Holy Rule for Mar. 11
Prayers, please, for Michael LoPiccolo, who has no Internet connection until Thursday. He uses the net to do so much for so many, this is quite hard for him.
Buck, the out of work man we prayed for got the job we prayed he would get. Many thanks! Deo gratias!!
Prayers for Mary Linda, whose brain cancer is progressing. Family and friends are now praying for the grace of a peaceful death.
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 11, July 11, November 10
Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own
This vice especially
is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots.
Let no one presume to give or receive anything
without the Abbot's leave,
or to have anything as his own --
whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be --
since they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills
at their own disposal;
but for all their necessities
let them look to the Father of the monastery.
And let it be unlawful to have anything
which the Abbot has not given or allowed.
Let all things be common to all,
as it is written (Acts 4:32),
and let no one say or assume that anything is his own.
But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
let him be admonished once and a second time.
If he fails to amend,
let him undergo punishment.
There are certainly Gospel counsels to poverty: "Go, sell all that
you have..." was the reading that led St. Anthony the Great into the
desert. There are also ascetic benefits to any detachment, freeing
one from reins that tie the spirit to earthbound stagnation. There
are, however, very pragmatic reasons behind poverty, too.
If Communism had kept God and truly embraced equality, it might have
worked! A lifelong student of the Romanovs (but not of economics,) I
have never been able to figure out why Russia had such a hard time
financially after the revolution. The wealth of the nobility was
beyond the West's wildest dreams, even royalty was aghast at Russian
splendor. Had that been resolutely dissolved and divided equitably, I
have a hard time figuring out why so many were in such great need.
But, of course, the Bolsheviks did not keep God, which left their
altruism for sharing wide open for human corruption to take over,
which it did. George Orwell's parable, "Animal Farm" was right on the
money: the pigs moved into the farmhouse and nothing changed except
who was in charge, in fact, things actually got worse in the barnyard.
Aside from human jealousy, or from righteous indignation at unjust
levels of economic dispersion, property possesses another
characteristic which makes it very wise for monastics to seek to
limit it. The world uses wealth and goods to establish rank, to
confirm (or, God save us, confer,) power. This view was neatly
expressed by a tongue in cheek bumper sticker of a few years
back: "The one who dies with the most toys wins."
The last thing a monastic needs is rank. The same goes for power,
unless one is already very, very holy and very mature, wise enough to
use either rank or power with sanctity. That's a point few of us have
reached. Without that necessary growth in holiness, either rank or
power can be absolutely fatal to the monastic search and struggle.
Our states in life demand different levels of goods. This is
especially true of Oblates who are parents or spouses. We must never
dare to force our simplicity on those beloved non-Oblates in our
midst! Still, there are excellent examples of detachment and
simplicity in the midst of plenty. Not all of them were canonized saints,
The last Grand Duchess of Russia, Olga, sister of Tsar Nicholas
II, died in 1960. She was a picture of no-fuss simplicity all of her
life, long before revolution and exile. She died in a friend's
apartment in Toronto, above a barber shop, not in the Winter Palace.
Not a word of complaint from her at all. Her primary interests had
been being a colonel's wife and a mother to her two sons. Nothing
else mattered to her. Since her husband was a commoner, she was
hardly the apple of her Empress mother's eye, but that didn't matter
What little she had left was shared with admirable
generosity. Of all the Imperial family, Olga was best suited to
exile, because she had always been used to simplicity and even to
hard work. Many other Romanovs fared hardly so well....
Love and prayers,
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Prayers, please for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Dave, recurrent prostate cancer, seeing oncologist on the 18th, and for Elaine, his wife.
Tom, upper erosive esophagitus, a stomach ulcer and hiatal hernia. The current meds are
not helping the problem. Seeing doctor today.
Joyce, who had surgery and several organs are filled with cancer.
The family needs prayers as it is very hard for them to deal with the diagnosis.
Carol, undergoing surgery to repair leg tendons on Thursday... for a safe operation, and a quick, comfortable, and complete recovery.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Doris, who has gone to God, for all her family and all who mourn 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 13, July 13, November 12
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
Let the brethren serve one another, and let no one be excused from
the kitchen service
except by reason of sickness or occupation in some important work.
For this service brings increase of reward and of charity. But let
helpers be provided for the weak ones, that they may not be
distressed by this work; and indeed let everyone have help, as
required by the size of the community or the circumstances of the
locality. If the community is a large one,
the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service; and so also
those whose occupations are of greater utility, as we said above.
Let the rest serve one another in charity.
The one who is ending his week of service shall do the cleaning on
Saturday. He shall wash the towels with which the brethren wipe
their hands and feet; and this server who is ending his week, aided
by the one who is about to begin, shall wash the feet of all the
brethren. He shall return the utensils of his office to the
cellarer clean and in good condition,
and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
in order that he may know what he gives out and what he receives
I know some houses have moved away from having table waiters, but
something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
here, then the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
8, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.
Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the
Abbot would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice
connection there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on
the feast of the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in
Church that day.
The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may
not pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like
a monastery, surely does. There's a great notion here for Oblates
do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad
or Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon.
Switch off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!
There are tons of ways of serving another, serving each other, that
have nothing at all to do with tables or dining. There are many,
many, equivalent forms of foot-washing. Hunt for them diligently and
practice them with deep love!
Love and prayers,
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