SEPTEMBER 18, 2010 – 1 COR 15: 35-37, 2-49; LUKE 8: 4-15

 

TO YOU THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAVE BEEN REVEALED. Jesus went on to explain to his disciples not only the meaning of the parable of the seed, but also a more fundamental truth. By way of providing this clarification he cited the prophet Isaiah who had also encountered resistance to his message. He spoke in parables, he comments, so that those who were not properly disposed “Seeing hey might not perceive and hearing they may not understand.” The early Fathers of the Church took this teaching to heart. They grasped the necessity to cultivate those dispositions of mind and heart that were in conformity with the holiness of God as he revealed himself to his people through his prophets and later through his Son, the Lord Jesus. Already speaking trough the preaching of Moses God had instructed his people that they must “Be holy because I am holy.”(Lev 11: 44) The only way to know God himself is to imitate him for only like can know like. As time passed on this principle of imitating God evolved and was exemplified in the lives of his most devoted followers. With the birth of the Son of God In the flesh such imitation was given more detailed form by Jesus’ teaching and example. Our Lord repeatedly insisted that to know him was the fruit of following him, and includes the necessity of taking up the cross daily in a spirit of loving faith.

 

Understanding this requirement of likeness to the Lord, the monks of the first generations ordered their lives with a view to attaining purity of heart through the right ordering of heir emotions and through steady, even continuous practice of prayer. Saint John Cassian devoted the first of his twenty-four Conferences to Purity of Heart, for he realized that the knowledge of God that unites us with him requires a likeness in some degree to Him who is all-pure. The purity he has in mind is the fruit of a loving, committed search after conformity to God’s will. 

 

The love that Jesus exemplified and taught to his followers was of a fuller, more robust character than we persons of our modern times commonly understand by that word. Language is relatively poor I regards to expressing the most fundamental and most specifically human realities. Such familiar matters as life, consciousness, joy, and love in the concrete refer to a wide variety of actual experiences in different persons and in various cultures. Rightly to grasp their content in a measure of fullness of detail requires considerable effort of mind and a degree of shared experience. The love Jesus so regularly preached and taught was based more on appreciation of chosen values than on sentiment and spontaneous attraction. Such love calls more for deliberate decision and firm commitment than ready surrender to an appealing relationship based on physical or mental attraction. Truly to love requires us at time to put ahead of our own preferences and personal interests in the interest of another as every devoted parent knows, and every loyal friend. Our Lord tells us that to love him we must go the way of the cross. May the grace of this Eucharist sustain us in our daily effort to grow in his friendship through fidelity to his words. &


Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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