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A LIFE OF SACRIFICE, LOVE, SOLITUDE, AND CONTEMPLATON
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, Memorial of St. Bruno, October 06, 2012
Phil. 3:8-14, Ps. 1, Luke 9:57-62


"To another he said, ‘Follow me.' But he said, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.' But he said to him, ‘Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God'" (Luke 9:59-60).


Today we honor St. Bruno (1035-1101), the founder of the Charterhouse (the Carthusian order), an order of hermits that also has a community aspect to its life. They are dedicated to the renunciation of the world and its noise and pleasures to live in silence and solitude with God, reflecting the grace and love of God upon the whole world.


Although most Christians are not Carthusians or hermits, there is nonetheless an important element of silence and solitude in our life as well. Everyone needs silence and solitude. We also need to renounce the world in its worldliness and noise, in its ambition and endless quest after pleasure (John 17:14; 1 John 2:15; James 4:4; John 15:18-19). St. Bruno can inspire us in this. We also need detachment from our family to be disciples of Jesus. The man in today's gospel was sent by Jesus to preach the gospel, and he had to leave his family and was not even allowed to bury his father. "Leave the dead, to bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:60).


The radical call of Jesus takes precedence over ordinary familial and social obligations. One must leave all for the kingdom of God (Luke 5:11, 28). Following Jesus can call us in this radical and complete way, particularly those who have embraced the consecrated life. Henceforth they have only one master (Matt. 6:24) and one treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). They have renounced all that they had to obtain the buried treasure and the pearl of great price (Matt. 13:44-46). And Jesus did not even allow one disciple to say good-by to his family before going off to follow him. Detachment, indeed, is essential to the consecrated life. This man said to Jesus, "‘I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.' Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God'" (Luke 9:61-62). No one and no-thing should take precedence over the kingdom of God and the radical call of Jesus to be his disciple.


Those who leave everything of this world for the love of Christ to love him alone with all their heart, without any division of heart, are called in this way. "He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:37). "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). "And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life" (Matt. 19:29). "So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).


We need to renounce all that we have to be able to obtain the pearl of great price and the hidden treasure, which is the kingdom of God (Matt. 13:44-46). We have to lose and hate our life in this world to save it with God (Mark 8:35; John 12:25). The consecrated life is a life of love, sacrifice, work, prayer, and contemplation. We renounce our family and the pleasures of this world for those of the kingdom of God and of the new creation.

 

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