Buffalo Carmelites Relocating



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I can well understand their desire. The world, and sadly many in the Church, are increasingly draw to what has been called the Idolatry of Activism. The crucial importance of an Interior Life is largely unknown and unappreciated by many, laity and clergy. Instead, busyness about many things has become for many, like Martha (sister of Mary, Lk 10:38-42) before her eyes were opened, an obsession of religious dimension, religious matter - an obsession that blinds and stifles the soul to “the better part” necessary to our call into Christ.
The Church needs the apostolate of prayer, more than many realize.

This was at the heart of the alleged heresy of “Americanism”, as condemned by Pope Leo XIII in Testem benevolentiae. While the bishops of the US denied that such a heresy actually existed — “if we were guilty of these things, then, yes, we would be embracing this heresy, but we are not doing what we are being accused of doing” — Leo correctly saw something in the American mindset that says “something has to be practical and useful in a material sense to be worthwhile”, and that contemplative virtues couldn’t really find their place in such a culture.

If you give an American some time that could (and should) be devoted to leisure and self-renewal, very often, they will just go out and find something else to do, a “side hustle”, to… you guessed it… make more money. (Sadly, these days, that’s more out of necessity than anything else for many.) The American thing is to buy the best car you can afford, to have the biggest and most expensive house, to “live large”. There’s no room for contemplation of higher things in such a culture, because, well, there’s no money in it, no progress, no “getting things done”.

The problem of a primacy of action over interior union with God is much bigger, it seems, than mere focus on making money and/or enhancing social appearance. Bp Schneider wrote, in Christus Vincit:

It is evident that since the Second Vatican Council the life of the Church has been dominated by a frenzied activism, which might aptly be called the “heresy of action.”4 As you mention, the “heresy of action” was already condemned by Pope Leo XIII in his Apostolic Letter Testem Benevolentiae. In this letter, Pope Leo XIII refuted the error of those clergy who, on the practical level, gave primacy to the active virtues and to temporal and natural realities to the detriment of supernatural realities, i.e., grace, prayer, and penance. Returning to our discussion about the loss of the supernatural, the “heresy of action” substitutes (practically speaking) the primacy of man and his actions for the primacy of God’s action.
(Schneider, Bishop Athanasius; Montagna, Diane. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (p. 157). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition)

This interior replacement of primacy from the will of God to the will and actions of Self is effectively an Idolatry of Self, as unconscious as it may well be. I believe that all sin, for that matter, derives from a disordered love of self.

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