Holy Rule for Mar. 10
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Catherine, 18, daughter of Fr. Bosco Peters of Monastic Life list, who died in a tragic accident, and for Fr. Bosco, his wife, Helen, and their son, Jonathan, as well as for all who mourn Catherine.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Vincent's Dad, Cos, on the anniversary of his death, for his widow, Vita, and all their family.
Please pray for the spiritual, mental and physical health of C. M., a 16 year-old girl who was hospitalized Saturdy for severe emotional distress, and is thought to be suicidal, and for Gigi who asks for the prayers. Prayers, too, for all her loved ones and all who take care of her.
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 10, July 10, November 9
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery
For the care of the monastery's property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbess appoint sisters
on whose manner of life and character she can rely;
and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbess shall keep a list of these articles,
as the sisters succeed one another in their assignments
she may know what she gives and what she receives back.
If anyone treats the monastery's property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let her be corrected.
If she fails to amend,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.
OK, for "monastery" substitute the word "planet" and you will
understand that there is a very Benedictine imperative for ecology!
The planet on which we live is surely the greatest treasure for which any
monastery or any one of us is responsible.
And that is the further message here: responsible! Monasteries do
own things, but always with stewardship, always with sharing. So it
must be for each of us, for every Christian. We are stewards of great
and priceless goods. We are entrusted with the very arena of life,
the only arena of life as we know it. God created this awesome world,
this splendor of life and beauty for the common good and salvation
of all people. We must keep that fact in clear focus.
Contrast how things of actually much less worth are guarded and
protected. Would that we surrounded the earth with as much love and
care as the Crown Jewels of England receive, or the Pieta, or other
great treasures of art or history. What if all rainforests were as
protected as the freakishly embalmed body of Lenin? These are things
on which much care has been expended, but our lives do not depend on
them. Our lives do depend on the earth, and so do the lives and
chances for salvation of many others who would come after us, who
OUGHT to come after us, who will need our world to live.
Americans in particular can equate lack of waste with stinginess.
It's a terrible view of things, but deeply rooted. Consumerist
society encourages waste because it fuels profits for the few at the
top. Sad that many below cannot be made to see that when we waste, we
are hurting ourselves in more ways than one: ecologically,
economically AND spiritually.
Waste is a lack of mindfulness for others. The reasons we have been
subtly taught to live with criminal waste as if it were nothing are false,
totally false. They are not luxury, they deny others. Why live a lie? We do
not live on a planet of infinite resources.
Monasteries and homes are microcosms of the universe. We must never
look at conservation as if our actions alone will advance the rise or
prevent the fall. They very well may do neither. What our actions CAN
do is limit our complicity. That is the only safe rationale for
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said that we must start small, that every drop
of fresh water makes the ocean less salty. It is, however, a fair bet that
the Atlantic will remain quite salty, indeed, in spite of our efforts! That's
not the point.
All God will ever ask us is what we added to the problems around us, what we
failed to do to make things different or better. We will be judged on
efforts, not results. The results are often completely out of our hands, but the
striving never is.
Littlest things done with great love can truly change the world, whether we can
that or not.
God knows many things single-handedly cannot be fixed by us alone. No average
person could have stopped the Holocaust in Nazi Germany alone, but some chose
not to be in any way part of it, often at the cost of their lives. What if
everybody had done that? See what I mean? A wealth of opportunity in choice
awaits all of us.
We have failed to call most valuable what is truly most valuable. Nothing and
no one at all can live, can seek God or do His works without the planet on
which we live. Benedictinism must always and everywhere call us to a
conversion from that falsehood.
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,