This is the last of my reflections that I prepare for our word and communion services at St. Pius X while our pastor was on medical leave. Mass will resume this weekend and It won't be my job to look at scripture to write about my thoughts in a public way. However, I have enjoyed formulating thoughts on these daily readings because they offer something our Sunday readings do not, the ever-evolving story of Truth that Jesus is who we say He is. So here's my reflection from today's Feast of Therese of Lisieux.
When I read passages about the initial disciple missions Jesus sent forth, I recall values I learned growing up.
-Being Aware of God- finding God in ordinary events.
-Living in your community- We know ourselves best through our relationships with others, which Roots us in a shared sense of mission.
- Taking Council- Gathering with your community to understand the business at hand.
-Respecting others- Treating people with equality.
-Listening (and decerning)- hear keenly and sensitively the voices of persons and all created beings
-Dignity of work- creates personal stability
-Welcoming strangers as Christ himself
-Stewarding the creation God made of us
-Being honest "Through this love, out of love for Christ, good habit, and delight forms in virtue.
-Moderation- seeking a balance between work, prayer, and leisure.
-Common Good- Setting down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned may prompt us to a little strictness to amend faults and safeguard love.
-Uphold Justice right here in front of us, and out there in the wider world.
These are the values found in the Rule of St. Benedict. I grew up in a Benedictine parish and was taught by Benedictine's, I am related to Benedictine monks, and my roots to the Benedictine Abby in Collegeville are deep.
I assert that Jesus' first missionaries learned these values early on, or at the very least, heard them from Jesus and owned them through lived experience. Benedict, Francis, and Clare, LaSalle, all the people who found a meaningful mission through community living like the early church learned and lived these values.
Now, you and I are missionary disciples. Our commission started at baptism and became fully functional at our confirmation. That spirit allows us to do the great work of God through our simple actions and living out these fundamental values.
Job understood this, and even though the world was harsh on Job, he never abandoned love and hope in God. God did reward him, not out of some cosmic sense of justice, but because Job found himself. He lived as authentically as anyone could, given the trials he endured.
During this pandemic, it might seem challenging to feel as if we live in a community. When you look at the foundations of American life, the power of the individual is paramount. That's not exactly the most practical Christian life. But take a look around. The metrics of how we measure the viewership of our online offerings tell us that the community LIVES! That we are still giving thanks to God, like Job, as we endure our trials.
Whatever the world's chaos throws our way, I believe that the fundamental values Jesus outlines for his missionaries serve us in every way today. Like Theresa of Lisieux, we maintain the Love that seeds all apostles, all martyrs, all who answer the call to discipleship. We who are called find our way to bring that Love into the world.