Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God

"At the hour for the Divine Office, as soon as the signal is heard,let them abandon whatever they may have in hand and hasten with the greatest speed, yet with seriousness, so that there is no excuse for levity. Let nothing, therefore, be put before the Work of God."

(- Rule of Saint Benedict, Chap. 43)

Everyone experiences virtually endless duties and tasks to complete during the day, to say nothing of the preoccupations that most endure with regards to putting food on the table, providing a holy environment for their children that they may flourish, living in freedom, peace, etc... These are the most practical and seemingly important things in our life. However, in the noise of our changing world it is always too easy to forget the one thing necessary. "But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is necessary.'" (Lk 10:41-42) Martha certainly was preoccupied with the things of her day that were important to get done but Mary had chosen the better and necessary part, sitting at the feet of Christ. We as followers of the Lord must let the words of St. Benedict resound in our hearts, "Let nothing, therefore, be put before the work of God."

Contemplating the face of Christ - "Have I been with you so long, and yet you don't know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father." (Jn 14:9) - is an essential dimension to the life of every Christian, for in gazing upon His face we see the Father. Jesus truly is the human face of God and the Divine face of man.

It is only too easy for all of us to push to the side our prayer time with God. We always seem to have something more pressing at hand. However, if we fail to pray, then all our actions will be empty indeed, for only in the light of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, do our actions become filled with life and meaning.

May we pray for the grace necessary to put God first and be not only listeners but also hearers of the Word, who says: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well." (Mt 6:33)