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Dear members of the Community for Adoration,
Summer has started, the lockdown has been lifted a little and it looks like people are taking up their life again. Streets, shops, squares and terraces are getting crowded again. Voices, music and all kinds of sounds can again be heard; life seems to have taken up its normal way. But what is life, actually?
If we consider this for a while and reflect on what makes life really life, we could well take the Prologue of the Rule of our Holy Father Benedict as a starting point.
In this Prologue we find a summary of the ideal of life of the holy Founder of our monastic order, of whom we each year on July 11 celebrate his Patronage of Europe.
When we really want to live and keep that life, then we can herein find a safe and stable guideline to hold on to amidst the insecurities of our existence.
13. “Run while you have the light of life, lest the darkness of death overtake you” (John 12:35).
Would you like to be one of these people? Please read with me:
14-15. And the Lord, seeking his labourer in the multitude to whom He thus cries out, says again, “Who is the one who will have life, and desires to see good days” (Ps. 33:13)?
What would it be great and impressive if Jesus would hold a press conference together with our Holy Father Benedict, in which both in their own way would show the Dutch people, or still better all of the European people, the way to the Light, to true freedom and to Life itself?
A conference in which Jesus would explain how a deadly “virus” dwells around, striking everyone with as end result eternal ruin of that person when he does nothing to fight this “virus”; and in which Jesus would offer us a way out.
9. Let us open our eyes to the deifying light, let us hear with attentive ears
the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
10. “Today if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps. 94:8).
11. And again,
“Whoever has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says to the churches”
(Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
12. And what does He say?
“Come, My children, listen to Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Ps. 33:12).
A conference in which Jesus would clearly show us which basic rules we have to observe as not to be deadly wounded or die from the virus that afflicted us and how we can protect our vulnerable life, of the elderly as well as of the unborn, newly born, children and adolescents.
A conference in which Jesus would draw our attention to our holy Father Benedict, to learn from him how to live our lives.
17. “If you will have true and everlasting life, keep your tongue from evil and your lips that they speak no guile. Turn away from evil and do good; seek after peace and pursue it” (Ps. 33:14-15).
After which Jesus resumes:
18. “And when you have done these things, My eyes shall be upon you and My ears open to your prayers; and before you call upon Me, I will say to you, ‘Behold, here I am'” (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).
What a beautiful interaction between Jesus and our Holy Father Benedict:
19. What can be sweeter to us, dear ones, than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
20. See, in his goodness the Lord shows us the way of life.
21. Having our loins girded, therefore, with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14), let us walk in His paths by the guidance of the Gospel, that we may deserve to see Him who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12).
According to the Prologue all Benedictines, male and female, are called to be restorers. Restorers of the relation between God and each man. First in their own life and with that in the lives of others. They all are being called by our Holy Father:
1. Listen carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice,
2. that by the labour of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.
He does not limit himself to his direct followers, but addresses anyone who desires to live and see good days:
3. To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are….
4. and first of all whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer,
5. to perfect it, ….
6. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, ….
So let us, encouraged by our Holy Father Benedict, descend into the silence of our heart and our conscience, to hear and understand what it is the Lord is asking from us. He has given talents to all. Let us apply those and regularly ask a priest for help and guidance!
A good book can also be helpful. Recently the Dutch translation of ‘L’itinéraire spiri-tuel’ was published, the spiritual path of life of Mother Mechtildis. It clearly shows that in order to live a spiritual life one often passes through darkness in finding the way that leads to life. In her life one can recognize the words of Father Benedict at the end of the Prologue:
45. And so we are going to establish sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13) and deserve to have a share also in a school for the service of the Lord.
46. In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
47. But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
48. do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation, whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
49. For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love.
50. Thus, never departing from His school, but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching until death, we may by patience share in the His kingdom. Amen.
A fascinating life story reflecting God’s acting in a soul.
Mother Mechtildis – building on the Prologue and the other chapters of the Rule of Father Benedict – will show us in the book ‘The True Spirit’ a way to achieve this. It is a steep way, admittedly, but one that will lead straight into the Heart of God.
To keep a clear look on God, just like Jesus always considered his Father.
To forget our ego through a holy neglect of an endless number of things occupying our minds in several ways…., at times keeping us so busy and captured that we lose the inner attention on God…
If we’d open ourselves for God’s acting within us, we too could become His tools for His greater honour and glory and to the good of others.
Those interested can order the books at Priorij Nazareth, Tegelen.
It is summer now: a time of holiday, of being free from our daily activities – of doing other things for a while.
For instance, taking time for our inner life, which, possibly, we otherwise won’t do so readily. That we don’t have the time for, due to hustle and bustle or worries. Perhaps this summer will be a time in which we can give some extra attention to a loved one or neighbour, for a talk, an encouraging word or a smile – big things are that small. But let us be aware that we can only persevere when we set our heart on Him and do everything out of love for Him. Let us join those
30. […] glorify the Lord’s work in them (Ps. 14:4), using the words of the Prophet,
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give the glory”
31. Thus also the Apostle Paul attributed nothing of the success of his preaching to himself, but said,
“By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10).
32. And again he says,
“He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (2 Cor. 10:17).
40. Therefore we must prepare our hearts and our bodies to do battle under the holy obedience of His commands;
41. and let us ask God that He be pleased to give us the help of His grace
for anything which our nature finds hardly possible.
Whatever you are going to do, we warmly wish you God’s light and strength, and Godspeed!
Our community is doing well. Since Corona started, new applicants have knocked on our door and this trend continues. It is surprising they come from all kinds of countries, so we have currently almost ten different nations and cultures within our walls. This is very enriching. It also is a challenge for those making a go at learning our Dutch language. (We could certainly use some help from volunteers, they would be most welcome! Would this possibly attract you?)
From a grateful heart for all gifts for the maintenance of our monastery:
In August we are planning to have our refectory mended, in order it might be a stimulant for the sisters and all our new members to grow in the monastic life. Wholeheartedly we will remember you and your intentions in our prayers.
Connected in prayer,
Your sisters Benedictines of the perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.