- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

January 27, 2017

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

3rd Friday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 10: 32 – 39; Ps 37; Mark 4: 26 – 34

In the Rule of St. Benedict, the chapters on worship coming after that on humility seems to point out that the liturgy, in addition to being the Work of God, contributes to our spiritual formation and so, it is even more important that matters of discipline in the monastery. Discipline without the formation of the heart becomes nothing more than compliance, a servile attitude, that of a slave not of a son or daughter.

St. Benedict devotes 12 chapters on worship and as we know, is very precise about the arrangement of the psalms. Clearly, in his mind the psalms are a major part of our daily service forming us in obedience, humility, reverence and love. In chanting the psalms, we give voice and heart to the desire of our hearts to be formed in Christ.

The responsorial psalm, Psalm 37, for today’s Mass is a perfect example of this. The first verses offer the way of life we seek to follow:

“Trust in the Lord and do good that you may dwell in the land and be secure.”

“Take delight in the Lord and He will grant your heart’s request.”

“Commit to the Lord your way; trust in Him and He will act.”

All three verses begin with an imperative, a command expressing an urgency, a passion, an immediacy that is found throughout the Sacred Scriptures, especially in the preaching of the Lord Jesus Himself.

In the original language of the psalms, the verse “Commit to the Lord your way; trust in Him and He will act” is much more expressive. The literal translation is: “Roll upon the Lord your way” – I believe the author of the psalm spoke from experience. Sometimes, a weight is too heavy or cumbersome, sometimes there is no carrier, sometimes it means going uphill so the only thing left is to “roll it” – I believe all of us can say that at times living our commitment is more like rolling it along, pushing, shoving it but then the Lord never said it would be easy.

The way of course is His Way and it is only by His grace that we can be committed to the Lord – so we pray for the grace of perseverance to keep our way rolling along especially when on the hills – and there are plenty of hills before we come to the end. The goal of our commitment is God Himself therefore it is worthy of any and all effort.