April 24, 2014

The Road of Life

                  Rule of Benedict vs 20 “See how the Lord in his love shows us the road of life.”  M. Rebecca

            We have just gone through Holy Week and Easter and what better way to sum up our past 9 days journey than to repeat St Benedict’s verse:  “See how the Lord in his love shows us the road of life.”  This road of life can be interpreted in light of Holy Week as well as that of Easter – each bringing out different nuances to the One Reality.
            Two Sunday’s ago we were on the road leading to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  Luke’s gospel says that they threw their garments on the colt and set Jesus upon it.  “And as He rode along, they spread their garments on the road”. (Lk 19:35-6)  This road led to Jerusalem.  This road led to his crucifixion.  And yet this is the road of life that Jesus shows us in His love?  This road of suffering is one we must all take…and it reveals to us how the Lord loves us.  It is the road of life.  It is the road of love.  As the people walked beside him on the road singing Hosannas, it gave them great joy but they did not fully understand why.  Then He took the road to Golgotha and the people wept, but again, they did not fully understand why.
            It was not until Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus that the Lord’s love became clear.  This is when we understood… following Christ is the road to eternal life.  This is when we fully knew why…because God’s love is immeasurable, always present.  The disciples along the way said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Lk 24:32)  
            So we see that the Scriptures and lectio lead us along the road of life and love, as well as breaking bread together and recognizing God’s presence, walking with other disciples along the path, and taking up our cross to follow in Christ’s footsteps.  These are all part of that road of life, of suffering, of love.   It reminds me of the words of a strong and faithful woman of the Old Testament who walked along this road of life.  She said: 

“Wherever you go, I shall go,
Wherever you live, I shall live…
Where you die, I shall die…
{Nothing} shall part me from you.”
(Ruth 1:16-17)

            Perhaps it isn’t so important which road we choose as it is that Christ travels the road with us – recognizing His presence along the way.   Today as we do our daily work let us strive to recognize Christ’s Presence among us, to let our hearts burn within us, to take up any little crosses we are asked to bear, and to sing Hosanna’s along the way!

April 6, 2014

Fifth Sunday of Lent

                                                                                                                                                                                M. Rebecca
Rom 8:8-11 & Jn 11:1-45
            These past 3 weeks our Sunday gospels have been used as teachings for the new members who will be entering the Church this Easter.  They are familiar Lenten readings that renew “our spiritual longing and joy” in the hope of receiving Christ more deeply in our lives and hearts.  First it was the Samaritan woman at the well – receiving living waters that brought eternal delight.  Last week it was a blind man by the roadside – receiving his sight that brought eternal light.  This week it is Lazarus at the tomb – receiving Christ’s word that brought eternal life.

            When Jesus arrives on the scene, his friend Lazarus has been laying dead in a cave for 4 days.  This cave is a tomb without life – without motion or movement.  The stone covered the cave leaving it in utter darkness…a place of absolute powerlessness…a death that leaves us forever silent and still.   St Bernard compares this story of Lazarus to what our sins can do to our interior life – graphically detailing the stench and smell as only Bernard can do!   It seems quite permanent…this heavy stone.  Certainly Lazarus could not free himself but neither could others on the outside.  It would be unthinkable after 4 days.  Yet this is not just about Lazarus’ predicament…each of us enters this cave!

            But there is another kind of cave that we also enter! It is referred to as the “cave of the heart”.  Nothing could be more opposite than these two caves for we enter this one willing…in contemplation to be with God.  Unlike Lazarus’ cave, it is a place of life.  It, too, is a cave that brings us to silence and stillness but not in death but in peace and energy.  We are not alone but in communion with God.  To use St Paul’s words to the Romans today:  this cave of the heart is Christ’s “Spirit dwelling within you”.  “The body is dead to sin but the Spirit is alive”…in our hearts.   So we see quite a contrast between the cave of Lazarus with its sin and decay and the cave of the heart with its communion and love.