January 19, 2013
Join us over at Colleen’s Thoughts on Grace and tell us about the moments you encountered God in the ordinary and in the quiet.
Hubby and I are continuing to improve from having the flu. So many people seem to bounce back quickly from it, but maybe our age has something to do with our slow progress. The Lord sent us a couple of sunny days to use to go shopping for groceries. It felt great to feel the rays on our faces. But by the time we got home and unpacked everything we were beat and not much cooking went on – instead a whole lot of napping.
One of our two trips for groceries was to the Korean markets. I was out of kimchi and it’s too much of a project to make it right now. Since I couldn’t eat it during the trip to see family at Christmas, I think that’s why I got the virus. It is great to be back on it.
The Seoul market in Springfield always has stuff on sale and this week, to my delight, they had citron tea, another great Korean food to help banish flu and colds. I wanted to make some last fall but the citrons in the grocery looked awful and it’s a lot of work. How enjoyable to get it on sale and made in Korea!
Citron tea is made with citrons and sugar and is actually the consistency of preserves, only you don’t heat the fruit when you make it. The finished product has skin slices in it along with the fruit. When you make it you have to remove the pulp from the fruit and that’s too much work for me. It takes about a week to get ready for use, but you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a year.
We Americans are used to things being really sweet, but although sugar is used to make it, the tablespoon of sugared citron you put in a tea cup or mug of water is a lot less sweet than you might think. You can put it in either hot or cold water. What I really like is getting to eat the peel at the bottom of the cup when the tea is gone.
Koreans have a 5000 year history of using food to maintain health and I am grateful to God for bringing it to my attention and making it possible to cook and enjoy Korean style food.
I’m still meditating on the Prologue. This week I spent a few days on this:
So, brethren, we have asked the Lord who is to dwell in His tent, and we have heard His commands to anyone who would dwell there; it remains for us to fulfill those duties.
Therefore we must prepare our hearts and our bodies to do battle under the holy obedience of His commands; and let us ask God that He be pleased to give us the help of His grace for anything which our nature finds hardly possible. And if we want to escape the pains of hell and attain life everlasting, then, while there is still time, while we are still in the body and are able to fulfill all these things by the light of this life, we must hasten to do now what will profit us for eternity.
St. Benedict is not kidding. He reminds us that our end is everlasting life and that there is a real alternative to that and it is hell. He urges us to make the best use of our time and not lollygag around. We must exercise our wills to direct our hearts to God and to control the laziness and aversion of the body to any type of discomfort.
I thank God often for having allowed me to develop fibromyalgia and all the other nonsense that goes on with my body. He picked my suffering for me and He knows it is just the right thing to humble me and enforce the point that He is in charge, not I. It takes a big load off my mind to know that by taking proper care of my body to the best of my ability and enduring pain cheerfully I am doing His will. It keeps me from having to think up a bunch of penances I would otherwise have to do to strengthen my will and subjugate the flesh to follow the Master.
In relation to this part of the Prologue, Father Simon comments about what we promised when we made our Oblation. Those promises are very close to the ones we make in the traditional Rite of Baptism:
When we made our oblation we answered in the affirmative to these three questions:
“Do you renounce the vanities and pomps of the world?”
“Will you undertake the reformation of your life according to the spirit of the Rule of our holy Father Benedict, and observe the Statutes of the Oblates?”
“Will you persevere in your holy resolution until death?”
Such is the object of the battle: to renounce, to reform oneself, to persevere. That is what we have promised. Those promises were not empty words, pure formality. What would be the use of being Oblates in that case?
It is a struggle without a truce and without letup that we have undertaken. Let us have no illusions. More or less often we shall meet on our path “that which our nature finds hardly possible.” Did not our holy Father himself encounter temptation within him; and around him did he not encounter hatreds, ambushes, betrayals? Why should we be more favored than he?
Besides the temptations common to all men, we shall meet some peculiar to our religious “profession.” That is “the hardship of being good” of which St. Francis de Sales spoke, the fatigue of sustained effort. There are times when our program of Benedictine religious life, with the obligations it entails, seems tiresome to us, when we are weary of “doing battle under the holy obedience of the commands.” No doubt we have known those moments, and they will come again.
Indeed, I think every person trying to follow the teachings of Christ experiences this. Father Simon reminds us in subsequent paragraphs not to give up, but to keep our eyes on heaven, not matter what we suffer in this life. Then we will be like the apostles, martyrs, and other saints who never gave up and who count as nothing whatever they endured for Christ.
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R. Now and forever!
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