Brother Jerome's Reflection: March 20
Please pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Tommy. He died suddenly at age 60 last week in Florida while away on business. He leaves his wife Martha, three children Laura, Jill and Andy, parents George and Mary, two brothers Jerry and Jim, and a sister Dorothy as well as a large extended family and a host of friends..
Prayers please for the happy death and eternal repose of recently deceased Carol (48) and also for John, her husband and her daughter Rachel..
Please pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Elizabeth (90) and also for her husband, another John. Both families had supported and nursed their loved ones for many years.
+Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have taken their own lives.+
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 20, July 20, November 19
Chapter 41: At What Hours the Meals Should Be Taken
From holy Easter until Pentecost
let the brothers take dinner at the sixth hour
and supper in the evening.
From Pentecost throughout the summer,
unless the monks have work in the fields
let them fast on Wednesdays and Fridays until the ninth hour;
on the other days let them dine at the sixth hour.
This dinner at the sixth hour shall be the daily schedule
if they have work in the fields
or the heat of summer is extreme;
the Abbot's foresight shall decide on this.
Thus it is that he should adapt and arrange everything
in such a way that souls may be saved
and that the brethren may do their work
without just cause for murmuring.
From the Ides of September until the beginning of Lent
let them always take their dinner at the ninth hour.
In Lent until Easter let them dine in the evening.
But this evening hour shall be so determined
that they will not need the light of a lamp while eating,
Indeed at all seasons
let the hour, whether for supper or for dinner, be so arranged
that everything will be done by daylight.
While I wrote this largely about the US, it is, in many points, very
easily applied to the developed world in general. I am trying
to become more and more conscious of my international audience!
In the US, we can be so glutted with food. Far from want, we are
surrounded, even bombarded with plenty- and not all of it that
nourishing! Consumerist marketing turns things upside down: food
becomes more or less solely for pleasure, not need.
It's a fair guess that this attitude to food in the US has influenced
our attitude to fasting negatively. Now we look on the least thing as
a dreadful privation, when those of us Roman Catholics who are over fifty
can clearly recall meatless Fridays every week, all year and fasting from
midnight on water only for Communion, even if you were just 7 years old!!
When the US Bishops addressed the issue of Friday abstinence, they
did not abolish it. They merely said some other form of penance might
be substituted. Whoops! That got lost in a big hurry. How many of us
Catholics- me included- do something extra on Friday because we do not
abstain from meat? Might be time to take a really hard look at that.
As always, Oblates in the world must find ways that they can fast or
abstain without imposing monastic ways on their non-monastic
families. However, it is worthy of note that Friday abstinence is of
the Church, not the Holy Rule and might be safely re-instituted, with
careful explanation as to WHY we do it, for whole families. The
meatless idea might be easiest for many, but what if something else
was done to really set Friday apart? Skip one, just one half-hour TV
show and you have a slot for a devotional family practice like
Scripture sharing or the Rosary. Could we imagine just 30 minutes
once a week of TV gone? Find something that works for you and
then be faithful to it.
Our spirits are like our bodies in many respects. If we get soft, we
get weak, if we get lazy, our energy actually diminishes while our
total lives suffer from that inactivity. That's why Christian life
itself, not just monastic life, is a life requiring a fair amount of
discipline, of pushing oneself, of self-denial. Those values still
exist in the secular world, but are usually only invoked for profit, fame,
power or sex. See what I mean? We need badly to get our acts together
in the affluent, developed nations.
Love and prayers,