Holy Rule for Feb. 5
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:
Bill, financial woes and employment search and his wife, Mary Jo, health issues with MS.
Madeliene, who lost her cat, Dash, due to a medication error, and for her Mom, who made the error and must feel awful.
Marcella, the mother of Garrett for whom we have been praying, she has a lump in her breast and needs to have a biopsy.
Amy who is 24 years old had a biopsy of her uterus on Thursday. The doctors called her in this past Monday morning and she has had another biopsy last night & is having an MRI this morning. Everything has been very sudden. The Mom, Brenda, DOES NOT want to hear about God and the Dad and family are very upset including their Aunt Cindy.
Deo gratias: Bethany's job is holding her position for her. Her shoulder is sore but she is doing very well.
Amber didn't make the CPA exam. She failed by one point. She was very disappointed but will retake the test in May after the tax season.
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 5, June 6, October 6
Chapter 7: On Humility
The eighth degree of humility
is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
by the common Rule of the monastery
and the example of the elders.
[How many of you can tell I used to be a radio DJ by reading this? And I loved it!]
I am a much bigger fan of early Sinatra than I am of his later
career. One of the hits of his closing years, which was also recorded
by Elvis, was "My Way." It quickly became the defining anthem for
many in the rather egocentric late 20th century.
Couple these two guys with a third, Tony Bennett, in an imaginary trio
for another hit, "I've Gotta Be Me" and you have the secular rationale
of the self in a nutshell. I really love Tony Bennett, and I used to own a
copy of his recording of "I've Gotta Be Me", but now I rather wish he'd
passed up on that one.
Both songs take the healthy notion of self and elevate it to a level
of distortion and falsity. They erroneously elevate
a part of truth to being the whole truth and that spells trouble. Our
selves are wonderful, unique, precious gifts, so are children. Leave
either unbridled and malformed and you will regret it.
Humility forms rightly because it is truth. Like the Gospel itself,
humility is the exact reverse of many a worldly tune. The real,
objective truth lies in the paradox, in the tension of yes AND no to
many things which the world would accept unquestioningly as "YES!"
So, here comes the 8th degree. It's message is that it is most safe
to assume that doing it one's own way is neither right nor terribly
bright. We may find that sometimes we are right, but even there, so
long as the action is morally neutral, the wise course is subjection
to the common mind. Benedictines swim in schools, it's our nature to
In fact, even doing it some other monastery's tested, tried and true way
makes no sense. God calls us to the house and the observance that
will best suit us. If we have made a mistake in hearing Him, He will
somehow gets us to transfer (unless we STILL can't hear Him!)
Otherwise, let things alone.
We come to a distinct monastery and congregation, to the Rule, to be
taught, not to teach them. We come to be directed, not to direct, to
be formed, not to form. If we allow all those things to happen to us
in humility we quite likely WILL be elements of change for the better
in the community's history, but that change will be one planned by
God, not ourselves.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for our Sister Mary Paula, on her feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!
Prayers for Mary, on her birthday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!
Deo gratias, Moira, for whom we prayed, safely delivered Victor, 11 lbs, and 2 oz., 22 inches long! Prayers, too, for all the family, Dad and brother, Angel and Angel 3rd, and for Gerry and Eva and Victor’s other set of grandparents.
Prayers for three couples that need to get their marriages blessed and receive the Sacraments.
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!
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 would,
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 extensive 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, along with charity, 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 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 finds itself woefully out
of its element. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith; this impedes it in this
area. Balance, always balance. Keep God in focus in these areas.
The model is His greatness, not our own.
A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
great matters, nor in matters above me." This was a favorite of
Brother Patrick Creamer, my mentor. He learned to do it quite
well and in just 46 years or so!! He'd laugh at my saying that.
I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
monastic soap opera and its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
many things, even most, we must learn simply not to get upset, not to
trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.
That's not apathy, simply a frank admission that, in many cases, others
have charge of areas so that the rest need NOT worry or concern themselves.
The purpose of the division of responsibility is to give the community the
chance to focus their energy on the one thing really needful. This is especially
true in monasteries, but the principle has applications in the workplace, too.
In the latter, there may be times when one is morally obliged to get involved,
but the key word is "morally". About trivia or non-essentials in any milieu,
shrug, say nothing and keep your sanity.
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.
Love and prayers,