Saturday, February 18, 2012

February 18 – Revival of Religion

There was, in the Church, some negation of “religion” in the last decades, and some of it was well-deserved! Those that came into the Kingdom of God during that time were fond of saying, “It’s not about ‘religion,’ but ‘relationship!’ Rightly understood, they were right! Sometimes, on the other hand, we wore our undisciplined and self-referential lifestyles as badges of spiritual honor.

What then of Jesus’ “quiet time?” It seems He took one routinely; it was His “practice.” What of Paul’s vow, and of Peter and John going up to the temple to pray? We remember the “day and night” prayer that resulted in Peter’s release from prison as well as Jesus’ commendation of those who likewise pray day and night like the widow ever appearing before the unrighteous judge. What of the Lord’s admonition that we “study to show ourselves approved,” hiding the Word in our hearts?

In honesty of heart, we all know that we belong not only in relationship with Jesus but in a vital, on-going devotional practice that makes sure we are fed on the Word of God, nourishing our souls and benefiting others with prayer, and giving God the worshipful glory that we are privileged to give. These ARE our relationship with Almighty God, obtained like manna and lived out in its strength. Are we then really so busy that we simply cannot fit these in? Are we, as we have sometimes feared we must be, just too lazy or cold in our love (dreadful thought!), or are we going to do better tomorrow . . . or the next day?

Dear ones, let this Abbess say what we are, to a very large degree, and if she speaks truly, let it be a liberation for us: WE ARE RESISTED! The Scripture says we are, but we do forget and overlook that so commonly! Our flesh is at enmity with the Spirit and it resists devotion very prettily, calling its resistance busy-ness or relaxation or "down time." What's more, the enemy of our souls is ready to take us captive via thoughts and unaddressed fears and bitternesses and disappointments that do not allow devotion to flourish . . . again, RESISTANCE!

We feel all of this¸ but we think the unwillingness of our flesh and the constraints of evil disqualify us in the courts of heaven. Ahh . . . no! We are the fittest creatures imaginable for the priesthood . . . we have only to offer our own resistance! What will happen next . . . think how you know what that will be!

Benedictine Monks at Vespers
by permission

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