Holy Rule for Oct. 3
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Sharon, and for her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following and for all their loved ones, and all who take care of them:
Craig, two wrongful lawsuits and multiple financial problems all at once, for God's perfect will.
Maybelle, 99, in hopsice with cancer and for her children.
Deo gratias, Amy passed her postal exam, now hoping for a position to open up for her.
Santana, his family and all involved. He fell into a pool at 22 months. By God's grace, Santana survived after 45 minutes of no oxygen and 30 minutes being clinically dead. Santana now has multiple, very serious health issues.
J., special intentions for some very tough times.
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
February 2, June 3, October 3
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fifth degree of humility
is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
that enter his heart
or the sins committed in secret,
but that he humbly confess them.
The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
"Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
"Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
And the Prophet likewise says,
"My offense I have made known to You,
and my iniquities I have not covered up.
I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).
As the saying goes, friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.
There's something to that, something we all know and demonstrate when
something pleases us so much that we just can't wait to tell someone
else about it. Unfortunately, we don't often show the same eagerness
when something is wrong. Granted, our sorrows and griefs may be
shared, but often our most treacherous wounds and illnesses are not.
Neither are we particularly eager to let our weakest areas show.
Few things can be more pathetic (or more frustrating to those who
love them!) than a patient's refusal to tell the doctor that
something is wrong out of some misguided fear. "I was afraid he'd
tell me it was cancer!" Well, he might have, and it might be, but if
he doesn't know, he cannot treat it in time and it is a nearly
certain death sentence. Beyond that, what a waste it is for all the
times we left things untreated out of fears that were totally unfounded!
So it is with the spiritual life, the monastic struggle, and even
with 12 step recovery programs. Our wounds must be exposed and shared
if they are to heal. I can say from personal experience that, at some
of the worst crisis times in my own vocation, I resolutely kept my
mouth shut. Part of that was stupidly not wishing to upset anybody,
but another part was afraid that if I did say something, they'd help! God
got me through those times. Apparently He insisted on doing so, because He
got precious little help from me.
For heaven's sake- literally- if you belong to a Church that has a tradition
sacramental Confession, GO! Christ left us that sacrament for a reason,
not out of whimsy or folly. He had too short a public life to fritter His
time away and leave us non-essentials. Confession is a necessary and very
effective medicine! Go!
Pick whichever popular image you wish for the monastery, school of
the Lord's service or hospital, but neither of them are going to be
much good if you are unwilling to let anyone know what you need to
learn or what ails you. Face it, apart from their primary goals of
education and healing, neither school nor hospital has much to offer
in the way of a vacation resort. We come here because we ARE unwise
and unwell. Pretending otherwise is a huge disservice to ourselves.
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,
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