Holy Rule for Oct. 9
Prayers, please for Br. Adrian of Pluscarden on his feastday, and for all our Adrians: many graces and blessings and many more years!
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Judy, Jim and Liz, and for all who mourn them.
Prayers of thanksiving and Deo gratias for Todd and three other recived with him as Oblate novices of St. Gregory's Abbey, Shawnee, Oklahoma, this past Sunday. may the Benedictine lives they are beginning be filled with grace and mercy!
Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who treat or care for them:
Greg's Mom, a fracture found at the site of her recent hip replacement and she is very discouraged.
the Mom of a friend of Greg's, stage four lung cancer and terminal, barring a miracle. Prayers, too, that
someone who needs grace and strength to call her will do so. 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
Chapter 7: On Humility cont.
February 8, June 9, October 9
The eleventh degree of humility is that when a monk speaks he do so gently
and without laughter, humbly and seriously, in few and sensible words, and
that he be not noisy in his speech. It is written, "A wise man is known by
the fewness of his words."
I read this one and cringe, largely because I fail it so much. Part of my
loudness is being 40% deaf, and while I try to control my levels of speech, I
sometimes forget. That, however, in NO way absolves me from the wise man and
fewness of words part, nor does it cover the flaws of my tendency to make a
big splash nearly every time I'm entering the pool. Face it, beloveds, for those
at poolside dining on dry snacks like potato chips, those big splashes can get
very old, very fast!
I'm speaking of my own failure here, but I imagine some of it may apply to
others' lives, too. So many wasted words, and at such volume! What is their
purpose, what insecurities do they cover? How many times do I speak as if on
stage and why? To show that I am cool or a big shot or clever or funny?
All those things are ultimately lies and the person I may be trying most to
convince is my pathetically false self. How many times do I call it teasing
when another is really hurt? How many times do I go over the top and not even
Even if I am only futilely trying to overcome my own boredom by creating some
excitement, the message reads frighteningly clear: I am more important, I am
a big deal, I matter more than the people or silence that make me
uncomfortable. None of that is true in the sense I am modeling it. None. So why do I bother?
Why do any of us? These are tough and excellent questions!
There are, however, both positive and negative sides to this virtuous method
of speech. Check out the "gently" part, check out the "fewness" of words, not
their total absence. I have been at gatherings, not a few of them, alas,
monastic, where such a tense and uneasy silence obtained that one began to
ardently hope that someone would serve cyanide kool-aid and end the
suffering! One leaves such a mess hankering for either a stiff drink or an antacid. Not
what recreations are supposed to be and especially bad if they come right
What is behind such recreations that have all the charm of a dead string
quartet is often shyness or social ineptitude, but these, too, are faults in some
instances and must be overcome. Just as the braying mule like myself must
rein in, others must consciously "rein out". To fail to do so is to embrace
the same lie: I matter more than this situation, than these people. My feelings
are paramount. Whoops! Not so. Many humble people may be reticent, but there are
plenty of ways to be shy that are decidedly neither humble nor kind.
The twofold key is charity and balance. There have been times when I have
seen a person- even been a person- who monopolized a recreation. There have been
other times when I have longed for someone to do so. It requires that mindfulness
born of love and balance to truthfully ascertain whether a situation would
profit more from our silence or our speaking. But the key here is "profit
more" and the recipients in mind must be others, not just ourselves. Buffoonery
can certainly annoy, but silence can also sometimes hurt: this person doesn't
care about me at all, it's like I didn't even exist. Somewhere between the
extremes lies love, folks, and that is our precarious goal.
Love and prayers,
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