Holy Rule for Oct. 2
- A blessed feast of the Holy Guardian Angels to all, prayers especially for all
members of the American Cassinese Congregation today, as this is their patronal
feast. May all our Guardian Angels watch over us and bring us ever closer to
God's perfect will for us.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following and for all who mourn them:
Fr. Werner, 94, of Valyermo, St. Andrew's Abbey.
Ken who we prayed for several weeks ago. He passed away this Sunday from cancer. For his wife Sue, mom Myra, and two brothers and a sister and for all who mourn him.
continued prayers: Many thanks for all the prayers for Dave who lost an arm in the car crash. His progress has been very rapid and he has been moved to a nursing home. He will begin some limited therapy now and more when his leg finishes healing. The hospital staff helped arrange for his care at the nursing home as he has no health insurance. Deo Gratias!
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
February 1, June 2, October 2
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fourth degree of humility
is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
and even any kind of injustice,
enduring all without growing weary or running away.
For the Scripture says,
"The one who perseveres to the end,
is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
"Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!
And to show how those who are faithful
ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
"For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
they go on with joy to declare,
"But in all these trials we conquer,
through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
Again, in another place the Scripture says,
"You have tested us, O God;
You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
You have brought us into a snare;
You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
it goes on to say,
"You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).
Moreover, by their patience
those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
in adversities and injuries:
when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
when forced to go a mile, they go two;
with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).
The stumbling block here is the part about holding "fast to patience with
a silent mind." How on earth does one begin to do that? The trend in
consumerist Western society is pretty much to form people- no, let's
call them what consumerism does: "consumers"- in a mold that ALWAYS
listens to very noisy minds. That, after all, is the root of desire
and consumption (clever play on words there! Just think of the old
name for tuberculosis,) and profit. Nothing else matters as much to a
It's not surprising that living, moving and having our being in such
waters, we more or less acquire consumerist gills in order to
breathe. However, the Gospel itself, as well as the Holy Rule, tells
us that we must adopt a view which contradicts that of the secular
world. Learning to do this is neither easy nor fast.
The really hard thing here is that sometimes, even when we are right,
we have to put up and shut up, so to speak. The Rule speaks of
bearing injustice and false brethren. There are no qualifiers here
that say: "You may think it is unjust, but the truth is otherwise."
No, sometimes we must actually endure stuff that really is unjust,
endure people that truly are false. As one very wise old monk of
Pluscarden once said: "Some things will only be fixed by a cross in
the cemetery." That is frighteningly true. Some people, some
dysfunctions will go unchecked and there are only two things one can
do about it: leave or endure.
This may feel like denial to us. It isn't. That's not what's asked of
us. I may think I know very clearly that a person or situation is
wrong, really know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a
particularly controlled fashion, "with a silent mind."
There is a big issue about judgment here. We are not to judge. We
often think we can "assess" when we truly cannot. It is better to
wisely abstain from such "assessments". We never have all the facts
of another person's heart or soul, never. That's why we have been
told not to judge.
Jesus did say, after all, that He is the Truth. He is not calling us
to stupidity or denial, but He can well afford to call us to silent
endurance. The briefest look at Jesus in His Passion can affirm His
rights there. There was never a greater injustice done than that, nor
was there ever a victim so innocent and completely undeserving of all
Why is the "silent mind" such a big deal? Because you cannot get
anywhere spiritually without one. Your focus will be shattered. The
messy bit here is that your focus can be shattered by things
apparently worthwhile- the devil, after all is no amateur at duping us.
We can be tricked into spinning our wheels and expending all our
emotional and spiritual energy on dead ends that look noble, or on
things that truly are noble, but should not absorb all of our efforts
or attention. We can distort our necessary caring and charity into
anger and rage at injustice that does nothing other than perpetrate
anger and rage in more religious attire. Big mistake there! We are
to love, love and always love!
I can recall some awful flame wars on religious lists about religious
topics. Predictably, quite early on the tone stooped to hurling
charges at people, not ideas. Whoops! Wrong way, folks. The holiest
monks I know would not have even entered into that discussion. They
would have smiled and maybe shrugged and gone to their room to read
That's not denial, that's a fair assessment that Brother David Gormican,
OSB, (the elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made
correctly. Br. David was a very, very holy nobody and he knew that. It was a
freeing knowledge, one I completely lacked when I first lived with him. It
was his strong sense of "nobodiness" that made him someone extremely special
At 18, I thought entering into heated argument was the thing to do. It was
1967 and there was no shortage of such heat in the monastery or the Church.
Br. David, quite rightly, knew that it would result in a night (or a whole
day) of strife and nothing would be changed. David knew that a hidden
lay brother in Florida was not going to change the Church at all by
fighting with other people who were similarly powerless. Praying,
maybe, but fighting, no! He was humble enough to know this and go to
his room. How I wish I had been that smart- then or now!
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,