Sabbath Moments

January 19, 2013

Awareness of God

Awareness of God

Join us over at Colleen’s Thoughts on Grace and tell us about the moments you encountered God in the ordinary and in the quiet.

Still recovering

Hubby and I are continuing to improve from having the flu.  So many people seem to bounce back quickly from it, but maybe our age has something to do with our slow progress.  The Lord sent us a couple of sunny days to use to go shopping for groceries.  It felt great to feel the rays on our faces.  But by the time we got home and unpacked everything we were beat and not much cooking went on – instead a whole lot of napping.

Korean markets

One of our two trips for groceries was to the Korean markets.  I was out of kimchi and it’s too much of a project to make it right now.  Since I couldn’t eat it during the trip to see family at Christmas, I think that’s why I got the virus.  It is great to be back on it. 

The Seoul market in Springfield always has stuff on sale and this week, to my delight, they had citron tea, another great Korean food to help banish flu and colds.  I wanted to make some last fall but the citrons in the grocery looked awful and it’s a lot of work.  How enjoyable to get it on sale and made in Korea!

Citron tea is made with citrons and sugar and is actually the consistency of preserves, only you don’t heat the fruit when you make it. The finished product has skin slices in it along with the fruit.  When you make it you have to remove the pulp from the fruit and that’s too much work for me.  It takes about a week to get ready for use, but you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a year. 

We Americans are used to things being really sweet, but although sugar is used to make it, the tablespoon of sugared citron you put in a tea cup or mug of water is a lot less sweet than you might think.  You can put it in either hot or cold water.  What I really like is getting to eat the peel at the bottom of the cup when the tea is gone.

Koreans have a 5000 year history of using food to maintain health and I am grateful to God for bringing it to my attention and making it possible to cook and enjoy Korean style food.

St. Benedict by Fra Angelico

St. Benedict by Fra Angelico

I’m still meditating on the Prologue.  This week I spent a few days on this:

So, brethren, we have asked the Lord who is to dwell in His tent, and we have heard His commands to anyone who would dwell there; it remains for us to fulfill those duties.

Therefore we must prepare our hearts and our bodies to do battle under the holy obedience of His commands; 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.  And if we want to escape the pains of hell and attain life everlasting, then, while there is still time, while we are still in the body and are able to fulfill all these things by the light of this life, we must hasten to do now what will profit us for eternity.

St. Benedict is not kidding.  He reminds us that our end is everlasting life and that there is a real alternative to that and it is hell.  He urges us to make the best use of our time and not lollygag around.  We must exercise our wills to direct our hearts to God and to control the laziness and aversion of the body to any type of discomfort.

I thank God often for having allowed me to develop fibromyalgia and all the other nonsense that goes on with my body.  He picked my suffering for me and He knows it is just the right thing to humble me and enforce the point that He is in charge, not I.  It takes a big load off my mind to know that by taking proper care of my body to the best of my ability and enduring pain cheerfully I am doing His will.  It keeps me from having to think up a bunch of penances I would otherwise have to do to strengthen my will and subjugate the flesh to follow the Master.

In relation to this part of the Prologue, Father Simon comments about what we promised when we made our Oblation.  Those promises are very close to the ones we make in the traditional Rite of Baptism:

When we made our oblation we answered in the affirmative to these three questions:

“Do you renounce the vanities and pomps of the world?”

“Will you undertake the reformation of your life according to the spirit of the Rule of our holy Father Benedict, and observe the Statutes of the Oblates?”

“Will you persevere in your holy resolution until death?”

Such is the object of the battle: to renounce, to reform oneself, to persevere.  That is what we have promised.  Those promises were not empty words, pure formality.  What would be the use of being Oblates in that case?

It is a struggle without a truce and without letup that we have undertaken.  Let us have no illusions.  More or less often we shall meet on our path “that which our nature finds hardly possible.”  Did not our holy Father himself encounter temptation within him; and around him did he not encounter hatreds, ambushes, betrayals?  Why should we be more favored than he?

Besides the temptations common to all men, we shall meet some peculiar to our religious “profession.”  That is “the hardship of being good” of which St. Francis de Sales spoke, the fatigue of sustained effort.  There are times when our program of Benedictine religious life, with the obligations it entails, seems tiresome to us, when we are weary of “doing battle under the holy obedience of the commands.”  No doubt we have known those moments, and they will come again.

Indeed, I think every person trying to follow the teachings of Christ experiences this.  Father Simon reminds us in subsequent paragraphs not to give up, but to keep our eyes on heaven, not matter what we suffer in this life.  Then we will be like the apostles, martyrs, and other saints who never gave up and who count as nothing whatever they endured for Christ.

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V. Praised be Jesus Christ!

R. Now and forever!

(Click on the link above to read why I end my posts this way.)

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Saturday, January 19th, 2013 Sabbath Moments

11 Comments to Sabbath Moments

  1. I hope and pray that you and your husband are soon better Barbara.

    Here in the UK we have snow everywhere and it is very cold. It’s the season of colds and flu I’m afraid.

    Thank you once again for a very entertaining and informative post. I’ll check out citron tea on the Internet. We probably call it something else over here.

    God bless you and your husband.
    Victor S E Moubarak recently posted..PAIN

  2. Victor S E Moubarak on January 19th, 2013
  3. Thanks, Victor. If you live near a big city with a Korean sub-population and can find an Asian grocery, you will probably find the citron tea. Enjoy.

  4. barb on January 19th, 2013
  5. I know kimchi is really good for people but I just can’t force it down my throat (though I know many people love it). I’ve never tried citron tea but that sounds like something I’d like – I’m always looking for ways to prevent colds and flu.

    I was struck by your words about the fibro: “It keeps me from having to think up a bunch of penances I would otherwise have to do to strengthen my will and subjugate the flesh to follow the Master.” Yes, I can see (and I remember) how this would be. A chronic illness, along with the dietary restrictions that often go along with it, is like having a built-in penance, isn’t it? I always offered my illness up but I didn’t think much about this aspect of it. Reading this gave me food for thought.

    I hope you and your husband feel better soon!
    Mary recently posted..The Finger of God

  6. Mary on January 19th, 2013
  7. Paul knew us all to well when he wrote: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”Gsl 6:9

    I marvel at those foolish souls who never think of eternity. Vitamins and the best of healthcare gets you only so far and then no more. Then comes the Four Last Things.

    Thanks Barb for reminding me.

  8. Joann on January 19th, 2013
  9. love this old stuff with its wisdom and depth of experience

  10. melanie jean juneau on January 19th, 2013
  11. “the fatigue of sustained effort” Yes. More often now I feel worn out from trying.
    Christian recently posted..Subtled into Nakedness

  12. Christian on January 19th, 2013
  13. Me, too, Christian. More and more I want to retire from the battle and sit quietly in the dark. Maybe this is a sign we should make a retreat to summon strength.

  14. barb on January 20th, 2013
  15. You are so right, Joann. I chuckled at your comment on the vitamins and healthcare because I do all of that, but still am marching inexorably towards death as are we all. None of us escapes the four last things.

  16. barb on January 20th, 2013
  17. We are doing much better, Mary. Today I’ll be going to Mass for the first time in three weeks, but hubby still has such a bad cough he’s staying home.

    The penances the Lord picks for us are the best because if we accept them in the spirit of obedience to His will we advance much more quickly towards controlling the unruly narcissism afflicting us. Doing it with joy is somehow liberating.

  18. barb on January 20th, 2013
  19. Prayers for continued healing…I haven’t tried Kimchi yet but a few friends have recommended it…
    Ellen Gable Hrkach recently posted..Sunday Snippets – January 19

  20. Ellen Gable Hrkach on January 20th, 2013
  21. I hope you and hubby are better!
    Great article. Love the Prologue. I can spend days on it.
    “Keep our eyes on heaven” – amen.
    Thanks for joining me with Sabbath Moments. I have been on retreat, Will no doubt post about it at some point.
    Colleen recently posted..Do Whatever he Tells You

  22. Colleen on January 20th, 2013


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