Prayers again to: _brjeromeleo@...
Thanks so much to Michael, who covered for me during this very hectic month.
I confess that, after my mouse froze, (which both my computer and the back
up Leota gave me needed,) I just saw that the month was going to be
challenging enough and didn't even buy one. That turned out to be a very providential
decision: I could never have managed it all, so I thank Michael- and all of
you- for such patience with me. The Abbots' visit was awesome, more of that
later, the visitation of our Community was grace-filled. Finally, our retreat,
which only ended on Dec. 6th, was the best I have had here in ten years.
Again, providentially, on the very day our retreat ended, yet another back up
computer was given me: a laptop that needs no mouse, though I am surely going to
get a mouse now that the month has passed!
I am deeply indebted to Doug for the gift of the laptop, a memorial to his
wife, Denise, whom we prayed for before her death. Doug himself has been
struggling with chemo and now faces radiation, so prayers for him and for his
kindness. Using Denise's computer makes me feel a strong bond to one we prayed
for and is a constant reminder of our cyber community, which comes to mean more
and more to me as time goes by. Now, with all this back up and a mouse
ordered from Lasermonks, I should be fine. Thanks again to Doug, and to Leota, and
to you all. And special thanks, again, to Michael!
Prayers for Rachel, vocation discernment and search. Prayers, too, for
Brenda, eye surgery on 12/8. Prayers for 4 studying to become Oblate novices in
Feb. Prayers for Yossi, who should be entering novitiate this week. Prayers for
Zachary, hospitalized with a drug overdose, may St. Nicholas lead him to
Christ. Prayers for James Kim, the young father who died in the wilderness,
trying to get help for his stranded family. Ironically, the relatives they had
been visiting live in Enumclaw, Washington, his aunt and uncle, Clint and June.
Prayers for them and all his family. Enumclaw is where "our" Emma lives,
continued prayers for her and for her Mom and family and for Mary Anne, who
keeps us posted. Prayers for Samantha, stabilized, Deo gratias, and now waiting a
liver transplant. Prayers for Ted, for his happy death and eternal rest and
for his son, Tim, and all his family who mourn him. Prayers for the happy
death and eternal rest of Steve, who has died and for Lois, his Mom, Mike and
all his family who mourn him. Prayers for Lou and Dorothea, respiratory
problems. Prayers for Bill, 80's, lumbar surgery and trouble getting around. Prayers
for Fr. Sami Al-Rais, a Chaldean Catholic priest kidnapped in Iraq, and for
five other priests kidnapped in Iraq, and for one who was murdered. Lord,
help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace.
God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL
April 9, August 9, December 9
Chapter 56: On the Abbess's Table
Let the Abbess's table always be with the guests
and the pilgrims. But when there are no guests,
let it be in her power to invite whom she will of the sisters.
Yet one or two seniors must always be left with the others
for the sake of discipline.
Let me give you a bit of pragmatic application here. I don't know if
this is true everywhere, but in both houses I have actually lived in,
the monks tended to eat rather fast. Secularly speaking, I have a
reputation for being a fast eater when dining alone, even I have
sometimes wondered about how good that is for digestion! Here,
however, with no conversation to slow me down at all, the monks eat
like the wind and I am always the last one, even when gulping down as
fast as I can. This has resulted in my learning to take less and
finish whatever I really need at the guesthouse! Sigh...
Anyway, the upshot here is that guests OFTEN dine more slowly than
the monastics and we all get up together for grace. If the guests are
where the Abbot can see them, it is easier to check on who's done and
who isn't. We wait for them to finish. (At least 99% of the time. I
have known especially slow guests to win at this face-off once or
twice! We just said grace and left them to finish...)
Monastics (like children or spouses!) can be dreadful creatures of
habit, you should pardon the pun... I can tell you that sometimes
that waiting seems interminable. I can also tell you that it is good
for us, for all of us, and this applies equally to families. We
ALLOW, even enable and encourage the guest to inconvenience us to a
certain extent. That's part of our hospitality, part of receiving
Christ, often in a considerably annoying disguise.
Oblates in families or the world, trust me on this one, I know
company can sometimes be a pain. I have had company most of the time
for most of the last eight years. While I relish the occasional day
when the house is empty, they are fewer and farther between each
year. The message here is not only for guests in our homes, but for
others in general, at work, when shopping or (horrors!) driving. LET
others put you out a bit. Adopt a courtesy that is greater than the
world's. Many works of genuine mercy can be done in such situations.
I used to work the desk in a public library. From that and from my
hospital and teaching years, I can tell you that a courteous,
hospitable, Christian attitude of charity can stand out, really touch
people. You don't have to be obnoxiously preachy, in fact, that has
the opposite effect! The subtle grace and love of courtesy will lead
a lot of people to wonder about you and what motivates you. Some of
the braver ones will one day even ask. And there is your chance! Go
slowly and gently, but tell them why.
Love and prayers,
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