Preface

to the Lay Life



By



George A. Blair


Copyright 1987

By

George A. Blair

c/o Paul Blair
BOX 187591988
Sioux Falls, SD  57186


Description

This is a book on ascetical theology in the lay state: that is, about "the practice of perfection and Christian virtue" (as St. Alphonsus Rodriguez wrote about the religious life)only as a layman.
    The basic idea of the book is that the Christian is, as Jesus was, the human expression of the love of God in the world. But this has three meanings, corresponding to the three "pure" states of Christian life (and analogous to the three Persons of the Trinity): the lay meaning, or the expression of the Father's creative love for his universe, the clerical meaning (i.e. the one that defines the priesthood), or the expression of the Son's redemptive love for his chosen in the world, and the Religious meaning, or the expression (in imitation of the Spirit's reciprocal love) of the love the world has for God.
    These states are qualitatively, not quantitatively different; none is any "better" than the others, and sanctity is achievable in any of them, but in different ways for each, just as each is subject to its own temptations and perversions. Any real Christian will, of course, combine to some extent all three states; but most will be closer to one "axis" of this "volume" than the others, and that will express his state in life.
    This book describes the "pure" lay state and the implications of loving the world as God the Father loves it, but loving in a divine-human way, as Jesus did, not in the purely divine way of the Father. Since the Father's love for his creation is one of infinite respect for it, and deference to its reality, the Christian will also have respect for the world he transforms.
    The various aspects of Christian lay life are touched on, showing how the Christian attitude in the lay state differs from that of the Religious or the priest; and a brief sketch is given showing how to Christianize the phase of life that is being treated.

Contents

Preliminary notice
Preface to the Preface
Chapter 1: The Christian Vocation
    The emergence of the layman
    The Christian vocation
    Christian humility
    Christian love
Chapter 2: Loving as God Loves
    God's independence from his world
    Goodness and badness
    How God looks at things
    God's "plan" and what actually happens
    God's will and his law
    Loving as God loves
    Life as fun
    Loving as Jesus loves
    Jesus' love and the Beatitudes
    Jesus' love and obedience
    Self-love and love of self
Chapter 3: The Lay Vocation
    God's love and prayer
    Sanctity
    The three states of life
    Discerning a vocation
Chapter 4: The Layman at Home
    Sexual ethics
    Marital ethics
    The phenomenology of sexuality
    Christianizing sexuality
    The Christian homosexual
    Christianizing marriage
Chapter 5: The Layman and his Money
    The poverty beatitude
    The Christian and others' poverty
    The phenomenology of money
    The Christianization of money
    Avoiding materialism
    Money and the "value of a person"
    Values and necessities
Chapter 6: The Layman at Work
    The phenomenology of work
    Christianizing work
    The Christian scientist
    The Christian scientist and dogma
    Submission to the facts
    The Christian engineer
    The Christian artist
    The Christian entertainer
    The Christian advertiser and laborer
    The Christian at play
Chapter 7: The Layman in Society
    The phenomenology of society
    The common good
    Social justice
    The Christian and law
    The Religious and the layman
    Responsibility in a group
    The Christian bureaucrat
    The Christian politician
    The Layman in the Church
Chapter 8: The Training of the Layman
    Intellectual training
    Training in prayer
    Ascetical training