• The cost of discipleship

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Mon Jul 11 00:13:35 2022
    The cost of discipleship

    One prospective follower, a scribe who was an expert in the Torah (the
    law of God in the first five books of Moses in the Jewish bible), paid
    Jesus the highest compliment he knew. He called Jesus "teacher". Jesus
    advised this would-be follower: Before you follow me, think what you
    are about to do and count the cost. A disciple must be willing to part
    with anything that might stand in the way of following Jesus as
    Teacher and Master. Another would-be disciple responded by saying that
    he must first bury his father, that is go back home and take care of
    his father until he died. This disciple was not yet ready to count the
    cost of following Jesus. Jesus appealed to the man's heart to choose
    for God's kingdom first and to detach himself from anything that might
    keep him from following the Lord.

    July 11th - St. Benedict, Abbot and Confessor

    WHAT does it take to live like a Christian? The life of Saint Benedict
    is one answer to this question, and such an effective one that it made
    history. The saint was born in the Italian town of Nursia, about the
    year 470, and as a young boy was sent by his family to be educated at
    Rome. An education in Rome at that time was "liberal" in more than the
    academic sense. Student life was one long dissipation, and Benedict
    soon realized that, unless he wanted to be drawn into the revelry, he
    would have to leave the city.

    Benedict had come to Rome with an elderly family nurse, sent along to
    look after his needs. With the old woman, he went eastward from Rome
    into the Sabine Mountains, stopping at the small village of Enfide.
    His stay there was short because of a miracle he worked for his nurse,
    the mending of an earthenware sieve. This was only the first miracle
    of many that were to attract people to Benedict, and when the people
    of Enfide heard of this particular occurrence they began to visit him
    in crowds.

    Realizing that he was about to become a public exhibit, Benedict
    decided to move. This time he went alone, climbing higher into the
    mountains. Benedict finally found himself in a desolate region called
    Subiaco. A few monks lived in the area, and one of them helped
    Benedict install himself in a cave high up in the wall of a cliff,
    where he remained for the next three years. His only contact with the
    world was through the friendly monk, who occasionally lowered food to
    him in a basket.

    Prayer and penance were Benedict's main activities during this time.
    It was a trying period, made harder by terrible temptations to return
    to the pleasures of the world. But Benedict mastered himself and at
    the end of three years decided that God wished him to continue living
    in solitude as a monk. As God arranged it, Benedict was to continue
    living as a monk but not by himself.

    Monks from the nearby monastery of Vicovaro had heard of this unusual
    young recluse and, when their abbot died, they sent a deputation to
    Benedict, requesting him to be their new abbot. Benedict agreed; but
    when he arrived at the monastery and began some much-needed reforms,
    trouble began. Most of the monks enjoyed their loose ways and decided
    to have no more of the young abbot's reforms--indeed, to have no more
    of him at all. One evening, poison was put into Benedict's cup of
    wine. When the wine was brought to him and Benedict made his usual
    sign of the cross over the cup, it shattered immediately as if it had
    been hurled against a rock. With a reproachful look, Benedict told the
    monks to find an abbot more to their liking, left the monastery, and
    returned to his cave.

    But a solitary existence was impossible for him now; his reputation
    had grown and crowds of people flocked to see him. Most of these were serious-minded men who were concerned with leading a Christian life in
    a society that had little use for Christianity. Benedict saw that
    these men needed guidance and consented to leave his cave to become
    their leader. Founding twelve monasteries in the neighborhood of
    Subiaco, he settled his followers in them and established himself in
    the monastery of Saint Clement. Later, he went to Monte Cassino,
    southeast of Rome, and there founded the monastery that was to become
    the largest and best known in Europe.

    When Benedict began to organize his monks at Subiaco and Monte
    Cassino, he realized that something different was needed from the
    general type of monasticism then prevalent. This was of Eastern origin
    and had degenerated into a very haphazard affair. Monks had no common
    life, they tried to outdo each other in austerities, and they wandered
    about from monastery to monastery as their fancy dictated. In place of
    all this, Benedict substituted a life centered around a common
    task--the chanting of the Opus Dei, or Divine Office--and dedicated to
    useful labor, both intellectual and physical, as well as to private
    prayer and reasonable forms of penance.

    At Monte Cassino Benedict wrote his regulations for monastic life in
    his Rule, which was to become one of the most important documents in
    the history of Europe. This Rule, which is summarized in the
    Benedictine motto of ora et labora (pray and work), was to become the inspiration of most of the monasticism of the West. European
    civilization itself was largely preserved through the work of
    Christian monks who had Benedict as their spiritual father, and by
    others who adapted the wisdom of Benedict's way of life to their own circumstances in the world.

    The saint lived his last years at Monte Cassino, and Saint Gregory the
    Great (whose Dialogues are the only source we have for Benedict's
    life) informs us that sometime about the year 547, not long after a
    last visit with his sister, Saint Scholastica, Benedict died a most
    happy death, surrounded by his monks and looking toward heaven.


    Saint Quote:
    “Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do
    not pamper yourself, but love fasting.” -St. Benedict

    “Prefer nothing, absolutely nothing, to the love of Christ.” -St. Benedict

    “Be careful to be gentle, lest in removing the rust, you break the
    whole instrument.”
    --St. Benedict

    “He who labours as he prays,
    lifts his heart to God with his hands.”
    “Whenever you begin any good work
    you should first of all,
    make a most pressing appeal
    to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection.”
    --St Benedict

    Shine through me Lord!

    Dear Lord, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go.
    Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
    Penetrate and possess my whole being
    so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
    Shine through me
    and be so in me, that every soul I come in contact with,
    may feel Your presence in my soul.
    Let them look up and see no longer me
    but only You, O Lord!
    Stay with me and then I will begin to shine as You do;
    so to shine as to be a light to others.
    The light, O Lord, will be all from You;
    none of it will be mine.
    It will be You shining on others through me.
    Let me thus praise You in the way which You love best,
    by shining on those around me.
    Let me preach You without preaching,
    not by words but by example,
    by the catching force,
    the sympathetic influence of what I do,
    the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen.
    --Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman

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