Holy Rule for Mar. 31
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal est of Fr. Kevin, OSB, of St. Procopius Abbey, and for all his loved ones and his ommunity, and for all who mourn him.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them;
Ann, heart problems, encroaching on her ability to do simple things around the house.
Shirley, for her stamina and endurance to adjust to her new work schedule, even though she is often in severe pain.
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 31, July 31, November 30
Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent
Although the life of a monk
ought to have about it at all times
the character of a Lenten observance,
yet since few have the virtue for that,
we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
the brethren keep their lives most pure
and at the same time wash away during these holy days
all the negligences of other times.
And this will be worthily done
if we restrain ourselves from all vices
and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.
During these days, therefore,
let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
"with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
something above the measure required of him.
From his body, that is
he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
and with the joy of spiritual desire
he may look forward to holy Easter.
Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
what it is that he wants to offer,
and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
and will merit no reward.
Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.
St. Benedict uses the term "ought" to express the fact that a
monastic life is, by rights, one full-time Lent. Though "ought"
and "should" are commonly used as identical terms these days, they
are not synonymous. "Should" expresses a wish, "I should like some
coffee." "Ought" expresses a moral issue or obligation, "We ought to
help that woman."
In his use of the stronger, moral term, St. Benedict acknowledges
that a monastic's life is truly an obligation to a perpetual Lent.
Then he goes on to make one of his most sweepingly gentle and kind
allowances for human nature: "yet, since few have the virtue for
that..." The beauty of his adaptation is often lost, people quoting
only the first line of the chapter, reading it as pointing to a Lent
that never ends.
Slangily put, what our holy Father is saying here
is: "OK, in a real world, monastics ought to live Lent all the time,
but since few of us can pull that off, let's shoot for pouring it all
on during Lent itself." That's a very different sentiment!
Benedictines have been known for many things, but harsh, physical
austerity, especially during the last several centuries, has not been
one of them. Sometimes in the past I think that has given some of us
a slight inferiority complex, since the world tends to rank Orders in
terms of their strictness, wrongly assuming that monastic life is
some kind of Olympics of penance. Happy the Benedictine who has no
such hang-ups! We are moderate and gentle, therein is our strength.
We are not the elite special forces of the Church nor do we pretend
to be. We leave the superstar status claims firmly alone. Quietly, we
know with surety that the local also-rans of the Church often do just
as well as any others, without all the fanfare! There is a certain
humility in our not even wishing to get involved in that "stricter-
than-thou" business. It is futile in more ways than one; even if we
could win it, it would not be valid. The Christian monastic's life is
not about trophies in harshness.
So, yeah, we balance, always balance. We moderate. That is our gift
from our Father Benedict. Enjoy that to the full, dear brothers and
sisters. We belong to a gentle and loving family!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- I have no idea why this didn't go through yesterday. Catching up. BJL+PAXPrayers for the grace-filled success of our Oblate Day and our Sisters' Monastic Experience weekend at Petersham and for all participating.Urgent prayers needed for Brian's brother-in-law, Paul. He is a diabetic, and now has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. It is stage 3, and a biopsy this coming Tuesday will check to see if he is stage 4. He will be starting chemo & radiation. His wife is devastated. Brian has known Paul since they were very young, loves him like a brother and is crushed. Please pray for Paul, his wife, Brian and all their family and friends.Deo gratias, the twin's fluid build up is gone.
Prayer for Brian T.,( another Brian,) who is being viciously harrassed.
Prayers for JS, discernment and assistance in making an important life decision.
Prayers for Beverly, special intention plus dicernment regarding another of perplexing issues..
Deo gratias for all prayers and graces of the past.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 14, July 14, November 13
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
An hour before the meal let the weekly servers each receive a drink
and some bread over and above the appointed allowance, in order
that at the meal time they may serve their brethren without
murmuring and without excessive fatigue. On solemn days, however,
let them wait until after Mass.
Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday, the incoming and
outgoing servers shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren
in the oratory and ask their prayers. Let the server who is ending
his week say this verse: "Blessed are You, O Lord God, who have
helped me and consoled me." When this has been said three times and
the outgoing server has received his blessing, then let the
incoming server follow and say, "Incline unto my aid, O God; O
Lord, make haste to help me." Let this also be repeated three times
by all, and having received his blessing let him enter his service.
Families, and parents and caregivers, listen up! There's an
important lesson here. No task is too small to be blessed by
prayer. More than that, no task is so easy that it can be done
without God's help, so remember to thank Him. Of ourselves, we can
do nothing, literally nothing. All our strength and power comes from God.
Making dinner or washing the dishes? Take a quiet moment in the
midst of either to say "Help!" and "Thanks!" Two simple, one word
prayers. No matter how chaotic your household, everyone will find
time for at least that. God knows the details, knows your heart and
can readily fill in the blanks! We may think God needs essay-length
prayers, but He doesn't. He may enjoy hearing from us, but trust
me, we NEVER tell Him anything that's news to Him.
This chapter is not simply the humility and charity of service, it
is also the honest acknowledgment of complete helplessness without
God. For most folks, only sickness or debility will teach them
that. It may seem like nothing to bend down and pick up a pin off
the floor until a bad back makes that impossible. Handicaps hone
our perceptions of being in charge very, very well.
Of course, there is another side to simple things like serving
table, picking up pins and the like. One could not have done
anything without God's help, but ah, if one does them out of love
and care! Bingo! Double coupons, so to speak! If that pin got
carefully picked up because of a barefoot and running child, or a
beloved pet who is prone to "tasting" whatever she can find on the
floor, simplicity becomes a very much greater matter, indeed. Now
it is very close to the heart of God, and that is a wonderful place
By the way, though some might think me daft for saying this, it is
not at all that crazy. There is no reason why families could not
bless whomever is assigned to a domestic task for a week or month
or whatever. A simple prayer asking God to help them serve us all
and get over any rough times could be tastefully done without a lot
of fuss. This could really help drive home the message of the worthwhile
merit to be had in doing small things with love!
Love and prayers,