Holy Rule for June 26
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of the following, fo all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
David, whose birthday we celebrated in August, who has developed a
brain tumor and for his horrified and worried parents and family.
Sam, who will be having a heart valve replacement surgery tomorrow morning. He was born with a defect and has been fine all these years...he is 60, however, he is having some problems and now needs the surgery.
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.
February 25, June 26, October 26
Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office
We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that "the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place" (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words,
"Serve the Lord in fear" (Ps. 2:11)
and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8)
and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps.
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
Students act differently (usually worse, alas...) for a substitute
teacher. Employees are different when the boss is off for the day.
These assortments of different behavior are pretty much shot through
the human condition, though not necessarily always a good idea.
Sometimes, we conduct ourselves in an artificially nice (or wicked!)
manner because we do NOT know with whom we are dealing. Our
politeness or our shyness or boldness can be terribly false facades.
Whether our projections are attempts to be cool and with it or
decidedly cultured and subtle, they can be masks, and are at times!
The message here is no masks. Know Him in Whose presence and House
you are. But really KNOW Him. That can take a lifetime of trying on
and shedding as false different modes of conduct.
God, like so many things, is very Benedictine in His perfection,
which stands between the extremes in which we are prone to think of
Him. If you think God is pretty much like the strictest teacher you
ever had, who ran a real death camp of a classroom, guess again.
You're dead wrong.
On the other hand, neither is God some smiling, spinelessly
"tolerant" chap Who will put up with any and all behavior with a shrug,
though I surely hope He has chuckled at some of my earthier moments
more than once! God has standards and He has shared them with us.
Both extreme views of God are wrong, not surprisingly! The middle
perfection of God is His love and His mercy, His Heart which knows the
demands of justice better than anyone, but always, always tends to
mercy. Mercy is God's greatest attribute, the perfect function of His
God is Parent and Creator and we are always creatures, but we are not
always children. We have to grow to the adult relationship with God
that fortunate children eventually share with their parents. (If we
never got to do this, and many haven't, establishing such honesty
with God is possibly going to be a bit of a chore... Keep trying!)
As we grow in our knowledge of God, our behavior around Him (and we
are ALWAYS "around Him", that's another clear message of the Holy
Rule!) changes. It becomes more real and more natural. It changes with
a very clear eye to Whom God is and who we are. It changes from
knowledge born of love and security.
A final little word here about the angels. We are in the sight
of "the Godhead and His angels." Protestant churches which would
not approve of prayer to saints can find ample Scriptural bases for
praying to angels! Again and again we see people conversing with
God's messengers in the Bible. Hence, don't waste 'em! None of us is
so rich as to afford to ignore friends!
Let the angels help. Ask them to help you on your road. The briefest
glance at their Scriptural track record will show one that that is something
they are very good at! Ditto protection. I ask the angels to guard the houses
of all on my prayer list every single night- as well as protect my chickens from
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the eternal rest of Jerome and Louise, my parents, on the 65th anniversary of their wedding. Thanks all, for your prayers for them.
Prayers for Ken, in his 80’s, his cancer is in his lungs now and hospice care has been called, he is deteriorating rapidly. Prayers, too, for his wife, for Janet and Mel and Barry. Prayers for Ken’s happy death and for all who will mourn him.
Prayers for Max’s older brother who is developmentally disabled. He faced years of medical complications in the past and was able to overcome difficulties. Now with age he faces possible surgery again and heightened risk during procedure because he is not totally independent of an oxygen vent which helps him to breathe. His elderly mother is distraught. May it be possible that physical ailment can be handled without surgery. Prayers for his Mom and all the family. All in accordance with God's will.
Please prayers for Sean, with a recovering alcoholic mother, who is full of hate. Diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar. Please bring him peace. Prayers, too, for his Mom and all his family.
Deo gratias, Georgia, Charlene’s dog, is doing well at home, continued prayers for her recovery.
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
May 1, August 31, December 31
Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
Established in This Rule
Now we have written this Rule
in order that by its observance in monasteries
we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
and the rudiments of the religious life.
But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
For what page or what utterance
of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not a most unerring rule for human life?
Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
does not loudly proclaim
how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
Then the Conferences and the Institutes
and the Lives of the Fathers,
as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
what else are they but tools of virtue
for right-living and obedient monks?
But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
they are a source of shame and confusion.
Whoever you are, therefore,
who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ
this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
and then at length under God's protection
you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
which we have mentioned above.
I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my
eyes into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact
that I MUST be joking....
Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us
awake to the reality that we will for all of our lives, always be
freshmen next year!
That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
the way, nothing special there!
God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!
Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school
Love and prayers,