I see you. I know what you’re thinking. Third Orders like Opus Dei in the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown with all the flogging and such? Um no. Maybe you weren’t thinking that. But we’ll debunk the cray-cray myths anyway. Yesterday was our first foray into a book of the bible. My favorite, Sirach. There’s a free printable in rad black and white, that I have at my desk at work, in a corporate office. Hint hint, applicable and SFW. 🙂
What is it?
Let’s think of it this way, you know how there are priests and friars (collars and robes with ropes?) those are considered First Orders. Nuns and Sisters (don’t get me started on my love/lurve relationship with nuns) are considered Second Orders. Then there’s us, the peeps, or as we’re technically called, the Laity. We’re not called to serve as a nun, sister, priest or friar. We’re called to a little bit of both. I’m married and have children, but I am also a Third Order Dominican. There are some people who feel called to serve in a way that aligns with a particular charism – we associate ourselves with Orders depending on what their “specialty” or “point of focus” is. Here are the broad strokes:
- Secular or Lay Carmelite – Contemplative Prayer (there are also the Secular Discalced Carmelites)
- Lay Dominican (or Third Order Dominicans): Gain knowledge and wisdom by studying and preaching
- Benedictine Oblates – Seeking God as it relates to a monastic community and way of life
- Third Order Franciscans – Simplicity of life and living
Why did I choose to share this particular “T” with you?
Obviously, it’s because I am part of a Third Order. But mostly because this is a unique and special way to live out the Catholic faith. I am married!! I live in the world, tied to a special community of brothers and sisters who share the same calling to the order created around a particular saint (and all them Friars and Nuns!)
It’s changed me. I’ve gotten more confident. I never thought I could be a Lay Dominican, what do I know about scripture and church history, or theology! I am a new Catholic. Well, let me tell you…if you’re called, you just know it and you learn. I meet with people I never would have known, once a month and they want to be there. They are deeply faithful to the Church and act upon it. They go to nursing homes and visit with the elderly or sick. They make house calls to members of the order that are too frail to make it to the meetings. We donate of our time and money to those in need.
Now, let me let you in on a little secret, not everyone sitting in the pews next to me wants to be there! Sometimes they are writing in their check books for the collection, yawning, checking their texts, chatting. I’ll admit it, it makes me upset and breaks my heart at the same time – but we’re human and it’s normal. It makes my atheist husband who comes with me in support, upset though. He feels that if he can respect where he’s at, they should too. Now why am I saying this? Not to shock you. But to share a couple of insights.
Being a member of a Third Order is being part of a group where they want more. More prayer, more study, more God, more more, in their lives. Are we better than anyone else? NO, that’s not what I’m saying. But let’s say you have a group of friends who love to drink coffee with you every week. But you, you obsess over coffee, you drink it when they’re not around. You have candles that smell like coffee and lip balms that taste of it. You search online for others who may have this cuckoo-for-cocoa puffs obsession and hey, they’re MAKING coffee beans grow in a greenhouse and they just live for everything coffee. You totally want to hang with them, because they get YOU. That’s what this Third Order thing was for me. Make sense?
Second, my husband goes to mass with me. He’s an atheist. He says it all day. He feels that if you don’t agree with the church down the line, you have no business joining. He’s kinda black and white that way. Our Deacon calls him 100 percenter. He loves me THAT much, that he would support whatever makes me happy. He supports my faith like he supports my writing, my going back to school, even parting my hair down the middle after parting it on the side for an age. See, my husband doesn’t want to be there. BUT, he respects where we’re at. He respects me, loves me and my passion whether it’s Catholic, Third Order or my hatred of teeth!
And there’s a really wonderful piece that I have linked to here a quazillion times. I won’t again here because I’m afraid if they see another ping back, I’ll be blocked forever. But, it’s perfect! You’ll have to check that link to get to the perfect piece on Third Orders by TJ Burdick at Ignitum Today.
And that Opus Dei myth? DEBUNKED
Come back tomorrow to read all about my Catholic take on the letter U. We’re already at U?! I am blogging my way through the alphabet with others who are doing the same.