Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for May 24,2009

January 23, May 24, September 23

Chapter 5: On Obedience
But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
since He Himself has said,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
and murmurs,
not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
then even though he fulfill the command
yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
who sees that his heart is murmuring.
And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
unless he amend and make satisfaction.

Some thoughts

Aye, here's the rub! Our obedience must be "without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection." This sounds odd to our post-modern ears, doesn't it? The very 1st word in the RB is "listen" which has the same root as "obey". It's hard for us to imagine a time when to listen meant one obeyed. This is hard to grasp.

There was a time when I told my then spiritual director that my goal in life was to instantly respond to the Holy Spirit with a "yes." I never became very good at that because I am so full of hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, objections, myself. It is so familiar to live out of step with God. And the familiar, no matter how bad it may be for us, always feels safer even when we know it is bad. The unfamiliar is scary.

I've read some mawkish stuff in my time about how the darling precious soul knows her true home, how she soars in gratitude to it when we release her from the fetters of sin. Quite frankly, I've never experienced any such thing. My soul plods this earth along with my body. Especially when I berate myself for my hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection. I have not found dwelling on the negative, concentrating on what I do wrong much of a motivator for change.

When I dwell on the positive... the many things I have to be grateful about every day, the many gifts God has so freely given me, His limitless love for me, that is when I begin to have a cheerful heart.



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