Lectio Divina: Lk 16:1-13

And he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship: for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. Therefore calling together every one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: An hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said: An hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely: for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity; that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings. He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater. If then you have not been faithful in the unjust mammon; who will trust you with that which is the true? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's; who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

I went in a few different directions with this reading for today, none of them particularly in-depth.
First, I realized that the steward and his master really had different interests. A good steward would have his interests aligned to those of his master. So how am I to go about aligning my interests with Jesus'? I came up with prayer, loving him (though I don't know exactly how on that one), and asceticism.
The master commends the steward for acting wisely; in the NAB this was "prudently", which made me think of shrewd, and Jesus' words to the 12 in Mt 10 to be as cunning as serpents and innocent as doves. I don't think I have a great portion of the virtue of prudence, owing in no small part, I imagine, to my youth. The week prior to doing this lectio I was cantor at my parish house, so I got to choose hymns for lauds and vespers. At the seminary, custom is that we only use the common of saints when we absolutely must. I prefer a liberal use of the commons, and so I imposed that as cantor. There was never a good chance to warn people ahead of time, and while my goal was a good, I was concerned I may have been imprudent about my means of achieving that end. That experience was I think why the bit about prudence caught me so much in this reading. How am I to develop prudence? I came up with praying for it, sheer experience, and in particular situations asking the Holy Spirit what I ought to do. Josh offered the advice that virtues are habits, so in a given situation ask 'what would the prudent man do', and then do that; eventually by doing this I'll develop the habit of prudence.
The ending bit, about being unjust in small things then in big things, was discouraging. It's all to easy to cut corners, particularly in unimportant areas of obedience. For example, chapel casual at the seminary does not include sandals, only shoes. I typically wear sandals with socks for chapel casual. I thought that this week a good way to put this gospel into practice would be to mortify myself and wear real shoes when I'm in chapel casual, rather than my beloved Birks. It's a minor minor point, but I have grown in the past week, mortifying myself over something really stupid, but which really does annoy me to no end. I forced myself to be faithful in a small thing, so hopefully I'll get better about being faithful in the big things.

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