Holy Rule for Sept. 30
Prayers, please, for my late Dad and grandfather, and yeah, even for me, on our feastday of St. Jerome, and prayers for all our Jeromes. Special prayers for two Oblate Jeromes who took the name for me, much to my joy and delight.
Prayers of huge thanks and Deo gratias: the couple who were going to have their baby without medical assiatnce went to the ER when labor got going. Good thing they did, as complications arose which may well have resulted in loss of both Mother and baby. God is good!
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Larry, 54, is undergoing Chemo-therapy for Merckle cell carcinoma. This is a very rare form of cancer, and the prognosis isn't good. He's undergone 3 days of chemo and was expected to have the 2nd round starting Monday Sept. 29, but his platelets aren't high enough, so they've canceled this session till he can increase them.
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 30, May 31, September 30
Chapter 7: On Humility
The second degree of humility
is that a person love not his own will
nor take pleasure in satisfying his desires,
but model his actions on the saying of the Lord,
"I have come not to do My own will,
but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).
It is written also,
"Self-will has its punishment,
but constraint wins a crown."
OK, who doesn't love their own will, or take pleasure in satisfying
their desires? Who doesn't love their individuality or some of the
dearest things they own and treasure? For a healthy person, all of
these are very normal loves. For some of us, one or another of these
loves is very much part of our vocation, for example, in marriage
one's sexuality is the very means of self-gift. The key is to keep
them ordinate, in line and yes, balanced!
The means to this step is neither to go overboard hunting for things
we hate to afflict ourselves with nor to insist on our own way at all
costs. The real meaning here is found in the statement that Christ
came not to do His own will, but the will of His Father. With the exception
of fasting, we don't see Jesus going out His way to find things distasteful to
Him, nor do we see Him stoically and resolutely refusing to enjoy things that
please Him. His will is one with the Father's. He also has a human nature
that prayed in Gethsemane to be spared from that Divine will, but, in
Jesus, the human nature is perfectly obedient to the will of His Father, so He
can never sin.
Alas, in us, that human will often DOES win: why else would we be
struggling along the monastic way all our lives? Unlike Jesus, we are
not sinless, we are able to sin and often do so all too gladly! We
must daily- even from minute to minute- turn from the bad in our own
wills. It is an ongoing fight, but that is what conversatio morum
means, "conversion of manner of life"! As Benedictines we will-
indeed, must- always be straining against the negative goad, always
be seeking the place of greater light and good.
The will of God is frequently very hard to see. For some of us, at
some times, it is all but impossible to see. There will always be
times when we must trundle along blindly, without our senses to
reassure us. That is why trust is such an integral part of our
monastic struggle. At those times, the only way haltingly forward is
to embrace the blinding darkness before us and firmly, trustingly
clutch the hand of Christ. Even in the darkness, we must say: "Jesus,
I trust in You!"
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn Nina.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Abbot Benno Malfer, OSB, of Muri-Gries Abbey, 70, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.
Prayers for safe travels for Peter D., going to Europe. For a safe, happy and holy trip.
Prayers for the eternal rest of my parents, Jerome and Louise, on what would have been the 76th anniversary of their wedding.
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,