Today we ended the Prologue of St Benedict’s Holy Rule.
Therefore we must establish a school of the Lord’s service; in founding which we hope to ordain nothing that is harsh or burdensome. But if, for good reason, for the amendment of evil habit or the preservation of charity, there be some strictness of discipline, do not at once be dismayed and run away from the way of salvation, of which the entrance must needs be narrow. But, as we progress in our monastic life and faith, our hearts shall be enlarged, and we shall run with unspeakable sweetness of love in the way of God’s commandments; so that, never abandoning his rule but persevering in his teaching in the monastery until death, we shall share by patience in the sufferings of Christ, that we may deserve to be partakers also of his kingdom. Amen.
Is this not the mission of the parish and the local priest as the parochial abbot? I might etch this sentence in the bricks outside: If, for good reason, for the amendment of evil habit or the preservation of charity, there be some strictness of discipline, do not at once be dismayed and run from the way of salvation. Yes! These disciplines of which I write and strive to keep are gifts to keep all of us in charity and to facilitate the amendment of evil habits. This is why we stifled yawns during Morning Prayer and popped our knees during mass as we knelt in adoration.
This is why I scheduled four housing blessings throughout the day and sat in the confessional for an hour. All of these things are done so we may be partakers of Christ’s kingdom.
This is important for me, especially, to remember. It is too easy to get bogged down in administrative and personnel minutia. All important, no doubt, but those things support the school of the Lord’s service instead of being served by it.
When I checked the mail in the afternoon, I found a letter addressed to “Resident.” Oh boy. When I opened it, I discovered two tracts pleading that I give my life to Jesus Christ. In fairness to the sender, they didn’t know this was a church (although I doubt that would have changed anything!). I don’t fault their intention, which I think is sincere. They want me, as the resident, to know the love of Jesus Christ. But I think there is a better way. Instead of spam in the mailbox, why not a school for the Lord’s service? Why not engage with the difficult and important questions of the day? Why not offer the perspective of faith, which has access to perspectives no other discipline has?
When I put the tracts back on my desk, they fell beside my choice from yesterday’s Holy Doodle. The person (I think it was a child) lifted a quote from my sermon: Jesus Christ is not just the King of the Jews; he is the King of all. There is hope for the Church, if we keep her a school for the Lord’s service.
After my weekly meeting with my two wardens, Evening Prayer, Shrine Prayers (today’s intention was for the choir), and my standing liturgical meeting. As the Epiphany Proclamation reminded us yesterday – Lent is less than two months away.