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September 1

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX January 1, May 2, September 1 Prologue L I S T E N carefully, my child, to your master s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2003
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      January 1, May 2, September 1
      Prologue

      L I S T E N carefully, my child,
      to your master's precepts,
      and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
      Receive willingly and carry out effectively
      your loving father's advice,
      that by the labor of obedience
      you may return to Him
      from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

      To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
      whoever you may be,
      who are renouncing your own will
      to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
      and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

      And first of all,
      whatever good work you begin to do,
      beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
      that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
      may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
      For we must always so serve Him
      with the good things He has given us,
      that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
      nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
      deliver us to everlasting punishment
      as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.

      REFLECTION

      The Holy Rule can seem so lofty that it sometimes turns people away.
      They think: "This is for those really holy people, not for me. I'll
      bet it's easy for saints like them, but I couldn't even dream of
      trying." Wrong on all counts and St. Benedict makes that clear.

      We return "by the labor of obedience" and if we are not one of those
      who has "to do battle" against our own will, he makes it abundantly
      certain that he is not talking to us. If, in fact, there is anyone
      for whom the Rule is a cinch, and I doubt that very much, then it was
      not written for them. It was written for us who struggle, for us for
      whom it is NOT easy, to help us in a battle that sometimes wears us
      out.

      St. Benedict also makes his point that our distance from God is due
      to our "sloth of disobedience." Yet he doesn't tell the slothful to
      quit because they are worthless, he tells them they are the very ones
      for whom he is writing this Rule! This is the Rule for the fallen and
      beginners, this is an entry level position from which one can advance
      to great sanctity, but it *IS* an entry level position!

      This is the door and gate for all. This is most decidedly NOT a Rule
      just for monks and nuns in monasteries. Were that so, no provision
      for Oblates would ever have been made. No, this is a Rule for all who
      wish to try to become better and because they have made that
      intention, God "has deigned to count us among His children." There is
      no more us-and-them here. Just by beginning, we become part of the
      whole.

      How many of us who were not in the advanced reading group as children
      secretly got the suspicion that the whole class was really for the
      wonder kids, not for us. How many felt that we were tokens, somehow
      extraneous and just tagging along to whatever was REALLY going on?
      Well, the Holy Rule is quite direct about stating that this time, it
      is not at all about wonder kids: the center of its focus is the rest
      of us! Now there's a refreshingly upside down and all too rare world
      view!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA
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