No Security Outside of Family

In The Rule of Benedict Joan Chittister writes,

To be a member of a Roman family, the family whose structures Benedict understood, was to be under the religious, financial and disciplinary authority of the father until the father died, whatever the age of the children. To be disinherited by the father was to be stranded in a culture in which paid employment was looked down upon. To be punished by him was to lose all security of family, outside of which there was no security at all. To lose relationship with the father, then, was, literally, to lose one’s life.

Far from being unique to the 6th century Roman culture in which Benedict lived, this is how it was with virtually all pre-modern cultures in human history. Certainly it was true for the cultural provenance of the book of Ruth, in which Naomi loses not just her husband (Elimelech) but her two sons (Chilion and Mahron) as well.

It was also the case for the woman at Nain, whose story is narrated in Mark 9, and who, like Naomi, lost husband and son. And for St. Paul, who, for example, in Galatians 6 (and elsewhere) compares our life in Christ to being free children and heirs.

May it be today, then, that I live like the free son of God I am, resisting every yoke of slavery with which the world entices me.

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Lewis on Submitting to Death

This past weekend I went back and re-read Book IV of Mere Christianity (out of all four “books,” this is my favorite). I have probably read this material a dozen or more times in my life. It is so helpful though to keep going back to it. These are the very last lines in the entire book.

Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. Book look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

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Verse & Quote of the Day

“O Lord, you know all my desires,

and my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Ps 38:9)

“God is not the kind of father who casts off sick and erring children; if he were, he would have no children.” – Martin Luther.

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