Holy Rule for Sept. 1
+++NOTE: My e mail server was down for a while yesterday and I seem to have lost some messages. If you sent a prayer request that you do not see here today, please resend, as I may not have gotten it. JL
Prayers, please, for all those traveling on this Labor Day weekend in the US, for safe trips and returns home.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Steve's parents, on what would have been their 61st anniversary.
Prayers for Jane and Tom, that their relationship deepen accoding to God's perfect will.
Deo gratias! Baby Damon is home from the hospital. The fluid around his
heart is almost gone.
Natalie's father is still on dialysis and has been
"upgraded' to 50/50.
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 1, May 2, September 1
L I S T E N carefully, my child,
to your master's precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father's advice,
that by the labor of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.
To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
whoever you may be,
who are renouncing your own will
to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.
And first of all,
whatever good work you begin to do,
beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
For we must always so serve Him
with the good things He has given us,
that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
deliver us to everlasting punishment
as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.
The Prologue is the most tender and loving of beginnings. Always,
always, always keep this loving Father that writes here in mind as
you read the rest of the Holy Rule. This and the epilogue are the key to
it all, and the key to the saintly personality and tenderness of our
holy Father Benedict.
The Holy Rule can seem so lofty that it sometimes turns people away.
They think: "This is for those really holy people, not for me. I'll
bet it's easy for saints like them, but I couldn't even dream of
trying." Wrong on both counts and St. Benedict makes that clear. We
return "by the labor of obedience" and if we are not one of those who
has "to do battle" against our own will, he makes it abundantly
certain that he is not talking to us.
If, in fact, there is anyone for whom the Rule is a cinch, and I
doubt that very much, then it was not written for them. It was
written for us who struggle, for us for whom it is NOT easy, to help
us in a battle that sometimes wears us out.
St. Benedict also makes his point that our distance from God is due
to our "sloth of disobedience." Yet he doesn't tell the slothful to
quit because they are worthless, he tells them they are the very ones
for whom he is writing this Rule! This is the Rule for the fallen and
beginners, this is an entry level position which can advance us to
great sanctity, but it *IS* an entry level position!
This is the door and gate for all. This is most decidedly NOT a Rule
just for monks and nuns in monasteries. Were that so, no provision
for Oblates would ever have been made. No, this is a Rule for all who
wish to try to become better and because they have made that
intention, God "has deigned to count us among His children." There is
no more us-and-them here. Just by beginning, we become part of the
How many of us who were not in the advanced reading group as children
secretly got the suspicion that the whole class was really for the
wonder kids, not for us, that we were somehow extraneous and just
tagging along to whatever was REALLY going on? Well, the Holy Rule is
quite direct about stating that this time, it is not about wonder
kids: the center of its focus is the rest of us! Now there's a
refreshingly upside down and all too rare world view!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
A Clarification on the O Antiphons posts.
A reader was concerned, after reading the O Adonai reflection, that I was making the Son and the Father identical, one in the same. I assure all that I had no such intention, nor do I believe that. I consulted some experts and did some research. The links below are excellent articles that explain what I meant.
There is a tradition among some of the Fathers of the Church that the pre-Incarnation Christ, the Logos or Word, the co-eternal Second Person of the Trinity, makes manifest the Father in many instances in the Old Testament, including the Burning Bush. Since no man could see God and live, it was felt that the Logos appeared to make manifest the Father. It was to that phenomenon that I was referring. I firmly believe that the Three Persons of the Trinity are distinct and regret it if my writing ever seemed to say otherwise.
Blessed Christmastide to all! BJL