Holy Rule for August 24
I have a backlog (again...Sigh...) so please understand that I am not replying individually to prayer requests. It doesn't mean I'm not praying for you all.
Prayers, please, for Br. Stephen, torn rotator surgery last week, and recovery is painful, also for Bishop John Kudrick, of Parma, OH, gall stone surgery today, prayer of thanksgiving for A., who got a good job she was seeking. Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Josh, 31, killed in Afghanistan, and for all who die by sudden violence. Prayers for his Mom, Linda, who lost another child in infancy, his wife, Lanie, his son, Dylan and all their family. Chelsea, for whom we prayed, is doing better but has a way to go yet, continued prayers. Prayers for Tim and his sobriety, a challenging time for him as his children return to their mother in another area of the country. Prayers for Kate, back to college, and for Maureen, hoping for a job in New York. 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 24, August 24, December 24
Chapter 66: On the Porters of the Monastery
At the gate of the monastery
let there be placed a wise old woman,
who knows how to receive and to give a message,
and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about.
This porter should have a room near the gate,
so that those who come may always find someone at hand
to attend to their business.
And as soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her,
let her answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!"
Then let her attend to them promptly,
with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God
and with the warmth of charity.
Should the porter need help,
let her have one of the younger sisters.
If it can be done,
the monastery should be so established
that all the necessary things,
such as water, mill, garden and various workshops,
may be within the enclosure,
so that there is no necessity
for the sisters to go about outside of it,
since that is not at all profitable for their souls.
We desire that this Rule be read often in the community,
so that none of the sisters may excuse herself
on the ground of ignorance.
PARADISUS CLAUSTRALIS! The Cloistered Paradise!*
* Until the cloisters are inhabited by real angels, as opposed to
VERY human saints in process, certain restrictions may apply!!!
My life has gotten me resigned to shopping many times a week,
sometimes even daily. If the guest house is busy, I lack refrigerator
space to store a full week's milk and we are always running out of
other things, too. I only offer this as a preface to what I'm about
to say to many busy Oblates. It has been hard, well-nigh impossible
for me to do what I am suggesting, but the times I have made it are
rich and rare!
This idea of self-sufficiency, of everything one needs within the
enclosure, is a great boon. Even if you are as haphazard in habits as
I am, try to carve a day or two or three when you DON'T have to go
out for anything once you get home, or a day off when there is no
reason at all to leave your home. If you don't already know it, you
will soon find that these days are treasures. Doesn't matter if the
kids are home and noisy as ever, there is a certain solitude and
security that being self-contained, even for a day, engenders and it
Remember all that talk about stability? Benedictines are, at the
root, homebodies of sorts. We thrive and blossom in the solitude and
security of homes, wherever they may be. That's why these days of not
going out become so precious. They are times of freedom and growth
for us and that's exactly what monastic struggle is about: offering
us the freedom to grow and bloom!
You cannot gag the kids and tie them up for the day, tempting as that
may sometimes seem! But you can leave the phone unplugged or the
answering machine turned down and the radio or TV off now and then.
One or all three will heighten the sense of secure enclosure in the warmth
of your own space.
After all, the Desert Fathers used to say: "Stay in your cell and your cell will
teach you everything." That won't usually happen at first, we have to
learn to listen to our homes. Once we do, we will find that they
will, indeed, teach us subtly and almost non-stop!
Our various enclosures, even those urban apartments, offer us a
reprieve from the rush and bustle of the world around us and we
gradually learn to love that respite dearly. Please, for your own
sake, for your family's sake, for your spouse's sake, find a way to
spend a day entirely at home. Then, as you grow into it, find ways to
increase the number of those days! I am certain you will want to do
By the way, if your home ever gets to teaching you so much that it's
making you crazy, remember that is probably because a nerve has been
touched. It might be wise to check which one! And one more thing:
learn to treasure those whose needs interrupt or trash your day of
cloister. They are gifts, too.
Christ often comes in very distressing disguises. Rejoice! (I know, I know....)
Monastics reveal a LOT about themselves by the way they handle those who
disturb their prayer, silence, or solitude. Much of it is often not pretty. Don't go
there! Kindness, always kindness and mercy. A smile will draw more people
to Christ than a scornful glare.
Love and prayers,
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