Saturday, March 22, 2014

St. Benedict: Daily Mass Homily--Friday, March 21st, 2014

Note--While the Feast of St. Benedict was not on the Roman Calendar today, it was celebrated by the Benedictines.  I had the privilege of saying Mass for the Sisters of St. Scholastica on their feast.            

            It is a blessing being with you today to celebrate Mass and share in the feast of St. Benedict—our patron.
            Periodically it is wise to make an examination in our lives to first thank God for the many gifts He has given us and then to discern the ways He calls us to grow.  Important days of the year—like a feast day in your community—is a good time to make such an examination.
            To begin, remember St. Benedict’s basic maxim—ora et labora—work and prayer.  Each of you lives this rule out every day.  You pray as a community, gather for the Eucharist, have time for personal prayer and go about your daily duties at the monastery, at the college and in our community.  How, then, is God calling you to grow?  How is He inviting you, even beckoning you, to deeper intimacy with Him?  In what ways does He desire your work to be purified?
            Second, St. Paul reminds us that our work is not simply to combat earthly foes—poverty, injustice, hunger and the like.  No, we are in a battle against principalities and the father of lies.  While we ought not give Satan more credit than he is due, one of his greatest works is that our modern world no longer believes he even exists.  Especially during Lent, we each partake in prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  This is not only for our own purification, or even to wage war against the world, but to wage war against evil itself.  In what ways is God calling you to grow as a soldier in Christ against the evil one?
            Finally, St. Peter asks the Lord what he (and the other disciples) would receive since they left everything.  As a young priest it is inspiring to know of you and your community.  Each of you has left everything—mother, father, children, house, independence—for Jesus.  Many of you have lived in the religious vocation for decades and I am grateful for that yes to Jesus.  Yet even in that yes, even in that leaving everything, is there more you can give?  What are you attached to that you can give back to God?  Your talents?  Titles?  Time?  Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, gave everything and humbled himself to become a man.  He died for us.  In what ways am I called to give even more to God this Lent?
            As we continue our Lenten journey, we strive to live more faithfully according to the Rule of St. Benedict.  We do so in order to battle earthly and spiritual foes.  We do so in order to follow our savior in giving everything up to the Father.

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