Holy Rule for May 23
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Sr. Germaine, unexpected complications after surgery and further tests being done.
Virginia, in her 80's, a widow with no family other than nieces and nephews who are out of state, who has terminal cancer and now is in hospital with a heart attack, prayers for her happy death. Also for Donna, her health care surrogate, who is trying to arrange hospice care for her from another state. Donna has had significant losses of family members through death of late, so this is terribly hard on 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
January 22, May 23, September 22
Chapter 5: On Obedience
The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
This is the virtue of those
who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;
who, because of the holy service they have professed,
and the fear of hell,
and the glory of life everlasting,
as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,
receive it as a divine command
and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.
Of these the Lord says,
"As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me" (Ps. 17:45).
And again to teachers He says,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
Such as these, therefore,
immediately leaving their own affairs
and forsaking their own will,
dropping the work they were engaged on
and leaving it unfinished,
with the ready step of obedience
follow up with their deeds the voice of him who commands.
And so as it were at the same moment
the master's command is given
and the disciple's work is completed,
the two things being speedily accomplished together
in the swiftness of the fear of God
by those who are moved
with the desire of attaining life everlasting.
That desire is their motive for choosing the narrow way,
of which the Lord says,
"Narrow is the way that leads to life" (Matt. 7:14),
not living according to their own choice
nor obeying their own desires and pleasures
but walking by another's judgment and command,
they dwell in monasteries and desire to have an Abbot over them.
Assuredly such as these are living up to that maxim of the Lord
in which He says,
"I have come not to do My own will,
but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).
A few monks were talking with a Brother with a charge who was
expressing his frustration that people did not do what he asked. He
had tried to be polite, but his requests were ignored or excuses were
given at every turn. He was clueless as to why this was happening and
Finally, a senior monk interrupted him with one of the nicest remarks
I have ever heard made to a monastic. He said: "Wait a minute, Brother,
you don't understand. You're not like other people, you do what you
are told without further argument." Another monk added: "For most
people being told to do something is merely a point to begin
Sad, but true! Bluntly put, obedience doesn't do its best work until it
messes with your life, until it disturbs you and stirs up your
complacent, settled smugness. It's rather like a light switch. The
bulb doesn't go on until someone throws the switch. The potential is
always there, but no switch, no light. Potential light alone is not
terribly enlightening, as anyone who's tried to read in a fully-wired,
darkened room can tell you!
There is a big difference between apathy and detachment.
This chapter offers a prime example: one leaves one's own affairs,
drops whatever one was in the midst of and forsakes one's own will.
That's detachment. Apathy is selfish, detachment is selfless. Apathy
makes oneself the center, detachment revolves around God and
others. Detachment cares deeply, but not for the selfish will!
Apathy, on the other hand, truly doesn't care one way or the other about
anything. There is no ascesis in apathy, because all things are regarded with
equal indifference. It is the LACK of indifference and the level of personal
attachment that makes detachment work. Detachment is active, apathy
is passive. Apathy is the uncaring state, detachment is the lover's struggle
against undue caring. It sets our priorities aright and they need that badly!
Satan hates monastic life, so different aspects will chafe different
people; that's his only hope of success. Obedience may not bother one
who goes off the deep end over chastity. Poverty may be a simple
cinch for one who can scarcely endure stability.
Obedience was the victim of a lot of word play in the 60's and 70's.
One must hope it was all sincere, but it was often misguided.
Beloveds, if you call it "coordination" or "dialogue" or "consensus"
you run a terrible risk of referring to a light switch more or less
perpetually in the off position, or to one which casts light only where we'd
like it to shine. Alas, we are not usually wise enough to request light
where we need it most. That must be left to God and God uses obedience.
Always be wary of euphemism, it can be a harbinger that something is askew.
Euphemisms often stem from a chip on the shoulder and a chip on
the shoulder usually means wood higher up- like in the cranial regions!
When any of those euphemisms actually work, actually intervene in
one's life dramatically, they do so as obedience, plain and simple.
One might as well just call the rose a rose! It does smell wondrously
sweet, but it also has thorns...
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,