Sunday, January 22, 2012

Come follow Me

3rd Sunday Year B
Mk 1:14-20
Jesus walks by the sea of Galilee and calls to Simon and his brother Andrew as they cast their nets. Immediately they abandon the nets and follow Him. Next Jesus finds James and John peacefully putting their nets in order with their father. They hear the call, abandon nets and father and follow after the Master. Along how many shores of peoples’ lives does Jesus walk today, calling those who will listen to a greater intimacy with Himself! Not only does He summon us at that great moment when He reveals His plan for our future work in the kingdom, but at every moment He beckons us. Here at Bethlehem Monastery we adhere to the ancient monastic custom of ringing a bell when the time comes for prayer. When the bell rings, each Sister is expected to abandon whatever task she has at hand and immediately answer the call of the Lord to participate in the “Opus Dei” the “work of God” which is the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church. Monastic life is often portrayed in very romantic terms, but those who live it know that it is extremely pragmatic. Our human nature remains the same after entering the cloister. We, as well as those on the outside, can get caught up in our work, making it the center of our lives, deriving self satisfaction from it rather than offering it as a gift of love to the Lord and service to our community. And so, it can be surprisingly difficult to abandon our tasks when the bell rings for prayer! But this is the value of the custom. If we are faithful to responding immediately to the bell, we gradually purify our hearts of self seeking. And we become more adept at hearing the voice of Jesus as He calls to us in the depths of our hearts. Those who are faithful in small things will be faithful in greater. As we strive to follow Jesus’ loving call, we pray for those others He is calling and who cannot yet respond. May they have the faith to hear and the urgency of love to abandon all for His sake!

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