Friday, December 29, 2017

Fifth Day within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

Thomas Becket, Saint and Martyr (d. 1170)

Readings of the day: RB 71
Mass: 1 John 2:3-11; Resp. Psalm 96; Luke 2:22-35

God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son,
so that all who believe in him may not perish,
but may have eternal life.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass)

From today’s readings, what might we consider in preparation for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, and the New Year 2018. The first rises from an oft asked question: ‘How do I know I am advancing on the spiritual journey?’ Put another way, ‘How do I know I am growing in intimacy with God—deepening my love for God and for my sisters and brothers?’ An answer can be found in the First Letter of Saint John: ‘This is the way we know we are in union with Jesus: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.’ If we are not quite sure how Jesus walked imagine our Lord as a walking parable of tender mercy, compassion, patience, healing, unconditional love, abiding joy, and forgiveness. Is there one person you can reach out to so as to walk more closely with Jesus?

Another answer can be found in Saint Benedict’s Chapter 71, Mutual Obedience. He begins: ‘Obedience is of such value that it is not only to be shown to the Abbess but in fact all members of the community should be obedient to each other in the sure knowledge that this way of obedience is the one that will take them straight to God.’ In the context of any community, family, work group, or classroom, there are so many ways to be obedient to one another: filling in when someone is ill or hurting; helping another to prepare for an exam; comforting a crying child during another sleepless night; performing a task in a way that I might not prefer, but in the way someone else would like me to do it; remembering that ‘God loves a cheerful giver’; listening without interrupting. For other thoughts on obedience, one may turn to RB 5, Obedience. If all else fails, go immediately to RB 72 on Good Zeal, already noted as the most beautiful chapter in the Holy Rule. Is there one person you can reach out to so as walk more closely with Jesus in mutual obedience?

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses,
the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord.

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