Friday, July 12, 2013

Remembering Saint Benedict...

Yesterday we spent a good deal of the day at Maria Laach, a center of study and spiritual renewal for the Church since the twelfth century! The extraordinary contributions of Dom Odo Casel, OSB to the modern liturgical renewal came to mind as I prayed in the Church where he celebrated the Sacred Liturgy, and I recalled his words:
This real representation of the saving deed cannot not be, because the saving acts of Christ are so necessary to the Christian that he cannot be a true Christian if he doesn't live them after Him and with Him. It is not the teaching of Christ which makes the Christian. It is not even the simple application of his grace. It is total identification with the person of Christ obtained by re-living His life.
Here's the homily I later preached at Mass with our group for the Feast of Saint Benedict:
I've always been challenged by Saint Benedict's description of the three ways of loving God. At first, Saint Benedict tells us, we love God because we love ourselves. I don't want to go to hell, so I do what he wants. 
At the second stage, I love God because he is lovable. I have no choice. I have so deeply fallen in love within him that I want only to do his will.

And then there's the third stage of loving God, the one which few reach but the only state in which true holiness and purity reside, wherein I love me only because God loves me. Only then does my every waking moment seek the will of God. My next breath has value only if it is part of God's plan. My fondest hopes and my deepest desires are but cinder and ash unless they are his will. In other words, it is not my will but his, not me, but Christ Jesus in me, it is fiat, let it be done to me according to your word.
Perhaps that is why Saint Benedict leads us to such an affection for the Blessed Virgin Mary, she who is the perfect human model of perfect love, whose sole response to God’s command was “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

With Benedict and Mary, may we do the same.