+PAX Prayers for the Companions of St. Luke Abbey of St. Benedict in Donnelson, Iowa which was flooded. Sugar Creek overflowed and caused a lot of damage toMessage 1 of 208 , Aug 29, 2009View Source+PAX
Prayers for the Companions of St. Luke Abbey of St. Benedict in Donnelson, Iowa which was flooded. Sugar Creek overflowed and caused a lot of damage to the new buildings...guest houses, living area for the community and the Abbot's quarters and the refectory. Two vehicles that were gifts to the Abbey/Abbot were also lost.
For one with post traumatic stress disorder, that he be able to feel joy at a significant family event.
Deo gratias, Bob, for whom we prayed, has work guaranteed to him for two years, he thanks St. Joseph especially for his prayers. Prayers, too, that a large outstanding debt is paid to Bob, as that will ease his situation considerably.
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 30, August 30, December 30
Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal Which They Ought to Have
Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another --
no one following what she considers useful for herself,
but rather what benefits another;
tender the charity of sisterhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!
"Evil zeal" ought to catch our attention. We tend to think of zeal
as more or less good, but it is not in every circumstance. There
can be zealous enthusiasm in the service of things other than good,
all too often! There can also be evil zeal, even real cruelty done
in the name of things which are, in themselves, actually good.
Satan loves to dupe people into wickedness in the name of good.
The beginning and end of the Holy Rule are, to me at
least, "sweetheart" chapters. They float and fly with elegance and
grace and prose that stirs the soul. I love literature like that!
I have to take special care when reading either portion that I do
not let my love of beauty carry me away, that I come down to earth
long enough to look at the dreadfully tough (or, in this case,
evil,) things St. Benedict is talking about.
Because we have a tendency to egocentricity, we tend to view evil
zeal as an extreme (which it is!) of the opposing camp, of
those "other" folks, which is not necessarily true. Vices,
extremes, can flourish all too gleefully in just about any
environment, at any point on the spectrum, including our
own hearts! This is a crucial truth.
If we lack this wisdom, it is easy to assume that those who agree
with us are zealously, quite totally wonderful people. Sure
it's nice to have people agree with us and it is very human to enjoy
that, but their agreement is not a trustworthy standard
of "wonderful." Our lack of self-objectivity can blind us there.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that only wicked people have
wicked zeal. Anyone can, just as anyone can be vain or envious or
the victim of their own anger. Vice is no respecter of persons, and
its only antidotes are humility and love.
I know I'm in the presence of evil zeal in ways that are hard for me
to articulate. It's an intuitive feeling for me, a constriction of
the heart, which is understandable, because evil zeal loves to step
on others' hearts. Even feels gloriously justified in doing so! Hey,
let's crush another heart today! Real work of merit
there.... But that is exactly how vice is made possible, by
converting it in the victim's mind into a work of "goodness."
Evil zeal divides, holy zeal unites. Whether is be a Church or
family or monastery or work place (or e mail list!!) you can be absolutely
certain that a needlessly divisive, partisan zeal is not and cannot
be a holy thing. Strong statement? You bet it is. God is One and
God is Love. Whatever leads to unnecessary factional disunity and
needlessly broken hearts, hurt feelings or useless upset is just
flat out wrong, not of God, big trouble.
Evil zeal presumes to look down from above, but only beckons others
downward. Holy zeal looks up from humility and calls all together
upward. The call of evil zeal is selective, while that of holy zeal
is universal. Evil zeal patronizes with condescension, holy zeal
knows better than that. Real sanctity never, ever patronizes.
But the greatest tragedy of evil zeal is its ability to blind its
adherents totally. That may be evidenced by the fact that many of
the people I am writing about here might quite likely drop me a
private post to say how wonderful today's reflection was. Please
don't let that happen to you! Go back, read the whole thing slowly
and then think: "He's writing about me!" Because I am. And I am
writing about me, too. There are evil zeals in everyone of us and
we must fight the darkness of their blindness all of our lives,
rooting them out one by one. But we cannot weed in the dark- we
need at least a little light to see!! I pray that we may all have
Love and prayers,
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+PAX PLEASE NOTE THAT I WILL BE AWAY FROM OCT. 6-14. ON THOSE DAYS, PLEASE SEND PRAYER REQUESTS TO MICHAEL LOPICCOLO. If you are on his list or my Holy RuleMessage 208 of 208 , Oct 5, 2009View Source+PAX
PLEASE NOTE THAT I WILL BE AWAY FROM OCT. 6-14. ON THOSE DAYS, PLEASE SEND PRAYER REQUESTS TO MICHAEL LOPICCOLO. If you are on his list or my Holy Rule list, you can just reply to the Holy Rule post, otherwise, send them to carmelitanum@...
Bishop Rawsthorne, for whom we prayed as a member of the African Synod, is staying at the Venerable English College in Rome, where one of our readers, Sr. Mary Joseph, OSB, works. She told him that he was on our list for prayers and he was delighted and asked that thanks be extended to all. Small world! Continued prayers for him and the Synod, please.
Prayers for all Carthusians on the feast of St. Bruno, their founder. They spend their lives praying for the world, for all of us, let us return the favor.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the folloiwng, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Deo gratias, for Maggi, free of cancer, now prayers that the lung damage from chemo and radiation may be repaired.
Heather, about to have tests done on her heart, having a lot of problems with chest and neck pain. Please pray this turns out to be nothing serious.
Continued prayers for Cheryl and all evacuated by the wildfire in California.
Cindy who is being operated on today for pancreatic cancer.
Kelia, in the hospital with abdominal pain and a high white cell count.
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
February 5, June 6, October 6
Chapter 7: On Humility
The eighth degree of humility
is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
by the common Rule of the monastery
and the example of the elders.
Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
neighborhood, or the workplace.
The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
do things our own way is not humble. When vocation observers come to the
monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."
One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.
When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
and we do so with sorry results.
No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
better for all concerned.
The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration. Not quite
as laudable as my youthful self may have thought!
I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
there is great potential for growth there.
An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
those who live with them often think they're just silly and pathetically
off the mark. Of the two impressions, this last is closer to truth!
It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly. Wow! If one can be so right
about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
Love and prayers,
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