UNIVERSAL PRIVATE ASSOCIATION OF THE FAITHFUL
SECULAR CONTEMPLATIVES OF SAINT BRUNO
Ecclesial Secular Vocation
1. Among the disciples of Christ, there are men and women who live in the world, participating actively through Baptism and Confirmation in the Royal, Priestly and Prophetic Mission of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and have as their vocation to shine forth the presence of Christ in the heart of humanity in such a way that through them "the divine message of salvation be known and accepted by all men" (Apostolicam Actuostatem, no. 4, 3).
2. By combined efforts they also remedy the customs and conditions of the world, if they are an inducement to sin, so that they all may be conformed to the norms of justice and may favor the practice of virtue rather than hinder it. By so doing they will imbue culture and human activity with genuine moral values; they will better prepare the field of the world for the seed of the Word of God; and at the same time they will open wider the doors of the Church by which the message of peace may enter the world (See Lumen Gentium, no. 36).
Secular Contemplatives of Saint Bruno
3. Some among them moved by the Holy Spirit, live in the world inspired by the entire life of Saint Bruno and pursue contemplation through a pledged commitment in accordance with their own statutes and personal vocation.
4. These seculars are characterized by a particular spirituality marked by a profound contemplation of God and the marvelous deeds of His Saints, such that the fruit of their contemplation is directed toward the complete evangelization of the Word of God and the transformation of the temporal order. To accomplish these ends, they form their own Communities that share in the great spiritual family of Saint Bruno; however without any jurisdictional bond or physical contact with the professed monks and nuns, and donates of the Carthusian Order.
5. Participation in this ecclesial and ecumenical secular move-ment is also extended to:
(a) any Catholic diocesan priest – with the consent of his Ordinary - who seeks affiliation by pledged commitment, suitably adapting membership to his particular secular vocation in the local Church;
(b) baptized men and women - lay or cleric of other Christian denominations – who, with the consent of their proper Ordinary, freely seek to fortify their ministry by a deeper life of prayer, and association with other secular contemplatives - suitably adapting membership to his (her) particular secular vocation - in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith (Nicene Creed).
6. Supported by fraternal communion and the example of Mary, the ever-virgin Mother of God, John the Baptist, and other holy men and women who continue to influence us in the life of the Church, they give testimony to their faith. Thus, they place themselves in service to divine Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.
7. Taking into account the very mission of the Redeemer they devote themselves to glorify and build-up his mystical Body, the Church, with their whole mind, soul, and heart.
8. Animated by the charism of Saint Bruno they know that their apostolic efforts spring from the abundance of contemplation.
I. LIFE OF THE COMMUNITIES
Life of the Communities
9. Members have to make an effort to live an authentic fraternal communion according to the spirit of the beatitudes which will always be manifested in acts of mercy and participation in good works among members of the communities, above all, with the poor and infirm and through prayer for the dead in such a way that "all be of one heart and one soul" (Acts of the Apostles 4:32).
10. Each member shall offer his or her particular talents and gifts to promote the pastoral plan of the local (Arch)diocese, always available to cooperate with other apostolic groups.
11. To progress in the fulfillment of their inseparable contempla-tive and apostolic vocation, the Secular Contemplatives of Saint Bruno have recourse to the following sources:
(a) daily Eucharist, if possible; (b) participation in the celebration of the principal times of the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and the Office of Readings (occasionally prolonged as a true Vigil) in communion with the professed members of the Carthusian Order; (c) esteem times of Eucharistic adoration, contemplative prayer, solitary silence, meditation, and the rosary; (d) frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; (e) conversion of heart through the spirit and practice of evangelical penance; (f) the reading of Sacred Scripture (especially the New Testament), and participation in communal celebrations of the Word of God; (g) devotion to the Virgin Mary, in accord with the tradition of the Carthusian Order; (h) meditation upon the writings of the Fathers of the Church; (i) reflective study of revealed truth - in the light of faith - on contemporary problems; (j) avail themselves to skilled spiritual directors; (k) periodical meetings with other Secular Contemplatives on topics pertaining to Faith Formation and spirituality. 12. Since we are members of one another it is fitting that we take upon ourselves in prayer the burdens of our brothers and sisters in Saint Bruno, and that we pray:
a) For the spiritual Family of Saint Bruno: all monks, nuns, donates, and our Secular Contemplatives; b) For Superiors c) For our Families and Benefactors d) For the Universal Church
Although we offer many prayers for specific persons, let us trust that all prayers may, by the mercy of God, benefit the Universal Church, to the praise of the glory of God.
13. The object of all formation is to prepare, enrich and deepen the ability of adults to celebrate and live the Faith, and to share the Word of God with others. With this end in view each region will establish a plan:
(a) for the initial formation in stages, of those interested in the Secular Contemplative vocation; and (b) for the on-going formation of its members who have made a pledged commitment, including those who find themselves isolated.
14. Members of our Communities who have special talent and training should present themselves to assist our Private Association to make use of the Internet and other forms of Mass Media to promote basic and on-going formation of our members.
15. The principal sources of formation are: - the Word of God and theological reflection, - liturgical prayer, - specific methods of contemplation using both the Sacred Scriptures, and the writings of the Fathers of the Church; - contemporary documents of the Church, - study of the signs of the times.
16. Following the Plan of Basic Formation, the person to be admitted to the Secular Contemplatives of Saint Bruno by means of the pledged commitment shall draft a personal, rational and balanced Plan of Living under the supervision of the Formation Director, and approved by the Presbyteral Vicar. This document shall be reviewed and adjusted, if necessary, every two years.
17. In order to be incorporated into this Private Association of the Faithful, seculars must make a commitment - which consists of the formal pledge to live according to the contemplative spirit of Saint Bruno - in accordance with the way of life indicated in the Statutes.
18. After a time of experience and of testing determined by the Regional Directory, and with the favorable affirmation of the Formation Director and Presbyteral Vicar, the person responsible for the Region/Nation shall receive the temporary or perpetual pledged commitment of the candidate.
19. It will be made through this formula or another that is substantially the same:
In honor of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and of Blessed Mary ever-virgin, Saint John the Baptist and Our Holy Father Saint Bruno, I (Full Name), before you, N.N., the Regional President of the Secular Contemplatives of St. Bruno, (OR: N.N., delegate of the Regional President of the Secular Contemplatives of Saint Bruno), do pledge my commitment to live according to the Statutes of this Private Association of the Faithful (for three years, or for life).
20. After the completion of basic formation, each member is treated as an adult, competent to teach others and take on various responsibilities in the Private Association. For this reason, the community recognizes that its regulations do not bind under pain of sin, so that its members may accept them with mature understanding, since they are `no longer slaves under the law, but a people living in freedom under grace' (Rule of Saint Augustine, 7:4).
II. STRUCTURE AND GOVERNMENT
21. This Private Association of the Faithful is both universal and a communion, and this is reflected in its type of government. Of special importance is the organic and proportionate sharing of all its members in achieving its purpose. For this Association is not confined to a single Region (though this is its basic unit), it extends to a communion of Regions within a Nation, and to the gathering of Regions and Nations to constitute the international communion. For this reason its authority - which is universal at the highest level (that is, an International Assembly and the Episcopal Moderator) - is shared proportionately and with corresponding autonomy by the National and local Regions.
22. Our government is communitarian in a manner peculiar to itself, for leaders ordinarily take office after election by the members pledged perpetually and confirmation by a higher Superior. Furthermore, when matters of greater moment are being determined, communities share in several ways in the exercise of self-government, in a regional or national meeting or council.
23. This communitarian form of government is particularly suited to the development of our Private Association. For, in a convocation of an International Assembly, both superiors and our brothers and sisters (through their delegates) enjoy equal rights and freedom with superiors and representatives, and together with them ensure that the purpose of this Private Association is advanced, and that the Association itself is suitably renewed. This constant renewal is demanded by the Christian spirit of continuing conversion and by the Association's special purpose which compels it to adapt its presence in the world to the needs of successive generations. 24. The Regional Community is the special source through which the pledged commitment of each one is nourished and sustained in his/her vocation. The rhythm and manner of meetings will vary according to the region. Zealous participation at these meetings gives testimony of the fidelity of each member.
Jurisdiction of the Private Association and Autonomy of the Communities
25. All Communities – Regional, National, International - are under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Moderator; nevertheless, they enjoy the special autonomy of seculars, governing themselves.
26. The Episcopal Moderator oversees the spirit and life of this Private Association. Whenever necessity demands, he is to establish practical rules according to the demands of the circumstances of time and place. He shall promote both the spiritual good of the secular contemplatives and encourage them to be faithful to their true responsibilities regarding the transformation and elevation of the temporal order.
27. The Episcopal Moderator shall nominate Presbyteral Vicars – with the consent of their own local Ordinary – to assist him, and to be available to the Communities.
28. The Presbyteral Vicar shall be available to the secular superiors and individual members of the Private Association. His principal responsibility is to oversee the necessities of solid spiritual and doctrinal formation of the Communities, however without diminishing the authority of the duly elected secular superiors.
29. The Regional and/or National Promoter(s), brother or sister, are to be elected by the secular contemplatives. The Promoter is the an ex officio superior of the Regional or National Council.
30. A Regional and/or National Council is to be established within the territory designated by the Episcopal Moderator. Five pledged members [at least two women, and one man] are elected by the local membership who have made their own perpetual pledge. After consultation with the brothers and sisters of the Regional/National Communities, the Promoter(s) shall designate one or more members to minister as Formation Coordinator(s). Other appointments may be made by the Council(s) according to need. Each member of a Council shall minister to the Community according to the norms of the National and/or Regional Directory.
31. When there are different regions in the territory of the same country a National Council can be established, according to the norms approved by the Episcopal Moderator for the National Directory.
32. If deemed necessary by two-thirds of the international membership who have made the formal pledged commitment [temporary or perpetual], an International Council may be established by the Episcopal Moderator. In this case, norms are to be drawn in an International Directory.
33. Superiors (and their delegates) and other members of the Association who participate by virtue of Office have a deliberative vote. Officials at Regional, National or International level may always seek a consultative vote of others in the association.
34. Provided that most of those who should be invited are present, in all transactions whatever is approved by an absolute majority – that is, by more than half the votes cast – has the force of law, without counting invalid votes and abstentions, without prejudice to the Code of Canon Law 127, section I.
35. Any pledged member – at their own expense - may attend and participate in meetings at the Regional, National, or International level. Issues requiring a deliberative vote, however, are always cast in a closed session, and only by the superiors and officially delegated representatives of the Communities.
36. All members can send suggestions and/or petitions to the Episcopal Moderator, Presbyteral Vicar(s), and the various Superiors of the Association.
37. Right administration requires that all members, together and singly, accept responsibility for the Private Association's temporal goods in how they use things. It implies a true relationship with poverty, of which it can be said to be the practical exercise. It is for officials, as faithful and prudent servants, to administer economic affairs with constant care, in the service of charity.
38. All temporal good of the Private Association must be administered in accordance with the Church's law and our own legislation, and also in accordance with the Region/ National/ International statute on administration.
39. Every member who, ex officio or by appointment, is entrusted with the administration of goods is obliged to give an account of his/her administation.
Legislation of the Communities
40. The Laws by which the Secular Contemplatives of Saint Bruno are governed are as follows:
(a) The Fundamental Statute of Private Association of the Faithful, and the norms of life and government found in the Directories of the Regional, National, and International Councils.
(b) The Official Acts of any Council approved by the Presbyteral Vicar(s), and confirmed by the Episcopal Moderator.
(c) Any General Declaration of the Episcopal Moderator. POPE JOHN PAUL II
CHRISTIFIDELES LAICI On The Vocation And The Mission Of The Lay Faithful In The Church And In The World
December 30, 1988
59. In discovering and living their proper vocation and mission, the lay faithful must be formed according to the union which exists from their being members of the Church and citizens of human society.
There cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called "spiritual" life, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called "secular" life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social relationships, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture. The branch, engrafted to the vine which is Christ, bears its fruit in every sphere of existence and activity. In fact, every area of the lay faithful's lives, as different as they are, enters into the plan of God, who desires that these very areas be the "places in time" where the love of Christ is revealed and realized for both the glory of the Father and service of others. Every activity, every situation, every precise responsibility - as, for example, skill and solidarity in work, love and dedication in the family and the education of children, service to society and public life and the promotion of truth in the area of culture - are the occasions ordained by Providence for a "continuous exercise of faith, hope and charity" (211).
The Second Vatican Council has invited all the lay faithful to this unity of life by forcefully decrying the grave consequences in separating faith from life, and the gospel from culture: "The Council exhorts Christians, as citizens of one city and the other, to strive to perform their earthly duties faithfully in response to the spirit of the Gospel. They are mistaken who, knowing that we have here no abiding city but seek one which is to come, think that they may therefore shirk their earthly responsibilities; for they are forgetting that by faith itself they are more than ever obliged to measure up to these duties, each according to one's vocation ... This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age" (212).
Therefore, I have maintained that a faith that does not affect a person's culture is a faith "not fully embraced, not entirely thought out, not faithfully lived" (213).
211. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People Apostolicam Actuositatem, 4. 212. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 43; cf. also. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church Ad Gentes, 21; Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 20: AAS 68 (1976), 19. 213. John Paul II, Discourse to the Participants in the National Congress of Church Movements of Cultural Responsibility (M.E.I.C.) (January 16, 1982), 2: Insegnamenti, V, 1 (1982), 131; Also Letter to Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, Secretary of State, establishing the Pontifical Council for Culture (May 20, 1982): AAS 74 (1982), 685; Discourse to the Community of the University of Louvain (May 20, 1985), 2: lnsegnamenti, VII, 1 (1985), 1591.