A VISIT WITH AN ANCIENT WISE MAN

Here are some lovely beauties for us to consider today.  (“Consider the lilies. . . .”)

SAMSUNGI had arrived a little early at my friend’s church, and while I waited for him to come out so I could take him home,  I noticed these really cheerful flowers along the outside wall on the side of the building.   I hopped out of my car to get a close-up photo.

Lilies are usually associated with Easter, right?      Or with unearned grace.  (“The lilies neither toil nor spin, yet your Heavenly Father clothes them with such beauty!”)        Or with St. Joseph.    Or with St. Anthony of Padua, and probably many other saints because they  are a symbol of purity.

Deep down inside of us we have an understanding of “purity.”    It is rare, much to be desired,  and not above the reach of any of us, actually.

I was reading the portion of the Rule of St. Benedict appointed for today, and then I had time to read the Meditations that are read by  Benedictines on this day.   I can’t give you any names of these readings right now because they’re in my big computer which is “resting” from a series of power outages this evening –  but the names aren’t really important.

The short reading told us of St. Benedict, when he was young, before he had developed his system of monasteries which are credited with preserving civilization while Rome fell apart.    He and another young companion decided to visit a very old wise hermit and ask him for some counsel.      The ancient hermit was reluctant, because he wasn’t sure if these two young men were really sincere.  Perhaps they just wanted to hear something different and then they would go away thinking they had really learned something.  Precious wisdom, obtained with difficulty,  thrown away on superficial youths.

They begged and pleaded and made it clear that they were earnest.   (The old hermit didn’t know this was the future great saint, St Benedict.)

The old hermit told them that it’s important to be totally dedicated to your goal in life and he gave several examples of, say, a soldier, a farmer,  a merchant, all who  must arrange their efforts to obtain their desired goal.    Then he asked the young men what they thought the most important goal in their lives were.

The two young men confidently and proudly told him, “To obtain eternal life with God in Heaven!!”

The old hermit wisely and skillfully helped them to understand that it was good to have an ultimate good goal like that, and they had spoken well,  but that it was also important to pay attention to a more immediate goal,  life on this earth too,  a life which would lead them toward their ultimate goal.

The young men eventually asked,  then what is the most important immediate daily goal they should have before them.

The wise and holy hermit told them:   “Purity of heart.”

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