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.

October 17, 2006

For the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, October 17

John 12:24-26

Today our Lord speaks strong, strange and violent words.
Like grains of wheat,
we bring forth much fruit by falling and dying

If we love our life in this world,
we lose it.

If we hate our life in this world,
we PRESERVE IT for eternal life.

He does not tell us to DESTROY our life in this world.
Rather, folded into his words today is the truth that we may preserve our life in this world if we love ETERNAL life more than our life in this world only.
The truth is that our life in this world is folded into eternal life, and that our eternal life is folded into our life in this world.
He says today, “Whoever hates his life in this world will preserve IT for eternal life.”
We are to hate not life itself.
Rather, we are to hate a life that ignores eternity.
At present, in this world, our lives are in disorder.
Our human nature is in disorder, out of harmony with itself.
We each have a body, a reasoning mind, free will and feelings.
These— body, mind, will, feeling—don’t always line up with each other, and never perfectly nor permanently.
That failure— that lack of order, harmony, peace— that lack is something we naturally and rightfully HATE.
God did not make us that way, and he too hates it.
Human sin made it that way.
In Christ— Truly God and Truly Man— in Christ we are justified, rectified, straightened out, put in order and harmony— body, mind, will, emotion.
Yet the order and harmony will not fully wake up until our own resurrection— if— in this world— if we have hated sin and the disordered results of sin.
Christ by word and by lifelong example shows us how to hate sin and the results of sin— how to live and die in this world so that we gain and fulfill eternal life.
St. Ignatius of Antioch gave up his life for Christ less than a century after Christ gave up his life for Ignatius and all humanity.
While in chains as pagan Rome prepared to throw him into the teeth of wild beasts, St. Ignatius enthusiastically wrote to the local Christians with the same strong, strange and violent language of today’s Gospel.
Do not stand in my way.

Let me be food for the wild beasts.

I am God’s wheat
and shall be ground by the teeth of wild beasts
so that I may become Christ’s pure bread.

He who rose for our sakes is my one desire.
The time for my birth is close at hand.

Let me attain pure light.
Only on my arrival there can I be FULLY a human being.

Do not stand in my way.

If I am condemned to suffer,
I will take it that you wish me well.
If my case is postponed,
I can only think that you wish me harm.

St. Ignatius, like Christ himself, handed himself over for the glory of the Father and for the true, eternal good of humanity.
Glory to the Father and Goodness for Humanity!
Christ the Wheat of the Father, laid down his life and gave his blood that we— in body, mind, will and feeling— that we might have life in fullness and for ever.
Now in his Eucharist, he hands over to us his body and blood to be the food and drink that are the beginning of our eternal life.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







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