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Br. Scott’s Juniorate Clothing

Br.-Scott's-Vows

Homily by Abbot Peter McCarthy: 5-10-2016

The more you let yourself be distracted
From where you are going,
The more you are the person
That you are.
It’s not so much like getting lost
As it is like getting found.

William Stafford

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Save … lose … find … such powerful verbs yet Jesus – like the poet – mixes them all up & stands them upside down. But these words are too serious to “play with”! No, we are not talking “small change” here or “petty cash” we are talking the Pearl of great price – we are talking about Saving … Losing … Finding Your Life!

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

What can Jesus possibly mean? The verb “to Save” here Matthew also uses in the cure of the woman with the hemorrhage in Chapter 9.
“She was made WHOLE” – How we long to be made whole; to collect all the missing pieces of our lives … “to get my act finally together.” But Jesus is telling us – we cannot make ourselves whole – we cannot get our act together – by ourselves.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
But whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

You could call the Gospel of Matthew the lost & found department of the New Testament … this tension plays through the entire Gospel!
–Jesus comes to save that which is lost.
–He goes to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
— If you find yourself feeling lost – not whole – Jesus is searching for you!

My dear Scott, for the Rule of St. Benedict, this is the whole reason for coming to the monastery – to get lost – to await the Shepherd of the lost sheep.
The Rule of St. Benedict begins & ends with losing yourself – your agenda – your “hold” on your life. St. Benedict calls it Obedientiae Laborem … You remember, from his Prologue:

The labor of obedience will bring you back to him from
Whom you had drifted through the sloth of disobedience.
This message of mine is for you, then, if you are ready to
Give up your own will, once and for all …

That’s the whole “thing”, Scott, this is your commitment this morning! You are vowing yourself to a community that will continually distract you from where, you think, you are going! A community that will continually disrupt your “plans” for how the pieces of your life should come together.

To be blunt: You are throwing in your lot with a herd of lost sheep! Our only hope – is our belief – in Jesus’ own words – the he himself is the Shepherd of the Lost Sheep.

The Practice – Laborem – of obedience in the Rule of St. Benedict is this Faith to relax the grip on our own lives … to let the community … our brothers … really matter.

And so, Br. Scott, I ask you now – in the midst of this monastic community – are you willing to give yourself to this Labor of Obedience – daily – Here among your brothers?

+ Abbot Peter McCarthy



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