Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Kimberly Hope Belcher wrote the following reflection, which appears in the July edition of Give Us This Day, the little daily prayer book published by Liturgical Press. I’ve “stolen” it from them, hoping that it’s still easier to get forgiveness than permission.

“Isaiah’s vision of the Lord in the temple was solitary, yet his encounter with the weight of God’s glory called him into a painful life of service. His message, often rejected and misunderstood by his contemporaries, still resonates with us millen¬nia later, not least in every Eucharistic liturgy, when human beings and angels together sing, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’

St. Benedict, too, was a contemplative who was constantly called back to serve in community life. St. Gregory the Great tells us that Benedict’s first monastic community tried to poison him because they were not prepared for the asceticism he urged. From this community, perhaps, Benedict learned that to be called ‘father’ one must adapt to the needs and abilities of each individual, challenging the strong and encouraging the weak. In Benedict’s Rule, one does not strive for hours of solitary prayer, visions, or exceptional fasts.

Rather, one progresses toward holiness by the steady practice of ordinary obligations. We should wash the dishes reverently, as if they were vessels of the altar, pray the psalms thoughtfully; apologize if we are late to prayer; walk and speak gently. Contemplation bears fruit, and God’s will is done on earth as in heaven, when we make progress in simple ways: Be patient. Speak the truth. Trust God in hard times.

The King of Heaven left his high and lofty throne to come live among us, a sparrow among the sparrows, small, but always remembered by God. Like our teacher, we are called to bow be-fore the throne in prayer so that we can acknowledge our King in humble, simple acts of service, right where we are today.”

Kimberly Hope Belcher is a married mother of three children
and a professor of theology and liturgy at the University of Notre Dame.

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