Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Scriptural basis for Spiritual Disciplines

An excerpt from the Scripture reading from today's Office of Readings:

"You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: 'My child, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every child he acknowledges.' Endure your trials as 'discipline'; God treats you as children. For what 'child' is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not children but bastards. Besides this, we have had our earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not (then) submit all the more to the Father of spirits and live? They disciplined us for a short time as seemed right to them, but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness. At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb 12,5-14).

The reason I emphasized the words I did is to highlight that discipline, even spiritual discipline, is a means not an end. Be mindful, however, that disciple and discipline are as linked as bicycle and cyclist, runner and running, writer and writing, etc.

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