According to the rule and spiritual guidelines, accepting the Cross of the Order imposes duty and sacrifice. Members are obliged to the sincere and open profession of the Catholic faith. As such, they endeavor to steadily continue their religious education and spiritual development—through prayer and reading and meditating on the Gospel, the Catechism, and other principal documents of the Church and the Order.
Like other orders, the aim of The Order of Malta is the greater glory of God through the sanctification of its members. And, as with all other orders, it is imbued with the charism and ideals of its founder—Fra’ Gerard—who set forth in his work the mission of defending the faith and serving “our lords, the sick and the poor.”
The spirituality of the Order is rooted in its religious, chivalric, and hospitaller traditions. Though it has chaplains, it is not a clerical order—it has always retained its lay religious character. Until the loss of Malta, the membership was predominantly one of professed lay persons—those who were in vows. But, since the mid-nineteenth century, the number of professed has declined and, today, most members do not take full vows. However, one of the chief aims of the Order is still the spiritual development of its members.
To belong to the Order is certainly an honor, but it also necessarily implies a sincere compliance with Christian testimony. Thus arises the concept of vocation or calling—one of the mysterious ways by which grace calls upon souls to approach God.
Members cannot fulfill their duty merely by financial contributions. Wearing the insignia of the Order demands of members the participation of their full personhood and the use of all their efforts and gifts on behalf of the Order and those in need. Participation in religious functions and activities of the Order is important as it encourages the fraternal spirit that binds members together.
Charity and faith are still the essential characteristics of the Order. They constitute the Christian testimony to be given by those who serve under the sign of the white octagonal cross, symbol of the eight beatitudes.
The Federal Association, in accordance with the aims of the Order, provides opportunities for members to cultivate their spiritual development.
The Catholic Cafe is supported through a grant from the Federal Association. Its board members and officers are all members of the Order of Malta serving with the approval of the Bishop of Memphis. The mission of The Catholic Cafe is to reach out to non-Catholics and fallen-away Catholics with positive, high quality radio and Internet programming to faithfully present Catholic teaching and follow up with personal outreach when requested. If you are Catholic, the hope is that the time you spend in The Catholic Cafe is spiritually uplifting and helps you grow in your faith. If you are not Catholic, you are invited you to explore the Catholic Church, and prayerfully think about becoming part of our family. If, for whatever reason, you have been away from the Church, you are invited to consider that God might be calling you home.
A new thirty-minute radio program is produced weekly by host, Deacon Jeff Drzycimski, an Associate Deacon Chaplain of the Federal Association. Along with co-host, Tom Dorian, they engage a variety of guests in conversation about the teachings of the Catholic Church.
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Daily Prayer of the Order:
Thou hast seen fit to enlist me for Thy service in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. I humbly entreat Thee, through the intercession of the most holy Virgin of Philermo, of St. John the Baptist, Blessed Gerard, and all the saints, to keep me faithful to the traditions of our Order:
Be it mine to practice and defend the Catholic, the Apostolic, the Roman faith against sacrilege; Be it mine to practice charity towards my neighbors, especially the poor and sick.
Give me the strength I need, to carry out this my resolve, forgetful of myself, learning ever from Thy Holy Gospel a spirit of deep and generous Christian devotion, striving ever to promote God’s Glory, the world’s peace, and all that may benefit the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.