Wilfrid Stinissen Revisited

| | Comments (1)

I suppose I am riding this hobby-horse to death, but I find so much within Stinnisen worthy of attention. I was remarking to the leader of the group with whom I am studying this book a second time that like our other works (Rick Warren and Alan Jones), I am having real problems with this study. Unlike our other studies, my problems with this one is that there is so much in so few pages that I cannot seem to force myself through the book at the pace we want to maintain. I get lost in the magnificence of some of the ideas, and I'm constantly reaching for my Bible--the latter probably the greatest tribute one could pay to such a work.

from Nourished by the Word
Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen O.C.D.

The Bible gives us a synthesis of all of reality but not thereby a system. One does not find an elaborated systematic theology or anthropology in the bible. It is always life which is primary. If you direct theoretical questions to the Bible, you receive practical answers. Who is God, you ask? And the Bible replies: live as a child to your heavenly Father, dare to be children, trustful and lighthearted; follow Jesus, who is the Father's image in the world, partake of his suffering and be like him in a death like his; wait for and listen to the Spirit and let its inspiration be shown to advantage in your life. What is prayer you ask? And the reply sounds imperative: so shall you pray: Our Father . . .

What is love? It is wonderful to philosophize over love, over Eros and agape, but you don't have the time; do like the Good Samaritan, give food to those that are hungry.

Will there be many who will get to heaven or only a few, a majority or a minority? "Strive" replies Jesus, "to enter through the narrow door" (LK 13:24). Don't waste your time with speculations over quantities, don't occupy yourself with statistics, but see to it that you yourself are present.

As I have grown in the Carmelite charism, I have discovered any number of wonders implicit in the ancient Rule of St. Albert and spelled out more clearly by the ongoing reformation and redefinition of the Order, particularly in the rule for the third Order. One of the things emphasized at every opportunity is the necessity and the glory of lectio divina. So much so that one Priest of the order described lectio as the glory of contemplative prayer. The order has said that it is highly desirable that communal lectio divina be part of our monthly gatherings. And when we are faithful to that, the monthly meetings are fruitful, productive, and life-changing. When we fail in it, then little else that happens at the meeting is of any worth.

All Catholics and all orders highly prize the word of God, they cannot do otherwise. The Dominicans show how they cherish is in the charism of preaching the word--making it clear for those who have a lesser understanding. But such preaching can only be fueled by spending time in the word, steeping oneself in it. Franciscans bring it to life through evangelical poverty. But such poverty is meaningless unless it calls to mind Him for whom we endure poverty, unless it reifies the word in the world.

The mission of the lay Carmelite is to bring the word of God into the world through our evangelical works. But how can one do that if one is not aware of what the word says? How can one preach by actions if one's own actions are not informed by the Word of God. All that we would say would be falsehood.

Stinissen points out here that above all else, the Word is practical or it lacks any meaning at all for us. We are not given a philosophical system (not that there is anything wrong with such), but rather a set of instructions, commandments, or guidelines that tell us how to be God's children. More than that, we are given multiple views of His Only Begotten Son so that we might better see what it means to be a child of God. And with this equipment, we are to go out into the world and make it real for people who do not even begin to suspect its truth.

Bookmark and Share


Steven, this is another Flos Carmeli gem! I loved both Fr. Stinissen's reflection, and yours. Thank you.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 4, 2004 7:21 AM.

Prayer Requests--Feast of St. Francis of Assisi was the previous entry in this blog.

Via Bill Cork--A List of Blesseds is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll