Holy Rule for May 31
Forty-two years ago today, I graduated from Tampa Catholic High School. Prayers,
please for all the teachers and students there who changed my life forever for
the better. Much of what I give you I received from them. I urge all of you to
pray daily for those who taught you and, if this applies, for those you've
taught. It is a practice I love very much. 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 29, May 30, September 29
Chapter 7: On Humility
We must be on our guard, therefore, against evil desires,
for death lies close by the gate of pleasure.
Hence the Scripture gives this command:
"Go not after your concupiscences" (Eccles. 18:30).
since the eyes of the Lord observe the good and the evil (Prov. 15:3)
and the Lord is always looking down from heaven
on the children of earth
"to see if there be anyone who understands and seeks God" (Ps. 13:2),
and since our deeds are daily,
day and night,
reported to the Lord by the Angels assigned to us,
we must constantly beware, brethren,
as the Prophet says in the Psalm,
lest at any time God see us falling into evil ways
and becoming unprofitable (Ps. 13:3);
and lest, having spared us for the present
because in His kindness He awaits our reformation,
He say to us in the future,
"These things you did, and I held My peace" (Ps. 49:21).
The theme of God seeking His laborers first expressed in the Prologue
comes back here, like background hints of melody woven through an
overture. God SEES us, yes, but He also SEEKS us, seeks those who
seek Him. If we forget that, God's loving, watchful care over us (He
assigns angels to us!) is reduced to the lackluster charm of a security camera,
an "Eye in the sky."
Ever lose somebody in airport? It's a funny sort of panic, because
both of you know that ultimately, somehow you will connect. Until
that happens, however, a lot of anxious hunting takes place. Do you
know the joy when two such people finally find each other? It ain't
slight! While one says "Thank heavens I found you!" the other is
saying, "But I was looking for you, too, EVERYWHERE!" There is a
great common blessing in such moments, one which far transcends the
anxiety of the search which preceded it.
That's how it is with God. While we are seeking Him, even BEFORE we
are seeking Him, He is seeking us. There is so much love in that searching,
on both parts. The novice is to be examined to see if she truly seeks God.
But the question is not just for novices. "Quaeremus inventum," said St.
Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we have found." And so it goes. A monastic
life done right has seeking and finding writ large on every page, from
beginning to end.
Angels got a bad press in the Roman Catholic world in the late 60's
and beyond. It became fashionable to be rather scornful of such
belief and some skeptics viewed guardian angels as only a slight step
beyond the fairy godmothers of children's tales. Well, folks, it was
one time they weren't on the crest of a wave. The signs of the times
told them that emphatically when a ground swell of popularity arose
with angels as its focus.
The angels are
more than human, but less than divine. They share our status of being
creatures, but they have powers beyond our ken. No wonder popular
culture embraced them: they are a very good entry level awareness of
something beyond, something spiritual. Whatever else they may be,
they are real. Why waste 'em? Let them help us all they can and let
us ask for more besides! There may be reservations among some of our
readers about praying to saints, but Scripture abounds with examples of
conversations with angels, a comforting assurance for our Protestant readers.
Go for it!
A couple of years ago, a confessor recommended that I pray to
my Guardian Angel about a problem. No one had said that to me in years! I
took his advice, however, and loved the results. Growing tired of always just
calling on him generically, I decided to give my guardian angel a name.
I call him Hal, short for the Hebrew "hallelujah", a word I'm sure he says quite
a lot. He seems happy enough with his new moniker! Thanks, Hal. I owe you
By the way, the Guardian Angels are the patrons of the American
Cassinese Congregation. I know some guys who probably would have
loved to change that during the "bad press" years. Thankfully, no one
did! Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us!
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,