A reflection on this Sunday’s Mass by Sr Kym Harris osb and downloaded from http://www.prayasyoucan.com.au
I find the best wisdom from the saints comes at the end of their lives. Love of Christ combined with life’s experience gives them sure insight. At the end of his life, when revising his Rule, St Benedict stated, ‘For it is by patience that we share in the Cross of Christ.’ The call of Jesus to take up our cross may inspire us to great actions. The reality, for most of us, is much more mundane – living and working for years with the same group of people, be they family, community, workmates. They don’t seem to change much, nor, we fear, do we. St Benedict lived in such a stable situation but saw that the call to follow Christ is no less real than if we went to be martyred at the ends of the earth.
Patience for him is not a ‘putting up with’ each other. The word is based on the word for ‘passion’. Patience is both a passionate love for the other and also a sharing in the Passion of Christ. How can we do this? St Benedict offers another nugget of wisdom. ‘To always do what benefits the other, not oneself’. Now think carefully on that because he is not recommending that we just patiently take whatever another dishes out, bad behaviour included. We are to actively work for ‘the good’ that others need and sometimes that is going to take wisdom and courage to enact: discipline to the adolescent, challenge to the gambling partner, whistleblowing in the workplace. Sometimes martyrdom looks easy compared to these. Even if our situation is not so traumatic, to love the other in this way makes us actively engage with them, to truly think about and ponder what their needs are and how they can best be fulfilled. When we do this, we have truly taken up our Cross and followed Christ. Even if and when we feel we may be dying in such service, we are entering into the fullness of life that Christ offers.