Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sometimes it feels like this life is a never ending battle of our conscience versus our flesh. News stories have gone from being facts about specific events to emotional diatribes that rile up the passions and inflame the heart.

July 11, 2017

Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot
Lectionary: 384

GN 32:23-33

PS 17:1B, 2-3, 6-7AB, 8B AND 15

MT 9:32-38



Sometimes it feels like this life is a never ending battle of our conscience versus our flesh.  News stories have gone from being facts about specific events to emotional diatribes that rile up the passions and inflame the heart.  The authority of parents has been reduced by their portrayal as bumbling idiots and absentee parenting in most major media.  The government itself seems to be undermining the ability of those who wish to raise children by reducing their influence, providing children with the ability to go behind their parents' backs and procure procedures and pills without any sort of consent or even knowledge.    It can be frustrating if not downright disheartening.   All too many never even realize that it is truly a battle between good and evil, between angels and demons, principalities and powers.

We all have those struggles, especially when trying to grow closer to God or discern his will in our lives.  Nothing will put a target on your back faster than dedicating your life to bringing about the Kingdom of God here and now.  There are those who will brand what you are doing as evil, for even when Jesus cast out demons and freed people from bondage he had men claim he was doing the work of the devil.  That spirit that accused the savior is still alive and well today.  It is a spirit of hedonism and lies.   One that tries to convince people that all that matters is what feels good.  That somehow truth is really subjective and only is determined by society and the social norms of the time.  We as Christians would disagree completely, declaring Truth to be a person outside of ourselves.  That from God comes truth and with that, some actions will always be wrong, regardless of who says they are right.

The Old Testament reading for today shows Jacob wrestling with God.  That too is something we all end up doing at some point.  Our will often conflicts with His, and we all too often consider it a win if we get our way.  Jacob's example though, is that wrestling with God should change us.  Any encounter with the divine should alter our lives, our actions, and even the way we look.  Jacob went from being a swindling man who was shrewd and conniving, to a limping old man named Israel whose heart was true and only for the people.  St. Benedict also was changed by his encounters with the divine and gave a rule to his fellow men to follow. A rule that I think on this feast day we should all take a moment to read and see where we might do the same in our own lives.  Let us then put on the armor of Christ, arm ourselves with a secure and personal relationship with Jesus and his Church, and march forth into battle unafraid.  For if God is for us, who can be against us?

One other thing, when you have discerned what is good, what is right, and what is holy... just like Jacob, refuse to let go.  Hang on to God and everything else will fall into place.


 Note: The Rule of Benedict can be a lot to digest in one sitting.  I suggest that one takes a single section, one that speaks to where they are in their life right now, and read that section and meditate on what it might be saying to you.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14