Holy Rule for Mar. 9
A blessed feast of St. Frances of Rome, patroness of Oblates, to all!
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Erica, who died with her mothjer and father at her side, prayers, too, for her parents, all her family, and for all who mourn her.
Prayers for Sr. Mary Joseph's brother-in-law, having medical procedures done on 3/19.
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 9, July 9, November 8
Chapter 31: What Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be
Above all things let him have humility;
and if he has nothing else to give
let him give a good word in answer
for it is written,
"A good word is above the best gift" (Eccles. 18:17).
Let him have under his care
all that the Abbot has assigned to him,
but not presume to deal with what he has forbidden him.
Let him give the brethren their appointed allowance of food
without any arrogance or delay,
that they may not be scandalized,
mindful of the Word of God as to what he deserves
"who shall scandalize one of the little ones" (Matt 18:6).
If the community is a large one,
let helpers be given him,
that by their assistance
he may fulfill with a quiet mind the office committed to him.
The proper times should be observed
in giving the things that have to be given
and asking for the things that have to be asked for,
that no one may be troubled or vexed in the house of God.
Many would shrug at a chapter like this saying: "I'm not cellarer.
What has that to do with me?" Everything, everything. This chapter,
like those on the Abbot, is a masterful view of Benedictine authority
and stewardship in any capacity. We should never presume to usurp
roles that are not our own, but in covering those roles, the Holy
Rule again and again gives models to ALL.
I am guestmaster, not cellarer, but this chapter reminds me that no
job is an empire, a turf, a personal fiefdom that one administers
temperamentally and without love. Jobs, for Benedictines in world or
monastery, are stewardships, not power trips. (At least that OUGHT to
be true. God save us, it is often otherwise...) If people have to
become so careful of a given official, wearing kid gloves at every
possible turn, something is very, very wrong. Now the community is
reduced to serving the official, when it is supposed to be the other
Of course, the needs of those who come to us at work or at home can
be overwhelming, even oppressive at times, but we are told not to
react to those buttons pushed, but to react with love and humility.
Whatever your job is, the reality is that if there were none with
needs, you would likely be unemployed. Always remember that. We
serve, we do not rule. Our call is to forget ourselves in service,
not to present our intransigent selves to be served.
Our motto is Peace, because St. Benedict knew how completely
essential to a fruitful monastic life inner peace was and is. That's
why he gives this really rather astounding principle: "...no one may
be troubled or vexed in the house of God." It's God's house, not
ours. Wake up, folks, if the maid is giving orders tyrannically,
something's wrong at the manor! It's not her house. It's His.
A certain amount of vexation is inevitable, and part of the monastic
struggle and very useful. A chronic, ulcerating source of repeated
vexation is not. If that comes through an official, something must be
done. If the numbers are too few to remove the official, then that's
what the penal code chapters are all about. But even then, God will bring
good out of this for those who love and trust Him.
To blame God's
will for all this stuff is not always correct. But God DOES permit things
can and does use such things to our growth and benefit. God's will works
around such stuff, in spite of it. He can use it, but we must let Him. He
use the very imperfections and even terrors of our situations to make us
if we but trust Him!
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,