Holy Rule for May 29
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Deo gratias and thanksgiving for George and his son, Mark. Mark finished his college year with all A's and one B+
Fr. Chris' mother who fell and hit her head and is in ICU.
Lori with breast cancer.
Fay whose cancer has spread.
Virginia, given two months to live by her oncologist and now hospice is being arranged, continued prayers for her and for a happy death. Prayers, too for her friend Dot, who feels she is losing all those close to her and being left behind.
Prayers for the eternal rest of the following and for all who mourn them; may God hold them in His Mercy and Compassion:
Priscilla, who died on 5/25/09.
Douglas, grandfather of a Priest whom he helped raise, and for his grieving grandson and all their family.
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 28, May 29, September 28
Chapter 7: On Humility
As for self-will,
we are forbidden to do our own will
by the Scripture, which says to us,
"Turn away from your own will" (Eccles. 18:30),
and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God
that His will be done in us.
And rightly are we taught not to do our own will
when we take heed to the warning of Scripture:
"There are ways which seem right,
but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell" (Prov. 16:25);
and also when we tremble at what is said of the careless:
"They are corrupt and have become abominable in their will."
And as for the desires of the flesh,
let us believe with the Prophet that God is ever present to us,
when he says to the Lord,
"Every desire of mine is before You" (Ps. 37:10).
Revolutions usually have several things in common: they respond to a
need, they go too far in some areas, not far enough in others and
they tend to brand those not agreeing with them as criminal or
psychotic. Look at Soviet Russia for most of the 20th century and you
will see all of these. Look further back at the French Revolution and
you will find that 1917 in Petrograd offered nothing new, perhaps new
names for certain aspects, but nothing else.
The last decades of the 20th century saw a tremendous psychological
revolution in the West. Its effects were perhaps greatest in some
religious circles, where those once wary of psychology now embraced
it more or less wholesale.
Pieces of our psycho-spiritual world view definitely needed change and
correction. Unfortunately, like the Bolsheviks and French before them, the
revolutionaries shot the Imperial family and guillotined a lot of otherwise
very fine people. Their zeal went a bit too far and they were often followed
unquestioningly. If one did question one was either totally discounted or
"enlightened" as to the new way of things post haste, yet again like the
revolutions in Russia and France- frighteningly so!
In those years, a close and scathing look was taken at religious
obedience and the personal will. It certainly was necessary. A lot
of accumulation under the accept-without-any-question syndrome
needed examination and sometimes, change.
Sadly, but predictably, the pendulum swung in a
very un-Benedictine fashion to the opposite extreme: question
everything and accept nothing. Personal will, formerly maligned as a
foolish, worthless and even dangerous entity was now elevated to
lofty, noble heights that it frankly did not deserve. Not
astoundingly, both extremes missed the middle road of truth.
Human will is at once both potentially noble and hopelessly flawed.
Without God and grace assisting, the prognosis is not good. For
Christians, however, God's grace and aid ARE available, but they come
at the price of cooperation and cooperation demands a certain
sacrifice of our own wills, often even a total sacrifice of them.
It is perhaps harder for us to see the necessity of abandoning our
wills than it has been for many before us. We are traipsing through
the spiritual road with all kinds of extraneous, late 20th century
baggage about autonomy and maturity and self-actualization carried to
Balance, always balance, always moderation in the
Benedictine way! Our wills can be good and wonderful. It is, after
all, with our wills that we answer God's call. But part of His call
is to forget the self and forget its willful tantrums.
It is fatal to spiritual growth and to community to infer too great a
maturity or too little. Monastics are not children, but most adults
have not totally arrived, either! It is foolish to trust those under
our care with nothing, but equally so to empower them to virtually
anything. That's just not how monastic life works. St. Benedict
bluntly says that his followers DESIRE to live under an abbot. If any
have seriously changed their minds about this, maybe it's time to go.
A good superior will keep one from being too easy on oneself, but
will also protect one from being too hard on oneself. I cannot tell
you the number of times submitting a matter to my superior has
resulted in something FAR less gruesome than what I had obsessively
planned for myself! Obedience can and does protect us!
Some of the wonderful things said about personal will are true, to a
point, but the revolution failed to emphasize the fact that our wills do
NOT come with gyroscopes or guarantees. As such, their trustworthiness
as compasses is far from absolute. The superior, the Rule, the Gospel,
these are the gyroscopes that enable us to will true North! Without these
helps, our journey could very easily make the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
(or the maiden voyage of the Titanic, if one prefers...) look like a Sunday
afternoon swan boat ride in Boston's Public Gardens.
Finally, St. Benedict supports his argument with Scripture. It's a
clever way of saying: "Hey, you want to argue this? Take it up with
God." That's where he threw the gauntlet, all those years ago. No one
in their right mind would dare pick it up.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Many ardent prayers for Mario, substance abuse problem and getting help and treatment, may he stay clean and sober. Prayers, too, for his parents, D. and M. and all his family.
Prayers for Kristen, young wife & mother with serious cancer. Parishioners are praying to Ven. Rose Hawthorne for a miracle.
Prayers for Diana and her daughter, Diana left the Church long ago, prayers that they both may return.
Many ardent prayers for Steve, in hospice, that he may get all the Sacraments, and for his wife and family and all who will mourn him. Divine Mercy chaplets, please, from those so inclined.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Kathy, who died in her sleep, and strength for her husband, Mark and for their family. Kathy was a very devout prayer warrior.
Continued ardent prayers for Josh, drug problems and hopefully already in treatment.
Prayers for Patty, 56, who has been home battling bacterial pneumonia for over a week.
Prayers for the eternal rest of 35 girls killed in a fire at a state-run home for youth in Guatemala, and for their families and all who mourn them. Prayers, too, for the other girls at that facility, where allegations of abuse have prompted riots from those housed there.
Prayers for a man estranged from his children for many years, that they resume contact with him.
Prayers for E., that she go to Confession, also for Liz, that she go to Confession. It has been many years for both.
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,