Pedagogy 3

Ove and Rose KDP May 2018

The two points making up the third pedagogical methodology of the Dove and Rose (St. Joan and St. Thérèse) devotion are:

“The more we pray, the more we are drawn into seeking quietude in the midst of our active lives as we seek knowledge of and desire for God. We increasingly sense a mountain top monastic presence in our souls in conjunction with the armies waiting for us in the valleys to fight the day to day battles for the Church Militant. This is Thérèse’s Mount Carmel living harmoniously in us alongside Joan’s mystical militancy. We are cloistered with Thérèse and Joan in prayerful solitude on Mount Carmel; we are busy advancing the Kingdom with Joan and Thérèse in our active lives. We are both in solitude and active. Thus is the mystery of our devotion.”

“Our source of life, the fount of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the real and substantial body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist given to us in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Partaking regularly of the sacraments, notably confession and the Eucharist, along with frequent Eucharistic adoration, meditation on the scriptures, and spiritual readings from the saints are the channels whereby Jesus Christ most effectively teaches us through the Holy Spirit. We must confess our sins, partake of the Eucharist (eat His flesh), and worship Him in the Eucharist if we are to reach the Kingdom of heaven.”

The third pedagogical method of the Dove and Rose encompasses the two points referenced above, which can be taken as a part A and part B. Here we find a most remarkable development on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed with Sts. Joan and Thérèse. As we journey forward with our saintly sisters, we find that despite having found our head in the clouds, our feet are still remarkably planted on the earth. Beauty and majesty in living both joyfully in heaven (to the degree that we can here while advancing onward along the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed) yet practically on earth in our day to day lives becomes a signature mark for us. There is a most profound reason for this persistent integration of heaven and earth in our daily living, and it is the substance of the third pedagogy.

As for heaven, the more enamored we become with the reality of the Kingdom awaiting us (should we persevere in God’s grace and not lose our way through sin and prideful self will), the more we come to sense its infinite and immeasurable value. Like a magnificent land in the distance, we begin to ever so faintly comprehend its value as we journey. We contemplate it even more deeply through the resonating hues and tones of “the most beautiful color in the heavens,” that is, the combined spiritualities of St. Joan and St. Thérèse, and we are astonished to know that even more than being of great value, this Kingdom holds the very source of life for us.

My saintly sister sat next to me
In the grass while shading her eyes
“It’s beautiful over there,” I softly spoke
Remaining still so as to not disturb my view
“What is the magic, the mystery, of that land?”

“Order,” whispered Thérèse with authority
While looking out herself, “Divine Order “
“The minerals serve the plants
The plants serve the animals
The animals serve mankind”

“God,” she continued, “is served by mankind”
“Do you remember, when we first met?”
She surprised me. How could I forget?
That day I stumbled out of the Dark Forest
The day she called my name

“I found you lost in a land of dis-order!” she smiled
“But there, over there, where you gaze
The pathways, the villages, and flowing rivers
Make one wonderful, unified landscape
For the Almighty Divine Pleasure!”

I could see that waters ran fresh and deep
Everything was far richer in being
Than any place else I had seen
Certainly far richer than the dark and smoke-filled
Forest of confused order from where I had come

(From Little Flowers and Fiery Towers)

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As for earth, the more we come to contemplate the incomprehensible value of the Kingdom and come to know it as our true home, ironically, the more purposeful and relevant our life here on earth becomes. This is a mystery of the third pedagogy. The more we sense the magnificence of the Kingdom, the more we are prepared to give our lives in its defense on earth. Though we yearn for heaven, we do not seek escapism on earth; we know our glory is to bring down the Kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” After all, the Church is the seed of the Kingdom on earth. Through the Church and her life giving sacraments, the Kingdom exists in our midst. It is “in this world” but not “of this world.” (Jn 18:36) Through the Church we are engaging the Kingdom with the world in an epic battle for the salvation of mankind. We now feel more alive “in the world” precisely because we are sure of the infinite magnificence of our newly, though partially, comprehended Kingdom not “of this world.” The third pedagogy is enigmatic but immensely edifying. One begins to sense here that he is fully alive at last.

Thus, St. Joan and St. Thérèse do not give us the wings of angels as we joyfully engage in the Freedom Dance on the Trail of the Dogmatic Creed. St. Joan and St. Thérèse give us (rather, the Holy Spirit gives us through their loving care) the armor of warriors. (Eph 6:14-17) The “gates of hell will not prevail” (Mt 16:18) against the Church because we have been called to defend her by God’s grace. As warriors, we are prepared to give our lives for our homeland. (Phil 3:20) It is our privilege and our glory through grace.

“Pay heed, dear brother, to Joan of Arc
She’s sent to guide you over the highest of mountain tops
To the very heart of the Mother of God
By the very command of the King of Kings
But this gift from Jesus to you – requires suffering!”

I myself stared into the swirling pools
Not even cognizant of that at which I looked
I did not care to ponder much on Thérèse’s words
Though I knew them to be true
But perhaps in my case there would be an exception…

“What is a sacrifice?” she turned to look directly in my eyes
“But to offer what is of value
And the greater the value, the greater the offering
Do not our scriptures say that there is no love greater
Than to give one’s life for another?”

Now this was making me quite uncomfortable
All this talk of suffering and death
But it was quite interestingly different from the talk
I heard in the Dark Forest of despair
That is, that we must not die, we must evolve to gods

“To give one’s life for Jesus
When He gave His for us
Is our true act of love
To serve for no reward
Save loving Christ the King!”

(From Little Flowers and Fiery Towers)

Jeanne eyes closed in prayer more frost

Thus it is that in our souls we find the monastic mountaintop integrated with the militant warrior spirit of self sacrifice. We are in the world but not of the world. We are “no longer aliens or foreign visitors”; we are “fellow citizens with the holy people of God.” (Eph 2:19) We belong to a new civilization, and self sacrifice in union with and for love of Jesus Christ on the Cross is our new heritage. This should serve as our first meditation.

The source of all grace in us is the reservoir of the infinite merits of Jesus Christ opened to us through that Cross. It overflows to us like a glorious celestial fountain from our heavenly Mother, Mary and our saintly sisters Joan and Thérèse.

“For the Divine order is such that lower beings receive an overflow of the excellence of the higher, even as the air receives the brightness of the sun.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica; IIa IIae Q83;A11)

It is only through Him and His salvic work of redemption on the Cross that this flowing fountain is opened to us. Through His merits and in His intercession for us with the Father, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us in the Divine Order through the sacraments of the Church and most notably through the Holy Eucharist given to us in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. We “eat His flesh” and “drink His blood” (Jn 6:53-55) and adore Him in prayer before His real and substantial presence in the Eucharist. Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is the gateway between our earthly existence and our heavenly one we have found formed in us by the Holy Spirit as described above. Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is the center of our lives; He is the glorified King in our Kingdom which is metaphorically the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Right then we stepped over
To a view that shook my soul
The land I had been seeking
With the guidance of these saintly sisters
It was the new garden, the heart of Mary

And in that heart
Was the cradle of the Kingdom
Order and beauty and obedience
On the path of the Dogmatic Creed
Had brought me to heaven’s door

My saintly companions
Thérèse and Joan of Arc
Knelt down in prostration
Toward that land of authentic love
To worship the Christ

I then did what I had done
For this whole journey long
Knowing that He through
His Mother had sent to me Thérèse and Joan

…I did what they did
I simply followed their lead
With a heart bursting with gladness
I fell tearfully to my knees

(From Little Flowers and Fiery Towers)

Before Jesus Christ in His real presence in the Eucharist, we find life itself and the source of discernment for His will in our lives. Confession, frequent reception of the Eucharist at Mass, and Eucharistic adoration are essential for us in cooperating with the Holy Spirit to grow the contemplative monastery with the sacrificial warrior spirit in us. We find here that good spiritual direction and the use of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius regarding the discernment of God’s will are essential.

Now that we have become re-integrated as new creations walking in sanctifying grace and have been given these great graces by this overflowing fountain through the loving care of St. Joan and St. Thérèse, we are beginning to more actively seek and discern God’s will for our lives. We sit before Jesus Christ in His Eucharist and with His mother, Mary. We are now both in solitude in the mountain monastery with Sts. Joan and Thérèse and actively warriors for the Kingdom. This should serve as our second and final meditation on the third pedagogy.

 

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