Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Walk in a Manner Worthy of the God Who Calls You

You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers. As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory.  1 Thessalonians Chapter 2: 10-12

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.  Matthew Chapter 23:27-28

The Rule of Benedict Chapter 68: If a Sister Is Commanded to Do Impossible Things
If it happens that difficult or impossible tasks are laid on a sister, let her nevertheless receive the order of the one in authority with all meekness and obedience. But if she sees that the weight of the burden altogether exceeds the limit of her strength, let her submit the reasons for her inability to the one who is over her in a quiet way and at an opportune time, without pride, resistance, or contradiction. And if after these representations the Superior still persists in her decision and command, let the subject know that this is for her good, and let her obey out of love, trusting in the help of God.

Probably two of the most difficult tasks we face as Christians are to listen to the Word and to consistently and congruently act upon what we hear. Jesus calls to task the scribes and Pharisees for their lack of interior and exterior consistency.  They look outwardly like they are devout.  However, they make demands on others that they are not willing to take upon themselves.  There is no congruency between what they do and what they say for others to do.

Benedict recognizes that we are asked to do impossible things.  We cannot always escape the need to tackle the impossible unless we trust in the help of God.  For when the spirit of the Lord is upon us, we cannot fail.  

Today’s readings ask us to we treated each one of you as a father treats his children.  If we are to walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls us into his Kingdom, we must endeavor to be more consistent and congruent. 

They Daily Examen might be one ticket to assess how we are doing on the journey.  The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us.  The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. (See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen#sthash.EnCLacMS.dpuf) It consists of five steps:

1.   Place yourself in God's presence. Give thanks for God's great love for you. 
2.   Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life. 
3.   Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time. 
4.   Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away? 
5.   Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God's plan. Be specific, and conclude with the "Our Father."

The Examen, as Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ, says, “brings my nitty-gritty to God and God to my nitty-gritty.” St. Ignatius advised praying the Examen every day, no matter what else was happening. The daily prayer invites us to look back on the day to see where God was clearly present or where things didn’t go so well and to ask God for help in the future.[i]

Consider ideas on how to incorporate the Daily Examen into the course of your day.

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