Day 293: Discipline Grounded in Love

1 Maccabees 12:1-23 Jonathan renewed his treaty with Rome and procured another with Sparta, with whom the Maccabees had a common enemy in Greece. His diplomatic letter for Rome credited the “holy books” and divine intervention for the Judean success in battle.

Ch 12:24-38 Jonathan encountered Demetrius’s army long before they reached Jerusalem and tactically scared them away. He and Simon, with their separate armies, went on to defeat their other enemies in the region. Jonathan then called for the fortification of Jerusalem: higher walls, bolted gates, and a tall barrier to surround the Syrian citadel and to isolate it from the rest of the city.

Ch 12:39-53 Trypho decided to usurp Antiochus but saw Jonathan as an obstacle. Through trickery, Trypho took Jonathan captive and slayed a thousand of his soldiers. The enemies of Israel, knowing that Jonathan was in custody, believed that Israel was severely weakened for lack of leadership.

Sirach 30:1-13 Paternal love involves discipline when necessary as well as good example. While abuse can never be tolerated, prudent forms of punishment are permissible as a way of giving effective character formation to children. Imparting discipline is a demonstration of love that aims at improving the behavior and developing the talents of the child. God’s love includes the allowance of suffering, which serves as a purification for our spiritual growth.

Ch 30:14-25 The Church teaches that we are to take reasonable care of our health out of respect for our bodies so they can serve as good instruments of the soul. To abuse our bodies in any form, including the use of dangerous drugs, mutilation, and other practices, is sinful. As a corollary to every person’s right to a dignified life, the Church calls upon employers and governments to ensure that workers receive a wage that is sufficient to support their families and care for their health needs. (CCC 2431)

Ch 31:1-11 Money cannot buy happiness; neither does its pursuit bring about peace. St. Augustine said famously, “Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in you”; God alone is the universal good that can fulfill the yearnings of the human heart. When a disordered desire for wealth, power, or pleasure becomes an absolute, the true and ultimate good is replaced by false gods. Christ stressed that the human heart can unite only with one perceived universal good. For this reason, he taught that no one can serve both God and riches (cf. Lk 16:13; the Aramaic mammon means, literally, “riches” or “money”).

Ch 31:12-31 Gluttony, the excessive consumption of food or drink, compromises personal dignity and violates the purpose of eating. Gluttony is one of the seven capital sins, which are springboards to other sins. Overindulgence in food and drink exhibits a lack of self-control that can lead to intemperance in other acts. (CCC 1866)

Proverbs 23:12-13 This maxim should not be seen as an endorsement of corporal punishment as much as the importance of disciplinary correction. These verses teach that children must learn to be disciplined in pursuing their studies and in the formation of their character. God is revealed as a loving Father who sometimes disciplines his children for the sake of their moral and spiritual growth. (CCC 2223)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 206)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Thank you so much for this gift. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for revealing your heart to us. And, gosh, oh God, you are a good Dad and you discipline us. Help us to receive correct and right discipline. Help us to offer correct and right discipline when it is our responsibility to do so. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”