Monday, July 10, 2017

14th Week, Ordinary Time, Tuesday, 11-07-17

Genesis 32:23-33 / Matthew 9:32-38

One popular medal among Catholics is the St. Benedict's medal because of the prayer engraved around the medal is a prayer to ward off evil and hence it is also used to protect against devil and evil influences.

The translation of the Latin prayers are : "Let not the dragon be my guide" and "Begone, Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities — evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison"

St. Benedict whose feast day we celebrate today was born in AD 450. Although he lived and studied in Rome, he could not take the meaningless life of the city and he went to live a life of deep solitude as a hermit in the mountains.

His reputation spread, and some monks asked him to be their abbot, but when they could not take the discipline he imposed, they tried to poison him.

But his later followers were more matured and sincere and disciplined and with them, St. Benedict began founding communities which developed into monasteries.

Eventually he founded the famous monastery of Monte Cassino which became the roots of the Church's monastic system.

His beliefs and instructions on religious life were collected in what is now known as the Rule of Saint Benedict and it is still directing religious life after 15 centuries.

St. Benedict realized the strongest and truest foundation for the power of words was the Word of God itself: "For what page or word of the Bible is not a perfect rule for temporal life?"

St. Benedict instructed his followers to practice sacred reading. In this lectio divina, he and his monks memorized the Scripture, studied it, and contemplated it until it became part of their being. Four to six hours were set aside each day for this sacred reading.

We who live such a hectic stressful urban life will even wonder if we can ever manage to have four to six minutes a day to read scripture and we could hardly remember what we have read as busyness overwhelms our minds.

But just as Jesus cast out demons and overcame evil and had compassion on the harassed and dejected, through the Sacred Scriptures, Jesus is also calling us to be workers in His harvest and to care for the weak and lowly and rejected and to overcome evil with charity and compassion.

In St. Benedict's words : "For what page or word of the Bible is not a perfect rule for temporal life?" May we take some time out in the temporary life to be workers for God's harvest and to prepare for eternal life.