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Week of February 10

February 10-16, 2019
Kathy McNany, OSB, Emmanuel Monastery, Baltimore

First of all, “love God with your whole heart,
your whole soul and all your strength,
and love your neighbor as yourself.”
...Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way;
the love of Christ must come before all else.
You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge.
Rid your heart of all deceit.
Never give a hollow greeting of peace
or turn away when someone needs your love
...speak the truth with heart and tongue.

—Rule of Benedict 4: 1, 20-27

Drink deeply of the goodness of God.
Know the joy of the mercy of God.

—Psalm 34:8

It’s All About the Heart (Part II) Drink deeply…so begins my prayer each morning. That first cup of coffee that awakens all inside me; I can feel it traveling down and through my body, warm and hot. Even though I like my coffee black, when I saw this image above – the cream in the shape of a heart- that daily ritual became my “call to prayer.” Would that it could be so easy to “drink in the heart of God” as I begin the day!

For a Benedictine, monastic life is all about the heart; a life well lived is all about the heart. It’s all about living whole-heartedly, making the heart “inhospitable to deceit,” as Rowan Williams says it. But if I am honest, my “whole” heart does house my failures to love as much as it does the ability to love; it gives space to resentment, anger, selfishness as much as it gives space to generosity, caring and selflessness.

In these days of fear mongering and “alternate facts” and “fake news” it is increasingly more difficult to live with the integrity and whole-heartedness that Benedict challenges. The psalmist says, “drink deeply of the goodness of God; know the joy of God’s mercy.” My morning coffee is more a prayer than I realized! May it work its way through to my heart.

It is a time of change, the saving hour!
The word is not fear,
the word we live,
but an old word, suddenly made new
as we learn it again and again,
as we bring it alive:

—May Sarton

For Your Pondering:
Ponder the words from the Rule of Benedict….what word/phrase is particularly challenging for you? How might your heart become more “whole and holy” through that awareness?

If you begin your day with coffee/tea or any liquid, be aware of it moving through your being. Could that simple ritual become an expression of a desire for God’s Spirit to flow through your being? Try it!

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this week, be particularly mindful of those you love and those you fail to love. Listen with the ear of your heart to the words you pray for them.

Sister Kathy McNany is a Benedictine Sister of Baltimore and has been growing her monastic heart for 55 years. She is a spiritual director and retreat leader and has served in varied leadership roles in her community and in the Federation of St. Scholastica. Sister Kathy's reflections will offer insight on Scripture and invite you to make the words of the scripture writers your own as you ponder the thoughts and questions that she will offer you each week.