He who loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Meditation: Here is what I wrote about discipline in my forthcoming book, A Believer in Waiting's First Encounters with God:
Discipline has turned out to be as important as spirituality for this free spirit from the '60s. Although we may rebel against the catechesis of the Church where it does not match our own precepts or makes us uncomfortable about some aspects of our lives, we cannot but admit that the tenets are carefully considered, worked out by many faithful believers over many centuries and based on the principles that Jesus gave us at the beginning of the Common Era, the years which those of us schooled before the 21st century counted as anno domini. I am not talking about any decisions taken by the Vatican or local parishes of the “universal” church arising from political persuasions, fiscal desires, or culturally-based exclusionary practices but rather about the belief system that goes by the name of Catholicism. Over time, the Catholic Church has put an order to the days and to the hours of our spiritual lives that I find refreshing and comforting. It is indeed a healthy discipline. Would that I could find time to allow myself to be disciplined more often!
I know that there are those who chafe against this discipline of the Catholic Church and second-guess any spiritual authority that might be “over” them. Fr. Thomas Dubay (Faith and Certitude) describes them as follows:
One of the chief reasons some religiously minded people do not enter the Catholic Church is that they are not prepared to make the act of faith, that is, the act of submitting their judgment to a living authority. The problem is not that the evidences for a divine origin of the Church are lacking. On the contrary, they are clear and abundant. What is lacking is the attitude of a mind willing to accept what it does not see simply on the authority of a teacher. These people may profess a great appreciation for Scripture. They may see its beauty, but they are not ready to surrender their belief that their views are superior to another’s. They will not bring themselves to admit that a teacher who contradicts their ideas could be divinely authorized. This is why the root obstacle to faith is pride.I have to admit that I could easily be one of those stubborn ones who would cling to my own ideas above those of others. What stops me is knowing that God did put me in the Catholic Church and, for that reason alone, I must accept the teaching of the Church.
There are those, too, who would chafe against the discipline of God for those whom God loves, God disciplines. To react in this way, though, works against our own self-interests and the wishes that God has for us. D. A. Carson (How Long, O Lord?), writes, “If he [God] disciplines those he loves and punishes those he accepts as his children, then to chafe unduly under such punishment is to betray our immaturity—or even, finally, to call into question our desire to grow in conformity to our heavenly Father.” Proverbs 13:18 states the importance of discipline even more strongly and succinctly: “Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to thank God for sending many people, especially priests and nuns, into my life to correct me. I will praise God for knowing just what I need and where I needed to find a religious home. I will ask God to increase my desire for discipline and will repent those times where I have chafed against it. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.