At the kind and wise advice of Br. Richard Oliver, OSB, of St.
John's, I switched my email options from HTML to plain text. I am
sorry, but I never realized the problems HTML could be for some and I
am so grateful to Brother Richard for telling me. Sorry if I
unwittingly inconvenienced anyone. I like Brother Richard's way MUCH
Brother Bernard is recovering from his first surgery, but in a LOT of
pain and being characteristically brave about it. Nothing else new to
report. I will see him tomorrow and I keep telling him how many are
praying for him. He conveys his deep thanks, as do we all!
January 2, May 3, September 2
Let us arise, then, at last,
for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
"Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
let us hear with attentive ears
the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
"Today if you hear His voice,
harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
"Whoever has ears to hear,
hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
And what does He say?
"Come, My children, listen to Me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
"Run while you have the light of life,
lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).
St. Benedict, just by virtue of the period in which he lived, would
have been rather more attuned to the Eastern Church Fathers than many
in the West are today. Not for nothing does he also recommend St.
Basil's Rule to his monastics! Given all this, the phrase "deifying
light", which probably strikes most Westerners as just a lovely bit
of poetry, would ring altogether different bells in Eastern minds,
and may well have rung those bells in the mind of St. Benedict
Deification, the process of humanity becoming more God-like, is a
central theme of Eastern spirituality, a favorite theme of the
Fathers and a big central issue in Eastern monasticism. The whole
idea of the Incarnation is viewed as God becoming Man so that man
could be deified. (Don't take that term "deified" literally. The idea
was that people became God-like, not that they literally became
gods!) But there was a profound awareness of grace allowing us to
share in God's life and to become ever more like Him, of being ever
more intimately united with the Triune Life.
Put another way, the East would say that we were created in the image
and likeness of God, but we have lost the likeness. Deification,
monastic struggle, the spiritual life, all of these strive to regain
that likeness. We so often speak of balance, but what does that
balance entail? It is this very deification, it is the closest
attempt we can make to restore the rightness of Eden. It is our halt
and lame effort to become what God intended us to be, as closely as
we can in a fallen world.
So, as we continue our loving Father's pep talk at the beginning of
his Holy Rule, let us resolve to never again let that
phrase "deifying light" slip past our eyes as just another literary
device. No way! Deification and Light are what we are all about.
Shine on, dear brothers and sisters, shine on!
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA