January 12, 2013
Welcome to our Saturday meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. Join us over there and share some of your own.
The Sunday before New Year’s and on New Year’s Day the coughing at church was non-stop. It has to be pretty bad for me to notice it because I’m usually so focused on Mass I don’t see or hear much else. My fears were realized when first my husband and then I fell ill with this particularly difficult virus that is sending people to emergency rooms in record numbers. So it’s been over a week with very little of my regular prayer life in action. I did have a lot of time for meditation, though, and thankfully we are both on the mend.
Commentary for Benedictine Oblates
Shortly before Christmas I got Leonard Doyle’s translation of Father Simon’s Commentary for Benedictine Oblates: On the Rule of St. Benedict and am really enthused about it. If we were Benedictine monks or nuns we would have the rule read to us in its entirety three times during the year, and that is how this book is set up. However, the rule is such a great source for meditation that I am just poking along very slowly using this book to drive my prayer. For instance, in the first paragraph of the Prologue to the rule we are commanded by St. Benedict:
Listen, my son, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Proverbs 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.
In this first paragraph already we have a huge amount to consider. Roman’s 10:17 flew into my mind: “faith comes through hearing,” and we must first listen in order to hear truly, inclining the ear of our hearts toward the Eternal Word. The love St. Benedict has for the followers of his rule he shows by his two commands: listen, and receive willingly. What father who desires the salvation of his children would not command them the same? Then he gives us the purpose of following these commands: to “return to Him.” This is the daily conversion of heart all Christians are called to.
Father Simon puts it to us this way:
What are the Patriarch’s sons to be? Soldiers. Their commander? Christ the King. Their arms? The best and the strongest: obedience. The end of their effort, the object of their conquest? God. We are going towards God and we shall reach Him by an unending struggle, under the guidance of Christ our Lord. That is the whole program to be realized.
A person could spend a lot of time pondering obedience and mastery of will just for starters. And then we could also consider why we should listen to St. Benedict in the first place: because he points us to Christ. He is not glorifying himself even though he, himself, was a master of the spiritual life who overcame the obstacles of self-will and concupiscence to submit fully to Christ. He knows what we must do because he has done it himself by the grace of God. He wants us to tread the narrow path to unity with Christ with the surest of feet.
Considering what St. Benedict has done for Christians and the Church, the final praise of the Divine Praises we offer God during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: “Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints” leaps to mind. And this is the reason to structure our time to let God show Himself to us – that in all things He may be glorified.
Meditating on the rule with the help of this commentary is a great adventure. I am looking forward to many Sabbath Moments using this book.
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R. Now and forever!
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