“I’m religious but not spiritual”
His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I
It’s fashionable these days to describe oneself as “spiritual but not religious”, meaning that one is open to an experience beyond the commercial or political but not tied to “institutional” religion. One claims an experience of transcendence that is bound by no one else’s rules.
Why should anyone care where someone else gets a spiritual high? Because no one really cares, the claim to be spiritual but not religious is always safe, it is not a threat. The claim to be religious is different. It is a claim that God has taken the initiative to reveal himself and tell us who he is and who we are. Religion binds us to God according to his will, not ours, in a community of faith that he has brought into existence. Being religious can therefore be threatening.
Being religious as a Christian starts with the belief that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Faith in Christ’s resurrection is central to Christian religion. Those who are “spiritual” often deny Christ’s resurrection as a physical event. They prefer a Christ who is safely an idea in their minds, made in their image and likeness. By contrast, the risen Christ breaks into our experience and seeks those he calls to be religious, to believe what God has done for us, much to our surprise.
Meeting the risen Christ spiritually depends upon believing in him religiously. We are given the gift of faith in Baptism, in which we are configured to the risen Christ. Faith perdures, even when there’s not a lot of spiritual “tingle” in our lives! “Lord I believe, help my unbelief,” is the cry of a religious person who asks Christ to take him beyond his own spiritual experience into a new world where bodies as well as minds share in God’s grace. The faith-filled person is sure of God and distrustful of himself. Unlike faith in God, experience is often wrong in religious matters.
Personal faith needs communitarian buttressing, lest it degenerate into individual spirituality. One sure means of corroborating personal faith is to check it against the faith of the Church, the community founded by Christ. The Apostle St Peter and his successors confirm our faith and keep us on the path of true religion.
A short time ago, the Church welcomed a new Universal Pastor, a Bishop of Rome who chose to call himself after Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis was called by Christ to renew and rebuild the Church, and he checked every move he made with the pope and his advisors. Now Pope Francis has taken up Peter’s ministry in the universal Church. He will continue to confirm our faith and keep us tied to God’s loving plan for our salvation.
Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum
Federal Association – U.S.A.
There are over 935 Knights and Dames and nearly 60 Federal Association Chaplains in 33 states, the District of Columbia and 3 foreign countries. Most Federal Association Members live in one of the 25 “Hospitaller Regions” nationwide. As membership grew, the Federal Association created regions to facilitate ongoing spiritual and volunteer activities for members. Each region is coordinated by a Regional Hospitaller who is responsible for the organization of membership-related events, Masses, and activities.
For more information on events and calendar in each Hospitaller Regions please select from the "Regions" tab on the left under the Federal Association section.
Federal Association Membership Location
Welcome Michael Stankewicz!
As you may know, we have been blessed with a new Executive Director, effective September 8, to support our many works and activities. Michael will replace Joe Dempsey, who retired after 22 devoted years of service to the Federal Association.
Michael Stankewicz is a deacon, a business man, and a devoted man of the faith, coming to us most recently from the Diocese of Wilmington where he has overseen marriage and family life, as well as served as Secretary of Catholic education for the diocese.
Please be sure to share your thoughts with Michael about how he can best help us advance our mission and give him a warm welcome to the Order of Malta Federal Association.
Western PA Retreat
St. Vincent's Archabbey
Oct. 31st- Nov. 2nd, 2014
Rev. Justin M. Matro, O.S.B., Assistant Professor of Spiritual Theology at the Seminary, has been our Retreat Master for several of the Annual Retreats and has accompanied us on the Lourdes Pilgrimage. Father Justin received his B.A. from Seton Hall University and the M.A. and M. Div. from St. Vincent Seminary. In addition, Father Justin holds an M.A. from Duquesne University and the S.T.D. from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
St. Vincent College and Archabbey is a beautiful wooded campus located 35 miles east of Pittsburgh. The retreat will be in the Benedictine tradition - complete with Morning Prayer and Vespers with the monks, Mass each day, Confession, five conferences with Father Justin, and plenty of time reserved for quiet prayer and contemplation.
Contact Dan McGrogan to register.