Blogging about life at a Benedictine monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Words have such great power, either to bless or to wound!I have been truly blessed by Pastor Eugene H.
Peterson’s rendition of the New Testament in contemporary language. He makes me
want to read and read and read; I love words! But he also makes me want to stop
and ponder! That’s the way it is with chapter 12 of Paul’s letter to the
Romans.I have read it every day this
week.Frankly I believe God is wanting
me to ponder the message!Listen,
then—as your read—this portion of Romans 12.Maybe God’s message will touch your ears and hearts, too:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your
everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around
life—and place it before God as an offering.Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for
him.Don’t become so well-adjusted to
your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.Instead, fix your attention on God.You’ll be changed from the inside out.Readily recognize what he wants from you, and
quickly respond to it.Unlike the
culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God
brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
“I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God
has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to
you.Living then, as every one of you
does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as
people who are bringing this goodness to God.No, God brings it all to you.The
only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does
for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
“In this way we are like the various parts of a human
body.Each part gets its meaning from
the body as a whole, not the other way around.The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people.Each of us finds our meaning and function as
a part of his body.But a chopped-off
finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much would we?So since we find ourselves fashioned into all
these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body,
let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be,without enviously or pridefully comparing
ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if
you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if
you give encouraging guidance, be careful thatyou don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate;if you’re called to give aid to people in
distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the
disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by
them.Keep a smile on your face.
“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. . . .
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. . . .Bless your enemies; no
cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy;
share tears when they’re down. . . . Discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got
it in you, get along with everybody.Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the
judging.’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’
“Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go
buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink.Your generosity will surprise him with
goodness.Don’t let evil get the best of
you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
Those words, that message are for me, Lord. May my life and my
words mirror that message today. Thank you. Amen.
This blog is maintained by a group of Sisters at Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. We try to post weekly and often succeed at that.
The opinions on this blog belong to individual writers and do not reflect any official position of the monastery. Please feel free to comment on any of the entries-- comments are moderated, but we'll publish any reasonable comment.