Today’s Bible reading
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth/span>
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. — Psalm 19
More thoughts for meditation
Here is the promise which St Benedict holds out and it could hardly be more straightforward. ‘The Rule is not meant to be a burden for you It should help you to discover and experience how great is the freedom to which you are called.”
But freedom for what? “To be able to do in the depths of your heart what you really want to do,” is what Thomas Merton told his novices at Gethsemane. He went on to speak to them of getting in touch with that deep inner Center, using terms which have much in common with what stability involves, my being, my reality, what God has willed for me. The part played by obedience becomes clear as he continues “being able to will what God wills for me at every moment is what keeps me in touch with that center: that reality is the will of God and it demands response I have to choose and everything I do in relation to this and must keep contact with this center of freedom.” Perhaps that choice will be very difficult, it may feel like panic at the impossible demands, it may feel like a choice between two evils. Then the only possible prayer is the one that the novice makes of his profession quoting Psalm 19: “Hold me, Oh Lord, you have promised and I shall live, do not disappoint me in my hope.”
Suggestions for action
Obedience is not a word most of our culture is comfortable with these days. But maybe it isn’t such a bad word. In fact, when we realize and accept that God is in charge could we actually finally feel free? What word from God comes to you as one you should obey right now?