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

July 20, 2018

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

15th Friday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 38: 1-6, 21-22, 7-8; Matthew 12:1-8

The first reading told us that King Hezekiah was critically ill and at the point of death. That knowledge causes him to call out to God for mercy. Perhaps, there is a lesson in this reading for all of us. Remembering our mortality may improve our relationship with God, with others and even with ourselves. Being mindful of our mortality, allows us to take stock of our lives and our priorities. We are not invincible, neither can we overcome the effects of our mortality. This knowledge should have an effect on our decision making process.

In Chapter Four of the Rule, St. Benedict instructs his monks: “Keep death daily before your eyes” (RB 4.47). By being mindful of our mortality we can focus on the essentials. Reminding ourselves that we are going to die allows us to seek out truth and beauty with a sense of urgency. Mindfulness of our mortality can give us the incentive we need to pursue what we are passionate about and to realize your dreams. By acknowledging our mortality, we can discover new paths that will bring us to fullness of life. As we gain insight into the values of living in the present moment, we will be able to accompany others as they attempt to do the same.

Saint Benedict instructed his monks to keep death before their eyes because he knew that later is actually here and now. Since the past is gone and the future is not yet ours, the only moment we have to count on is the present. By reminding us to keep death before our eyes, he is instructing us to embrace our reality and live it to the full. Having been created in the image and likeness of God, each moment we live, we are called to reflect the image of the Great I Am. Being united to Him frees us to celebrate the wonder and awe of breathing, of thinking, of loving and of living.

Mindfulness of death opens us to the mystery of life and the grandeur of creation. Mindfulness of death is a powerful reminder to live, so that in all things God would be glorified. The present moment is our encounter with Christ, who alone is strong enough to snatch man from himself and from grasp of death. Keeping death daily before our eyes allows us to appreciate the here and now, in all its layers and textures. Keeping death daily before our eyes helps us to choose the one thing that matters (CF. Lk. 10:42).