Holy Rule for June 4
Thanks to all who prayed for me on my birthday.
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Brian Magrath, 53, who died suddenly in his sleep, and for all his family and those who mourn him. Special prayers for his wife and their two small adopted children. They are very dear friends of mine from my days in East Boston as a pastoral associate, very much my adopted family. Prayers, please, for them all.
Prayers of Deo gratias for Al and C.: his interview went very well and things are continuing to unfold. May God's perfect will be done! Prayers for T. and her siblings, their parents were arrested on a serious charge three weeks ago and they have been caught in a dreadful whirl of police and confusion. T is diabetic and had a serious health crisis last semester and is in danger now from all the stress. Prayers for her, her parents and her siblings. Prayers for Aaron, 96, for his happy death and eternal rest, and for his grandson, Ari, and all his family, all who mourn him, also for the happy death and eternal rest of Aaron's wife who died two months before him.
I mistakenly thought the taxi driver we prayed for a day or so ago had only light injuries when his cab was struck during a police chase. Walid, 45, has died from his injuries and leaves a wife and a four year old son. Prayers for them and all who mourn him, and for his happy death and eternal rest. Prayers for MA, some new hope on the horizon for her back pain treatment. May God guide her doctors and all those who care for all our prayer folks. 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).
OK, first warning. Some people who truly do have low self-esteem have
to be very, very careful to remember that humility is truth, that ANY false
and distorted self-image spells trouble. Increasing closeness to God, Who
is Truth, must bring us to increasing truthfulness about ourselves. That can
mean adjustments up OR down in our attitude.
While it may be true that some people have self-esteems
which are far too low, I think that many people, from my generation onward,
have "worked through all that" with more than enough success. Relax,
I think that often we have compensated for any imbalance and then some! With
ears attuned to such 21st century self-affirmation, it is hard for us to hear
lines like "worthless workman", "brought to nothing" and "a beast of
burden before You."
Understandably, we may listen through our filtered ears and wonder
how on earth the Psalmist could say such things. Mechanisms to
explain them away and denial defenses spring right up: " Must have
been his primitive society, must have been some neurotic notion of
religion in those days! Boy, that David REALLY needed to work on his
self-image, so sad in a King, too!"
I don't think any of those things are true in more than the most
minimal sense, if that. David COULD say those things with honesty,
because he was a mystic. Let me hasten to console all concerned with
that news that he was a very human mystic. Face it, he had a lusty eye
for Uriah's wife and conveniently arranged Uriah's death in battle
to "legitimate" things. Nathan the prophet confronted David with the facts
and the child born of his dalliance with Bathsheba died. Hardly the type
of thing one would read about St. Therese, the Little Flower!
Because this terribly human David, in a mystical sense, had "seen"
God, at least with the eyes of his soul, he could easily make
truthful remarks like these about himself! Once we see even a bit of
God, scales begin to fall from our eyes and we can easily see how the Prophet
could say such things: they are true!
I am no mystic, but I sure know I am nothing, nothing at ALL compared
to God. If I have done a good job here and there, make no mistake
that I can tell you from an inside perspective that successes were
just that: here and there. Not one of them would (or could!) have ever
happened without God's grace. Nada. Zilch! The total workman profile
has a LOT of gaps and stuff undone, deliberately and otherwise. The merit
review will probably NOT recommend a raise at this time!
We need the truth of humility because we take ourselves- and the
falsehoods about ourselves for good or ill- far, far too seriously. Yes, we
sometimes need to know we really did "OK", but we also need to often
remind ourselves that we are not so hot as we thought!
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give the glory!" Yet another of
David's pithy assessments of self-worth. We are, of ourselves, less than carbon.
It is only because of Christ that we carbon kids can truly become the "immortal
diamond" of which Hopkins wrote!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]