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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana










When we prepare for a birthday celebration, we dress well and prepare the house, removing everything that is unsightly. So, when we prepare to celebrate Christ's birthday, let us do the same. Clothe yourself with the light of charity, pearls of justice and mercy, kindness and prudence.

Remove, then, all the dirt of avarice, anger, pride and dissipation. This way, when we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, it will be a remedy; otherwise, it might be unto our condemnation, "My friend, how is it you came in here not having a wedding garment?" You have approached the Lord's festival banquet without the white garment of repentance.

We are invited to Christ's nuptials; and if we live holy lives, we are the bride. So consider what kind of nuptials we are attending, who the Spouse is and what kind of banquet it is.

The table is not man-made but instead the table of angels and the food of angels is served. Let us approach such a table with the pearls of good works.

So, give more alms during this great feast. For, as we eat in banquets, let not the hungry be forgotten. He could be your seatmate in heaven, so let him eat as you eat or at least give him your old tunic. "Whenever you give a lunch or dinner...invite the beggars and the lame." You must be pleased they cannot repay you. This way you shall be repaid in the resurrection of the just. Don't prepare lavish fare for your relations and friends that you may have some left for the poor.

Then, come and hear the words of Christ. "Come. . .inherit the kingdom..." "Well done. . .industrious and reliable servant. Since you were dependable in a small matter. . .come share your master's glory."

So, here is the way to prepare for Christ's birth: 

a) remove dissipations and be adorned with good works 

b) give alms

c) repel anger and hatred from your hearts like the devil's poison

d) faithfully observe chastity

e) feed the poor

f) attend vigils

g) pray and chant psalms in church

h) do not utter idle or worldly words, and rebuke those who have freely spoken them

i) observe peace with all men and 

j) recall to harmony those who are at variance.

Do these and you will approach the Lord's altar worthily and, in the future, live life happily in heaven.







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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila


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