Holy Rule for Jan. 24
SINCE I ACCIDENTALLY SENT OUT THE 24TH YESTERDAY, THIS IS THE MISSING READING
FOR JAN. 23.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Mary, 97, who has gone to God and for all who mourn her.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Mr. Kelliher, and for all his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and phsyical health of the following and for all who love them and all who take care of them:
Zinie, physical healing and that she find her way to Jesus.
Chris, who has 6 blockages in his heart each ranging from 70-90 %. He is having open heart surgery as soon as it can be scheduled.
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 23, May 24, September 23
Chapter 5: On Obedience
But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
since He Himself has said,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
then even though he fulfill the command
yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
who sees that his heart is murmuring.
And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
unless he amend and make satisfaction.
Trust me, folks, I am not second-guessing St. Benedict on this one, I
just think there is a chance that he is often misread and that
something not at all contrary to his precepts needs to be emphasized.
Few who share my cynical bent would fail to chafe at a reading of
this passage which implies that we must all be cheerful, Pollyanna
optimists, blithely smiling automatons. Yes, we are told not to
murmur, and to put the very best face on our obedience that we
possibly can. Often the real miracle of grace is that we can just
barely obey in silence, without any comment at all. No doubt that is
a tender mercy to those who live with us! We must not read St.
Benedict harshly, even less so God. We must keep the loving parent
image ever before our eyes in both instances.
I want to expand the image of the non-murmuring heart a bit. Some
days one's heart cannot murmur, because it is numb and paralyzed,
unable to do much of anything more explicit than ache. After being racked
and tortured brutally in prison, St. Edmund Campion's keeper asked him
how he felt. He replied: "Not ill, because not at all."
Some days everything seems like another trip to the rack, some days
one's heart is Ground Zero, and everything coming at it seems to be
just one more horrible plane. Never, never think that St. Benedict is
telling us to put a happy face on this. A brave face or even a blank
expressionless one may be all one can muster. We are asked to try, to
do our best, to be as brave as we can.
How very great is the love of God for us at such times. A favorite
image I have used before is very apt here: the heart of God is like a
Mother's refrigerator door, plastered with children's bad, even
ghastly art. (OK, I KNOW it may be age-appropriate art, but bear with
me on this one....) God is bursting and beaming with pride at our
struggling efforts. He cares not a wit that we are not beaming with
false cheer ourselves. With all that mud on our faces, who could see
the forced smile anyhow?
There will never be a time, in this world or in the next, when God
loves us more than He does when we are fallen, crawling toward Him on
all fours and still barely hanging on. The effort, always the effort
is what God sees.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the eternal rest of Sylvia, who died a terrible death from Lou Gehrig’s disease/ALS, and for her husband and family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for Wendy, who has an incurable lung condition which requires thousands of dollars in prescription meds to keep her alive. She is nearing retirement and worried about finding insurance that will cover her medications.
Prayers for Alicia, 76, suffering terribly from severe loneliness. Her best (and virtually only,) friend died recently and her family does not visit. Many prayers, please, she is so alone.
Prayers for Moira, going in for a scheduled Caesarean section on Monday, to deliver her second son, Victor. Prayers please for a safe delivery and for her husband, Angel, and son, Angel 3rd. Prayers. too, for her parents, Gerry and Eva, Ultrasounds have been positive to this point.
Prayers for Sinead, about 24, suffering from Lyme disease, having a lot of problems and pain.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Zachary, 32, and for his wife and family and for all who mourn him.
Prayers for Jackson, a seminarian, on his birthday. May he persevere in his calling and find graces galore and many more years in the Lord’s service.
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 21, May 22, September 21
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
To fulfil God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
To love chastity.
To hate no one.
Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
Not to love contention.
To beware of haughtiness.
And to respect the seniors.
To love the juniors.
To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
And never to despair of God's mercy.
These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
and return them on the Day of Judgment,
our compensation from the Lord
will be that wage He has promised:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).
Now the workshop
in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
is the enclosure of the monastery
and stability in the community.
One very quick little thought here: even the tools we do manage to
pull off using are not our own: we are to return them on the Day of
Judgment!!! Hey, before we fall all over ourselves, patting our own
backs for this or that, we are doing it all with borrowed tools!
Humbling thought there!
Dryer sheets may have many other handy uses (cleaning your monitor or
TV screen is one of them,) but they will not soften clothes unless
the clothes stay in the dryer with them and tumble about for as long
as necessary. Of course, one can use a dryer without such softening
sheets, but then the clothes cling statically, inappropriately and
inordinately to things and each other, resisting being pulled apart
for their proper uses by (forgive me,) downright shocking means. How
like monastics without stability, community and enclosure!
Stability is not a lot of good without community, neither is
enclosure. The dryer sheet essential to both enclosure and stability is genuine,
sometimes annoying, tumbling community. The heat employed, at times
intense, is reality checks, objectivity, outside-referenced truth.
Like any good dryer or community, there may be a separate setting for
delicates and permanent press, but everybody gets the heat, one way
or the other.
If you are one of the many Benedictines living in the world, just
substitute family or circle of friends for community and home for
monastic enclosure. The stick-to-it-tiveness I'm afraid you'll have
to provide yourself, but I think you get the picture. Community is
any connected group, workplace or home. Enclosure is your home, as
well as your heart.
Without being obsessive, or making the people who live with you
crazy, guard what comes into your enclosure, both heart and home.
There is a switch on your TV. There is a less visible, but equally
effective one on your mouth. There is a useful one on your heart and
Enclosure is not a prison, neither should your home
be. The Middle Ages spoke of the "Paradisus claustralis" , the
cloistered Paradise. Every home, for one or for several hundred, must
strive for that paradise. It is comfort and leisure to an extent, it
is peace and order to an extent, it is the proper arena of love and
spiritual growth. The components will necessarily vary from case to
case, as will their balanced levels.
Guard the people who tumble in the dryer with you, too, especially
the annoying ones. Without the moisture they share with you, you
would soon wither in the heat and die, you would go well beyond
simply drying to utter destruction. And please, the next time you
think the dryer is hellish (and we all do sometimes,) bear in mind the
scarring charms and delicate fragrance of damp mildew.....Yecch!
At the center of most older monasteries was a garden, a cloister
garth, a deliberate attempt at a paradise in the heart of things. In
the heart of those gardens was usually a fountain. That symbolic
fountain, the heart of everything, is Love and Divine Mercy.
Go for it, folks!
Love and prayers,