Holy Rule for May 21
Prayers, please, for Jenny, that she not lose her faith and leave the Church.
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
January 20, May 21, September 20
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
To fear the Day of Judgment.
To be in dread of hell.
To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
To keep death daily before one's eyes.
To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
Not to love much talking.
Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
To listen willingly to holy reading.
To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
holy, that one may be truly so called.
Why manifest one's evil thoughts to a spiritual mother or father?
Heavens, many in communions that practice Confession have trouble
enough stammering out our sins with a generic mention of evil
thoughts, let alone a detailed description of them!
By the time he wrote this, St. Benedict had no doubt listened to a
LOT of monastics' confess their evil thoughts. He knew the carefree,
breezy generalities of those who lacked depth and he also knew the
excruciating details of the scrupulous, who had too much depth! What
he must have had to listen to in those years! Why on earth would he
recommend a practice so difficult for both the father and the
Because it works, as AA and other Twelve Step members could readily
tell you. It offers an outside, objective opinion, a more impartial
estimation of one's progress or lack thereof and a chance to give
pertinent advice in the struggle.
You can also get a fairly good barometer of where a person's struggles
are focused by knowing where she is tempted. Satan does not waste time
and effort, he does not duplicate services. If you are doing a wonderful job
of running yourself to hell on a rail in a given area, you can be pretty sure
he'll leave you alone. Remember, there are the world and the flesh to
help him out. The devil delegates to one or the other!
Some of our evil thoughts DO come from us, and these may be very
informative, but others do not, and these also, give a better picture
of where we actually are. Real assaults of Satan that are terribly
noticeable usually come at a time when we are progressing. (Of
course, there are subtle ones day in, day out, but the biggies
usually mean we're doing SOMETHING right!) Hideous temptations
are often a good sign, not a bad one: they can mean our progress has
riled up the devil's anger.
AA knew they were offering a spiritual program of recovery to people
from all faiths, as well as to people of no religious background.
They knew some Churches had one-on-one confession, others did not, so
they included it in the 12 steps, stating that each must make known
to oneself, to God AND to another "the exact nature" of their wrongs.
Heavy stuff, there, but why?
Because God, wonderful though He is, often seems not to talk back, or if
He does, to speak indirectly in ways that many of us miss. Because we
cannot tell from our own inventory what another person can tell us
about ourselves: we're too close to the subject to be objective!
AA just requires a one-time shot, what Catholics would call
a "general Confession" of all one's past sins. Many people dread it,
but I have never heard anyone come away from the experience without
praise for it. What a weight was lifted from them!
Our fears and shame are so terrible when they are horrible secrets to
us alone. They paralyze us, wholly or partially, but they ALWAYS impede us.
Break that panicky isolation, tell the worst and, finding that your
listener has at least not dropped dead of shock, you are on the
way to learning something wonderfully necessary. None of us are
hopeless, none of us are unlovable (or unloved!)
For all of our Oblates who come from Christian traditions that do not
practice individual confession, I recommend it- so does St. Benedict!
If AA members can feel so freed and cleansed and uplifted by one
shot, think what a regular dose of such reality could do for one!
A word of caution, however, for those to whom such confession is new.
AA does not recommend that you spill your sins out to just anyone.
It can take time to find the right person.
Religious Confession, howver, is an obligation for Catholics. Finding a regular confessor may take time, but one cannot hold off confessing in the meantime. Pray to the Holy Spirit to find the right priest for you. Ask God to use the priest's lips to speak to you. I can't tell you how many times I have made this last prayer and had it richly answered. God does use His priests.
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,