Sunday, April 04, 2010

Why I am a Pauline

I posted a link to Sr. Anne Flanagan's article from the Chicago Tribune, Bearing the Cross of Shame, on my Facebook account. In my introduction, I called Sr. Anne my "Pauline sister" and my buddy Dave Kendrick, seriously or as a joke, said he didn't know my sister was a nun. I wound up writing a longer reply than I'd thought I would. Kinda like President Obama in answer to Doris' question about taxes. (I felt for Obama, reading that Washington Post article. I quite relate to answering with more intensity that one's interlocutors expect or even want.)

But I thought I'd archive it here:
Not a blood sister. But Sr. Anne and I are both members of the Pauline Family of religious orders and institutes founded by Giacomo Alberione. Yes, oddly enough, Rae D'Orazio -- non-Italian speaking 2nd generation Italian -- wound up a lay member of a group that has its roots completely in Italy.

The Paulines are the media nuns and priests. I met up with them at their first National Film Retreat, then joined up with them a few years later. Did a year of inquiry to see if the Pauline charism was suited to me -- oh yeah, using film, television, radio, music to communicate a gospel-eye view of the world, that was a no-brainer for me!

I entered into a formation period and discovered that Fr. Alberione incorporated a very appealing take on Jesus' saying, "I am the way, the truth and the life" into his spiritual teaching. He's got a 3-legged stool analogy of the saying. "Way" stands for Jesus' modeling of the moral and ethical way to live, "truth" for his teachings on existential reality (doctrine), and "life" for his institution of the sacraments. A stool with unbalanced legs will fall. A disciple who thinks Jesus is just an ethical teacher showing us how to live a good life will emphasize "way" to the neglect of "truth" and "life". So they will try like gangbusters to be good but without a clear understanding of how reality is constructed (fuzzy doctrine) and without sanctifying grace from the sacraments. One can make progress on actual grace alone (and many badly catechized Catholics don't even know that such categories as sanctifying and actual grace exist), but you'll be unsteady, like a stool with uneven legs.

Or you'll have people who thinks Jesus is all about doctrine, and they will emphasize "truth" to the neglect of "way" and "life". Doctrine becomes everything to them, and the imitation of Christ and devout reception of the sacraments will fall by the way. So instead of fuzzy-headed disciples you get rigid ones.

And so on. That spirituality was right up my alley. Way, truth and life also relate to the will, the intellect and the heart. Very empowering concept of discipleship.

After two years in formation, I made my Promise as a Pauline lay cooperator in Chicago six years ago. One of the best moves I ever made.


Sr Margaret Kerry fsp said...

Of course you knew your "Pauline sister Margaret" would post here! Great write up which I am sharing with your other Pauline sisters. And if this were Facebook I would "share" it - or on Twitter I would retweet.

Easter A. said...

Rae, Happy, Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family!!!

Rae, thank you for your inspiration! The Pauline Spirit sure is alive in you!

Much love to you...