Vigils Reading – Office for Vocations

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Vigils Reading – Office for Vocations

November 18, 2022




From Tractate 15 on the Cenobitic or Common Life, by Baldwin of Ford (CF 41:156-157)


It is by no slight or mean or ordinary authority that the institution of the common life is supported and sustained. The primitive Church was built on the common life, and the in­fancy of the newborn Church began with the com­mon life. It is from the Apostles themselves that the common life has received its form and expression, its title of honor, the privilege of its high position, the testimony of its authority, the protection which defends it, and the foundation of its hope.

It was the Apostles who were established by God as princes over all the earth; princes of the people, gathered together with the God of Abraham; strong gods of the earth who are exceedingly exalted; friends of God, who are greatly honored and whose princi­pality is greatly strengthened;  nobles of heaven, judges of the earth, to whom was made the promise that they should sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; members of the [celestial] senate,  who receive swords in their hands to exe­cute vengeance upon the nations and chastisements upon the people, to bind their kings with fetters and their nobles with manacles of iron, to execute upon them the prescribed judgement. 

Such men as these, so powerful and so noble, were clothed in virtue from above, and by the inspi­ration of the Holy Spirit they undertook to observe the common life. They confirmed it by their exam­ple, sanctioned it by their conduct, and handed it down to us so that we might also keep it. Thus, through the common life, we who are set upon the earth can begin to be fashioned in the likeness of the angels of God, for in the eternal life to come, we shall be united with them as their like and their equal. The common life was instituted by celestial models; it was brought down from heaven and adopted by us from the heavenly way of life of the holy angels.

If the fact that the common life came down from the angels of God to the Apostles and from the Apostles to us is still not sufficient to recommend it to you, then there is a further factor which we can add, something beyond all praise: the common life flowed out from the Fount of Life itself. I am speak­ing now of that fount of which it is written, With you is the fount of life, and in your light we shall see light. The common life, then, is a sort of radiance from the eternal light, a sort of emanation from the eternal life, a sort of effluence from the everlasting fountain, from which flow living waters, springing up into eternal life.


November 18, 2022
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