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Re-Thinking the Benedict Option in Light of Lumen Gentium

A few years ago, when The Benedict Option was becoming popular in certain Christian circles—primarily through the writings of Rod Dreher who is influenced by Alasdair MacIntyre—I was initially intrigued and drawn to this approach. The culture was, and continues to be, in a downward spiral. Anti-Christian sentiments and policies continue apace throughout the Western world, while many of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world suffer violent persecution and even martyrdom. As Western Civilization continues to abandon its Christian roots in favor of nihilism, hedonism, consumerism, materialism, utilitarianism, and relativism, many Christians are wondering what our response should be to the situation.

Retreating from the world to build primarily Christian communities is attractive. I myself would like to find friends within the Church who desire greater prayer in small communities, whether it be through a weekly or monthly gathering to pray the Rosary or Vespers. I want holier friendships with my brothers and sisters in Christ that are grounded in the communion we share within the Mystical Body. I want to live a fully Catholic life, so it makes sense that people want to build up communities around monasteries and churches in order to weather the storms of this age.

The problem is that, for Catholics, the laity’s mission differs—while also sharing similarities—with consecrated religious such as Benedictines. We are not called to retreat from the world. We are called to go out to meet the world and bring it to Christ.

But the laity, by their very vocation, seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. They live in the world, that is, in each and in all of the secular professions and occupations. They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.

Lumen Gentium 31

Consecrated religious such as those found in the Benedictine Order are called by God to live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience within their set Order for their own sanctification and the sanctification of the world through their prayer and work. Monasteries have played a central role in Church history and world history in preserving much of Western Civilization through dark periods, but that is a part of their mission from God. The laity on the other hand is called to transform the world through leading holy lives and proclaiming the Good News in our secular vocation. It is our example as disciples of Christ that is meant to invite others into the joy and hope we have been given through the Paschal Mystery and the Church.

The lay apostolate, however, is a participation in the salvific mission of the Church itself. Through their baptism and confirmation all are commissioned to that apostolate by the Lord Himself. Moreover, by the sacraments, especially holy Eucharist, that charity toward God and man which is the soul of the apostolate is communicated and nourished. Now the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth. Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself “according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal”.

Lumen Gentium 33

If the laity retreats from the world and seeks a monastic life that is primarily meant for consecrated religious, then we will fail in enacting the mission ordained to us by God through the Church. Our life in Christ is not meant to be solely interior and insulated. As we grow in holiness and our interior lives strengthen through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we move outwards in charity towards our neighbor. We are not meant to create Catholic communities that seek to keep the world out, rather, we are meant to invite the world in so that salvation may be offered to all.

Who is going to evangelize the culture if we do not? While priests and consecrated religious also have the ability and duty to evangelize, their duties differ from our own by virtue of their sacred office or their vows. It is not primarily these two groups who are going to help bring people to Christ in offices, clubs, sports teams, volunteer organizations, political life, economic life, etc. It is those of us who live primarily secular lives because we spend the majority of our time living and working within the culture. We interact with non-believers or fallen away Catholics frequently throughout our daily lives.

Through our baptism and the common priesthood we enter into, we participate in the Divine Offices of Christ as priest, prophet, and king. One of the ways that we are able to lead people to Christ is by our participation in the prophetic office of Christ. The laity also teaches in His name to all we encounter, not only through our words, but through the holiness of our lives which is evident by the joy and hope we have been given that surpasses all understanding.

Christ, the great Prophet, who proclaimed the Kingdom of His Father both by the testimony of His life and the power of His words, continually fulfills His prophetic office until the complete manifestation of glory. He does this not only through the hierarchy who teach in His name and with His authority, but also through the laity whom He made His witnesses and to whom He gave understanding of the faith (sensu fidei) and an attractiveness in speech so that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in their daily social and family life. They conduct themselves as children of the promise, and thus strong in faith and in hope they make the most of the present, and with patience await the glory that is to come. Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but even in the program of their secular life let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestling “against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness.

We are called to persevere in hope even as fierce storms rage in this life. If we retreat and abandon the culture then a great many souls may be lost. We are called to boldly proclaim the Good News to the world. We cannot hide the gift of faith that we have been given, and it is a great gift. We often forget that it has been given to us. We didn’t earn that gift. We must share Christ with our neighbor, even if persecution comes. How can we not want to share the gift of salvation to all we meet? Through the love of God we have been given, there should be a great desire within us to share in the eucharistic banquet with every person put in our path. If we love God, then how can we not seek out the lost, as He has done? How can run from sharing the gift of salvation with the culture? The answers is, we cannot. We must stand firm and fight. The laity is called to help bring the world into communion with the Most Holy Trinity through the Church. That’s our mission.

In light of Lumen Gentium, as well as documents such as Gaudium et Spes and Christifideles Laici, there’s no way the laity can walk away from it’s mission. The Benedict Option contradicts what the Church has called us to do and what Christ is asking of us, which is to be salt and light to a Fallen world. Should we create closer knit Catholic communities of prayer, study, service, and the centrality of the Sacraments? Absolutely. We need to start to truly live as brothers and sisters in Christ. But, from those close knit communities we must move out towards the culture and evangelize. The laity is uniquely equipped for this mission, and in doing so, by God’s grace, a great many souls will be won for Christ.

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Everything to Get Excited About at TIFF This Year

The Toronto International Film Festival unofficially marks the beginning of awards season mayhem. Held every year in early September, sandwiched between the end of ‘summer blockbuster season’ and the start of ‘prestige movie season,’ it’s viewed as one of the most reliable harbingers of Oscars buzz. As Vox explains: “The festival’s timing—just after Labour Day—positions it as the de facto opening of awards season, a marathon of mostly serious dramas that lasts about six months, until the Oscars finally wrap it all up in early March.” Given its weighty importance on the film circuit, the announcement of each year’s TIFF lineup is a Pretty Big Deal. Below, some of the things to look forward to this year.

Star power
As usual, the TIFF red carpets are sure to be flooded with A-listers. We can expect to see Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, both starring in a remake of the iconic A Star Is Born films; Matthew McConaughey, who appears in White Boy Rick, a true story about a teenage drug kingpin in 1980s Detroit, along with Bel Powley and Jennifer Jason Leigh; and Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, who star in High Life, a sci-fi film by French filmmaker Claire Denis about a group of criminals sent into outer space.

The chance for La La Land vs Moonlight Round 2
Both the directors at the heart of the infamous Oscars envelope snafu in 2017 are likely to be competing in the same awards categories next year too. Damien Chazelle is following up his smash hit La La Land with First Man, a biopic of Neil Armstrong starring Ryan Gosling, while Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins will be showcasing If Beale Street Could Talk, a film adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a young pregnant woman attempting to help exonerate her fiancé, in jail on a false rape charge, before the birth of their child.

Female-centric films
There’s a slew of films with women at their core: Red Joan, a true story about one of the KGB’s longest-serving British spies, starring Judi Dench; Galveston, French actress/filmmaker Melanie Laurent’s English-language directorial debut starring Elle Fanning as a young prostitute and Ben Foster as a wounded hitman on the run; Widows, Steve McQueen’s follow-up to his 2013 Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave, starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo as four women left to finish a heist after their criminal husbands are all killed; and Girls Of The Sun, a war film that follows a battalion of women fighting to take back their homes from ISIS extremists in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Melissa McCarthy takes a brief break from ruling the comedy game, starring in this true story about author Lee Israel, infamous for forging historical letters in the 1990s. Hugh Jackman takes on the role of US Senator Gary Hart in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner.

Films addressing social issues
The Hate U Give, starring Amandla Stenberg, Issa Rae, Common, and Riverdale’s KJ Apa, serves as a striking commentary on America’s culture of police brutality, following the story of a young woman whose friend is shot dead by police. Tackling the issues of substance abuse are two films starring two young breakout stars from awards seasons past: Timothee Chalamet and Lucas Hedges. The former stars in Beautiful Boy alongside Steve Carrell, while the latter appears in Ben Is Back as Julia Roberts’ son.

Canadian features
Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, starring Kit Harington, Jason Tremblay, Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, and The Hummingbird Project, a thriller directed by Kim Nguyen and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Salma Hayek and Alexander Skarsgård, are both slated to have their world premieres at the festival. Also of note is Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s Edge of the Knife, the first feature-length film to be made in Haida, classified by UNESCO as an endangered language.

In the nine-minute short Emptying the Tank, Caroline Monnet documents Chippewa female mixed martial artist Ashley Nichols’ dedication to both her health and her craft, while in Carmine Street Guitars, documentarian Ron Mann captures the allure of famed New York City guitar-maker Rick Kelly. Sharkwater Extinction, the final work by late filmmaker and conservationist Rob Stewart, is the follow-up to his 2006 documentary about shark conservation, Sharkwater, which resulted in shark finning being banned worldwide.

While other film festivals this year made headlines for the paucity of female-helmed films on their roster, TIFF’s artistic director Cameron Bailey told Variety that he expects roughly a third of the final selection of films this year to be by female directors. Films with strong social messages are a recurring theme this year too, and Bailey also stressed the importance of having programming and events that address and discuss the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, particularly their impact on the global film industry.

“We want to keep the conversation going and to give people an opportunity to talk through what this all means,” said Bailey. “One of the most important things we can do is to really showcase films by women and to make sure that we have a lineup that really reflects who we are as people.”

You can find the rest of the lineup here.

The post Everything to Get Excited About at TIFF This Year appeared first on FASHION Magazine.

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Inverted jeans are here to ruin your day


Inverted jeans are now a thing.

Did anyone ask for them? No. But here they are, and since they are here, let’s discuss.

SEE ALSO: 8 terrible jeans that prove denim has gone too far

No one asked for this.

No one asked for this.

Image: Cie Denim

Like an M.C. Escher illustration of the apparel world, these jeans will confuse and dumbfound you to the point of extreme mental exhaustion. You’ll ask yourself questions, like: Where do they begin? Where do they end? Where is the nearest dumpster for me to jump into?

What's wrong with a simple boot cut?

What’s wrong with a simple boot cut?

Image: Cie denim

And if the design of these denim products alone don’t bewilder you, please consider their outrageous cost. The shorts and pants made by Cie Denim are being sold for $385 and $495, respectively.  Read more…

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“Santa K performs the latest dystopian short film by the creative duo Pleid St. and Rebeka Arce”

‘Overdose’ is a bunch of ignorant society. It´s a mixture of the anxiety of consumerism, artificial affection and time wasted. What is consumerism provoking inside and outside us? Four different characters represent four ways of consumption: relationships (‘Pleasure’), food (‘Eat junk’), money (‘Waste’) and drugs (‘Dope’). The story shows how each character experiments a body and mind transformation after the consumption. Feel free to interpret what ‘Overdose’ wants to tell you. Is this a culture of consumerism or a culture of manipulation?


Direction: Pleid St. & Rebeka Arce Model: Santa K Cinematographer: Aitor Uribarri Music: Father Art Direction: Rebeka Arce & Pleid St. CGI: Alberto Carbonell & Juanma Mota Production: Pleid St. & Rebeka Arce 1st AC / DIT: Javi Castillo Gaffer: Álvaro Jiménez Lead Makeup & Hair: Mery Makeup (María Soláns, Carlos Ríos) Assistant Makeup & Hair: Rocío Ortiz y Cristina Márquez Postproduction: Pleid St. Graphic Design: Rebeka Arce Making of photography: Almudena Cadalso Making of video record: Pedro Sega Set: Espacio Nueva Carolina

Cast: pleid, Rebeka Arce, Aitor Uribarri, Juanma Mota and Alberto Carbonell

Tags: metha, junk food, dope, money, plastic, relations, love, sand, crystal, dance, fashion, fashion film, music video, videoclip, modern, split screen, editorial, design, typography and green

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Oprah just Googled herself for the first time ever and learned so much


Oprah is so humble it took her until 2018 to Google herself.

For comparison, I first “Googled” myself with WebCrawler in 1997.

Either way, it’s disarming. Oprah revealed the results of her very first Google in an interview with British Vogue this week.

SEE ALSO: 7 celebrities that could run for president in 2020 but really shouldn’t

“I am so impressed with myself,” Oprah told Vogue editor Edward Enninful.

“This is what I didn’t know: that I was the first African-American self-made billionaire. Did not know that!” Oprah revealed. 

The mogul also disclosed that she didn’t know that she “donated more to charity in the 20th century than any other African-American.” Read more…

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Man buys massive photo of a bridge that’s right outside his window


Impulse purchases are almost never a good idea — especially when there are drinks involved. 

Stuart Slicer splurged on a massive photo of Scotland’s Forth Bridge during a charity auction recently — which would have been a nice addition to his living room if it didn’t already have a direct view of the bridge. 

SEE ALSO: People are loving that deep fried kebabs sign in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

His son, also named Stuart, posted a video of the print in the living room, which has the same exact view. In classic internet flavor, the account tweets from his dog’s perspective, Murphy Green. [Stuart Sr.] “forgot he could just open da blinds,” the dog tweeted. Read more…

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Fans and celebrities mourn the death of iconic fashion designer Kate Spade


Kate Spade, 55-year-old fashion designer and entrepreneur, reportedly died by suicide on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, Spade’s housekeeping staff found her dead in her New York apartment along with a note.

SEE ALSO: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ shines Broadway’s lights on mental health awareness

After news of the iconic designer’s death broke, fans shared an outpouring of love on social media, explaining what Spade’s designs meant to them and highlighting the importance of talking openly about metal health issues.

Celebrities and fellow designers like Chelsea Clinton, Ivanka Trump, and Liz Lange, also celebrated the brilliant designer. Read more…

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This guy has apparently watched ‘Infinity War’ 43 times since its release


Sometimes, if you want to go viral, you really have to put the work in. 

Well, credit where credit’s due — much like the guy who live-streamed himself saying “gucci gang” a million times, the man below has to receive a fair bit of praise for his sheer level of dedication alone. This time the object of obsession isn’t a Lil Pump song, it’s the latest Marvel blockbuster.

SEE ALSO: Captain America’s ‘Infinity War’ phone number was supposed to be real

It all started on 28 April, when Infinity War was released in cinemas. As you can tell from the following tweet, YouTuber Nem (the hero of our tale) enjoyed his first viewing quite a bit. Read more…

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