« AnteriorContinuar »
tested Orders we have, such as the S. S. J. E. and Holy Cross, largely to abandon their other work in order that they may receive into their novitiates, the men who may be drawn towards the Religious Life, to test and train them even for other houses and other possible Rules than their own. Could they do this, could they make this sacrifice, they might become the nurseries of a complete and saving system of Monasticism. Another possibility would be the organization of the Diocesan Monasteries of Canons-Regular of which I have spoken, the Prior in each case being at first novice-master as well, and a trained Religious loaned for a few years for this particular work. One warning cannot be too often reiterated, and that is, the certain road to failure lies through a group of earnest and zealous men banding together to form a religious community, without disciplinary experience, and intent only on creating a centre of monastic life out of their own inner consciousness. We have had rather too much of this of late, and the experiment must not be repeated.
So then, we must begin by strengthening the S. S. J. E. and Holy Cross, and at the same time restoring true monasticism through a revived Benedictism, and the orders of Franciscan and Dominican preaching friars. I am increasingly convinced that the work will not and must not stop here. The old Rules must be amended and developed for new orders, but the time has come for a further extension of the monastic idea. In the beginning, in the time of Pachomius and the hermits of the desert, the unit was the individual, wholly withdrawn from the world and isolated in his mountain cave, or on the top of his column if his taste led in that direction. St. Benedict increased this unit through exalting the idea of human fellowship, and thereafter it consisted of groups, either of men or women, forming a centralized community. Now the time has come for a further extension of the great idea, not to the exclusion of the monastic unit, or of the individual unit, but to supplement them. This new unit will be the family, men, women, and children, in that most holy unit of all which is the Christian family, gathering together in places withdrawn from the world (as the world
is now, and has been for nearly five centuries), where they can build up what I like to call "walled towns," no more of the world than is the monastery, but like that constituted on lines of order, simplicity, and righteousness. The headlong development of modernism has at last resulted in a social organism which is identical in all parts of the world and apparently invincible and irreformable at all events of its own motion or from within. In the current effort of one section of this organism to establish by force and the denial of the last traces of an earlier Christian society, its hegemony of the globe, the whole thing may be destroyed, as completely as Antiquity was destroyed, and before the end of the century we may be eking out a precarious and savage existence amidst the crumbling ruins of a proud civilization that has passed away. The chances are that this is the fate in store for the world, which is very given to "vain repetitions," but if for the moment this catastrophe is delayed, as Rome sporadically revived in a measure, and with failing vigour, between the successive barbarian invasions, then the immediate question will be what course are they to pursue who have read the writing on the wall and have seen the present phantasm of culture only as a silly mockery, incapable of selfregeneration. If after this war there is an interlude of complacent recovery in preparation for the next and more devastating visitation; if some imbecile return is made towards the status quo ante, with secularism rampant in education and Dr. Flexner perhaps "Dictator of Studies," with the present smug substitute for Democracy rampant and unashamed; with raw heresy masquerading under the name of "fraternal cooperation" and "glorious comprehensiveness"; with industrialism working again towards the final establishment of the Servile State; with a pseudo-evolutionary, pseudo-philosophy salving the surface wounds of a vanishing conscience and feeding vanity with the pabulum of fatuous flattery; with public opinion and newspapers and automobiles and victrolas and airplanes and movies and "great white ways," and billionaires and war babies and pacifism and social-service crusades and world conferences on unfaith and disorder,-together with all the myriad other en
gaging manifestations of the era of enlightenment that succeeded the Christian Commonwealth of the Middle Ages-what are we to do?
Frankly, I think there is nothing but a raising of the cry "To your tents, O Israel!" and a retreat to the walled towns that will be the new sanctuaries of those who are too proud to bend the knee to Baal: to voluntary "concentration camps" each of which would be a little "imperium in imperio," an oasis of self-restraint in a desert of self-indulgence, where once more religion becomes something besides a social amenity and interpenetrates all life until again the bad division between Church and State is altogether lost. It is only in such communities that the human scale can be regained, and until this replaces the imperialism that now dominates all action and all thought, it is useless to talk about civilization as a thing which has any contemporary existence. Of course, each walled town would contain its twin kernel of life in the shape of a parish church and a monastery, the latter term covering houses for both men and women; therefore even with this extension of the monastic idea we shall need our cloisters of the olden type, and even more than otherwise. Of course, few of us have or will have the vocation to the religious life, and we shall need to preserve and restore the old and holy institution of the family. Therefore if we are to be driven out, not into, but from the wilderness man has made with his clever hands and cleverer brain, we must have our walled towns; but these can assemble better around the walls of some religious house than they can be created by fiat, while itself must be always the centre of spiritual energy and the final refuge of those who have become weary of living even in the paradisaical peace of a walled town.
From every point of view the restoration and expansion of the consecrated Religious Life is the demand most clamorous today. Not that it may supersede the secular priesthood, but supplement and strengthen it, not that it may hold up an ideal of asceticism in place of that forever consecrated by the Holy Family of Nazareth, but by its own voluntary self-sacrifice, make the human family more secure in its place; not that it may destroy but fulfil.
Five centuries ago, and a thousand, and fifteen hundred, and two thousand, the world in its periodical agony called aloud for aid, and men put all behind them and answered, in conformity with the will of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who first, for the saving of the world, voluntarily established for Himself and for those who would follow Him, the threefold vow of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience and added for full measure, brotherhood and work. Again the same call goes forth, and now, or later, the same answer must be made and will be made. If to any of you the call has ever come, "Sell that thou hast; take up thy cross and follow Me," he must make sure of two things: first, that the call is indeed of God; and second, that even at the price of life itself, it does not go unheard.
Us Use What We Have!
BY THE REV. CHARLES HERBERT YOUNG.
HERE is great reason for encouragement as we look out upon the attitude of Churchmen today toward the reli
gious education of their children. Throughout the nation we find an increasing desire to understand children and what training they need to enable them to develop the spiritual powers with which God has endowed them, in order that they may realize their personal responsibility as members of the family of God as well as their duties as citizens in the commonwealth of man. We are leaving far behind the old notion that the training of children is a "necessary evil" in parish life, to be shirked by every live person and relegated to a few elderly ladies and young girls. The time has long passed when one could truthfully answer the old conundrum, "When is a School not a School?" by replying "When it is a Sunday School."
It is not my purpose in this article to review the steps of the growth which have led to this awakening, interesting though they would be; but rather, to make some practical suggestions from observation and from experience in developing schools under modern conditions. We frequently hear men say that
they would like nothing better than to have a good school, with modern equipment and methods, trained teachers and efficient officers. But they add, "We cannot do it in our parish." Why not? Let us use what we have.
Let us imagine ourselves in an "average parish," with an "average rector," "average people for teachers," and "average children" as pupils, with the average guild rooms (or even only the nave of the Church) to work in. Our first step would be to procure and master the fundamental principles of a few practical books, and if possible, have at least one or two other people read them too, in order that they might become good helpers in the work. The following books will be of great practical assistance: "The Children's Challenge to the Church," by the Rev. Dr. Gardner; "Church Ideals in Education," by the General Board of Religious Education; "The Churchman's Manual of Methods in the Sunday School," by the Rev. Dr. Butler; "Religious Education," by the Rev. Dr. W. W. Smith; "Elements of Religious Pedagogy," by Pattee (read with the realization that the author, not being a Churchman, omits reference to the supernatural grace which comes through the Sacraments); "The Sunday School Under Scientific Management," by Archdeacon Dennan; "Organizing the Smaller School," by the Rev. Dr. Bradner; and the pamphlets explaining the "Christian Nurture Series." There are almost countless other books which one may read if he has the time. But these will give one who masters them an ample foundation upon which to build.
Before proceeding farther, one ought to set clearly before himself the definite purpose for which he wishes to have a Church School. There must be a goal toward which every energy and talent of every member of the School is directed, and to the accomplishment of which every will is consecrated. Perhaps this may be expressed as simply as possible in some such words as these:
"To realize that each of these children is an immortal soul for whom our Saviour gave His life, and whom He has entrusted to my care in order that I may teach him to know and to love God, to serve and worship Him, and to prove this love by his conduct toward his fellow men."