Our resident highly intelligent, but overly-complicated resident Dominican, Brother Thomas of Disputations says that Pope Benedict XVI gave us an encyclical without clear instruction in what to do next. I begged to differ, and Brother Thomas restated the case that there was nothing explicit--no steps. Well, of course there are no steps, I reply in the spirit of collegiality and Carmelite Simplicity. Steps imply complexity and to be in God is to be in simplicity, hence no need for steps. Ironic, is it not, that simplicity comes to those who haven't really got a clue what it's about, but for those who can define it, articulate it, and spell it out for the rest of us it's a major challenge. Anyway, the unadulterated text of a potential reply follows.
Sheesh! You Dominicans seem to need a roadmap for everything. Three steps to prayer, seven steps to the perfect sermon, nineteen steps to Christian service.
Goodness, the Pope said follow the ascending line of purified eros to the point where the intertwining of eros and agape lead you to intimacy with the Lord. There you learn your particular and peculiar mission and are sent forth on it. Said mission is to be prosecuted with the maximum of Christian Charity and a minimum of personal agenda. Seems to me that without a visit to your house, the Pope couldn't get much more explicit about how to go about what you were supposed to be doing!
In short as with some sports shoe or another--"Just do it!"
Evidently, one man's marching orders are another man's pleasant and moving reflection. The Lord speaks to us through the same vehicles, but ultimately says what each one needs to hear through who we are. So maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the Dominicans.
(Nah! What fun would that be?)