Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for:
Brie, on her 26th birthday. Ad multos annos, many years and many graces!
Fr. Brendan and Bp. Basil, who have found a way to get to their retreat.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for their families an all who mourn them:
Mary, who died yesterday.
Russ, who died on Tuesday.
The aunt and mother of Maggie, the young mother who took her own life, also both died from suicide some time ago, bit it is never to late to pray for their happy death.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all who love them and for all who treat or care for them:
Ann, two serious accidents in 3 days, now has two broken legs, a broken neck and is comatose. She may not live, her prognosis is uncertain.
Glenn, diagnosed with spots on his brain, seeing neurosurgeon this week, and for Verna, his Mom, whose motor home blew up on top of all her other worries. Fortunately no one was in it, Deo gratias.
Haley, surgery to remove a blood clot in her leg after a car wreck, and especially for her brother, Br. Gabriel.
Corrine, who went to the police about her abusive husband, for safety and courage, and for their 6 year old daughter, Caroline, also for the conversion and repentance of the husband.
Kim, desperately needing a friend, and for her estranged daughter, Janet, heavily in debt and other troubles, badly needing conversion, and for her friend, Mary.
A young man, 42, whose life support has been discontinued, his family is praying for a miracle.
A young couple with two children, serious marital problems linked to the wife's long-standing emotional problems, husband fearing he may have to leave. 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
February 3, June 4, October 4
Chapter 7: On Humility
The sixth degree of humility
is that a monk be content
with the poorest and worst of everything,
and that in every occupation assigned him
he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
saying with the Prophet,
"I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
I have become as a beast of burden before You,
and I am always with You" (Ps:22-23).
It is easy to miss the hardest word in this reading. Our eyes fly
right away to the ones we want to argue with- and these days many
want to argue with them! Slyly stuck into the first line is the
demand that the monastic "be CONTENT with the poorest and worst of
everything." The connection this time is not to obedience, but to
other virtues in humility's service: simplicity and stability.
Contentedness does not bide its time for a jump to something better,
does not merely undergo, but accepts rather matter-of-factly.
Contented monastics aren't hunting for or wondering about something
else, usually it doesn't even occur to them. Truly contented people,
in monasteries or in marriage or in the world do not spend a lot of
time on "what if?" or "what next?". In the 70's a lot of people loved
the popular phrase on posters: "Bloom where you are planted." Quite
possibly they never stopped to think exactly what that meant: being
contented enough to blossom in any circumstance. Whoops! A little
more teeth to that version!
I know from personal experience: stability with divided attention,
with tons of Plans B, C, and D, simply is not very effective. It is
better than nothing, to be sure, but it is nearly nothing when
compared with its power once all those distractions are dropped. We
often cannot drop them all at once, but we must try to stay rooted,
ever more and more rooted.
I know one great monk who told me, at 83, that
he had finally decided to stay! There was not even a hint of irony of
twinkle in his voice. On the other hand, I have known monks who were
happy as clams and completely contented in their forties. It is a
different struggle for each of us.
Truly contented simplicity and stability are powerful, counter-
cultural witnesses to offer this age. Materialism, consumerism and
the short attention span rule. A consumerist society is actually
fueled by provoking discontent: how else can superfluous consumption
Every time one person, family or monastery gets even
partially free of those constraints it is a powerful witness to those
still bound. Most of us truly do not "need" more. The Holy Rule can
teach us that, but not if we look at it through the lenses we have
hauled along with us from the 21st century world. Those lenses are
completely invested in our reaching the opposite- and false-
Two cautions here. Good ole Gulf coast Florida boy that I am, I can
tell you that when one goes crabbing with a big floating washtub full
of blue crabs tied to your belt, you never have to put a lid on it.
Why? Because whenever one crab gets close to crawling out, the others
will pull it down. Don't be surprised if this happens to you!
Lots of people LOVE consumerist enslavement, or at least think they do!
The other, equally important consideration is that simplicity is NOT just
a way to save money- though it will free up plenty. The goal is not
to hoard what you have saved, but to spread it around or, as St.
Elizabeth Seton said: "Let us live simply, so that others may simply
As to the "bad and worthless workman" line, where I expect there'll
be a lot of dissent, well, that isn't St. Benedict or me. You'll have
to argue with Jesus Himself on that one. He said that after we have
done ALL that was commanded us, we should say we are nothing but
unprofitable servants. Being God, I don't imagine He was mistaken.
Love and prayers,
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