Fire on Earth – Fire from Above

“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” St. Luke 12:49

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I write this letter to you from Costa Rica where we are resting and will celebrate the 80th birthday of a much loved family member. Please keep Maria de los Angeles and all of us in your prayers. You were all in my prayers at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this morning (this letter is coming a day or so later due to the blessed lack of internet access here).

I have taken a few photos that you might find interesting and one providential circumstance that made me smile. The beautiful flower that you see in as the featured photo of this post is called a Eucharist Flower. My aunt-in-law indicates that this plant, which is quite old, is supposed to bloom once per year. However I was told that this one never flowered until we arrived.

This morning we attended Mass at St. Vincent’s de Moravia. Here are a few photos of that beautiful parish. The cantor had a beautiful voice and it was a delight to attend a reverent Mass in such a beautiful place.

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The is a picture of my prayer area during our stay with family in Moravia.img_1865

It is always a challenge to keep my prayer life consistent when boarding with others, even family. I prayed this morning that I would be able to pray even in the midst of interruptions. Our Lord is very kind and He granted my request. It is a remarkable experience to be totally present to someone speaking with you all the while being present to the Lord as if alone with Him.

The last photo I will share with you is of an active volcano that we can see from where we are staying. At the moment we cannot see the volcano but what we are looking at in this photo is ash and smoke.

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As I consider this destructive power of this active volcano I am reminded of the fires of satan that burn in the hearts and minds in the United States and around the world. This burning of confusion is manifesting externally in protests in the streets in the U.S. I had expected the same if the other party had won.

This election cycle has revealed a truth that I was already aware of but that manifested a disturbing depth of penetration in our culture. This truth is that the enemy owns very many hearts and minds on both the left and the right and has a strong influence on the unfaithful.

The evil one also has a strong presence even among the orthodox. Some of this recently manifested against me when I defended the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as an order of magnitude more sacred and inviolably important than even holy efforts to mitigate the most grave moral evil of our time. I won’t venture further into this issue –  I suspect many of you instinctively understand.

Though the fires of satan burn and the Volcano of a deeply confused society threatens to erupt against the faithful, I am struck by a profound peace.

My peace does not come from the political party in power – only fools rest in this kind of temporal power. Please allow me to repeat this. Only fools find peace in temporal power, however favorable. Instead my peace comes through the grace of God – a deep trust in His providence and love. For this I am grateful – it is certainly a gift and not something I deserve or can attain on my own.

My consolation is also rooted in another fire burning on the earth. The fires of satan are like a grain of sand on the seashore as compared with the power of the fire of God burning in the hearts of His faithful.

This fire of God draws men and women of faith to Him. This fire leads them to draw near in the Eucharist and oracion mental. This fire, the purifying and vivifying presence and work of God in our hearts, is the fire that can and will change the world if we will yield to it and fuel it with our “yes.”

As we say “yes” to God, our fire grows and becomes a bright beacon of hope to the world. God then uses us to become a place of warmth from the cold, shelter from the storm and healing from the wounds inflicted by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

This fire, the fire of oracion mental, this fire that Christ called the “one thing necessary” is the fire of prayer – the fire of union with God.

All of this has impressed upon me the urgency of the mission of Apostoli Viae to live, light, and lead God’s people to the path of contemplation. This path is the path that will bring revival because it revives the fire in souls who have been luke warm and fans the flames of the fervent. It fuels the fires of God – the light of Christ – the hope of the world.

Say “yes” to Him. Don’t hold back. It will not be easy but you will never regret it and you will find peace in the storm.

Unum est Necessarium

Dan

What is required of me to associate with Apostoli Viae beyond the Sojourner phase?

Question: What is required of me to associate with Apostoli Viae (AV) beyond the Sojourner phase?

Answer: At the foundational level, a clear and resolute “yes” to God emanates from the hearts of all associated with AV – especially those who desire to deepen their association. This “yes” manifests itself in a strong desire to grow spiritually and in specific ways that are compatible with the AV charism. Note that this state of soul is clear in its commitment but this does not mean that there is a perfect manifestation of the various attributes of the plan of love proposed for a Sojourner. What it does mean is that there is clear progress and desire. The child of God in each stage of the AV journey is not necessarily marked by perfection, though that may be the goal, but instead by progress and commitment related to the plan of love of every new aspect of the ascent. Beyond these foundational realities, here are a few elements and/or characteristics that are important for a Sojourner to progress in association:

  • Sacraments: Mass every Sunday and confession monthly. Without these these foundational commitments, spiritual growth is not likely.
  • Daily Prayer: 10-15 minutes of daily mental prayer.
  • Spiritual Reading: 10 minutes of daily spiritual reading – complete reading of the Catechism.
  • Magisterium: Unreserved commitment to all teachings of the Church.
  • AV Formation: Those who desire deeper association must build deeper relationships and formation. These come through regular participation in formation opportunities.
  • AV Charism: A strong draw to the unique spiritual and apostolic elements of Apostoli Viae and clear evidence of the disposition of those who have had an authentic encounter with God. All AV members must be, as a norm, outwardly collaborative, positive and joyful in their life and faith. Stated negatively, AV is not the place for the dour, sour, or combative. One of the most telling signs of an authentic encounter with God is that we manifest the fruits of the spirit – love – joy – peace – patience – kindness – faithfulness – gentleness – self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Does Apostoli Viae provide regular formation for its members?

Question: Does Apostoli Viae (AV) provide regular formation for its members?

Answer: Yes! AV intends to provide a specific path of formation in keeping with both the charism and the apostolic works central to AV. Here is an initial/example list of formation paths AV envisions:

  • The Way of Participation in the Mysteries: How can I fully engage with the sacramental and liturgical rhythm of the Church, worship God more completely, and gain the benefits of all the gifts provided therein?
  • The Way of Prayer: What is the spectrum of prayer in the Church, where am I within that spectrum, and how can I grow in prayer and union with God? How can I teach others to pray?
  • The Way of Ascesis: What is the path of self-giving and how can I travel that path as I grow in union with God? This ascesis includes the practice of sacred study or study of sacred doctrine.
  • The Way of Community: What is my need for and relationship to a community of disciples in AV?
  • The Way of Discipleship and Spiritual Direction: What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ within AV and how does that relate to Spiritual Direction?
  • The Way of Discernment: What does it mean to be awake and spiritually aware and engaged in my own spiritual growth and in my service to others?
  • The Way of Spiritual Direction: How does the Way frame and provide spiritual direction that is specific to the charism and also provide an environment where each individual can grow in union with God? What is spiritual direction and how can I participate in it effectively and thereby lead others in the same way?

As of the writing of this post, some of these programs are complete or are provided through approved use of materials that exist in the Church that are complimentary to the unique elements of the AV charism. Many of the elements of these programs are already available through the Avila Institute.

Is Apostoli Viae an Actual Order?

Question: Is Apostoli Viae (AV) an actual order, not a society, in the sense that one can only be a professed member of 1 order and could therefore not be a member of any other Church order and AV?

Answer: AV is, at present, can be compared to a flower breaking through the snow of spring. This means that we are a brand new emerging work of the Holy Spirit. Those reading this in August of 2016 are among the first to witness this emergence with AV. Thus, canonically, AV is in a stage known as a Private Association of the Faithful. We are just beginning and the canonical statues are in development under the oversight our Bishop. This status is the starting point of many “orders” and of many organizations that intend to follow God’s call to become a full fledged “order.” As best as we can discern at this point, our intent is to have lay, religious, priests, and sisters/nuns as part of our charism. Here’s a good primer on the topic of our current path: http://www.catholiccanonlaw.com/associations.pdf

I live in a remote part of the world, can I be a part of Apostoli Viae even though there is no community here?

Question: I live in a remote part of the world where AV does not yet have a physical presence. Can I still be a part of the AV community?

Answer:  Most definitely. Though distance makes things harder, one of the unique callings of AV is to serve those who are isolated around the world. This is particularly important in places where the Church is not present or is suppressed or far less active than in more populated areas under more favorable conditions.

The key is to fight very hard to commit to develop community where you are and to connect with other members through community meetings online so as to build familiarity and solidarity with one another.

Can a Diocesan Priest be a part of Apostoli Viae?

Question: Can a Diocesan Priest be a part of Apostoli Viae?

Answer: Absolutely. While diocesan priests or deacons are assigned to a parish and are typically not simultaneously called to religious life, they may be called to participating in AV spirituality, community, and apostolic works. The key, of course, is that all participation and related benefits of the AV charism serve the priest or deacon in their primary commitments to their Bishop and parish and are a benefit to all.

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