Vocation

Ordo Sancti Isustini

Order of Saint Justin, Martyr

  1. About
  2. History
  3. Doctrine
  4. Liturgy
  5. Lectio Divina
  6. Interior Prayer
  7. Aestheticism
  8. Work
  9. Silence and Solitude
  10. Writings

About

— that is, before Justin was martyred and entered sainthood, his teachings on logos as the only true philosophy were held in the House of Martinus, in Rome. Being ordered to Christ as logos was described St. Justin as the only true philosophy. We maintain a scriptural focus on imitating Christ while being mindful not to descend into sanctimoniousness. As philosophers and seekers of truth, even though we might grow by the light of the world’s various wisdom traditions, we ultimately strive to see that our actions follows from being like Christ. The philosophical operative is then perfected in the prototypical model as our way to salvation.

History

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Doctrine

Spirituali: On the Benefits of Christ’s Death.

The Holy Scripture saith that God created man to his own similitude and likeness, making him as concerning the body impassible, and as touching the soul, righteous, true, godly, merciful, and holy:

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Eucharist

And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist]

. ..For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.

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Lectio Divina

The Lectio Divina, divine reading, is centrally important to our spirituality.

True to its biblical origins, the monastic life seeks above all a listening heart wherein God’s Word—God’s self-communication—is made manifest in Christ, in the Scriptures, in the human heart and in the heart of the cosmos. Lectio Divina is a method of approaching scripture in order to listen to the depths, seeking to encounter Christ, the Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, hidden in the words of the text.

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Lectio

The repeated reading of the text until certain words and phrases call for attention.

Sometimes footnotes in a good study bible (for example, the Jerusalem Bible) as well as cross references help here. This stage has often been compared to taking in food, as the first “eating” of the word of scripture.

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Mediatio

The further “chewing” or ruminating on key words and phrases.

One stays as long as one is so attracted to a word or phrase. At this stage the heart of the text for the reader should begin to emerge.

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Oratio

These key words and phrases of the text eventually lead the person to prayer inspired by the text and a growing awareness of God’s presence in Christ by the Spirit.

This is the deep tasting of the text.

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Contemplatio

Eventually the particular words lead the reader beyond words to a silent awareness of God’s presence—simply an abiding or communing with God.

This is the savoring of the sweetness of the Lord. Lectio is also enhanced when an oblate does scripture study and learns to consult good commentaries to support his or her reading. In this way the subtle nuances of a text will be more available to the reader. The oblate should try to do lectio as often as possible but at least once a week in preparation for Sunday Liturgy, using the readings for that Sunday.

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Interior Prayer

Personal participation in the liturgy and the regular practice of lectio are reflected in one’s interior prayer, flowing up from the depths of the heart under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

This “secret” prayer, the fruit of repentance and purity of heart, is taught by the Gospel and recommended by Saint Benedict, Cassian and the desert tradition. The atmosphere of silence, in which God speaks, is indispensible for this practice. Silence permeates it and nourishes it, and when an oblate is faithful to this prayer (Jesus Prayer/Centering Prayer/Christian meditation, etc.) it becomes a constant reality in his/her relationship with God as son/daughter. It is recommended that this prayer be offered twice a day, morning and evening, for ten or twenty minutes or more, when possible.

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Aestheticism

Clothed with Christ.

How the Christian man apparelleth or clotheth himself with Christ. And although by the things above said it may clearly enough be understanded how the Christian man apparelleth himself with Christ, nevertheless we will speak somewhat more, knowing that to talk of Christ and of his gifts to a good Christian it can never seem tedious nor painful, although a thing were repeated a thousand times.

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Work

A great deal of our lives is spent at work.

For our spirituality, work is more than earning a living. It is a means of developing our human faculties, continuing the work of God the Creator and contributing to the fulfillment of the plan of Divine Providence. Sometimes work also entails some suffering, and to this extent it is for us a participation in the redemption of humanity through the mystery of the cross.

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Silence and Solace

Silence and solace have a special place in the Spirituali tradition.

The encounter with God in silence and solitude is distinctive of our tradition. An apt image of such an encounter with God is the desert or wilderness, where one is stripped of everything but that alone which is truly necessary. Oblates find the Hermitage at Big Sur, CA, to be in many ways a desert/ wilderness experience of silence and solitude supported by community.

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Writings

Translations of St. Justin Martyr’s works by Alexander Roberts, DD, & James Donaldson, LL.D.

Discourse to the Greeks
On the Resurrection
On the Sole Government of God
Hortatory Address to the Greeks
Fragments from the Lost Writing of Justin
Dialogue with the Trypho
Second Apology
First Apology

Notes

  1. Schrand, G. J. (1982). The Franciscan and Dominican aesthetics in Middle English religious lyric poetry (Doctoral dissertation, Rice University). Retrieved from scholarship.rice.edu

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