NOVEMBER 14, 2005- AWHUM: LUKE 19:35-48

WHAT DO YOU WANT? LORD, THAT I MAY SEE! This simple, direct exchange between our Lord and the blind man near Jericho resulted in the petitionerís receiving the favor he asked for. His sight was given him by the word of Jesus. What made this astonishing miracle possible was ardent faith and persistent desire. This blind man would not keep quiet even though he was disturbing others with his clamorous appeals to the Savior as he passed on his way to the nearby city of Jericho. He felt an intense need for healing and was convinced in his heart that this man whom he knew of by reputation had the power to cure him. His awareness of how badly he need help that only this person, Jesus of Nazareth could give made him bold in his approach. He paid no heed to those who would quiet him; nothing else mattered to him at this moment save getting the attention he sought from the Lord. The persistent cries he uttered achieved their purpose because Jesus perceived in them a firm, unyielding faith.

This is the lesson we are given in todayís Gospel. Faith in the Lord never goes unheeded. Even when he seems to pass by and ignore our pleas, he always attends and always responds with his favor, though he may defer for a time, even for a long time when it better serves our good and his wise plan.

We as monks are called to cultivate our inner sight. Contemplation of Godís mysteries, of his Providence and of the traces he has left of himself in creation is the major work of every member of our Order. All the other practices are to be undertaken and organized in such a way as to favor this gift of interior sight. The persistent, daily struggle to maintain this purpose before the eyes of our heart is the primary task of monastic life. For us to fulfill this undertaking we must have a proper understanding of all that is meant by contemplative prayer. It includes the self knowledge that is essential for drawing near to God. Before we can be united with him who is all holy, we must attain to a measure of purity of heart. For only the pure of heart shall see God. Arriving at this inner purity and simplicity of heart is the immediate purpose of our characteristic monastic observances such as withdrawing from the society of the world, living in the cloister with like-minded men, observing silence, and living in charity with our neighbors and guests. These practices along with daily lectio divina and prayer of the heart all work together to contribute to a slow steady growth in the desire for knowing God in order to be more fully united with him. We are to learn by experience to bring our desires for sensual satisfaction under the control of this deeper longing for the light that shines on the face of Christ and reveals to us the glory of God the Father.

May the grace of this Eucharist obtain for each of us here and our loved ones an increase in this saving desire that we might see with the eyes of the heart the light of this divine glory. Let us be confident that our Lord brings with him into the hidden places of our inner man the power to give us this spiritual sight tht is the longing of our faith..

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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