Re: [HolyRule] Holy Rule for Dec. 4
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Marie, 46, who left behind 4 children, two still teenagers, and for her best friend, Monica, a very hard loss, and for all who mourn Marie.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Lukadia, being bullied at school, and for the conversion of the bully.
Brian, vocational discernment
John, hunting for employment after losing his job.
Prayers for one seeking a new place of worship and for a special intention.
Deo gratias, Kristen delivered Madeline Grace by C-section, prayers for Kristen as she developed a fever.
Deo gratias, Betty's Mom made it there in time, now a son is coming back from China, so continued prayers and prayers for Betty's happy death, which seems imminent short of a miracle.
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
April 5, August 5, December 5
Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests
Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
who are never lacking in a monastery,
arrive at irregular hours.
Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
Let them be given such help as they need,
that they may serve without murmuring.
And on the other hand,
when they have less to occupy them,
let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
And not only in their case
but in all the offices of the monastery
let this arrangement be observed,
that when help is needed it be supplied,
and again when the workers are unoccupied
they do whatever they are bidden.
The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
and in a prudent manner.
On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
associate or converse with guests.
But if he should meet them or see them,
let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
ask their blessing and pass on,
saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
I am living proof that, when a monastery has to, it can get by with
less than a guestmaster "possessed by the fear of God." Some
days, "impressed by the fear of God" in others was about the best I
could pull off. There were other days when I took comfort in the fact
minimum the Holy Rule gives about the guest house itself is that
be a sufficient number of made-up beds and a kitchen of its own,
because frills beyond that were not likely to be forthcoming! But I
Asking that the house of God be prudently governed by the prudent
surely applies to more than the guest house. That principle goes for
the whole monastery, as well as for the families and homes of those
monastics in the world outside the cloister. This is not just another
call to frugality or economy or order for their own sakes. We are
Benedictines, we don't do ANYTHING for its own sake, except God!
The important reason behind this prudence and care is that we ARE
managing the House of God. All our Benedictine homes, our monasteries
and our guesthouses are the Houses of God. The humblest one-room
studio apartment of an Oblate is the House of God. How easily we
that, how commonly (the adverb is no accident here!) we think of
places as solely our own!
The whole idea of balance and peace and moderation and serenity is
nothing more or less than a singular setting for a pearl of very
great price. We need those things for our monastic struggle to be
most effective. Sometimes a surgeon might have to operate on a bloody
battlefield, but don't be surprised if infection follows. It's the
same with us and dysfunctional, imprudent messes.
We CAN operate there if we have to, but infections are likely. We
need a certain amount of reduction of inconsequential hassles to
focus on the one thing necessary. St. Benedict strives to provide us
with that. No, the monastery is not a sterile surgical suite (and I
always worry when one looks that way!) but neither is it an ill-
housed flock of free range chickens. Show me a monastery or home that
has become a chaotic mess and I can guarantee you there will be a
spiritual ramifications, as well.
We are not necessarily Thomists (though if memory serves me properly,
our Order conducted some of St. Thomas Aquinas' early schooling,) but
we can surely affirm that "peace is the tranquility of order." St.
Thomas' view of the virtues is important to us, too, imbued with the
principles of Aristotle: "Virtus in media stat." Virtue stands in the
middle way. What could be more Benedictinely moderate and balanced?
It must be clearly remembered that when we speak of "prudence", we
speak of a virtue, a thing of holiness and a golden mean. Not for
nothing did our contemporary language get the unlovely title
of "prude" from the same root. All manner of foolish timidity,
cowardice, stinge and hearts-by-Frigidaire prudishness have been
falsely named prudence.
Prudence is not and never can be a wicked thing. Prudence, real
wisdom, is a thing always to be desired. False prudence, on the other
hand, of which there is sadly no shortage, is a thing always and
everywhere to be rejected. Give such people a lot of room.
False prudence and meanness of spirit, whatever else they
may be, are windows into one's heart. The view is not always lovely
and may require a lot of prayer, but one is better off to never
follow the example of such a troubled person. Just be kind and
very, very careful!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the safe release of Fr. Chito and 13 others held hostage by militants in Marawi, Philippines. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of the police chief there, who was beheaded, and for his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the conversion and repentance of his killers and all the attackers. Prayers for all those affected in any way and for peace in this troubled region.
Prayers for our Sr. Christine, whose 20th anniversary of solemn vows was yesterday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Sue asked prayers for all who suffer hearing loss.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. John Brioux, OMI, and for his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Peter D’Alesandre, and for his family and all who mourn him, especially Rachel.
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 25, May 26, September 25
Chapter 7: On Humility
Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
"Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
In saying this it shows us
that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
when he says,
"Lord, my heart is not exalted,
nor are mine eyes lifted up;
neither have I walked in great matters,
nor in wonders above me."
But how has he acted?
"Rather have I been of humble mind
than exalting myself;
as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).
if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
by our ascending actions
erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
By that descent and ascent
we must surely understand nothing else than this,
that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world,
which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.
Today we begin St. Benedict's exhaustive treatment of humility.
Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.
A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
limited to observable data.
Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
with relations between people and visible, created things. The catch
here is that the humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in
relationship of humans to God, a sphere in which psychology often
finds itself woefully out of its element. It can see some things
amiss, but not all. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith, and
this impedes it in this area. Balance, always balance.
A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
great matters, nor in matters above me." This would appeal to
Brother Patrick Creamer, my late mentor. He learned to do it quite
well and in just 45 years or so!! Say a special prayer for Patrick's
eternal rest with God.
I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
monastic soap opera, its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
many things, even most, we must learn simply not to meddle, not to
trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.
You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And
you will never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that
peace is humility and love, both effective vaccinations against the
fatal disease of power.
Love and prayers,