The full vision of the School of Mary
Sometimes, when the Church authorities meet a Founder, who from day one, has the full picture of his foundation, they feel uncomfortable, because they are convinced that the normal way God uses is a steady process unfolding year by year, step by step, to clarify the Call and its implementation. The Mission God handles the Founder develops through time and this becomes clearer day by day, with “grace upon grace”.
Well today is not actually day one in the life of the School of Mary… many years have passed now (1984, 1992, 2003,… 2014), and one can re-state now what is the full vision, the way to implement it now and in the future.
The Meaning and Place of the Call for Holiness
In a traditional way, the Church deeply believes that the monastic and religious Orders in the Church are provided by God with means, wisdom, teaching, formation capacity, discernment to lead their members, in a secure masterful way, to the fullness of their vocation: Holiness (i.e. Union with Christ and the Perfection of Love): “These religious families give their members the support of […] a proven doctrine of acquiring perfection.” (Vat II, Lumen Gentium, 43)
Monks and religious are persons who received a call to follow Jesus more closely. That call, with the passing of centuries, developed various forms of life and rules, but the core of it remains: a call for Holiness. Does this “personal Call” from Jesus constitute something different from Baptism? Is it for “special people” chosen from the “doomed crowd”? Thank God no, thank God Theology and the Council of Vatican II helps us remember that this call is for all (could happen to any person) and that it proceeds from Baptism, like in a renewed depth of it, a blossoming aspect of it.
But it is still a “Call”, i.e. a very personal initiative (in time and place) from Jesus to a specific person. It is not suspended in mid air for everybody. There is a moment in the life of every human being where Jesus comes, and knocks in a more audible way at the door of his/her heart. So, in the end, “a call is a call”.
The Church knows very well that the initial formation before baptism and after baptism doesn’t deal directly with the elements of the Ways to Reach Perfection but with the foundations of Christian faith and Christian prayer. The Church knows the difference between, on one hand that first grace of Baptism and all the formation that comes with it (before and after), and on the other hand that “Call within the Call”, that “second conversion” i.e. hearing Jesus calling me personally to follow him.
It is not another baptism, it is not another vocation, it is a deepening of the same vocation, of Baptism. Just as when the human being starts to enter into adolescence. One’s peaceful life changes, and one notices blossoming in him new things/capacities/horizons and one has to learn to deal with them.
The first stage (Baptismal formation and normal catechesis) can last for years, and its central place remains the Parish. The second stage, happens when Jesus freely and personally comes and knocks at the door of our heart. It is a call like the Call St Anthony received one day in his parish, to leave it and go to the Desert and start to be trained as a Monk, as a researcher of God, a man that incarnates the “Quest for God alone”.
The Priestly Branch of the Church is the Parish and the Prophetical one is the Desert. The “Quest of the Desert” will take shape in a hermitage, a monastery, a convent, a consecration in the world, and more recently a movement in the Church.
We shouldn’t forget that it is not the habit that makes the monk, not the consecration that makes him a monk, and not just even following a certain Rule or Style of Life (Horarium). What makes a monk a monk, or what makes a human being enter into the state of the “Quest for God alone” is the formation he or she receives, that secure and masterful Wisdom, Discernment and Teaching one receives.
The Call is Universal
Today the emphasis is put in a renewed way on the Call for Holiness. This is a grace for the entire church to rediscover that call and that that call is for all. But the inner journey is, in its main components, the same. Why? Because we are all human beings and we all need to be purified, transformed, and become Jesus’ friends. We shouldn’t forget that in order to fulfil that call (providing we have heard it), we need to receive that combined Wisdom, Discernment and Teaching that God deposited in the Church, in order to reach that goal: Holiness (Union with Jesus and Fullness of Love).
We need to stop dreaming and imagining that it is just by praying a little bit and fasting that we will become saints. We need to stop dreaming that the Sacraments will operate anyway, if we just do that. This is against the Tradition and the experience of the Church.
The School of Mary
The School of Mary received the Mission to open the treasures of Wisdom, Discernment and Teaching that are enclosed in the Prophetical branch of the Church to all the persons who feel they have received the Call to follow Jesus more closely. Nothing more, and nothing less. It is in a way like opening the Novitiate Room to all the persons in the world who feel Jesus’ Call.
– Now, who you are when you are in the Novitiate Room? What do you need then? What do you also deserve to receive from God, through the Church? What will happen to you?
– You are a person who felt Jesus’ call to follow him more closely and reach the fullness of Him.
You need to receive the necessary formation, throughout your journey of growth, in order to reach the Goal.
You deserve to receive all the Treasures that Jesus deposited in the Prophetical branch of the Church. They are yours as well… because you received the same call as others: the Quest for God alone.
If you start to apply that wisdom, discernment, teaching, you will start to receive “grace after grace” and you will start to be purified and transformed in Jesus. You will learn new things, new ways of prayer, deepening your ways of prayer, which will boost your growth. Therefore you will need guidance and new food (teaching).
This is what the School of Mary humbly wants to offer
The Spiritual Journey has been divided into three parts, that follow three different curves/stages in spiritual life. The different “chunks” are not equal in length (of time), but they are equal in importance.
The first stage lays the foundations of a solid “take off” of Spiritual Life. One learns how to walk, run, jump, with two legs: Lectio Divina and Prayer of the Heart (extension of the reception of the Word of God in the Mass and of his Body and Blood).
The Second stage goes into the deep purification that God wants to realise in us.
The Third stage shows us how the Apostle is sent on a mission, Jesus living in him, and he himself completing in his flesh what is lacking in Jesus’ Passion for the world.