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Monday, May 28, 2012

This is the outline of the prayer group meeting I facilitated on Monday, May 28, 2012, at St. Francis Catholic Church

L: O God, come to my assistance
R:  Lord, make haste to help me.

Sing:  The Breath of God (#10)

(Pause, silent reflection)

From “Novena via Sophia”, Treasures Holy and Mystical, Phillip Neri Powell, OP
“Hymn to Wisdom” (Please buy the book, as I do not have permission to publish his work)
(Pause, silent reflection)

Sing:  Come, Holy Ghost (#16)
          Spirit of the Living God (#73)

Prayers of praise and thanksgiving.
Anything to share? 
From: The Rule of St. Benedict, Chap. 5: On Obedience

“The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
This is the virtue of those
who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;
who, because of the holy service they have professed,
and the fear of hell,
and the glory of life everlasting,
as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,
receive it as a divine command
and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.
Of these the Lord says,
"As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me" (Ps. 17[18]:45).
And again to teachers He says,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).”

*Look first at humility – what is humility?

The Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 7: On Humility

“The first degree of humility, then,
is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
and beware of ever forgetting it.
Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
let his thoughts constantly recur
to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
those who despise God,
and to the life everlasting which is prepared
for those who fear Him.
Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
or the self-will,
and check also the desires of the flesh.”

*Do you need humility in order to be obedient?  Or, can you be truly obedient without being humble?

“Obedient unto Death” (chap. 6: Remember Jesus Christ, Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap)

*we cannot grasp with our minds the whole of the Passion of Christ, but we can immerse ourselves in it – through the doorway of obedience.

“became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8)
“by one man’s obedience, many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:19)
“he learned obedience through what he suffered, and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Heb 5:8-9)

*Obedience is the key – it is what gave meaning and value to the story: it is his obedience unto death that has saved us:

1Sam 15:22:  “Does the Lord so delight in holocausts and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams.”

It is true that in the case of Christ he also wanted sacrifice, and he also wants it from us; but, of the two, one is the means and the other is the goal.  God wants obedience for its own sake; he wants sacrifice only indirectly, as the sole condition that makes obedience possible and authentic.  It is in this sense that the Letter to the Hebrews says Christ “learned obedience through what he suffered” (5:8).  The passion was the test and the measure of his obedience.  (RJC, 104)

*The obedience of Christ is obedience to the Father, not to his parents/Mosaic Law/judgment of Sanhedrin or Pilate  (St Irenaeus, pg 104)

*for us, we can see obedience as obedience to God (“obedience of faith” Rom 1:5; to teaching Rom 6:17; to the gospel Rom 10:16 & Thes 1:8; to the truth Gal 5:7; to Christ 2Cor 10:5)

*BUT only if we believe in the actual Lordship of Christ over the Church are we able to understand the necessity and importance of obeying God
            - paying attention to God, who speaks through the Spirit
-spiritual obedience does not detract “from obedience to visible…authority but…renews it, strengthens it, and enlivens it to the point that obedience to people becomes the criterion for judging whether there is obedience to God or not, and if it is authentic.” (RJC, 108)

*in obeying God, we do his will – want the same things he wants, and fulfill our vocation to be “in his image and likeness”.
*Dante:  “In his will is our peace.”

The more one obeys, the more God’s commands multiply, because he knows that this is the most beautiful gift he can give us, the one he gave his beloved Son.  When God finds a soul determined to obey, he then takes that life in his hands….” (RJC, 109)

*God is leading you, indicating what you should do – always have a “listening ear” at prayer and at Mass.  “There is almost always a word that God personally directs to us, and the Spirit does not fail to make it be recognized as such.” (RJC, 110)

*nothing mystical or extraordinary:  “bringing questions to God” (Exodus 18:19).  We can all decide to do something on our own, then ask for a positive outcome – but:

If the love of obedience to God is alive in me, then I do things differently: first, I will ask God, by the simplest method of prayer, if it is his will that I take that trip or do that task, or make that visit or that purchase, and then I will do it or not, but in every case it will now be an act of obedience to God and no longer my own initiative.  (RJC, 113)

*”I need to consult my master first”  --- “I need to pray to know if this is what my Lord wants me to do.”

*obeying the circumstances, and see the silent but resolute will of God in them – endure them more peacefully

Response:  “May our deeds glorify your name, Lord”

Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Closing Prayers