Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Pope Saint Damasus I (304-384)

Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 58:1-16 Reception of New Members
Mass: Is 40:25-31; Resp Ps 103; Mt 11:28-30

Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.


For the next two days, we are with Ch 58 of the Holy Rule of St Benedict, "The Procedure for Receiving New Members", one of my favorites. As with all in the Holy Rule, Benedict's teaching is applied here and now to all Christians who are on the path to holiness, especially during this Advent season when we are busy "preparing the way of the Lord" (Is 40:3). For focus and to help us reflect on and apply the chapter to our particular vocations, I look at two verses. First, a spiritually mature elder looks after the newcomer with "careful attention" (RB 58:6) and is concerned about whether the newcomer truly seeks God (RB 58:7). Very important as well is that the newcomer "should be clearly told all the hardships and difficulties that will lead him or her to God" (RB 58:8). We now turn to the readings at Mass to aid our reflection.

The concern should be that all of us "truly seek God" for Jesus extends an invitation: Come to me (Mt 11:28). And the Lord knows of our hardships and difficulties; He knows "how narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life" (Mt 7:13), so he adds, all you who labor and are burdened (Mt 11:28). Jesus is not calling the strong and righteous; those in no need of His healing touch. Rather, Jesus calls sinners (see Mk 2:17); He calls the sick, lame, grieving, stressed, weary, and lonely. His invitation has no "RSVP by" on it for "the Holy One" (Is 40:25) "does not faint nor grow weary" (Is 40:28). The Lord says, Come to me … I will give you rest, in whatever situation we find ourselves, day in and day out. Jesus has told us over and over: Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me (Mt 16:24). The Lord is with us. He "gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound … They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint" (Is 40:29, 31). Whether inside the monastery or out, we are united. We pray for one another.

Christ comes! Let us pray:
Renew us in your love.
When we grow weary and discouraged: Renew us in your love.
When we grow slothful in living the Gospel: Renew us in your love.
When we grow sad amid life's troubles: Renew us in your love.
(Magnificat, Prayer for the Morning, Intercessions, December 11, 2019) 


Today's photo: A summer sunshine flower to brighten the days!

Gertrude Feick 2019

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