“Lord, I have had enough. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” ..words of prophet Elijah on the verge of despair, self harm..familiar territory is it not for some of us? & then for Elijah, & now for us, an angel appears & gives us food & encouragement for the continuing journey.. ..who have you fed & encouraged this last week, as you saved their life, their self belief & their faith in God..faith in others & in themselves?..
“..get up & eat..” ; Lord have mercy “..get up & eat..” ; Christ have mercy “..get up & eat, or the journey will be too long for you..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..smallest fault in community life is potentially most destructive..can you guess or name it from experience? ..because as monks we try to lived as family, then our most damaging fault in my monastery is surely most harmful in your home..it is the fault of murmuring as St Benedict terms it..you probably call it complaining whinging..”the Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus”..notice it was destruction/ character assassination by stealth..too timid too cowardly to say it to his face, so pretentious so shallow on fact & truth, they gossip behind his back..& Jesus, astute alert, a good judge of character & a staunch believer in sincerity, gives it to them straight, a full length ball onto middle stump “stop complaining to each other” Ch 5 RSB explains “murmuratio” murmuring..he grounds it on murmuring of Israelites against Moses in desert..whinging about heat/ diet, longing for melons cucumbers of Egypt, conveniently forgetting the brick making slavery there..framework for monastic life is obedience..motive of inner assent to obedience must be love..the love of God Christ proclaimed as mediated through love of brothers & sisters ..each, obedience & love, becomes an expression of the other..nothing for Benedict is so corrosive of that ideal than constant complaining “murmuratio” “the damage is done not by fact there is a complaint; there are ways of facing legitimate complaints which are healthy in monastic life & are honestly brought forward in a spirit which is open & ready to accept a decision. However, murmuring is not like that, it is underhand & quickly becomes part of the underlife of a community; it destroys confidence. In community it is impossible for the superior to deal with it; it affects others, & in end affects the spirit of the whole community. For individuals it becomes increasingly addictive & they develop a corresponding blindness to the harm they are doing to themselves & to others.”..a full length ball is it not ?..if we are what we profess to be a Benedictine parish family rooted in life & ideals of monastic life, then murmuratio fits for us..we’ve already adopted, & become addicted to, bad habit so now why not adopt the word & voice it when you sense it is being practised in your home, in friendships, in parish hall over coffee & home made biscuits..”murmuratio” voice it like a mantra, bring out sourness poison corrosiveness, & smile returns to our face our hearts & relationships ; the word of the week “murmuratio” like bell on desk in Mr Hailes class 4 in SBPS..each time a pupil makes a conncection between something happening at that very moment to a topic & something said/learned 2days ago or last term, pupil goes out to front of class & rings bell..class stops & pupil explains link they have just made..wouldn’t it be great if you had a bell in your living room, & gave one another love & licence to go up to it & ring it each time they hear/feel onset of murmuratio?..& suddenly instead of it being an occasion of further sin as it pulls us into its orbit, it becomes potentially lifegiving, freeing us from vortex of harming our neighbour & crucially killing off our good cells of family culture by which together we grow organically..& notice not a word so far from me on Jesus’ long sermon in response to Jews murmurings..experts call it the bread of life discourse..our ground zero is that tiny wafer of bread you are to cradle in your hand in few moments has power to inspire you to walk on water, to do impossible, on one condition; one word..if you hear it, & if you are prepared to let it penetrate your heart & set you free from your addiction to complaint, miracle will happen..word ? “believe” “you must believe in the one he has sent” Michael Casey monk wrote on Benedictine humility “our tendency when upset is to talk, often in uncreative ways. Sometimes we use our tongue to transmit our own pain to another so that we cease to be alone in our suffering. Usually it isn’t person who hurt us that is the object of our attack; often we strike out at one nearby who loves us. Alternatively we can talk about our troubles, not to ease them but to reinforce them, & especially to strengthen link between particular incidents & our habitual interpretation of their meaning. The repititous recital of a log of grievances does nothing to bring peace but usually disturbs both the speaker & the one who listens. In troubles it is good to keep one’s mouth closed, beyond a single disciplined account to someone able to restore us to peace.” ..& who is the wise listener in your life who is proven to be well able to help you to restore you to peace?..the word of week is murmuratio & the item of the week?..the bell.. smile & enjoy your week.. [19th SunYrB Jn6;41-51]