dimanche, février 11, 2007

Sexagesima Sunday

The parable of the sewer provides for us an occasion to examine our consciences about the way we receive the word of God. We probably all hear the word of God, otherwise we would not be here today. We hear the word of God, but how does this word affect our lives? Is it really a substantial food for our souls, along with the Holy Eucharist, or is it just a word that we listen to sometimes which we hardly know. In other words, do we put ourselves in the condition of a disciple who listens to his master, ruminates on his teaching and then tries to actualize it in his own life? Or are we just passive spectators who probably appreciate the quality of the divine word but have merely an esthetic or intellectual attraction for it as he could have for Racine or Shakespeare. I would say that in itself is a good thing since so many people just ignore the word of God or simply don’t know it.

But appreciating and even loving the verses of a great author doesn’t make you one of his disciples. Being a disciple means that you must follow a master and conform your life to his teaching and his own life. By definition it implies a certain intimacy with him and a certain attachment to his person. It is, alas, not rare to meet some people who like the words of Jesus Christ, who appreciate the beauty and the harmony of his moral teaching, but they are not his disciples. They don’t follow Him, they don’t imitate Him, they are not one with Him. They have heard the word of God, but it remains useless and ineffective as long as they don’t keep it and nourish it in their mind and within their heart.

Saint Paul gives a lesson to those who esteem themselves to be good disciples. It is for us, brethren. It is we who dare to boast of our actions. We think that we are good disciples because we have fulfilled a duty. But it is not the purpose of a disciple to fulfill his duties. It might be the purpose of a good soldier, a good citizen, a good student, but don’t you think that Jesus asks more of you than to fulfill your duties?

Imagine for example a father of family. This man works well and hard to gain money so that his family can live. His wife and his children have a decent home and food every day. He drives them when they need it and is ready to do anything they ask. Good man! But now, imagine that he never speaks to them and never gives marks of his affections. He provides for the needs of his family but remains in a certain way far from his wife and children. He is a man of duty, but is he really a good father and a good husband?

Are we really good disciples of Jesus Christ? Do we listen to the word of God in order that we may be true disciples? There is no other option than to take time to escape from the world and to open the door of your soul. We cannot listen to God surrounded by the noise of the world, in the midst of the agitation of our activities. I have already told you this many times, and I repeat it again, because it is the key to the spiritual life according to the entire tradition of the Church.

But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who sees in secret will repay thee.” Here is the divine intimacy with God. A secret relationship between you and Him which is only possible if you shut the door of your chamber and open the door of your soul. Daily reading helps you to do this. I mean a loving reading of the gospel or any spiritual book – and you have so many available, from the Fathers, the Saints, the Doctors – not just the last rumors about the Motu Proprio on internet. It is better to leave your computer screen and open a real book and take your time to read it, savor it and meditate on it. For Saint Benedict, the lectio divina is necessary in order to be a true monk. And a true monk is nothing more than a true disciple of Jesus Christ, which is who we are all supposed to be.

May Our Lady help us to be such disciples, able to listen to our God and to serve Him with a pure heart. If you don’t start today to listen to Him, why would you do it tomorrow? And who knows? Today might be your last day.

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