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Jan. 22

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Lillian, on her birthday, and for me, on the 44th anniversary of my Confirmation. Gosh, they only told me that I d have to be
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2004
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Lillian, on her birthday, and for me, on the
      44th anniversary of my Confirmation. Gosh, they only told me that I'd
      have to be prepared to die as a soldier of Christ, not that I'd have
      to LIVE this long!!! LOL! Anyhow, thanks Holy Spirit, for everything!
      God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much! JL

      January 22, May 23, September 22
      Chapter 5: On Obedience

      The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
      This is the virtue of those
      who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;
      who, because of the holy service they have professed,
      and the fear of hell,
      and the glory of life everlasting,
      as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,
      receive it as a divine command
      and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.
      Of these the Lord says,
      "As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me" (Ps. 17:45).
      And again to teachers He says,
      "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).


      Such as these, therefore,
      immediately leaving their own affairs
      and forsaking their own will,
      dropping the work they were engaged on
      and leaving it unfinished,
      with the ready step of obedience
      follow up with their deeds the voice of him who commands.
      And so as it were at the same moment
      the master's command is given
      and the disciple's work is completed,
      the two things being speedily accomplished together
      in the swiftness of the fear of God
      by those who are moved
      with the desire of attaining life everlasting.
      That desire is their motive for choosing the narrow way,
      of which the Lord says,
      "Narrow is the way that leads to life" (Matt. 7:14),
      so that,
      not living according to their own choice
      nor obeying their own desires and pleasures
      but walking by another's judgment and command,
      they dwell in monasteries and desire to have an Abbot over them.
      Assuredly such as these are living up to that maxim of the Lord
      in which He says,
      "I have come not to do My own will,
      but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).

      REFLECTION

      Ever wonder what was so great about obedience? I sure have and I
      vowed it, still wondering a bit. What is so hot about dumping our own
      wills? Sometimes our wills are innocent, sometimes they're even
      downright good. Let's be truthful, sometimes our own wills are even
      BETTER than the choices presented to us by other circumstances. What
      gives?

      Good rhetorical question, that one: what GIVES. Genuine obedience is
      a gift, to God and to all His people. Make the monastic better and
      you have made the home or monastery better, and so the neighborhood,
      the city, the state and onwards to the whole world. We forget the
      ripple effect, because we cannot clearly see it. We are not giving
      that gift to falsehood, but to truth.

      Every exercise of that gift heightens truth in the world, and Jesus
      is the Truth. There is a very incarnational aspect of obedience. Like
      Mary, we are, in our own halt and lame, partial ways, birthing God.
      In our actions alone can Christ today become visibly human, in our
      tiniest drop of fresh water, the sea becomes less salty, the desert,
      less dry. No one can make the Sahara a rain forest alone, and God
      knows that, but He wants us to try, to be part of the solution, not
      the problem. Enough drops together WOULD make the Sahara bloom.

      Obedience and humility are conjoined twins which share one heart:
      both will die if they are separated. Humility, in its healthiest
      perfection, is truth and that truth births bits of God into the
      world, confetti mosaics that the wind of the Spirit can blow into
      fuller, more accurate portraits. Yes, humility is the most often
      mentioned of connections, but the root of humility is truth and the
      root of truth is God.

      All of us spend large portions of our lives carefully building a
      false self, who lives in a false world, with matching false
      imperatives. Merton speaks of this false self again and again. The
      goal of monastic struggle is to uncover and nurture the TRUE self,
      the true world view and values. We often cheerfully ignore the real
      imperatives of God and life, substituting our own and elevating them
      to a level they truthfully (literally!) do not deserve. It's a moral
      displacement activity. We fail altogether in one area, so we
      compensate by raising another. Trouble is, the other one raised is
      false. Sigh... As Merton also once said: "Round and round the
      mulberry bush..."

      Give a good parent a critically ill child and you will find out
      what's true or important in a hurry. Everything gets dropped at once,
      without hesitation or care. Everything. Give a single person a really
      bad case of the flu and you will soon find imperatives pared to very
      few. (The flu or any illness is a superlative teacher: if it doesn't
      matter when you're that sick, it usually doesn't matter, period!)

      The sentiment is not mine originally, but I have often said that the
      truly neat thing about being HIV+ is that it hit me over the head
      with a 2x4 board and woke me up to a fact that is true for all of us:
      I'm gonna die. Big deal. Didn't happen when I thought it would, may
      not for a long time, I'm quite healthy, but I'm gonna die. So are
      you. Who knows when? Maybe both of us by lunch and neither of us from
      AIDS!

      See what obedience points us toward? Obedience says: here is the
      truth. Embrace it now, don't wait for the threatened child or the
      ghastly flu or AIDS to scare you into appropriate action. The truth
      we only see in crisis is here all along. Keep what you have learned
      from crisis. Live it all the time. Make it a gift, because it is one
      that will enrich others AND yourself!

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