Sunday, September 06, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for September 2, 2009

January 6, May 7, September 6
So 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.

Some thoughts:

People took the "pains of hell" more seriously than we do. It was quite the inducement to do good or to make up for the bad one had done. We might do well to re-think how we think about hell. Is it a fiery pit full of perpetually burning bodies? Does it have several layers and each reserved for a specific group of sinners with the torments getting consecutively worse?

I imagine hell to be the absence of God. Since we have immortal souls, something has to happen to all of ours. What would eternity be like separate from God? Fiery pit? The utter cold of outer space? Since the immortal soul is aware, it will have to experience something.

We humans are a resourceful bunch and we can manage to adjust to lots of things. I am diabetic for example, and if I forget to take my meds, I don't feel it right away which in turn does not help me to remember to take them. The changes in my body are slow and I just adapt. In fact, I might not notice for a goodly while. Eventually though I begin to have symptoms. I use my glucometer and then am staggered by what I see there and all the things I ought to have done come rushing back at me.

Our need for God is that basic. Unless we are with God, no matter how well things look on the surface there is a whole lot of other stuff going on that we may never even notice until the changes are so many that they slap us in the face. This is where the RB helps us. It is a regimen to develop the best possible spiritual health. We start it because we must and then as we absorb the RB within us, we do it out of love.



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