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Relinquishing Your Will: Hard Sayings of Benedict

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Opening presentation to a year long consideration of "hard sayings" in The Rule of St. Benedict, written in the sixth century. Sister Edith Bogue considers why people find sayings hard - whether those of Jesus in the Bible or the related ones of St. Benedict in his Rule. Perhaps it is not the sayings that are what's hard...

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Relinquishing Your Will: Hard Sayings of Benedict

  1. 1. Hard Sayings of Benedict: Relinquishing Your Will Benedictine Oblates St. Scholastica Monastery Duluth, Minnesota 11 September 2016
  2. 2. Agenda • Introductions • Midday Prayer – Philippians 2:1-11 • Announcements • Conference • Discussion • Closing Prayer • Refreshments
  3. 3. Announcements • Upcoming events – Retreat: Mindful Approach (9/17 or 19 full?) – Retreat: Good Grief (9/24) – Intro to Centering Prayer (9/24) – Lecture: Confronting Poverty in America Tues, Sept 27 at 7:30pm in Mitchell – Retreat: Surprise! Dorothy Day Discovered a Treasure in the Life of St. Therese of Lisieux (Oct 8) – Emeritus College on Oct 31 with Sr Amata
  4. 4. Announcements • Big events further in the future – NAABOD: North American Association of Benedictine Oblate Directors • July 14-19 in Duluth • Our monastery and our oblates are the hosts • NAABOD gets the speakers – The 125th Anniversary of St. Scholastica Monastery will be celebrated in 2017 • One major Open House • Historical events • Opportunities to visit, to participate, to help
  6. 6. “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" Luke 12:49
  7. 7. “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. … The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know …He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty. And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.Luke 16: 1-8
  9. 9. The Saying Seems Wrong • Seems morally "off" or wrong. • Contradicts the Gospel. • Who would think such a thing? • Repugnant.
  10. 10. The Saying is Confusing • We are not sure what the words mean. • We understand the words, but the saying does not make sense: "Hide a candle under a bushel basket" – and burn down your house.
  11. 11. We Understand But Are Reluctant • We understand. • We know what act or thought it asks of us. • It is inconvenient. • It means giving up our plans or choice. • It seems unfair. • It seems too much.
  13. 13. Gospel Message • Jesus talks of various groups: – Those who reject him from the start – Those who fall away or become daunted – Those who stay with him • St. Benedict talks of a journey, a ladder, and persistence.
  14. 14. Two Paths • Psalm 1 summarizes much of scripture: – Those who love the Law of the Lord. – Those who don't. • St. Benedict talks of 4 kinds of monks: – Two follow a Rule (hermits, cenobites) – Two "have their own will as their Rule" (sarabaites, gyrovaguesO • Both of these highlight the big question: My will, or God's will?
  15. 15. Caution in Using This Tool • In any difficulty, it is always worth seeking to see your own will enter in. • When someone else pushes you with their idea of God's will, it can be abusive. • People can also do this to themselves.
  16. 16. Benedict's Method: Discernment • Discernment: tools & methods for finding God's will. • St. Benedict and the monastic traditions include disclosing one's thoughts. • Reading Scripture with others, hearing God's message spoken to them. • Ignatian spirituality: Understand how consolation and desolation can each show action of Holy Spirit or other spirits.
  17. 17. Hard Sayings of Benedict: Relinquishing Your Will Benedictine Oblates St. Scholastica Monastery Duluth, Minnesota 11 September 2016