Holy Rule for August 10
Prayers, please, for Judy, lupus disease, and for her Mom, hip replacement surgery, and for all their family, worried about both of them. Prayers, too, for Raye, cancer in bone, liver and lymph glands, a brave fighter. Prayers for Marilyn, lost her 5 yr. old grandson in April and her husband in July, now facing serious financial problems from her husband's illness. Prayers of Deo gratias and thanks for a cancer-free biopsy report for Fr. Robert!! Prayers for me as I journey to New Haven for the day, please, a safe trip both ways. Lord, help them 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 10, August 10, December 10
Chapter 57: On the Artisans of the Monastery
If there are artisans in the monastery,
let them practice their crafts with all humility,
provided the Abbot has given permission.
But if any one of them becomes conceited
over his skill in his craft,
because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery,
let him be taken from his craft
and no longer exercise it unless,
after he has humbled himself,
the Abbot again gives him permission.
If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold,
those responsible for the sale
must not dare to practice any fraud.
Let them always remember Ananias and Saphira,
who incurred bodily death (Acts 5:1-11),
lest they and all who perpetrate fraud
in monastery affairs
suffer spiritual death.
And in the prices let not the sin of avarice creep in,
but let the goods always be sold a little cheaper
than they can be sold by people in the world,
"that in all things God may be glorified" (1 Peter 4:11).
Monasteries, even up until the late 20th century, were marvelous
examples of self-sufficiency, provided they were in areas where farms could
be had, and most of them were. St. Leo is the only place in the world I where
I have ever tasted raw milk.
When I was a boy, they had their own dairy farm, citrus packing
plant, beef cattle ranch, hay operation, carpentry shop, garage,
upholstery shop, printing press, and probably even more that I've
forgotten. They milled their own cedar to roof the Abbey Church.
There was a paint shop and artists' studios for painting, ceramics
and stained glass, with a stab at sculpture, too. Well before my
time, the old German brothers made the monks' shoes, too.
Granted, the people who know how to do these things are largely dying off,
and they were usually lay brothers, a now defunct category, but how I would
love to see some of that return in my lifetime. One felt different in such a
place, safer somehow. There was no need to go out or buy, we had own our and it
was even better. We were enslaved to less things outside of our lives.
Now, even monasteries, with fewer members than in those days, cannot do many
of these things anymore, much less many Oblates in the world. I would,
however, stress that there is a very, very deep connectedness to homegrown
and handmade things. It verges on the liturgical, and surely enhances same. I
t is, in a very lower case sense, truly sacramental. These things are NOT good
because they are cheaper, though they often are, but because they connect and
involve us in our own survival and life. They enrich us, this is "soul food" in the most
Do whatever you can to break even the tiniest area of dependency and see how
good it feels. One herb in one pot on a sunny window or fire escape might be
enough to start a healthy addiction. Can't grow things? (Start with chives
or oregano. Both are perennial, both will die of nothing but thirst. Fresh
chives are so good and so different in taste that you will never used
freeze-dried again. Never.)
Try any useful craft. The first time I made my own habit I felt like a
million dollars, even if I didn't look QUITE that good... Check out the first
used bread machine you can find (they are pricey, alas...) set the timer and you
can have bread ready when you get home from work in minutes of prep time. (If
you don't have even a few minutes, freeze batches of measured dry
ingredients when you DO have a minute. Then just add liquids and yeast in the
morning. Less time than making coffee.) You will never walk down the bread aisle (read
"airy sponge aisle",) in a store the same way again!
Crock pots are always available very cheap at used stores and tag
sales. Get one. While you work, as any single person who's used one
can tell you, dinner will be ready. It will smell and taste a LOT
better than microwaved frozen food, too. If the pot has a removable
crock, you can even prepare the raw ingredients the night before and
Anything, anything you can do or learn to do to set yourself the
least bit free, to connect yourself more, will be on the side of the angels!
Why on earth do you think that modern English uses the
word "crafty" to refer to someone very, very cleverly smart? Language is no
Love and prayers,
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