We usually accept that priests, theologians and intellectuals engage in discussions of the deeper meaning of our faith. But how often do we give ourselves as lay Catholics the opportunity to do so? Members and friends of the Order of Malta’s Boston Area demonstrated that, not only do we, as laity, have the ability to have such discussions, but also we can find them to be rich and rewarding.
Msgr. James P. Moroney, ChM, one of our Boston Area Chaplains, and Rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester, Massachusetts, led participants in a virtual discussion of the American Association’s Fall/Winter Spiritual Initiative, Module Four, “Fundamental Considerations for Members of the Third Class.” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, ChC, had recorded the presentation, which focused on the role of the Third Class (the vast majority of Order members, those who do not profess religious vows or make a Promise of Obedience). Bishop Caggiano talked about three characteristics of the modern world: secularism, technology, and hostility to the faith. He then presented St. Thomas Aquinas’ Transcendentals, which are a summary of the virtuous life, as the antidote. The Transcendentals he presented were truth, beauty and goodness.
Msgr. Moroney summarized Bishop Caggiano’s presentation saying the antidote to secularism is the truth of Christ; to technology, beauty; and to the hostility of the world toward faith, simple goodness. “We, as members of the Order of Malta, are called to exemplify truth, beauty, and goodness,” Msgr. Moroney said.
Participants joined in with comments and insights, making the discussion very interactive. Mary Jo Kriz said she thought when we step out in truth and faith, the grace of God is there. Cynthia Pasciuto said that when members speak the truth of Christ to others, it helps the community and the nuclear family. David Houston said he often senses the presence of God in the beauty of nature. Ed Delaney said he thought the comments about the sterility of the technological age were important.
As for how members of the Third Class can respond to the modern world, Craig Gibson, Boston Area Co-Chair, summed up Bishop Caggiano’s suggestions this way: “Proclaim the truth and never hide behind the silence; foster community, starting in your own family; and stand in solidarity with the poor and the sick.”