March 12, 2016

Matins and Babies

From Fr. Cantalamessa's fourth Lenten homily for this year:

"I am speaking from experience here. I belong to a religious order in which, until a few decades ago, we would get up at night to recite the office of Matins that would last about an hour. Then there came a great turning point in religious life after the Council. It seemed that the rhythm of modern life—studies for the younger monks and apostolic ministry for the priests—no longer allowed for this nightly rising that interrupted sleep, and little by little the practice was abandoned except in a few houses of formation.

"When later the Lord had me come to know various young families well through my ministry, I discovered something that startled me but in a good way. These fathers and mothers had to get up not once but two or three times a night to feed a baby, or give it medicine, or rock it if it was crying, or check it for a fever. And in the morning one or both of the parents had to rush off to work at the same time after taking the baby girl or boy to the grandparents or to day-care. There was a time card to punch whether the weather was good or bad and whether their health was good or bad.

"Then I said to myself, if we do not take remedial action we are in grave danger. Our religious way of life, if it is not supported by a genuine observance of the Rule and a certain rigor in our schedule and habits, is in danger of becoming a comfortable life and of leading to hardness of heart. What good parents are capable of doing for their biological children—the level of self-forgetfulness that they are capable of to provide for their children’s well-being, their studies, their happiness—must be the standard of what we should do for our children or spiritual brothers. The example we have for this is set by the apostle Paul himself who said, 'I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls' (2 Cor 12:15)."

Read the whole thing.


Louis M said...

Spot on!
Been there, done that-4 times <3

JudyK said...

God bless parents. Parenthood is a life of sacrifice and in some cases suffering, when a child is seriously ill or handicapped. I have heard it said "Little children, little problems; big children, big problems." I'm not sure that the first part of that quote is true. Because seriously ill and handicapped children can be big problems. They are not without their joys, but difficulties always abound. And then when children get big, other problems arise--broken hearts, broken marriages, financial problems, abusive spouses. And the parents are always there to help. May they be richly blessed for their many sacrifices.

Religious life has its own sacrifices. Although many no longer rise during the night for prayer, they do rise earlier than many of us. They have a Rule to follow, a superior to be obeyed, vows to be lived by. They have a ministry to perform, sometimes of their own choosing, sometimes an "obedience" given by the superior. Generally, they have a set schedule, horarium as they call it, to follow every day. Their life is generally ordered. Their time is not their own.

But, guess what! Our time is not our own either. Every second is given to us by God to use for His service and honor and glory. And we will have to give an account for every second. And so we do well to keep track of our time and what we do with it. Do we spend time in prayer, do we attend to the tasks of our state in life, do we get sufficient rest, do we spend some time in recreation? Do we look out for the needs of others? Do we spend some time in service of others? Do we share our faith with others? Let us all be faithful to the way of life we are given by the Lord. Let us live in perfect uniformity with His will.

May all of you be blessed with peace and fruitfulness in your way of life!

Louis M said...

My children are big
Angels :)
I am truly blessed, I know :)