Friday, February 16, 2018

Lentblogging Day 4 - Holy Selfishness

St. Corbinian and a rather pitifully small Bear.

Saint Corbinian's Priorities

Here's a very interesting thing about St. Corbinian the Bear found while doing research for his Lenten Companion for Bearish Humans. It is just like they tell you on the airplane.
Though indefatigable in his apostolic functions, he was careful not to overlay himself with more business than he could bear, lest he should forget what he owed to his own soul. He always performed the divine office with great leisure, and reserved to himself every day set hours for holy meditations, in older to recruit and improve the spiritual vigor of his soul, and to cast up his accounts before God, gathering constantly resolution of more vigilance in all his actions.

Butler, A. (1903). The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints (Vol. 3, pp. 624–625). New York: P. J. Kenedy.

Busy Bear

The Bear keeps very busy with daily ephemeris articles, writing novels and other books, the crazy-making work surrounding their publishing, researching the faith, and doing narration for short features. (The Pillars of Creation is wonderful, but the next one is epic in comparison.)

Today, Bear woke up, got out of bed, and prayed a sleepy Lauds. So far so good. (He always prays for his readers, too, especially those using his new Lenten Companion right now. The prayer goes, God, please don't let anything Bear has written cause a brother or sister in Christ to stumble. Please make up for any stupid Bear things.)

Bear did not say his midday prayers. That's not all he didn't do.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.” (Luke 10:41)

Bear is Derelict in his Duties

He had his Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates all ready. He had his Bible for lectio divina and his Rule of Saint Benedict for today's reading. He even had his rosary. But as Vespers approached, poor Bear had not found the time for doing any of it.

Bear realizes he puts in so much time helping his friends he often leaves little time to care for his own soul. That's not a boast; it's the sort of clear-sighted realization we wait for during Lent. The problem is, he realizes, you can't give to others what you do not have yourself. 

Saint Corbinian realized the soul for whom he was most responsible was his own.

Are You Too Busy Doing Good to Take Care of Your Own Soul?

Bear knows people who are very busy with their jobs and families or school. Sometimes, doing good things can leave little time for our own relationship with God. 

What would it take to put God first in your life this Lent? Regular Daily Habits is a wonderful foundation for a Tower of Lent. Do you include in your Lenten strategy firm commitments to take care of your own soul, even if you must postpone or limit your business on behalf of others?

If St. Corbinian thought reserving time for his own religious practices was necessary even for a saint, it is even more important for Bears and you.

It's like they tell you on the airplane. When the oxygen masks drop, first put yours on, and only then help anyone else with theirs.


  1. Tomorrow I have three days (four counting day 4) of my spiritual reading to catch up on. However, I've been keeping up with my morning and even journals. You inspire me, Bear.

  2. It is better for a man to be obscure and to attend to his salvation than to neglect it and work miracles.

    Imitation of Christ


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