not lie in this, that in the first no failings occur while in the second they do. No, failings happen in both
but in a fervent com-munity they are less frequent and are corrected, while in a lax community they go unpunished. On both counts, there-fore, that of the individual religious’s conscience and that of the good of the community, occasional breaking of disciplinary " rules need not label a religious or a community as guilty of infidelity to the rules. Only those religious must be said not to keep their rules who neglect them habitually or frequently, who care little and take little trouble to regulate their manner of living according to the rules. These, in spite of occasional fidelity {for they need not be violating the rules all the time), do not bring to the common observance the share they are expected to con-tribute. Their negligence does harm to the regularity of the community and to the common discipline. And they them-selves suffer spiritual harm from their neglect and unconcern about the common good. For though the breaking of rules is 16 January, 1959 KEEPING THE RULES not of itself a sinful transgression, .yet in the habitually negligent a sinful motive all too often prompts their manner of a~ting and turns their infidelity into sin. Actually, the habitual observance of disciplinary rules, for all its being mainly a matter of external conduct, is not well possible without an interior spirit. Whether we view it from the angle of the community or from that of the indi-vidual religious, in both respects it supposes an interior dis-position that prompts the external fulfillment. Regula¥ observ-ance is the contribution each religious is to make to the com-mon discipline and order
it must be prompted by the genuine and effective desire for the good of the community and of the other members. Then only can religious infuse a living soul into their habitual fidelity. Without this soul, that fidelity is precarious and liable to decay. And for the religious them-selv, es, fidelity to discipl