Week Three - Thursday
Ora / Pray
The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply,
“Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
“Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them,
“Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people.
Labora / Work
Someone once said that God loves us just as we are and too much to leave us that way. He turns no one away who seeks His love. But just like the taxpayers and soldiers we read about today, the Lord asks us to do better. He doesn’t ask them to leave their jobs but to do them in a charitable manner. Charity is defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “The theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God." Basically this translates to doing whatever our state of life requires in a way that is for the good of another out of love for them and love for God. An easy application of this principle is that if it needs to be done, just do it. Do it out of love for your spouse and your family and ultimately out of love for God in thanksgiving for the spouse and family that He has given you. But, not only should we do the job that needs to be done, whether it is “our job” or not, we should do it without grumbling or murmuring, as St. Benedict teaches in his Rule. “For if the disciple obeys with an ill will and murmurs, even though he fulfill the command yet his work will not be acceptable to God, who sees that his heart is murmuring.” It’s dying to self for the good of another. Marriage is not 50/50. At the least it is 100/100. But sometimes it’s 120/80 or 60/140. Married couples are a team getting to heaven together and that means taking care of each other by doing what needs to be done out of love for the other and love for God.