The particular spirituality of the Appalachian Riders for our Lady is based on our three foundational principles of commitment, continuity and conversation:
The Riders are committed to faithful and sympathetic submission to papal authority while striving to work out traditional vows of obedience, poverty, chastity, and stability in a largely lay context. For example, while stability for Benedictine monastics means lifelong attachment to a particular monastery, for Riders stability means attachment to a particular parish and its daily Mass (in my case, St Ambrose in Salt Lake City).
The Riders work in continuity with the entire Catholic Church, extended in both space and time, with each Rider limiting their reading and study to two dozen books. These books are settled upon by a Rider, in coordination with the abbot and their particular focus, at the time of taking permanent vows and all Riders share a core of books: the Bible, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the Compendium to the Catholic Catechism. I’m inclined to prefer books which show a writer’s development over time and my patron saint is Thomas Aquinas, whose clarity and fairness in stating views with which he disagreed is exemplary.
The Riders strive to promote a conversational culture, authentically Christian and Catholic, in the midst of a world largely lacking culture of any sort. While somewhat bookish, given the use of books to establish continuity, we prefer conversation over writing and recognize that mere talking is rarely conversation. I think apologetics is a waste of time better spent on positive statement of belief.
Our vows of commitment, continuity, and conversation do not necessarily mean that we have any natural inclination or talent in these areas. My own investigations center around the apparent paradox of Christologies seeming to be close together when their related Ecclesiologies are far apart.
My booklist is:
- Bible, unabridged Revised Standard Version
- The Liturgy of the Hours, unabridged
- Isaiah: A Commentary; Brevard Childs
- Letters; Pope Clement & St. Ignatius
- The Confessions; by Saint Augustine
- Dante’s Purgatory & Paradise; A. Esolen
- Sonnets & 11 Plays; William Shakespeare
- Dark Night of the Soul; John of the Cross
- Complete English Poems; John Donne
- Collected Poems & Prose; Robert Frost
- Collected Works; Flannery O’Connor
- Sober Intoxication; Fr. Cantalamessa
- Paul: The Prison Letters; N.T. Wright
- History of the Catholic Church; Hitchcock
- The Parish Book of Chant; CMAA
- Jesus of Nazareth; Pope Benedict XVI
- Enchiridion Symbolorum; Denzinger
- Compendium of the Catholic Catechism
The booklist was finalized during the 2014 liturgical year. Insofar as this list differs from what I would have expected several years ago, the change is largely due to participation with daily Mass at St Ambrose parish in Salt Lake City, along with regular interactions with folks in other ecclesial bodies. The books center around the topic of cultural history, with varying levels of authority, and mostly refer to earlier times. Cultural history is, I think, far more interesting than the political history that is so dominant nowadays. Essential to the culture of the Appalachian Riders for our Lady is participation at daily Mass at our particular parishes.
Weekday Mass: 7am, St Ambrose (1975 S 2300 E, Salt Lake City)
Weekend Mass: 9am, St Vincent de Paul (1375 E Spring Ln, Holladay)