Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Readings of the day: RB 4:22-43
Mass: 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Psalm 101; Luke 7:11-17

Saint Benedict presents us with 22 more tools for good works. One might see some similarities between Saint Paul’s First Letter to Timothy, and Benedict’s tools for today, for example, to not be addicted to drink, to be temperate, gentle, and not deceitful. Which tool will you use to help guide your search for God?

22Don’t let your actions be governed by anger.
23Nor nurse your anger against a future opportunity of indulging it.
24Don’t harbor in your heart any trace of deceit.
25Nor pretend to be at peace with another when you are not.
26Don’t abandon the true standards of charity.
27Don’t use oaths to make your point for fear of perjury.
28Speak the truth with integrity of heart and tongue.
29If you are harmed by anyone, never repay it by returning the harm.
30You should never inflict any injury on another but bear patiently whatever you have to suffer.
31Love your enemies.
32Refrain for speaking evil but rather call a blessing on those who speak evil of you.
33If you are persecuted for favoring a just cause, then bear it patiently.
34Avoid all pride and self-importance.
35Don’t drink to excess.
36Nor overeat.
37Don’t be lazy.
38Nor give way to excessive sleep.
39Don’t be a murmurer.
40And never in speaking take away the good name of another.
41Your hope of fulfillment should be centered on God alone.
42When you see any good in yourself, then, don’t take it to be your own, but acknowledge it as a gift from God.
43On the other hand, you may be sure that any evil you do is always your own and you may safely acknowledge your responsibility.

Whoever wishes to come after me, must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord.
(Communion Antiphon, Mass)


Monday, September 18, 2017

Lectio: Monday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 4:1-21
Mass: 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Psalm 28; Luke 7:1-10

Today and for the next three days we are immersed in one of the longest chapters of the Holy Rule; a favorite of mine, namely, Chapter Four, “The Tools for Good Works.” In this chapter, Saint Benedict provides what one translator calls, “Guidelines for Christian and Monastic Good Practice.”[1] These guidelines command our attention; the attention of anyone searching for God, no matter their vocation in life. What follows are the first 21:

1The first of all things to aim at is to love the Lord God with your whole heart and soul and strength.
2To love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
3The other commandments flow from these two: not to kill.
4Not to commit adultery.
5Not to steal.
6Not to indulge covetous and base desires.
7Not to give false evidence against another.
8To give due honor to all.
9Not to inflict on someone else what you would resent if it were done to yourself.
10Renounce your own desires and ambitions so as to be free to follow Christ.
11Control your body with self-discipline.
12Don’t give yourself to unrestrained pleasure.
13Learn to value the self-restraint of fasting.
14Give help and support to the poor.
15Clothe the naked.
16Visit the sick.
17Bury the dead.
18Console and counsel those who suffer in time of grief.
19Bring comfort to those in sorrow.
20Don’t get too involved in purely worldly affairs.
21Count nothing more important than the love you should cherish for Christ.

Some may find these tools daunting. For today, why not choose one and write it down. Next, write down how you will specifically use that tool today to guide you in your search for God. Stay tuned for more guidelines.

You laid down your precepts to be carefully kept;
may my ways be firm in keeping your statutes.
Psalm 119(118):4-5, Communion antiphon, Mass 

[1] St Benedict, Saint Benedict’s Rule, trans. P. Barry, 3rd ed. (Santiago, Chile: Manquehue Apostolic Movement, 2007), 53.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Lectio: Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 3:7-13
Mass: Sirach 27:30-28:7; Resp. Psalm 103: Romans 14:7-9; Matthew 18:21-35

The inspiration for today’s reflection comes from a friend who writes for The Times, London, UK. For this Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, he begins, “Relationships form us. St Paul’s line, ‘The life and death of each of us has its influence on others’, is telling.” Over the past months I have been reflecting on people in my life who have influenced, or formed me over the years to help shape me into the person I am today. I’ve looked through my photo album, travel diaries, and even letters my siblings wrote to my mom when she was in the hospital with me. I have many fond memories of my family, teachers, and others in the past with whom I have been in relationship. I am grateful.

Today, though, let us focus on the present and those relationships that are forming us now. The people with whom I am in relationship have been pleasant surprises in my life; people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, almost miraculously, when I needed them without knowing it. These people embrace me for who I am, not for what I do, or have done. They help me to believe that I am loved by God and even lovable in the face of my bad moods, irritations, and other not so pleasant behaviors. Through these relationships I am learning to love and be loved; growing pains and all. Today’s Gospel Acclamation is alive: “I give you a new commandment, says the Lord; love one another as I have loved you.” 

As we embark upon a new week may we think about not only those who are influencing us, but also those we are influencing. We are not alone on our journey to God; we are meant to love, support, and encourage one another. Indeed, “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.” My friend concludes with rather good advice: “From time to time, it is good to recognise those who have influenced us and be grateful. It is relationships that form us.” Amen. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Readings of the day: RB 3:1-6
Mass: 1 Timothy 1:15-17; Psalm 113; Luke 6:43-49

In Saint Paul’s First Letter to Timothy we hear some most comforting words; as Paul puts it, a saying that is “trustworthy and deserves full acceptance,” namely, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” With Saint Paul, I run to the front of the line, jumping up and down: “Of these I am the foremost!”

Merciful God, grant me the grace to build my house on your Word. Help me to bear good fruit; help me to be a good example for those who come to believe in you. Today I pray for the fruit of patience; to be more patient with myself so I can display your patience, mercy, and compassion to others.

Is there one person in your life with whom you could be more patient, merciful, and compassionate? Why not reach out to him or her, today.


Friday, September 15, 2017


Readings of the day: Rule of Saint Benedict (RB) 2:33-40
Mass: Hebrews 5:7-9; Resp. Psalm 31or 1 Timothy 1:1-2,12-14; Resp. Psalm 16; Stabat Mater Sequence (optional); John 19:25-27 (obligatory for the memorial)

Following yesterday’s Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrate Our Lady of Sorrows, Mary, who stood by the cross of her son, Jesus. We reflect in the words of Cardinal Basil Hume: 

She stands there—noble, dignified, courageous, strong. Stabat Mater, the mother stood. She had to be there to share his pain, to be part of his mental anguish. She was no casual onlooker, no idle spectator. She shared his pain; she was part of his mental anguish. Strangely, wondrously, she was again mother. His mother in his hour of need, but our mother as well. We call her Mother, because she truly is, and thus she is now our mother in our time of need, calling us to be like her—dignified, noble, courageous, strong. (Hope from the Cross: Reflections on Jesus’ Seven Last Words, 36)

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to the Jesus to the last.

O sweet Mother! Font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.
                     (From Stabat Mater sequence)


Thursday, September 14, 2017


Readings of the day: RB 2:30-32; Numbers 21:4b-9; Psalm 78; Philippians 2:6-11;
John 3:13-17

Today’s liturgy is saturated with the richness of the Word; I am moved to burst out in song.

Saint Paul’s great hymn of humility in his letter to the Philippians includes one of my favorite verses in all of Sacred Scripture: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend.” Upon hearing it, I sing forth: 

At the Name of Jesus
Every knee shall bow,
Ev’ry tongue confess him
King of Glory now;
‘Tis the Father’s pleasure
We should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

This is Jesus, “the Son of Man, lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life…For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred name.

Without hesitation, then,

We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered. (Cf. Gal. 6:14, Entrance Antiphon)


Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Readings of the day: RB 2:23-29; Col. 3:1-11; Psalm 145; Luke 6:20-26

It dawns on me that the more and more I seek what is above and not what is on earth, the better able I will be to conduct myself in a manner worthy of God. For this to come to fruition though, first I need grace. Then each and every day I can pray to be renewed, for knowledge, in the image of our creator.

Starting today, what is one practice I will incorporate into my daily schedule that will keep me focused on what is above?

May we rejoice and leap for joy! Our reward will be great in heaven! 

Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us.