or [Common of a Monastic or Professed Religious] [Common of a Theologian] [Of the Holy Spirit] [Of the Incarnation] [For the Ministry III]
Preface of a Saint (2)
Everlasting God, we give you thanks for the purity and humility with which you endowed your servant Benedict: Grant us grace, in union with his example and prayers, to hallow and conform our souls and bodies to the purpose of your most holy will; through Christ our Lord.
My child, if you accept my words
and treasure up my commandments within you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
if you indeed cry out for insight,
and raise your voice for understanding;
if you seek it like silver,
and search for it as for hidden treasures—
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly,
guarding the paths of justice
and preserving the way of his faithful ones.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
129 Your decrees are wonderful; *
therefore I obey them with all my heart.
130 When your word goes forth it gives light; *
it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant; *
I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me in mercy, *
as you always do to those who love your Name.
133 Steady my footsteps in your word; *
let no iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Rescue me from those who oppress me, *
and I will keep your commandments.
135 Let your countenance shine upon your servant *
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears, *
because people do not keep your law.
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Jesus said to the crowd, "Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, `This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions."
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