Prayers, please, for me, flying to California. Michael LoPiccolo has faithfully and kindly offered to do the Holy Rule while I am gone and take prayer requests. Please note that I might not be checking my mail while giving the retreat, so intentions sent to me will not be passed on till I get home late Saturday night.
Prayers, too, for the spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing of:
Troy, aodelscent son (only child) of a single (heartsick and sorrowful) mom, bipolar and a handful and now in juevnile detention, and for his Mom.
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 os much. JL
February 26, June 27, October 27
Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer
When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station,
we do not presume to do so
except with humility and reverence.
How much the more, then,
are complete humility and pure devotion necessary
in supplication of the Lord who is God of the universe!
And let us be assured
that it is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt
but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction.
Our prayer, therefore, ought to be short and pure,
unless it happens to be prolonged
by an inspiration of divine grace.
In community, however, let prayer be very short,
and when the Superior gives the signal let all rise together.
There is a necessary tension in Benedictine prayer, both public and
private, between the awesome majesty and otherness of God and His
infinite closeness and approachability. God is among us. He is not
the guy next door, but neither is He some untouchable, easily
offended emperor or sultan. Both these truths must be addressed in
order to maintain a correct balance.
God doesn't need ceremony, He doesn't need anything. All the high
church in the world might (or might not...) tickle His fancy, but it
does not one whit for Him personally. The rub here is that WE need
what we offer to God, and that has been all too often forgotten in
the last 40 years or so. In a very real and subtle sense, we BECOME
what we offer to God, often quite unnoticed by ourselves.
The upshot of all this is clear: offer God the lowest possible common
denominator and that is what those offering will become; offer Him
empty and presumptuous high church and be not surprised when those
offering such things become rather pathetically silly themselves. In
fact, sad fact, either extreme will make people pathetically silly
and spiritually impoverished besides.
Balance, always balance! The Holy Rule says "our prayer should short
and pure." Fine, but the last part of that phrase has often gotten
lost in the struggles of reform. Just plain short doesn't get it. God
doesn't care about short, except insofar as it cheats us, those He
The balance of short AND pure will feed a normal soul well.
Hence, if you find liturgy in any given place leaves you at least
hungry and maybe starving, it's a safe guess that something might be
wrong. God is still served, but His people often are not. That should
upset both God and us.
A very Benedictine warning here that the Carmelites would strongly
approve: prayer is only to be prolonged by "inspiration of divine
grace." When God does let us feel something wonderful in prayer, a
very understandable temptation is to hang onto the feeling, to
prolong it, to produce it again.
Doesn't work, folks, and it could very well turn into a trap. When
God prolongs prayer or gives us graces, fine! Relax, swim in His
grace and enjoy it, but never, ever try to fill the pool for a quick
dip on your own. That's not the way prayer- or God- works.
Love and prayers,
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