Prayers, please, for two who will enter Benedictine monasteries next month,
a man and a woman. Deo gratias and may God's perfect will be theirs always!
Further Deo gratias, Philip, for whom we prayed, had an appendix on the brink
of rupture, but it was removed in time, he is doing well with MUCH less pain
than his doctors expected. Family thanks us all.
Prayers for Patricia, a botched eye surgery has her in a lot of pain and
nausea, also for Dave's Dad, 85, just diagnosed with a cancerous tumor and is
principal care-giver for his wife, who has had a stroke, and for Dave and all
their family. Prayers for Tom and his family: two uncles and a great aunt lost
within a month. Prayers for the happy deaths of them all, Violanda, Art and
Frank, and special prayers for Diane, one of our readers, who is Frank's
daughter, and for all of their loved one who mourn them. Prayers for Rita, badly
needing dental work and afraid to go, also for David and Amy, married less
than a year and she is wanting to divorce, may a retreat for the married
(Retrouvaille,) help them find God's will.
Prayers for John's family. His brother, Dan (46) died of lymphoma; after he
was expected to recover. This comes only two years after another brother’s
wife died of ovarian cancer at 40. The family is having a really tough time,
special prayers for Dan's estranged wife and their 13 year old son. Prayers
for Mike's Mother, 72, bladder surgery yesterday. Prayers of thanks and Deo
gratias for the safe delivery of lovely Emily, she and her Mom are doing well
and her Dad, Harry and brother, Benedict are so very happy . Prayers for them
all! Continued prayers for Anastasia and her parents. She was found after 38
days on the run and is now in a new group home. 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 26, August 26, December 26
Chapter 68: If a Sister Is Commanded to Do Impossible Things
If it happens
that difficult or impossible tasks are laid on a sister,
let her nevertheless receive the order of the one in authority
with all meekness and obedience.
But if she sees that the weight of the burden
altogether exceeds the limit of her strength,
let her submit the reasons for her inability
to the one who is over her
in a quiet way and at an opportune time,
without pride, resistance, or contradiction.
And if after these representations
the Superior still persists in her decision and command,
let the subject know that this is for her good,
and let her obey out of love,
trusting in the help of God.
This chapter, I think, holds even more for Oblates in the world than
it does for monastics. There aren't many superiors around today who
insist on the impossible as a personal hobby, nor are
the "impossible" tasks asked of one in the monastery likely to
compare very favorably with some of the things people in the world
are asked to do. Those things often come from God directly or indirectly,
by His will or His permission, so argument isn't going to be extremely
helpful. All that one can do is apply the last three phrases of this
chapter to the situation, often with trembling and with gritted teeth!
"...let the subject know that this is for her good, and let her obey
out of love, trusting in the help of God." That is a dauntingly tall
order! The people who keep this Rule in their hearts are, let us be
frank, practicing heroic virtue. How touching it is to sometimes see
their humility. Far from complaining, they apologize that they
questioned, struggled, or plodded through without much feeling!!
Hello??!? That's nothing short of fabulous and would be humanly
impossible without very great cooperation with God's grace.
"...KNOW that this is for her good," not believe or trust, but know.
WOW! That takes a tremendous act of faith. Often hindsight can help
here. One can look back at other presumed tragedies and see the hand
of God's love clearly in retrospect. This, however, is often not
easily possible when the first tragedy hits, nor is it easy when the
latest cross is so utterly overwhelming that one can be tempted to
think that this time is a BIG exception.
God is not an archer, capriciously shooting arrows of meanness into a
world of chaos. Ain't true, couldn't be. Some of what we dread may be
willed by God, a lot of it is merely permitted by Him. Has to be.
Face it, in a world tainted by original sin, letting things unfold as
they will while protecting free will zealously is not an easy task!
There's a lot of hands off areas here.
However, many of the saints taught that even the wicked further God's will,
whether they know it or want to or not. (St. Faustina comes to mind, for
a recent example.) In other words, even with wicked agendas of their own,
they unwittingly participate in God's master plan. Now there's a tough one to
wrap your finite mind around, but I think it's true. Check out Judas, for
God is the ONLY force that can change evil to good, to triumph. He is the
only One Who can not only make evil's consequences tolerable for
those who love Him, but even make them profitable victories! All
things really do work together for the good if one loves God. We need
to own and know with all our hearts and might that this one "hands
on" area is always and everywhere true. Always.
"...let her obey out of love." Whoa!! We will spend most of our lives
working on that one, but, as Benedictines who must always strive to
do better, we cannot put off working on it till later. We need,
however blindly, to seek the way of loving obedience. When we cannot
find it at first, God, Who knows better than we how hard it is,
receives our trust and intention as great, great things of merit.
God loves us on the way, all the way. Never forget that. The love of
a mother for a 3 year old child's accomplishment is the same as it is
for that same child who may later graduate summa cum laude from
Oxford. Same mother, same kid, different times. God's love never
fails. His delight is tailored to our limitations, just as a mother's
heart sees a three year old scrawl for what it is truly worth.
"...trusting in the help of God." Trust can be unspeakably hard, and is
made the more so by the many times humans and history have betrayed
our trust. We become fearful and wary after many human hurts. Unfortunately,
this impedes our ability to trust even God, Who is incapable of betraying us.
Yes, Jesus has His human nature, but He is sinless, utterly and completely.
He will never, ever abandon us.
St. Faustina said that even if the ground beneath her feet were to drop
away, she would still trust Him. That's a way off for most of us, but a
goal which we should long to achieve. Trust like that is the herald of great
sanctity. And great sanctity is our call!
Love and prayers,
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