Adrienne von Speyr - Christlicher Stand

Christlicher Stand The Christian State of Life

In the present volume, Adrienne von Speyr offers a theological meditation on the states of life in the Church. In particular, she considers the evangelical counsels, the secular priesthood, and marriage as three distinct ways of answering Christ’s call to holiness. This is an answer, Adrienne insists, that requires unreserved decision: “The Son did not make his decision merely in order to follow a path belonging to him alone. In following this path, he opened to men the same path of decision in faith.”

I   Preparation
The Lord’s Choice
The Choice of One Called by God
The Choice Made by Others
II   The Choice
The Channels of Choice
The Characteristics of the Choice
The Effects of the Call
The Safeguards of the Choice
After the Choice
III   Implementing the Choice
In Act
In Being
In Further Development
IV   Life in One’s Chosen State
In One’s New Life
In the Chosen State
In One’s Surroundings
In the Church
V   Difficulties
Difficulties with Regard to Understanding and Being Understood
Difficulties with Regard to Vitality and Fidelity
Difficulties with Regard to Faith, Hope and Love
VI   Consequences
For One Making a Choice
For One’s Surroundings
For the Church
The Choice Not Made
VII   Vocation in the Gospel
VIII   The Vocation of the Lord
IX   The Vocation of the Apostles
X   The Vocation of the Successors of the Apostles
XI   The Vocation of the Saints

For one who is still young, still groping toward his choice in prayer and contemplation, it is a great shock to discover the disparity in his world between grace and human indifference. He sees that it is possible to miss what is most important in life, and that this happens frequently. He sees also that living faith — faith in the possibility of free and serious choice — is absent wherever men live in stolid resignation. The discovery stirs him to action. The attitude of observer is something temporary that must lead to action, to choice. God grants him this time of indecision so that man may examine his choice in the light, so that all the alternatives emerge and so that he may realize the consequences of choosing and of not choosing. But his role as a more or less critical observer who summons all things before him in judgment is necessarily of short duration. Were he to continue in it too long instead of summoning the courage to make a choice, he would discover after a few short years that there was no longer any appreciable difference between himself and those who live their lives in passive resignation. What began in grace would end in weary indifference. His role as observer, the joy he took in the possibilities that shimmered before his eyes, his particular pleasure in contemplating them without committing himself to any of them — all these, would lead inexorably to the loss of life and the drying up of its sources.

Once someone becomes aware that he has been an observer for long enough, this very observation will urge him toward the choice. At this point there are many ways open to him.

From “The Channels of Choice”