Holy Rule for Oct. 17
Prayers for all our Margaret Marys on their feast day. Special prayers for
Sr. Margaret Mary, recovering from very serious chest surgery, also for the
happy death and eternal rest of Sr. Margaret Mary, OSF. Prayers for Bill,
lymphoma, and for his daughter, Jeannine, cancer of the liver and pancreas.
Prayers for Diane, having some very tough times spiritually just now, as well as
other stresses. Prayers for Bill, discerning where to go next on his spiritual
journey and seeking God's will.
Prayers, please, for Mary Frances, who suffered a stroke and now is in
kidney failure. Prayers for Michael, who has the total responsibility of the care
of his mother-in-law. Prayers for Libbi and her children, having a very
difficult time just now. Prayers for Bob, eye problems, and for his wife, Ann
Marie and all their family. Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, Chuck, for whom we
prayed yesterday, went peacefully to God after his life support was removed,
prayers for his eternal rest and for his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for Ruth and her husband. His cancer and medical needs are draining them
financially and Ruth is understandably depressed. Spiraling medical costs have
been assailing them for some time now, so ardent prayers, please. 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 16, June 17, October 17
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord's Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, "Forgive us as we forgive,"
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.
But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, "But deliver us from evil.
The Our Father is THE Christian covenant of peace. If St. Benedict
insists it be said aloud twice a day, it is because he knows well the
tempests- nay, HURRICANES- in teacups that can spring up in any
enclosed home group, be it cloister or family. Things get magnified
inappropriately precisely because those we live with are dear to us.
If they weren't, they would be much less able to hurt or annoy us!
There weren't subways in St. Benedict's time, but there was a world
outside. Picture yourself riding a subway with any or all of these
types: an alcoholic, an abuser, a severely disturbed mental patient,
a tragic drug addict. These are just the ones that we might notice,
too. All of us on the subway ride daily with liars, thieves,
adulterers and worse, we just don't know it. Even though the subway
can offer a bit of a challenge to Christian peace, to forgiveness,
one usually has only to wait for one's stop, hoping meanwhile that a
transit cop will appear. If the situation is really frightening, one
could get off early and catch the next train.
In family or community, sometimes even in the workplace, we may not
change trains. Not only that, but there are often no transit cops at
all. Always remember that Christian life, Benedictine life, is never tested
when it is easy. Sorry folks, but it is only through testing that we grow,
our practice improves.
On the subway or bus, or even in the artificially detached situation
of world newscasts, it can be a LOT easier to forgive. It comes at
little or no price at all. It's pretty easy to forgive even horrible
criminals if they have not harmed our home circle, if they have not
directly harmed us. Hate to say it, folks, but the easy stuff is not
where it's at for us. A 50 yard dash may be the beginnings of an
Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, but it is never the whole
The key to Benedictine peace is forgiveness, which is why St.
Benedict stresses that phrase and calls it a covenant. It truly IS a
covenant of peace. We are daily asking God, twice out loud, but
ideally many more times than that alone, to forgive us in the measure
that we forgive.
Whoa! Risky business there! Any chain's strength is
decided by its weakest link, so think of the person you LEAST
forgive. There you will have the model you are suggesting to God that
He use in forgiving you. As Fr. Hugo used to say: "You love God as
much as the one you love least."
Fortunately, God is always offering us His infinite Divine
Mercy, in spite of the terms we offer Him. If He did not do so, I
imagine heaven would be a quite appallingly empty place, indeed.
Nevertheless, I'll bet He will remind us of the terms we offered and
how little mercy they would afford us. That is one very good reason
why Roman Catholics believe in Purgatory- a chance to shower off the
terms we offered God that were so limited they would never cut anyone
Roman Catholicism and most other mainline Christian denominations
have not been known as peace churches, historically. They have not
made the dogmatic necessity of pacifism that the Mennonites or
Quakers have. Still, it is very hard to look at the Gospel itself or
at the daily Our Fathers and understand how so many wars have happened in
Christian history, especially between allegedly Christian nations.
If every monastery refectory, every dining room table and every
workplace lunch room had perfect forgiveness and peace, there would
likely be no war. Wouldn't happen, because genuine peace truly is
contagious. Do you see why we have to start at home, to start small?
It's the only place we have to begin.
Love and prayers,
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