“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not the truest of guides for human life?” ~Saint Benedict, from the Rule of Saint Benedict (73:3)
“The outcome or the fruit of reading holy scripture is by no means negligible: it is the fullness of eternal happiness. For these are the books which tell us of eternal life, which were written not only that we might believe but also that we might have everlasting life. When we do live that life we shall understand fully, we shall love completely, and our desires will be totally satisfied. Then, with all our needs fulfilled we shall truly know the love that surpasses all understanding and so be filled with the fullness of God. The purpose of scriptures, which comes to us from God, is to lead us to this fullness according to the truths contained in those sayings of the apostles to which I have referred. In order to achieve this, we must study holy scripture carefully, teach it and listen to it in the same way.” ~ Saint Bonaventure
Monday, July 13 ~ Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 10:34-11:1 Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple – amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.” When Jesus finished giving these commands to his Twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
Meditation: The battle Jesus speaks of is not an earthly conflict between nations, but spiritual warfare between the forces of Satan and the armies of heaven. The scriptures make clear that there are ultimately only two kingdoms — God’s kingdom of truth light, and Satan’s kingdom of deceit and darkness. Satan has only one aim — the complete domination of our hearts, minds, and will for his kingdom. And he will use any means possible to draw us from good to evil, from truth to deception, from light to darkness, and from life to death. There are no neutral parties in this spiritual battle. We are either for or against the kingdom of God – there can be no middle ground, compromise, secular redefinition or “political correctness.” The choices we make and the actions we take in living out our daily lives reveal whose kingdom we choose to follow. Always remember that God sent Jesus to overthrow Satan’s power and to set us free from everything that would keep us from the love of God and his wise rule in our lives — freedom from slavery to sin and our unruly desires, freedom from fear, greed, and selfishness.
Prayer: O God, whose abundant grace prepared Saint Henry to be raised by you in a wonderful way from the cares of earthly rule to heavenly realms, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that amid the uncertainties of this world we may hasten towards you with minds made pure. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: When Jesus spoke about “division” the Old Testament prophecy of Micah unfolds: “a man’s enemies are the men of his own household” (ref. Micah 7:6). The love of God compels us to choose who will be first in our lives. To place any relationship or anything else above the laws of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ becomes a form of idolatry. Jesus challenges his disciples to examine who and what they love first and foremost. A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ. Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God. It is possible that family, friends, colleagues and neighbors can become our enemies by leading us astray, by embracing a lifestyle that is contrary to the truth and God’s will. Who in your life who leads you away from God? Who distances you from God’s love?