Holy Rule for June 13
Robert, 15, for whom we prayed, went through 8-9 hours of surgery. They did a knee replacement, and 'cut' out some of the other bone infected with cancer. No amputation!!! The surgeons are pleased with the surgery, and the doctors are hopeful!!! Thanks be to God! Prayers of thanksgiving!
Prayers are needed for Patty, 50 yrs old, refusing to have surgery to remove a tumor from her face because she says God told her he would heal her, and for Betty, her mother whose heart is breaking.
Danny, who had to come home from basic training was able to get his job back, and restore a scholarship he had given up for the Navy. He will be able to try again for the Navy in a year.
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 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time
From Easter until the Calends of November
let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
but no lessons are to be read from the book,
on account of the shortness of the nights.
Instead of those three lessons
let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
and followed by a short responsory.
But all the rest should be done as has been said;
that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
should be said at the Night Office,
not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.
The gentleness of St. Benedict, his considerate thoughtfulness is
again apparent here. Another principle comes to mind, as well. The
Office is important, but it revolves WITH us to a certain extent. It
is the axis our day turns on, but that axis may be shortened by the
season. There are circumstances under which even the Work of God
itself changes for us. Was humanity made for the Sabbath, or the
Sabbath for humanity?
The message here is very clear. To all prima donnas and divas, of
either sex, who think the Office revolves around their own choral
fantasies, get a life! The Office revolves around the Son and the
sun, and your identity with either remains seriously in doubt. To all
amateur musicians (or even pros with bad manners,) who terrorize
their brothers or sisters in the name of perfectionism, lighten up!
To any of said groups who claim that Benedictinism justifies their
antics, you're dead wrong. It doesn't.
Two quotes I love come to mind. One was from the late Abbot Alfred of
Pluscarden, who said: "The monastery is no place for an amateur
musician." The other is from G. K. Chesterton: "The artistic
temperament is a disease which afflicts amateurs."
The rhythm here is pure agriculture, not liturgy: when the sun rises
sooner, so do the farm chores, which have no human seasonal clocks to
tell them otherwise! Critters have to be cared for, milked and
pastured according to their clocks, not ours. The upshot of this is
that, for nearly 1,500 years, until the late 1960's, Benedictines
followed the Holy Rule's advice and said Matins differently in the
summer and winter, even in the cities. (It is worthy of note that, at
least in the U.S., agricultural enterprises were being abandoned at
about the same time as no longer economically feasible in many
Put another spin on this and you will find, especially if you are an
Oblate, that St. Benedict intends at least some aspects of his
monastic program to adapt themselves to the environment in which the
monastic lives. Do not wear yourself out trying to make the very
square peg of a relentless monastic life fit into the intractably
round hole of a life in the world.
Don't try to make your kids (or spouse!) understand that you are
going to be monastic, no matter whether they are or aren't. For one
thing, if you in any way diminish your primary vocation, like
marriage or parenthood, you are not going to be monastic at all!
For another thing, such tactics might drive them even farther from
the faith you hope to share and instill in them.
The key to our struggle is obedience and humility, not control of others.
Our oblation must be done in addition to our sacramental and primary
vocations, never instead of them.
Love and prayers,
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Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him.
Please pray that the US Congress and the new administration will respect all human life, from conception till natural death.
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 20, May 21, September 20
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
To fear the Day of Judgment.
To be in dread of hell.
To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
To keep death daily before one's eyes.
To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
Not to love much talking.
Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
To listen willingly to holy reading.
To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
Not to fulfil the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
holy, that one may be truly so called.
The first four on today's list are not very palatable to many modern
ears, but, like all of the Instruments of Good Works, they are
important, they are interrelated and each one helps one fulfill the
others. Arguably, one could say that the focus of the first four is
the fifth: "To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life."
We have largely "gotten over" dreading Judgment. We went from a
paralyzing, Jansenistic, scrupulous fear of it right into a smug
assurance that everyone passes the test with honors. Well, there's got to
be truth hidden between those two false extremes somewhere!
I know, beyond any doubt that I shall be both delighted and very,
very embarrassed and ashamed to meet God face to face, to find that
my faith has been confirmed. Ah, joy at the confirmation, but oh,
crushing shame at the simultaneous confirmation of how very far short
of Him I have fallen, through choice, through laziness, through
negligence, through sin.
One can dread that realization without thinking that God is some
intrinsically mean sort, just waiting for one to trip up, hunting for the
slightest loophole to nail us. Quite the opposite is the truth! God's awesome
Divine Mercy seeks every possible way to bring us to Himself and
His rewards of bliss. Every possible way!!
Let us admit that we have been all too good at tripping
on our own: God has no need to duplicate services there! Fearing
judgment is part and parcel of knowing who we are. We have all
sinned. And I know I have failed faith, hope and love, again and again
and again, usually with no more excuse than selfishness.
We keep goals in sight while training. Forget the Olympic gold and
you will quite likely forget why you are training so hard. For us,
between now and the "Olympics" of death, it is only the training that
matters. It is also good to recall that, as Benedictines, our goal is
NOT simply to "pass", but to stand on the podium.
That's not because we are any better, it is only because
we ourselves have added great holiness to our goal. Why else embrace
the Rule? Keeping "death daily before our eyes," we are ALWAYS at
the Olympics, thanks to our vow of conversion of manner of life, we
are daily in training, every minute, in fact.
All of these four lead to the fifth, keeping guard over one's
actions, or mindfulness. Here is a great connection between the
Benedictine way and the Buddhist way.
The Buddhists have a saying that monastics can preach a sermon just
by the way they walk. That's what the care of mindfulness can do!
Just wait till we get to the 12th degree of humility, which says that
the monastics' humility will shine through their outward appearance,
whether walking or sitting or working or praying.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]