Holy Rule for May 20
Huge Deo gratias: the woman we prayed for in a very messy court trial of her husband for abuse has won her case and he was prosecuted, a great blessing for her and her children. The country in which she is living does not make it easy to prosecute such cases.
Prayers for Br. Dunstan of Pluscarden, and Br. Dunstan of Christ in the Desert on their feastday.
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 19, May 20, September 19
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
Not to give way to anger.
Not to nurse a grudge.
Not to entertain deceit in one's heart.
Not to give a false peace.
Not to forsake charity.
Not to swear, for fear of perjuring oneself.
To utter truth from heart and mouth.
Not to return evil for evil.
To do no wrong to anyone, and to bear patiently wrongs done to
To love one's enemies.
Not to curse those who curse us, but rather to bless them.
To bear persecution for justice' sake.
Not to be proud.
Not addicted to wine.
Not a great eater.
Not a grumbler.
Not a detractor.
To put one's hope in God.
To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in
But to recognize always that the evil is one's own doing, and to
impute it to oneself.
These Instruments of Good Works are an excellent compendium and
summary of Christianity itself. The very order in which they are
listed seems to be less than accidental: the first and greatest
commandment that Jesus spoke of, to love God with one's whole being,
is first, followed by His second commandment of love of neighbor.
Selections from the 10 commandments follow that. Hence, it would seem
to be no accident that the exhortations to avoid perjury and
to "utter truth from heart and mouth" immediately follow one that
bids us never "to forsake charity."
Jesus tells us: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." St. John
tells us that "God is Love." There is no way to safely dissociate
these things from one another. One cannot leave out truth and be left
(forgive this phrase,) with 2/3 of God. No, truth is of His essence, as
is love. Leave out one of these and you have nothing, you are left
with a false god, one far short of the perfection we acknowledge and
Christian life is communal, period. Search the Scriptures if you will
for any indication that a Christian can find God alone, but your
efforts will be in vain. Our religion is not a solo act! Benedictine life,
in cloister or world, is an even finer focusing on that necessity of
community. Community, however, is built on trust. Its levels vary
commensurately with the levels of safety we feel with another person
and those levels often vary according to our past experience!
God is Truth, so it is little wonder that offending truth offends
God. The secondary reason that deceit and falsity are so terribly
wrong is that they destroy trust and make community either less
possible or totally impossible.
When I taught in grammar school, many of our children would
simply lie as a first resort, not a last. It was rather an attitude of
"Hey, give it a shot! It might fly..." This was not my impression
alone, but all of the faculty's. It was sad, but we had to accept the
fact that one could not safely trust many of our children most of the
time. One could usually dig out the truth one on one, alone, but one
didn't always have the time or privacy to do so. That made it very
hard to build any kind of community in an ultimate sense. We loved
our kids like crazy, but we had to be sadly aware that there was
sometimes a more than average manipulation of truth.
That's one thing among children, whom one is trying to lead forth, to
form. Among adults, it is often flat out fatal to community as soon
as noticed. We certainly need to forgive and we certainly need to be
innocent as doves, but we are not asked to be fools. There is no
command that bids us hold our second hand firmly on a hot stove while
apologizing with the one first burned. Jesus knew very well what
lying would do to our hearts, how it would impair them. That's why we
are asked to never do that to one another.
Trust and community, love and truth, life and the way, these are
entwined in the heart of God, that heart to which we all hope to go.
We need all of those things for our journey.
Love and prayers,
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