35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred. See, they say about us, how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves would sooner kill. Apology of Tertullian, AD 197
Last night, a friend of mine and I went out to a community event. She and I met very nice people and talked to new acquaintances. My friend and I believe in evangelization. She and I are lay people, and going out and evangelizing is part of our duty to God.
I listened to people, made connections, noted their talents as some of the event included art, excellent art, and basically was open to getting to know them.
Afterwards, my friend and I had a long conversation on why those in the Latin Mass community which she attends on a regular basis do not go to such events. This event was full of women dressed nicely and modestly, there was nothing immoral in any of the exhibits, and those involved were pleasant and mature.
Evangelizing is the duty of the laity. We are not nuns in contemplative orders, although God has called me to have one foot in both worlds, nor are we monks in a monastery. The lay call is in the world. Opus Dei understands this, Benedictine Oblates understand this, and members of the Most Sorrowful Mother Third Order understand this. We all pray for those in the world.
Hiding or making camps, digging moats and putting the alligator in the moats are cultish activities. I have been writing about cults off and on since 2011. One of my friends as parents had to rescue a son from a cult years ago, and I was in a community which was not a cult. I know the difference between a cult and a community. Cults control people’s lives with unnecessary rules and regulations, wanting a conformity which should only exist in monastic settings.There should be no “habits” of dress among the laity who are Catholic. We are not Amish.
Isolation marks the person in the world who may be mentally ill, does not fit into even normal society. The world is a mixture of good and bad people. We are to go out and bring people to God.
Yes, a few of us are called to much prayer and suffering, but while being in the world. I am going to a poustinia this month but only for a temporary stay. This was offered within my budget and I am invited to set up the chapel there. However, this will be used by other people when I am not there. I am donating my entire kitchen of appliances, dishes, and so on, as well as other things. The chapel is from members of this blog, and so on…but I shall be back in the midst of the world, and even in the poustinia still able to blog, which is my main call in evangelization.
Those lay people who retreat in fear and even in a type of superiority complex are dead wrong. Yes, I home-schooled, but we belonged to an (shock for some) ecumenical home schooling group. There was not a Catholic group for home schoolers that I discovered until my son was older. Even in that group, a few Protestants joined us. We were not cultish.
The problem with cults is that they demand people becoming, entering into a new identity made in the image and likeness of those who are the appointed or even unappointed leaders. For example, in one TLM group I know, skirt lengths are talked about as if two inches below the knee is scandalous. And, men think they have the right to butt into the lives of single men and single women who are not sinning but pursuing holiness. This is cultish activity–to judge and gossip and butt in where no problem exists..
Most people I know have good, even excellent confessors and spiritual directors. If a Catholic has such, what is discussed both spiritually and materially are topics simply no one else’s business.
If someone in a community is sinning publicly, then the priest in the parish must deal with it, or a lay person who is close, very close, to that person.
Cults sometimes are full of people with serious personality disorders and neuroses. Sadly, too many become leaders by imposing their neuroses, such as paranoia and gross negativity onto others. My friend made me laugh by asking if anyone would want to join a community of grumpy, unhappy people. Love brings joy.
We are not to live in splendid isolation as Catholic lay people. Christ’s words are not a recommendation but a command.
How many souls are you passing today who need a contact, love, compassion?
19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.