1st Thursday of Lent
Esther C: 12, 14 – 16, 23 – 25; Ps 138; Matthew 7: 7 – 12
In anguish over the plot to annihilate her people, Queen Esther prays and it is a prayer from the tradition handed down to her: “…that You, Lord, always free those who are pleasing to You.” Esther has received and embraced the truth that God is the merciful Deliverer. Without this long standing, holy tradition she would be left without hope. And with it she comes before God with strength of conviction.
Jesus, the Teacher, instructs His disciples from a tradition that He has received from the Father: “Ask, seek, knock and the door will be opened to you…your heavenly Father gives good things to those who ask Him.” Jesus, in His sacred humanity, has received and embraced the truth that God is the bounteous Provider. In another place He names the source of this tradition: “I can only say what I hear the Father saying and I can only do what I see the Father doing.”
Each one of us has been blessed with a sacred tradition handed down to us; a way of life safeguarded, treasured by the Church and by some people who have formally taught us, by some who have witnessed our Catholic tradition steadfastly, joyfully, gratefully – family, friends, religious and even strangers.
Then there is our monastic community blessed with our Benedictine- Cistercian tradition; a tried and proven monastic way within our Catholic tradition. It has been passed on to us by teaching, by reading and especially by the lived witness of our own brothers, some of whom have passed into Eternal Life. The beauty of all this is that our brothers, deceased and living, more often than not do not quote the Rule, or Scripture or a Cistercian homily – they lived or are presently trying to live its truth not always perfectly but steadfastly and willingly.
Both traditions are not found in the archives of some museum, rather they are embodied in the lives of people. The traditions are written on human hearts – the place God has desired them to remain.
In this time of Lent, the Church calls us to examine our lives, to look honestly at our own journey of faith. Perhaps, we might ask ourselves – the tradition I have received – my Catholic faith – my Cistercian life – what am I passing on to others?