One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

March 24, 2006

For Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Mark 12:28-34
Hosea 14:2-10

Today through the prophet Hosea the Lord offers us a poem about the goodness and blessings he gives us.
God likens his loving graciousness to the dew, a blossoming lily and a deep-rooted tree greening with fresh shoots.
God’s blessings are like the splendor of the olive tree, the fragrance of the Lebanon cedar, cooling shade, a harvest of grain, a vine in flower, a renowned and choice wine.
The goodness of God in freely offering us life, growth, forgiveness, salvation, holiness, adoption and eternal life— the goodness of God towards us inspires us to love him in return.
St. Bernard points out that the first degree of love is to love God for his goodness to us.
Such love is just and justified, even though it is self-centered— loving God for our own sake, loving God because he is first good to us.
St. Bernard says the second degree of love is to love my neighbor because God loves my neighbor and helps me to love my neighbor— whether or not my neighbor is good to me.
With that, I begin to be free of my self-centeredness.
St. Bernard sees the third degree as loving God for God’s own sake.
At this third level we leave behind selfishness in our love of God.
This third degree of love is faithful to God in poverty, injury, suffering and death.
We would love God for his own sake.
In the fourth and final degree of love my self-centeredness is turned completely inside out.
Now, I would not love even myself except for the sake of God.
Not for my possessions, abilities, achievements and status, but for God’s sake alone.
Such love would free me from self-centered striving, since I would have embraced God’s love as infinitely more than enough for me.
Now, even my love for myself would be free of myself and full of God alone.
Now I would be able fully to hear and live the command to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength.
Love that is free of self-centeredness— that kind of love is worthy of the Word of God that says, “God Is Love.”
Now in the Eucharist, we approach love himself in his flesh offered up and his blood poured out for sinners.
Here we eat and drink from the heart of Jesus the Son of God.
We eat and drink the soul of Christ and the mind of God and the strength of God.
God is love, and love sacrifices itself.

That God Be Glorified in All


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Father,
I am a Benedictine Oblate of Mt. Angel Abbey in St. Benedict, OR. I just found your blog. I must thank you for the time you put into your posts. Please keep posting. (feed me)
God bless you
Candi in Oregon

2:19 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

I just came across your blog as well.

My family and I just moved to Temecula, Ca. I was excited to see that you are at the Prince of Peace Abbey. We have actually went to mass there a couple of times in the last month.

We are originally from Louisville, KY. We went to a very orthodox catholic parish there. I was really happy to see that you use Latin and incense in your masses. The parishes we have been visiting don't tend to use these for some reason. We were blessed.

Anyway, it's nice to have made contact.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...


Well, Oblate Sister Candi, pray for me!

To those who don't know: Benedictine "oblates" are analogous to a "third order" for laity such as the Carmelites have.

Sean, I responded at greater length in an e-mail I sent you.

God bless you all!


10:00 AM  

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