Holy Rule for Mar. 3
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Andrew, vocation discernment and has made his first visit here.
John, still unable to find a job and getting very frustrated.
Two special intentions for C.
for C.'s brother who will have a pacemaker battery changed. They will have to stop and restart his heart.
Peggy, recently widowed, who was just diagnosed with a couple of growths in her brain. They think one is not problematic, but aren't sure of the other. Will see a neurosurgeon on Tuesday. She is in the midst of selling and moving out of her beautiful home, to make matters worse.
Stephen and Heather, expecting a baby boy in July, already named Seth Richard!
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
March 3, July 3, November 2
Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
with her, or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
punishment of excommunication.
When punishment is necessary, the community should support it, at
least passively. This united front should be far different from the
human tendency we often see to abandon those in trouble. Quite the
reverse, like everything in the Holy Rule, this must be fueled by
the concern born of love.Times of crisis like this should awaken us to the necessary
depth of love for all.
Hard though it may sometimes be, we may not rejoice at the downfall
of another. We must participate in common punishments because they
are for the good of all, but also because they are primarily for
the good of the offender, whom we must love. Admittedly, sometimes
the only way one can express that concern is prayer, but we must
Sometimes, both superiors and communities can have an inordinate
fear of giving punishment. What if she leaves? Yeah, what if....?
Maybe she is supposed to leave, maybe this is God's way of telling
her something about herself that she cannot see. Some people who
really, truly do NOT belong in monastic life cannot be convinced of
Some people who are terrible at a given job will not wake up to
that fact in any other way. In some cases toxic folks must be told
gently, but explicitly, that if they insist on continuing to harm
themselves and others, they'll have to do it elsewhere, without
destroying the rest of the family any longer.
Some find the Rule harsh in this respect, but there is a great love
and mercy here. The Holy Rule forbids what many people in groups
will do: passive aggression. We cannot just wordlessly force the
person out without a clue as to why.
Punishment must be named and specific, the offender must know and
those around her must care. It may in fact force a monk out, but he
will know why when he leaves. This is vastly different from the
ordinary human means of exclusion and expulsion. It includes grace.
It includes love. Lots of love! And its justice is always somehow
wrapped in mercy.
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,