Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thursday of the First Week of Advent - St. Benedict

Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

- Matthew 7:24

In a sermon on the text of today’s Gospel, the great Syrian bishop Philoxenus of Mabbug reflects, “This saying of our Master obliges us to be diligent in hearing God’s word, but also in doing it… God’s disciples need to have firmly anchored in their souls the remembrance of their Master, Jesus Christ, and to think of him day and night” (from Homily I: SC 44, 27-31).[1]

The “Patriarch of Western Monks,” Saint Benedict of Nursia, understood that the Christian life begins with a willingness to listen—this is so important to Benedict’s view of the spiritual life, that it is the first word of his Rule, a document that has guided the lives of Benedictine monks, nuns, and sisters for 1500 years. Saint Benedict says, “Let us arise, then, at last, for the Scripture stirs us up, saying, ‘Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep’ (Rom. 13:11). Let us open our eyes to the deifying light, let us hear with attentive ears the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us, ‘Today if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts’ (Ps. 94[95]:8).”[2]

Because Advent is a time of promise, a listening spirit is essential for living the mystery of Advent. The challenge of this season, however, is to discern the call of the Lord’s herald who proclaims a message of hope: Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock” (Isaiah 26:4).
Prayer for Thursday of the First Week of Advent +
Stir up your power, O Lord,
and come to our help with mighty strength,
that what our sins impede
the grace of your mercy may hasten.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)

[1] Taken from The Fathers on the Sunday Gospels, ed. Stephen Mark Holmes (Collegeville, MN, The Liturgical Press, 2012). 80-81.

[2] Rule of Saint Benedict: The Prologue. Selections above from Saint Benedict's Rule for Monasteries, translated from the Latin by Leonard J. Doyle OblSB, of Saint John's Abbey, (© Copyright 1948, 2001, by the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, MN 56321).

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