Monday, March 30, 2015

Mar 30 - Holy Week Mystery

Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
Wash me and I shall be clean indeed.
Psalm 51:8
Those who are sick or weak should be given a type of work or craft that will keep them busy without overwhelming them or driving them away.
Benedict's Rule 48:24 (Chittister, Pg. 216)
At every stage of our lives, every one of us has a sign of hope and faith and love and commitment to share with the people around us.
Chittister, Pg. 217
Stages of life -- I look with wonder at what is the same and what changes, where I let go and where I don't... 44 years ago I first listened to Jesus Christ Superstar. I was at a place where I was first trying on my own understanding of God's call and first pondering the mystery of Christ's sacrifice and God's salvation. Many Holy Weeks since I still listen to Jesus Christ Superstar, and still fall deeply into the music and words finding yet new meaning in Christ's sacrifice and God's salvation. As I ponder the events of Holy Week I am still amazed at the mystery and wonder of our Lord's precious gift.

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mar 28 - Joy, A Common Part of My Life

By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept, *
when we remembered you, O Zion.
As for our harps, we hung them up *
on the trees in the mist of that land.
Psalm 137:1-2
Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore the community members should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.
Benedict's Rule 48:1 (Chittister, Pg. 211)
The function of the spiritual life is not to escape into the next world; it is to live well in this one.
Chittister, Pg. 211
Yes, there are times I want to escape. There are times I have wanted the joys of "the next world". It is important to be reminded of the balance of living now -- Doing work and growing spiritually right here in our world. When I hold tightly to control, try and schedule everything, and worry and put myself down for not doing everything I schedule for myself, life is difficult. When I relax, let go, and keep prayer, study, work, and recreation in balance joy becomes a common part of my life.

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mar 27 - Immersed in Prayer and Scripture

They stare and gloat over me; *
they divide my garments among them;
they cast lots for my clothing.
Psalm 22:17
...let this be done with humility, seriousness, and reverence, and at the bidding of the prioress or abbot.
Benedict's Rule 47:4 (Chittister, Pg. 209)
...unless the group becomes more and more immersed in prayer and the Scriptures, giving them priority no matter what the pressures of the day, the group will cease to have any authenticity at all.
Chittister, Pg. 209
Reading the Psalm I think of the casting of lots for Jesus cloak as Jesus is Crucified. Can I live a life that honors Jesus' sacrifice? Do I become immersed in prayer and Scripture? Do I provide needed support as the groups I am in try and immerse the members in prayer and Scripture? Where can I do better?

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mar 26 - Be Available Always

I do not occupy myself with great matters, *
or with things that are too hard for me.
But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon its mother's breast; *
my soul is quieted within me.
Psalm 131:2-3
When the cause of sin lies hidden in the conscience, the monastic is to reveal it only to the prioress or abbot or to one of the spiritual elders...
Benedict's Rule 46:5 (Chittister, Pg. 207)
The challenge of community lies in whether we ourselves care enough about anyone else to be willing to be their light, to treat their wounds well, to protect their reputations when they try to walk with us.
Chittister, Pg. 207-208
It is not about me, it is about everyone else around me. I need engage only when asked -- be available always, but insert myself never. It is about always being available.

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mar 24 - Self Knowledge

My help comes from the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2
They do so until they [the abbot or prioress] give them blessing and say "Enough."
Benedict's Rule 44:10 (Chittister, Pg. 203)
This chapter forces us to ask, in an age without penances and in a culture totally given to individualism, what relationships we may be betraying by selfishness and what it would take to cure ourselves of the self-centeredness that requires the rest of the world to exist for our own convenience.
Chittister, Pg. 203
Am I the only one that sees my own self-centeredness? I expect not. But the reminder to ask the question of myself is needed. It is my experience that after being reminded that I am selfish, and noting the selfishness and self-centeredness, there is a gradual decrease in my awareness until the next reminder...

Lord help me not forget may fallibility and self-centeredness, and to keep a healthy respect for my failures. I further ask for balance in self-knowledge, that I also not forget what I do well and to your satisfaction...

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mar 23 - Failure and Growth

I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy; *
for you have seen my affliction;
you know my distress.
Psalm 31:7
No one is to presume to eat or drink before or after the time appointed.
Benedict's Rule 43:18 (Chittister, Pg. 200)
Both community and prayer, therefore, are essential elements of Benedictine spirituality, and we may not neglect either.
Chittister, Pg. 201
As a Benedictine oblate I face struggle and imperfection in my attempts to fully participate in, live, and accept the norms and rules of the School of God's Service that I am enrolled in. How wonderful to have our Lord who fully accepts my failures and struggles, always loving me and expecting me to grow beyond each failure.

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mar 22 - Just Start Again

The Lord is my strength and my song, *
and he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:14
Indeed nothing is to be prefered to the Opus Die.
Benedict's Rule 43:3 (Chittister, Pg. 197)
Nothing in life qualifies as an exchange for the Word of God, not good work, not a job almost finished, not an interesting conversation, not the need for privacy... Benedictine spirituality says Stop. Now. A spiritual life without regular prayer and an integrated community consciousness is pure illusion.
Chittister, Pg. 198, 199
I start back after my "day off" with this reading, a gentle reminder about the importance of prayer time. Already I am making excuses: I needed sleep, my schedule didn't allow time, I did other good things...

Enough! Let's get down to basics: I am committed, I needn't worry about if or how to continue. The answer is simple: Just take the time today to read, pray, meditate, then plan that I will continue tomorrow and the next day...

A Note To Readers:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.