Holy Rule for Dec. 9
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Jason, who severely damaged his foot, ankle and leg and is facing major surgery to repair all the broken bones, of which there are many. He's facing a long recuperation, so for healing as well as Patience for him and his family
Katie, who has entered Drug and Alchohol rehab, that God will grant her the strength to overcome the addiction and regain custody of her daughter
Julie, that God will continue to bless her with the strength she needs to live with the four autoimmune diseases, the Primary Lymphedema, and multiple ruptured discs in her neck. She struggles with depression also, which makes it more difficult to handle these challenges.
Mary, she is in hospital with a possible stroke. Also for her daughter who has other problems.
Derek 48 years old in hospital with a heart attack.
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
April 9, August 9, December 9
Chapter 56: On the Abbess's Table
Let the Abbess's table always be with the guests
and the pilgrims. But when there are no guests,
let it be in her power to invite whom she will of the sisters.
Yet one or two seniors must always be left with the others
for the sake of discipline.
Let me give you a bit of pragmatic application here. I don't know if
this is true everywhere, but in both houses I have actually lived in,
the monks tended to eat rather fast. Secularly speaking, I have a
reputation for being a fast eater when dining alone, even I have
sometimes wondered about how good that is for digestion! Here,
however, with no conversation to slow me down at all, the monks eat
like the wind and I am always the last one, even when gulping down as
fast as I can.
Anyway, the upshot here is that guests OFTEN dine more slowly than
the monastics and we all get up together for grace. If the guests are
where the Abbot can see them, it is easier to check on who's done and
who isn't. We wait for them to finish. (At least 99% of the time. I
have known especially slow guests to win at this face-off once or
twice! We just said grace and left them to finish...)
Monastics (like children or spouses!) can be dreadful creatures of
habit, you should pardon the pun... I can tell you that sometimes
that waiting seems interminable. I can also tell you that it is good
for us, for all of us, and this applies equally to families. We
ALLOW, even enable and encourage the guest to inconvenience us to a
certain extent. That's part of our hospitality, part of receiving
Christ, often in a considerably annoying disguise.
Oblates in families or the world, trust me on this one, I know
company can sometimes be a pain. I had company most of the time
for most of eleven years. While I relished the occasional day
when the house is empty, they were fewer and farther between each
year. The message here is not only for guests in our homes, but for
others in general, at work, when shopping or (horrors!) driving. LET
others put you out a bit. Adopt a courtesy that is greater than the
world's. Many works of genuine mercy can be done in such situations.
I used to work the desk in a public library. From that and from my
hospital and teaching years, I can tell you that a courteous,
hospitable, Christian attitude of charity can stand out, really touch
people. You don't have to be obnoxiously preachy, in fact, that has
the opposite effect! The subtle grace and love of courtesy will lead
a lot of people to wonder about you and what motivates you. Some of
the braver ones will one day even ask. And there is your chance! Go
slowly and gently, but tell them why.
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,