Teachers: Have you considered joining a Catholic Third Order?
I am currently reading The Dominican Life by Fr. Joret. I first read this book following a recommendation from the director of the Third Order I belong to as a postulant. It is a great read and is a beautiful reminder to those in secular professions, that even though we may not have taken religious vows, we can still commit ourselves as lay members, to strive to be better Christians according to our state in life.
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains the Third Order as follows.
“Third Orders signify in general lay members of religious orders, i.e. men and women who do not necessarily live in community and yet can claim to wear the habit and participate in the good works of some great order.”
I was first drawn to the Dominican Third Order, The Third Order of Penance, perhaps because I was a teacher. Dominicans are a contemplative lot and part of their vocation is to preach. None of this can be achieved without study, so I guess that would attract lay Catholic teachers in many respects, as something which might help them improve in their apostolate and to help sanctify themselves.
Being part of a Third Order involves following a Rule. The Dominican Third Order Rule helps to guide the tertiary to the attainment of the object of the Third Order to which they belong.
One of the benefits of joining a Third Order is that it helps to structure your prayer and spiritual life in a way that is practical to your station in life. Another benefit is the joining in the collective prayer of your Order and sharing in the graces that flow from its good works. Most importantly, it acts as a compass to show us how to come closer to a life of Christian perfection.
Some lay people are attracted to particular Third Orders through a particular devotion to a saint, like St Albert, St Thomas Aquinas or St Catherine of Sienna: all Dominicans. Whatever the reason, it is something we should all consider as a way to bring us closer to God.
So for those who may be interested in looking into Third Orders, here are a few links to get you started…