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.

January 22, 2009

For January 22, 2009

Thirty-Sixth Anniversary of “Roe v. Wade”

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, No. 373:

In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.

Mass for Peace and Justice
Matthew 5:1-12a
Isaiah 9:1-6

Through baptism we are joined to Christ the Son of God, and we become the adopted children of God.
That is a saving privilege, but it is also a mission.
If we presume on our title as “The Children of God,” but do not produce the blessed fruit of our Father’s Kingdom, then we turn ourselves out of the Kingdom of heaven— the Kingdom of Life, the Kingdom of God’s Life, the Kingdom of our Life in God, the Kingdom of God’s Life in us.
In 1973, our national Supreme Court took the question of abortion and the human right to life away from the citizens and the lawmakers of the nation.
The Court upheld that the smallest members of mankind have no right to life, and so we may end their lives.
When the Supreme Court did that, they hatched a new notion that our constitution had never foreseen— a new notion that trampled two of our nation’s published values: the recognition of a God-given, inalienable right to life, and the promise of equal protection under law.
The abortion industry in the United States admits and publishes that of all abortions only one percent is chosen for reasons of rape or incest.
So, ninety-nine percent of abortions are chosen by men and women who have agreed to please themselves, and then to protect falsely their own convenience by killing a child.
Since 1973, more than fifty million abortions have taken place in the United States.
Nazi Germany was the first government in history to legalize abortion.
We, the People, of the United States of America, have followed, imitated and surpassed the Nazis many times over.
If we would repent, we would have every hope of salvation.
Today the Church calls the United States of America to do “penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion” [General Instruction of the Roman Missal, number 373].
We do penance not only for our own sins, but also for the sins of others, because we have accepted baptism into Christ, the innocent Lamb of God who chose to shoulder the burden of all the sins of the world.
He offered up his life for our eternal benefit and the glory of the Father.
He wants us to do the same, and he taught us so to pray.
With that intention, I will repeat a prayer I have written and offered here before.

Father of All Husbands and Fathers,
Father of All Wives and Mothers,
Father of All Children,
Father of All Men and Women,
Our heavenly Father!

We worship You.
We hallow your name, for You are Life and Truth.

You are the King of Kings.
You are the King of Life.
Yours is the kingdom of life without measure.
You give life and new life to the world
in each newly begotten child.
Come, O King of Life.
We would serve your majesty wholeheartedly
in thanksgiving and love for you.
We would serve your majesty wholeheartedly
by our respect for each other.

It is your will, O Father,
that man and woman be together as a sign of yourself,
that man and woman be together as an instrument of yourself:
for you are the creator and fulfiller of all human lives.

You are the creator of angels and men.
Yet, you chose, not angels, but man and woman
to be together as your sign, your instrument and the very place
where you create and procreate the human race in every begotten child.
Not angels, but man and woman!
That is your will:
that on earth we join you in giving life to children
as you in heaven give life to angels.
We are your servants.
Let your will be done through us, with us, in us
on earth as by your angels in heaven.

You yourself are the food and drink of life and eternal life.
Give us this day what we need in your service and the service of others.
Give to men and women, to husbands and wives, to fathers and mothers
the will, the virtue and the means
to live well and to give life,
to nurture, protect and serve.
You have given life to all children.
Give them also loving fathers and mothers,
noble families, good friends and neighbors,
a culture of life, a nation that is just, a world at peace.

Father, we are sinners all,
having sinned against you first of all and above all.
Forgive us men and women for abusing each other,
for sacrificing each other
to the false gods of our own pleasure, domination and fear.
Forgive us, men and women,
forgive us all for sacrificing children,
for worshipping at the altars of the false god of convenience,
the false god of respectability,
the false god of comfort and ease,
the false god of acceptance,
the false gods of false freedoms and false rights.
When our guilt lies heavy upon us,
uphold us in sincere repentance.
When our guilt lies heavy upon us,
give us faith in your loving mercy,
and give us hope in your fatherly embrace.
even the pain of our guilty consciences
is the sign that your Spirit is speaking within us.
Speak always, and teach us to listen.
Forgive us also for refusing to forgive those who trespass against us.
From your own fatherly heart,
please give us the virtue to forgive others.

Father, strengthen us against the temptation to hate our enemies.
Send your Spirit to love within us and pray within us
for those who mourn,
and for those who refuse to mourn,
Send your Spirit to love within us and pray within us
for those who repent,
and for those who refuse to repent.

Deliver us from evil.
Give us stronger faith in you, our Father.
Give us persevering hope in you, our Father.
Give us to love you always,
bearing eagerly the fruits of your kingdom.

That God Be Glorified in All

January 18, 2009

For the Second Ordinary Sunday of the Church Year

John 1:35-42
1 Samuel 3:3-10,19
1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20

Today we begin to follow the Lord’s public work of making known God’s Kingdom and calling men to change their minds and their lives.
In first reading from the Word of the Lord today, the boy Samuel is just beginning his years of serving God in the temple.
The boy Samuel is a token of ourselves today, because we are just beginning a new year of serving God in his temple.
Samuel did not know the voice calling to him in the temple was God’s voice, whereas you and I know that we hear the Word of the Lord in the readings here at worship in his Church.
The priest Eli taught Samuel and teaches us that the right answer to God’s call is to name ourselves his servants and to listen willingly.
“Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Our lives need to give the same answer throughout this new year and all our years of serving God here in the temple of his Church.
In addition to anointed temples, such as this church building, each of us has and is a temple.
The Lord says in the second reading today: “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.”
The body, too, is to be a servant listening to the Lord.
The obedience of our bodies to the Word of God is no mere subservience.
Morality is, rather, communion with God who tells us in the second reading today:
The body is not for immorality,
but for the Lord,
God raised the Lord
and will also raise us by his power.

God in Christ became the servant of our salvation— salvation of body, and not merely salvation of the soul alone.
Knowingly and willingly, he sacrificed his own human body and then raised it to his throne in heaven as the beginning and wellspring of everlasting glory for our bodies and our spirits.
We are to avoid all sins of spirit and of body, because of all the good the Lord has in mind for us both in spirit and in body.
The good that God has in mind ripples throughout the second reading.
The body is... for the Lord,
and the Lord is for the body.
God raised the Lord
and will also raise us by his power.
... your bodies are members of Christ....
... whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him.
... your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,
whom you have from God....
Therefore glorify God in your body.

God calls us to take hold of and to own the dignity he puts before us.
Our own everlasting joy and freedom both hang on what we freely choose to do now in both body and spirit.
Either we work with the Lord for our true freedom, or we work against our true freedom.
We see men in the Gospel today who choose to follow Christ.
They allow him to take command of their lives, and take command is exactly what he does.
St. John the Baptist tells two of his own followers that Jesus is the Lamb of God.
“Lamb of God”— one who serves as a worthy sacrifice in the temple of the Lord.
Jesus freely chose to serve in the worship of his Father, and thereby gained freedom’s victory in body and spirit in the resurrection.
The two disciples of St. John who chose to follow Jesus did so at first in silence.
It was Jesus first who turned, saw them following, and asked, “What are you looking for.”
They wanted to know where he was staying.
Jesus answered them with a command, “Come.”
One of the two, Andrew, went to bring his own brother Simon to Jesus, so that now three men came to be with Jesus.
As soon as Jesus saw Simon, Jesus chose to step into the roles of father, king, and God for Simon.
In the days of Simon and Jesus, only a man’s father, his king, and God had the right to give a man his name, and that is what Jesus did today at his first meeting with Simon.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Peter”— which means Rock.

As we choose now, every Sunday, to serve Jesus in the Temple of his Church, he is as father to us, and he is king and God.
He wields paternal, royal and divine authority over us, but he does so as the Lamb of God— a father who sacrifices himself for his children; a king who sacrifices himself for his subjects; God who sacrifices himself for mortal sinners.
The body is... for the Lord,

From beginning to end, the three readings from the Word and Gospel of the Lord are about God and man serving each other.
If we choose to be living temples, faithful and true throughout our lives in service of God’s glory, then we make ourselves available for God to serve and glorify with his Spirit in his everlasting kingdom.
In the Body and Blood of Christ, we feast on the promises, power, and presence of God our King and Father.
This sacrificial banquet becomes an everlasting blessing for us only if our daily choices—our choices in thought, word, and deed—only if our choices build our lives into temples that resound with a sincere “Amen” to the glory of God, glory that he wants to share with us.
Then— to borrow the last words of the first reading— we will grow up, and the Lord will be with us, not permitting any word of ours to be without effect in his everlasting kingdom.

That God Be Glorified in All