Holy Rule for Sept. 18
Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Victoria, safely home from her trip to Scotland and a good visit with her Dad.
Prayers for the physical, spiritual and mental health of the following, for all teir loved ones and for all who treat or care for them:
Andy, 23, alcoholic and a domestic violence threat to his girlfriend and infant son, also prayers that mother and child get into a safe place or shelter, and for Andy's worried Dad and family.
Stacey, for the gift of faith and a valid marriage, also for her brother-in-law, Tony, who is trying to help.
Mary, an elderly woman in a terrible car accidnt, ead injury, in ICU.
Gilda, 70% blockage of main artery, a stent will be necessary.
Sue, agressive breast cancer, double mastectomy and reconstruction cheduled.
Marialyce and her two sick cats, Sparky, diabetic and pancreatic cancer, Fanciface, GI problems.
Marie, 80's cardiac problems.
David and his family.
Annie, cancer surgery.
Bernice, nervous about a pending throat problem.
For all those serving in Iraq, and for all in harm's way there.
Dawn, severe breast cancer, and David, her husband. Mastectomy and reconstruction this week.
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
January 18, May 19, September 18
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
whole soul, the whole strength.
Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
Then not to murder.
Not to commit adultery.
Not to steal.
Not to covet.
Not to bear false witness.
To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
To chastise the body.
Not to become attached to pleasures.
To love fasting.
To relieve the poor.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
To help in trouble.
To console the sorrowing.
To become a stranger to the world's ways.
To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.
The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
works of mercy.
Mercy is God's greatest attribute. Its links with love make it an
attribute we can easily follow in our dealings with others,
conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ. When the
Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than
works of mercy every day, continually throughout our lives.
Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!
The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
mercy, like counseling the doubtful or enlightening the ignorant,
praying for the living and dead. You don't have to run an almonry or
work in one to do works of mercy.
The chances are everywhere and often no more dramatic than
offering to get a swamped co-worker a cup of coffee. They are often just
such little things, but that makes them easier to hide and do without
fanfare. They are little things of love and therein lies their greatness and
their Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant. Anyone who drives
a car has ample chances for such mercy on every trip!
Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
miss that wonderful chance! An don't be surprised to find that works
of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
become more of Christ!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
I accidentally sent the reading for the 18th yesterday, here is the 17th to catch up.
Prayers for Father George, special intentions.
Prayers for Claudia, that she finds work and for her brother, Seamus, that they both return to the Sacraments.
Healing prayers for Ella, 4, and Adriana, 11 months, going to the hospital with frequent vomiting of unknown cause. Prayers that St. Benedict may intercede for them, that they be diagnosed and treated successfully.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Basil P., formerly a monk of Ampleforth, who died while walking the Camino de Compostela, and for his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for John, special intention.
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. BJL
January 17, May 18, September 17
Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel
In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
But if anyone should presume to do so,
let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
At the same time,
the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
and in observance of the Rule,
knowing that beyond a doubt
he will have to render an account of all his decisions
to God, the most just Judge.
But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
be of lesser importance,
let him take counsel with the seniors only.
It is written,
"Do everything with counsel,
and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).
Human nature being what it is, people are usually more prone to cite
the Abbot's responsibility to seek counsel than they are to cite the
equally important proscription against contending with one's Abbot!
There's a cure for that and many other ills buried within this
chapter, a telling phrase whose observance promises peace. That
little gem urges ALL monastics not to follow their "own heart's
Follow that one and peace abounds! For one thing, whether abbot or
monastic, parent or child, boss or employee, the focus of the
relationship ceases to become self. None of us are anywhere near the
big deal we'd either like to be or think ourselves to be! Much of
what seems earth-shattering to us is really small stuff, indeed.
This is so important to monastic struggle because it is so
intricately interwoven with detachment and holy indifference. We must
learn how to hold onto our inner peace, how to safeguard it from
damage at the hands of trivia. At that point of recognizing trivia,
truth and therefore, humility and divinity itself, since Jesus is the
Truth, enter into the equation.
We need to know deception, falsity, trivia, but it is essential to
know them first in ourselves. If these good tools of detection are
aimed only at others, the result will be pride and a fall, not
humility and truth. Jesus said "I am the Truth," and to Him we must
prefer nothing. Hence, our first desire must always be the truth and
the truth is most usually that the earth does not revolve around us
as an axis! The truth is humility.
Our age, particularly, has embraced the pap of "Follow your bliss!"
Well, maybe...sometimes.... but maybe not, too. Our "bliss" is no
guarantee of infallibility. Years ago, and for many years of my life,
I thought my "bliss" would be quite different from my life today.
As a handy rule of thumb, I would say that the will of God quite
often looks nothing like bliss at first. Hence, confusing bliss with
the divine will can be very risky. The will of God often BECOMES
bliss when we are in the midst of following it, but we frequently
have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!
And sometimes our bliss IS the right thing- even a stopped clock is
right twice a day- but those sometimes are very hard to predict. Not
every desire of our heart is a sign of vocation, so be careful and
pray to discern. And, let us be frank, few people carry stopped
watches because of their twice daily usefulness!
Love and prayers,