A reflection for the first Mass reading from Wednesday, July 7, 2010 (Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8,12) by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.
In the first reading from Hosea today it says, “the more abundant his fruit the more altars he built, the more productive the land, the more sacred pillars he set up. Their heart is false, now they pay for their guilt. God shall break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.” I think God is very kind in that way. He says "First I’ll take away the things that they’re adoring in the wrong way and see if I can correct them in that way, if I can stop them from pursuing the wrong things." It’s true that sometimes when we have so much abundance we forget the Giver.
At all times we should be persons of gratitude and thanksgiving—in good times and in bad. You don’t hear much in our world today about suffering for others, about doing things for the sake of another. I want to encourage people to have a willingness to suffer in the little things, because that’s what strengthens us for the big things. We live in a very selfish and narcissistic world where people say, “I deserve this. I deserve that. They have no right to do this me.” In some ways, yes, that’s true, but there should be a willingness to suffer for the sake of another. Even in community we know how important it is to suffer for another.
We need to live on a different level, on a spiritual level. If we don’t life becomes too heavy. If we don’t have a way of looking at life in a way that nourishes and encourages us, it just becomes too heavy. That’s why St. Benedict tells us to keep our eyes on eternity. Live knowing where you’re going, where your goals are. This earth isn’t our kingdom. So we don’t have to build it.
Suffering isn’t easy and self-pity parties quickly begin, but let the voice that encourages you come forward and say, “Remember who you’re doing this for.” We are doing it for Christ in each other. I know for myself that once I begin to do that I start feeling more encouraged and then I even want to suffer.
Later in the reading it says, “Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety, break up for yourselves a new field for it is time to seek the Lord, ‘til he come and rain down justice upon you.” Piety, a pious heart. A pious heart is one that keeps one’s vision, one’s focus on God. It’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. All virtues are gifts of the Holy Spirit. We need to pray for them. And when we ask they come in abundance like rain