Holy Rule for August 14
Deo gratias and continued prayers for Katlin, 1 month old, she does not have the genetic disorder that was feared, but she cannot suckle, has never cried and has no gag reflex. Drs. are not sure what the problem is, but she is breathing on her own and has a feeding tube. Prayers for her parents and all her family, too. Prayers for P., on a vocation discernment visit to a monastery. Prayers for Elizabeth, kidney cancer has spread to her bones, and she is in terrible pain. Also for her daughter, Barbara Ann, and all her family. Prayers for Jim, and for the eternal rest of his Mom, also for Evan and his mental health. Prayers for them all! 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 14, August 14, December 14
Chapter 60: On Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery
If any ordained priest
should ask to be received into the monastery,
permission shall not be granted too readily.
But if he is quite persistent in his request,
let him know
that he will have to observe the whole discipline of the Rule
and that nothing will be relaxed in his favor,
that it may be as it is written:
"Friend, for what have you come (Matt. 26:50)?"
It shall be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot
and to give blessings and to celebrate Mass,
but only by order of the Abbot.
Without such order let him not make any exceptions for himself,
knowing that he is subject to the discipline of the Rule;
but rather let him give an example of humility to all.
If there happens to be question of an appointment
or of some business in the monastery,
let him expect the rank due him
according to the date of his entrance into the monastery,
and not the place granted him
out of reverence for the priesthood.
If any clerics, moved by the same desire,
should wish to join the monastery,
let them be placed in a middle rank.
But they too are to be admitted only if they promise
observance of the Rule and stability.
The quintessential question of the Holy Rule is that of
Jesus: "Friend, for what have you come?" This question is not just
for priests, but for each of us, for all Christians and all
monastics. The only acceptable answer to the question is: "To seek
God." That might be rephrased in any of a number of ways, but that's
the main event, the only game in town, the end all and be all of
Benedictine monastic life.
It is very necessary, in stating that we seek God, to admit that we
haven't altogether found Him yet, nor will we ever do so before
death. Even in the beatific vision of heaven itself, we creatures
will never, ever get to the root of our Creator, to the "ground zero"
of God. Ain't gonna happen.
Another way of saying this is that we need to come to the Holy Rule
and to the Gospel and to Christ admitting how frighteningly little we
DO know. If we think holy orders or an MDiv or an MD or a BS have
corrected that problem, even slightly, well, maybe the sacrament or
that degree is just about all we've gotten from the experience.
For heaven's sake, after spending so many years of my life trying to
become clever, or thinking I was, what a tremendous relief it is to
be dumb: pluperfectly, fallibly, humanly, screamingly, shriekingly
DUMB! Boy, I love it! Ignorance truly *IS* bliss, just like they told
ya! Truly, with Socrates, we ought to know enough to know that we
know nothing! Realizing that the very best of us has nothing but the
barest tip of the iceberg is a great and tender mercy, indeed!
In one sense, I heartily recommend it. It is the only position from
which one may learn anything at all. Get too smart (or think you
have!) and you will never listen, failing yet another Benedictine
hallmark. You won't learn because all your energy will go into
composing your rejoinder or response. Such people do not learn. They
merely joust. Life is more than that, much more. Tons more.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]