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.

June 23, 2008

For Monday of the Twelfth Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Matthew 7:1-5

Folded into what Jesus says today is that he has judged me.
He judges I have a whole wooden beam in my eye.
Also: he wants me to know that whereas I have a whole beam in my eye, my brother has a mere splinter in his.
St. Benedict teaches the same in saying the seventh of the twelve rungs of the ladder of humility is to declare with my tongue and believe in my heart of hearts that I am lower and of less account than all. [Rule of Benedict 7:51]
Such humility pushes fully open the door for me to step through and grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Today Jesus also says there is another reward for this kind of humility and self-accusation: if I measure others as greater than myself, I too will be measured as a greater one.
Is that not so in the Eucharist?
Jesus here takes not merely the low place of a slave, but the lower place of an animal slaughtered as a covenant, a holocaust, and a communion sacrifice served up equally for the Father of heaven and for me.
Here in his Eucharist, Jesus practices St. Benedict’s seventh rung of humility, making himself “lower and of less account than all.”
Here Jesus treats me as greater than himself.
He gives his body up for me, and he sheds his blood for me “so that sins may be forgiven.”
In my place, he was judged guilty and sentenced to death.
To remove the wooden beam from my eye, he was nailed to wooden beams.
Despite his entirely innocent judgment— accurate and true— that I have a beam in my eye, he has measured out mercy and reverence towards me.
If I turn and measure out mercy and reverence for my brother, Jesus promises me the measureless resurrection.
Hoping in his promise, eating and drinking the price and fulfillment of his promise, am I not moved to obey his command today?
“Remove the wooden beam from your eye.”
Remove the wooden beam, and build from it a ladder of humility, St. Benedict would likely add.
My Lord Jesus Christ and my Father St. Benedict call me to faithful work for the rest of my life.
It is work that I vowed by my conversatio morum— the lifelong, measureless turning and giving of myself to God in the monastery.
I am to mirror the pattern of the Eucharist that is the new and everlasting self-conversatio of Jesus into my measurelessly life-giving food and drink.
St. Benedict tells me to underline my vows by my saying here in the house of prayer, “Receive me, Lord, according to your word, and I shall live.”
The Lord wants to receive me, but I am blocking the way with a wooden beam.

That God Be Glorified in All


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