The Heart of the City of God Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 08:18
Grading papers is a new experience - and a bit of a stretch for me. Cause my natural inclination is to say "all our students were bright and very interested in the topic - of course, they should all get "A's". I always want everyone to succeed - ultimately. But the system requires more nuance than that.

So how does the otherwise superb paper that, alas, fails to mention one important element stack up against the rambling effort that you get the feeling was written originally for another class? Hmmm.

But enough excuses for not blogging.

My ever vigilant Google alerts have brought me this find of particular interest to Bostonians:


You'll never look at cooking the same way again!

Enjoy a Cooking Class "Cooking in Monastic Traditions" with The Civic Friars, a lay monastic order dedicated to deepening spiritual and religious devotion in everyday life ... in order to "reclaim the city for Christ" (they are also skilled cooks)! You will learn methods dating back to Old Catholic Europe, and even as far back as the early Church, you will gain a fresh outlook on the spiritual elements of culinary art, as it relates to the Benedictine Monastic principle "Ora et Labora": "Work and Pray".

You will learn to see food and it's preparation in a more complete and healthy way, "from farm to table"
Seeing the meditative, contemplative and practical aspects of preparing and cooking food (that have been lost in a "fast food culture") can be both refreshing and exciting. Learn how simple communal and generous acts like cooking can be raised to a high art form by faith, even to a form of "prayer of the heart and hands" where every meal you prepare becomes a feast instead of a chore! YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!!!

NOTE: this will be on Sunday, June 14, 2009 in Brighton at 1 PM, but will start on Saturday evening with the buying of the meat at the Festival and marinating it in the Portuguese "Vinoh Tinto" from the Touriga Nacional grapes (that they also sell at the Festival).

I am so bummed!!!!! I want to go but it's 2000 miles away.

And in light of all the discussion of the secular nature of the lay mission and the cost of secular apostleship in our Sacred Heart course last week, I couldn't help but be fascinated by the idea of the Civic Friars. (I tried Googling them but couldn't find anything.

Have any ID readers heard of the Civic Friars?

Trying to find the elusive Civic Friars brought me to the website of another fascinating and related initiative:

The Monastic Communities of Jerusalem: "the particular vocation of the brothers and sisters of Jerusalem is to live in the heart of the cities, in the heart of God." This community of monks, nuns, and associated lay communities originated in France 25 years ago and established its first North American community in Montreal in 2004.

Ecumenism between eastern and western Christianity is one of their concerns. In their worship, they "revive the sources of the Church of the first centuries' liturgy by integrating in their services some elements of the Eastern Tradition such as: gestures, songs, icons, incense, etc"

Some other distinctives:

1) The brothers and sisters are city-dwellers, working in the city and praying in a church open to the city. Their daily schedule and times of prayer are adapted to the city's rhythms. Their presence reminds the inhabitants of the big modern cities, the megalopolises, that it is possible to be contemplative at the heart of the more significant reality today, the urban phenomenom.

2) They work part-time as wage-earners both challenging and embracing the modern working world.

3) They live in rented dwellings, owning neither their houses nor the church which is entrusted to their care.

4) They do not live within strict enclosure. The city is their monastery. But they keep an "enclosure of the heart" by reserving times and places for silence, "desert" and solitude.

And this luminous vision from their "rule":

You have not embraced urban monasticism for reasons of solidarity, apostolate or even witness, but first to contemplate God gratuitously and incessantly in the most beautiful of all his images. That is, more than in solitude, on the mountains, or in the wilderness or the temple, you gaze on him in the city, filled with faces of the face of God and mirrors of the icon of Christ. Monk and nun of Jerusalem, you are in the heart of the City of God.