Help the Cause!

Between the spider-bite thing, M not working, and now the move, things are a bit tight around here. (Of course, that’s nothing new for us…) Despite that, M and I are planning to send a donation to the Order of Julian of Norwich to help their expansion plan.

I feel very strongly about supporting this endeavor–and here’s why…

We Anglicans are a liturgical people. We believe that prayer matters. We believe that forming people into the mind of Christ matters. The catholic side of Anglicanism has strongly supported the retention of monastic forms and communities. It’s not because monastics are better or inherently more holy than the rest of us, some kind of spiritual super-class. Rather, it is a recognition of vocation.

We’re all called to do things in this world. We’ve all been given natural and spiritual gifts and graces. Those who excel in the gifts and skills needed to be geophysicists–and who are called to do it—ought to darn well go and be geophysicists. Yes, they could bag groceries or drive a desk, but to have the gifts, to have the calling and to reject it is to reject part of what God invites us into. The same is true of contemplatives just as geophysicists. Some are called to renounce property, sexual relationships and our highly-prized-though-largely-mythical personal autonomy for a life focused on the process of falling deeper and deeper in love with God and, by extension, his creation.

I’m not one of them.

I’m deeply drawn to things monastic and to our liturgical spirituality. I’m not called to be a monk. I’m called to be a husband and a daddy and I love those things with a passion that confirms my calling to them. However—I can be an oblate. I can be connected to and nourished by a monastic community. I can receive spiritual direction and insight from those whose focus can be more profoundly and constantly directed towards God than my own scattered life. And from them I can learn how to experience my scattered life as a process of falling deeper into love with God.

That’s what this expansion project is about. It’s not just about connecting some buildings in a place in Wisconsin. It’s about connecting members of the community despite increasing mobility problems, and it’s about connecting those of us outside the monastery with those inside it through increasing space and capacity for the monastics to share their wisdom, their folly, their simplicity, their own broken and woundedness with the world.

A lot of people have the wrong idea about philanthropy. They think it’s about giving money away. It’s not. It’s about investing. It’s about investing in your hopes, dreams, and goals in an organization with those same hopes, dreams and goals. An organization that not only shares them but, more importantly, can make a difference with them. I feel the order is one of those; take a look–I think you’ll agree.

So, I encourage you to hop over and check out the plans and download the pdf.

I don’t see a PayPal link or anything like that at the moment, but if you feel moved, shoot off a check to :

OJN Expansion Fund
The Order of Julian of Norwich
2812 Summit Avenue
Waukesha, WI 53188-2781

2 thoughts on “Help the Cause!

  1. John-Julian, OJN

    And now you are kind as well as brilliant, Derek!

    Thanks so much for the promo! It’s really important to us, because our old (c. 1843) farmhouse/ monastery just wasn’t built for folk who can’t climb stairs — and it can accommodate only 8 Regulars (there are 9 of us now – with me in a separate hermitage) — and there are something like four serious aspirants on a waiting list.

    You know, I always had a dream of constructing a parish from ground up: with a couple contemplative religious at the core; then a few active religious; then some celibate Oblates; and then committed Christians with families (perhaps sharing an apartment building), etc. — a kind of microcosm of the Church – with all the potentials and vocations in one community!

    That’s pretty pragmatically unrealistic, but I tried to do something like it in OJN: since we are “semi-enclosed”, I felt it essential for us to have a strong “active” dimension to our community, closely integrated into our lives, so our Oblate rule is the most demanding of any I know of, and the Oblates have a habit very like ours and join us in choir when they visit, And they are prayed for by name every day in the monastery chapel. AND, we are totally dependent on our Affiliates for our daily bread-and-butter — a true “mutuality” which has had wonderful results! We can be the heart, and they must be the hands – and we truly do need each other.

    One last comment: since OJN doesn’t do social service kinds of things, our ministry is mainly a ministry of “presence”. But I recall how my preaching in the parish was suddenly “heard” entirely differently and taken more seriously once I had taken vows and wore a habit. It was a kind of “evidence” that I actually believed and lived what I preached.

    And wonderful things happen, you know: the woman who stopped me in the mall and asked me to bless the rosary she just bought for her dying sister; the clerk in the department store who broke into tears as she totaled my bill and begged my prayers since her husband had just left her; the elderly lady who grasped my hand in the grocery store and said, “Oh, Father, it is so wonderful to see a real habit again. It gives me hope.”

    Anyway, gracious thanks again…..our life and growth literally depends on you all….

  2. Christopher

    Absolutely agree with Derek. I received the materials in the post, and will have a donation off as well. Fr. John-Julian has played a part in encouragement and support that is invaluable.

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