“Hope & Despair” by Sheri Weinberg

Benedictine Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery
13 January 2014
Think of time that you have thought or used the
word “hope” recently.
What kind of thing did you say?

What were you hopin...
1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best:
to give up hope.
2. a particular ...
Hope and St Benedict
• He acted with confidence
– Leaving Rome
– Leaving the cave
– Leaving Subiaco
– Facing tyrants

• He...
Hope and St Benedict
• He acted with confidence
– Leaving Rome
– Leaving the cave
– Leaving Subiaco
– Facing tyrants

• He...
Prologue of The Rule
• This is a very hope-filled chapter
• We hear Benedict’s heart:
– “Let us open our eyes to the deify...
Prologue of The Rule
"Who is the one who will have life,
and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33[34]:13)?
And if, hearing Hi...
Prologue of The Rule
“Turn away from evil and do good;
seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
And when you have d...
Prologue of The Rule
“What can be sweeter to us,
dear ones, than this voice of the
Lord inviting us? Behold, in His
loving...
Christian Hope

For the sisters, the monastery is a
tangible sign of hope.
Bearing witness in this simple
fashion helps pe...
• On the materialPope (science, technology)
Despair: level Benedict XVI
progress is possible, even probable.
– Knowledge a...
Life of St Benedict
• Benedict was
aware of what the
ways of the world.
• He knew that his
food was poisoned,
twice!
• He ...
We also know and name the ills
You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze
of a ...
Despair: Grumbling
• Grumbling expresses our distrust of God
– This is the most common biblical response
– We lose sight o...
Despair: Stoic Endurance
• Atheist response:
– There is no God to help
– The situation will only
change by human
effort
– ...
Despair: Denial & Distraction
• We can close our eyes and forget it is happening
– Disaster, conflict fatigue
– We forget ...
Despair: Retaliation

• Return or expand
the suffering
• Lash out in
retaliation
– Individuals
– National policy

• Cycle ...
Lament: A first step
• Acknowledges the wrongness of the situation
• Recognizes that we cannot deal with it
• Refusing to ...
Lament: A first step
The thought of my affliction and my
homelessness is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of ...
Lamentation is a choice for hope
You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze
of ...
• “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who
hopes for what they already have?” Rom 8:24
• Christian endurance leads to...
Joining in the life of Christ
Having climbed all these steps of
humility, therefore, the monk will presently come to
that ...
Conversatio
“Conversion of Life (conversatio) is

the dynamic vow. The person
who seeks conversion of life is
always looki...
Eternal Life
“Whoever you are, therefore, who are
hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ this...
Each of us can renew from time to time our
own suscipe, “Receive me, O Lord, according
to your word, and I shall live. Do ...
Eternal Life
“Whoever you are, therefore, who are
hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ this...
“Hope & Despair” by Sheri Weinberg

Benedictine Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery
13 January 2014
Hope and Not Despair
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Hope and Not Despair

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Slides from the January 2014 meeting of the Benedictine Oblates of St Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Part of the year-long theme of Benedictine Virtures.

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Hope and Not Despair

  1. 1. “Hope & Despair” by Sheri Weinberg Benedictine Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery 13 January 2014
  2. 2. Think of time that you have thought or used the word “hope” recently. What kind of thing did you say? What were you hoping for?
  3. 3. 1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope. 2. a particular instance of this feeling: the hope of winning. 3. grounds for this feeling in a particular instance: There is little or no hope of his recovery. 4. a person or thing in which expectations are centered: The medicine was her last hope. 5.something that is hoped for: Her forgiveness is my constant hope.
  4. 4. Hope and St Benedict • He acted with confidence – Leaving Rome – Leaving the cave – Leaving Subiaco – Facing tyrants • He asks for character and holiness more than skills and abilities in his disciples • He calls everyone “beginner” • The focus is to “seek God”
  5. 5. Hope and St Benedict • He acted with confidence – Leaving Rome – Leaving the cave – Leaving Subiaco – Facing tyrants • He asks for character and holiness more than skills and abilities in his disciples • He calls everyone “beginner” • The focus is to “seek God”
  6. 6. Prologue of The Rule • This is a very hope-filled chapter • We hear Benedict’s heart: – “Let us open our eyes to the deifying light” – "Run while you have the light of life, lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).
  7. 7. Prologue of The Rule "Who is the one who will have life, and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33[34]:13)? And if, hearing Him, you answer, "I am the one," God says to you, "If you will have true and everlasting life, keep your tongue from evil and your lips that they speak no guile. …
  8. 8. Prologue of The Rule “Turn away from evil and do good; seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15). And when you have done these things, My eyes shall be upon you and My ears open to your prayers and before you call upon Me, I will say to you, 'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33[34]:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9)
  9. 9. Prologue of The Rule “What can be sweeter to us, dear ones, than this voice of the Lord inviting us? Behold, in His loving kindness the Lord shows us the way of life.”
  10. 10. Christian Hope For the sisters, the monastery is a tangible sign of hope. Bearing witness in this simple fashion helps people have hope and stand up to hatred, mindful of the traditions of this land where Christians and Muslims have lived in peace for centuries. Trappist nuns of Syria “Our trust in man comes from Christian hope and it is stronger than all the horrors,” Sister Monica wrote. “Christians are called to bear witness to it in the world. Since we have been called to Syria, why leave?”
  11. 11. • On the materialPope (science, technology) Despair: level Benedict XVI progress is possible, even probable. – Knowledge accumulates – We gradually learn to use it better • In the sphere of morality, ethics, and human behavior, there is no assurance of progress. – Freedom: we cannot make good decisions in advance for other people. – “Conviction must always be gained anew by the community.” Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi (By Hope We Are Saved)
  12. 12. Life of St Benedict • Benedict was aware of what the ways of the world. • He knew that his food was poisoned, twice! • He knew when his young disciples were in trouble. • He knew when St. Scholastica died
  13. 13. We also know and name the ills You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” There is something wrong, and it is something very serious…because the consequences will be wrought on the lives of an entire population…it is in the blood that fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts. Yet what use are words anymore? All has been destroyed: a nation destroyed, generations of young people exterminated, children growing up wielding weapons, women winding up alone and targeted by various types of violence…families, traditions, homes, religious buildings, monuments that tell and preserve history and therefore the roots of a people…all destroyed. … As Christians we can at least offer all this up to the mercy of God, unite it to the blood of Christ, which carries out the redemption of the world in all those who suffer. They are trying to kill hope, but we must hold on to it with all our might. To those who truly have a heart for Syria (for mankind, for truth…) we ask for prayer…abounding, heartfelt, courageous prayer. The Trappist nuns from Azeir, Syria 29 August 2013
  14. 14. Despair: Grumbling • Grumbling expresses our distrust of God – This is the most common biblical response – We lose sight of what God has done – We lose memory of God’s care and love • Grumbling distrusts God’s goodness
  15. 15. Despair: Stoic Endurance • Atheist response: – There is no God to help – The situation will only change by human effort – The only task is learning to endure and bear it. • Stoic endurance is essentially a response of independent pride and self-centeredness
  16. 16. Despair: Denial & Distraction • We can close our eyes and forget it is happening – Disaster, conflict fatigue – We forget one of God’s first questions in Genesis: “Where is your brother, Abel?” • Distraction & busyness are often denial • To close our eyes is to act in an ungody way.
  17. 17. Despair: Retaliation • Return or expand the suffering • Lash out in retaliation – Individuals – National policy • Cycle of despair
  18. 18. Lament: A first step • Acknowledges the wrongness of the situation • Recognizes that we cannot deal with it • Refusing to turn away from trust in God • Lamentation is despair turned over to God. – Does not turn outward to others – Does not depend entirely on ourselves • We hear this frequently in Scripture.
  19. 19. Lament: A first step The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:19-26
  20. 20. Lamentation is a choice for hope You see the beauty of these hills, the smile on people’s faces, the good-natured gaze of a boy who is about to join the army and gives us the two or three peanuts he has in his pocket as a token of “togetherness”…. And then you remember that they have decided to bomb us tomorrow. … Just like that. Because “it’s time to do something,” There is something wrong, and it is something very serious…because the consequences will be wrought on the lives of an entire population…it is in the blood that fills our streets, our eyes, our hearts. Yet what use are words anymore? All has been destroyed: a nation destroyed, generations of young people exterminated, children growing up wielding weapons, women winding up alone and targeted by various types of violence…families, traditions, homes, religious buildings, monuments that tell and preserve history and therefore the roots of a people…all destroyed. … As Christians we can at least offer all this up to the mercy of God, unite it to the blood of Christ, which carries out the redemption of the world in all those who suffer. They are trying to kill hope, but we must hold on to it with all our might. To those who truly have a heart for Syria (for mankind, for truth…) we ask for prayer…abounding, heartfelt, courageous prayer. The Trappist nuns from Azeir, Syria 29 August 2013
  21. 21. • “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” Rom 8:24 • Christian endurance leads to hope – Paul: suffering produces endurance – Endurance produces character – character produces hope which does not disappoint
  22. 22. Joining in the life of Christ Having climbed all these steps of humility, therefore, the monk will presently come to that perfect love of God which casts out fear. And all those precepts which formerly he had not observed without fear, he will now begin to keep by reason of that love, without any effort, as though naturally and by habit. No longer will his motive be the fear of hell, but rather the love of Christ, good habit and delight in the virtues which the Lord will deign to show forth by the Holy Spirit in His servant now cleansed from vice and sin.
  23. 23. Conversatio “Conversion of Life (conversatio) is the dynamic vow. The person who seeks conversion of life is always looking for a new way to see life. … It is a way of looking at life that is creative, optimistic, and positive. It sees possibilities not problems. It gives people the benefit of the doubt. It is always seeking to convert the difficulties of life into opportunities for growth. The person who vows to follow conversion of life wants to convert the whole world from death and despair to new life and hope.” Dwight Longenecker, Benedict the Balanced.
  24. 24. Eternal Life “Whoever you are, therefore, who are hastening to the heavenly homeland, fulfill with the help of Christ this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners; and then at length under God's protection you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue which we have mentioned above.” Chapter 73
  25. 25. Each of us can renew from time to time our own suscipe, “Receive me, O Lord, according to your word, and I shall live. Do not disappoint me in my hope. We could also each be creative, and personalize our suscipe, then let God do the rest. St. Gertrude said, “Receive me, my Jesus, into the abyss of your mercy. Receive me into the embrace of your cooperation. Receive me into the very pleasant marriage of your love.”
  26. 26. Eternal Life “Whoever you are, therefore, who are hastening to the heavenly homeland, fulfill with the help of Christ this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners; and then at length under God's protection you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue which we have mentioned above.” Chapter 73
  27. 27. “Hope & Despair” by Sheri Weinberg Benedictine Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery 13 January 2014

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