Msgr. James P. Moroney, ChM
Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Spiritual Growth Is Not an Accident
Regulations for Members to Foster Spiritual Growth
Most of us probably think of the word “regulations” as creating restrictions. But the Order of Malta’s regulations do just the opposite. They are designed to enhance our spiritual lives.
In April, the Boston Area hosted another online guided discussion on the American Association’s Spiritual Initiative Module #5, Regulations for Members of the Third Class. Msgr. James P. Moroney, ChM, Boston Area Chaplain and Rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester, Massachusetts, led the participants in a review of the topic covered by Rev. David Caron, OP, ChM, Magistral Chaplain, from the recorded online video.
Fr. Caron spoke about why rules and regulations are part of a spiritual life. “Spiritual growth is not an accident,” he said “You must intend to grow; you must choose to grow. This means that we grow by making commitments, and with commitments we always find rules and regulations.”
He then went on to explain the 11 regulations and make practical suggestions about how to accomplish them. The guidance covers areas ranging from receiving the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance and observing daily prayer, to involving oneself in the work of the Order, to being model citizens, and exercising Christian influence within one’s social circle.
Msgr. Moroney, who has led discussion groups about the earlier modules of the Spiritual Initiative, noted how the topics had begun in a general, foundational way, but, as they went along, became more specific. He said this latest module begins to say, “Here’s where the rubber meets the road.” Msgr. Moroney highlighted the role of the regulations within the context of our baptismal promises. “The charisms of the Order of Malta are useful to us only to the extent that they help us to live out our baptismal commitment all the more,” he said.
Participants in the discussion expressed how the video reminded them that a lot is expected of members of the Order and that it is a choice to grow. They left the meeting encouraged to do just that. Nancy Gibson, Co-Chair of the Boston Area, said, “This was excellent for me to go through and to remind myself of what I should be doing every day.”