Holy Rule for July 30
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
J. and spouse, serious marital problems.
John Patrick, taking his exams today and next week.
Laurence, in hospice care at home, rapidly declining from metastatic cancer, for his wife of 57 years who is primary caregiver, and for their grown children who are trying to help.
Liam, 14 months, undergoing his first surgery Thursday for a birthmark growth that may become malignant if left unremoved. Second surgery to follow in a couple of months. Prayers, too for his anxious parents, Katie and Bill.
Prayers for St. Anne's intercession, on a very significant 32nd anniversary for
one of our
Prayers for Julie, on her birthday.
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 30, July 30, November 29
Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor
On Sundays, let all occupy themselves in reading,
except those who have been appointed to various duties.
But if anyone should be so negligent and shiftless
that she will not or cannot study or read,
let her be given some work to do
so that she will not be idle.
Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft
of such a nature as to keep them from idleness
and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away
with excessive toil.
Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.
Work in the corporate world is, for the most part, governed by two
principles: profit and profit. Sigh... Work in the monastery is very
different at its roots. Monastics work out of communal need and to
avoid idleness. That means, put another way, that sometimes monastic
labor is nothing more than "Keep 'em busy." That's OK in a monastic
milieu, where the bottom line is not cost-efficiency.
One reason so many Oblates are frustrated in trying to apply too much
of the Holy Rule to their lives in the world is that it simply will
not fit. Not only is the rationale of monastic labor radically
different, but so is its schedule. Contemplative monasteries usually
have about 20-25 hours of work per week, not 40. That may sound quite
easy, until one considers the fact that about 5 hours a day are spent
in choir and another two hours in lectio, with no weekends off!
That's roughly 47 hours a week right there, add 20 to that and you
get a 67 hour week. No, it is not all unbelievably hard and yes, you
do get to work at home, but not on your own schedule.
Parents who work- even many who stay at home- have often put in a lot
more than 67 hours a week; a sick child will instantly guarantee that
they put in a few more, too! It is not humanly possible to add the
whole of the Rule to such a life, because what would need trimming
would be the duties of parenting and marriage, which have priority
and must not be neglected.
Our Holy Rule is a delicate balance, finely tuned. That balance is
built around its own standards. It was not, in this respect, written
for secular life at all. If you are retired or very independently
wealthy, you might pull it off. Otherwise, you're going to wind up
like Sisyphus of the Greek myth, who was condemned to push the same
huge rock up the same hill forever, always watching it roll right
back down. Don't do it, folks, it will destroy your peace.
Even active monasteries have to trim and rearrange the Rule's program
to make room for their apostolic endeavors. Anyone who has taught can
tell you that it is NOT a 20 hour a week job. The same goes for
hospital work, and teaching and nursing are two of the most usual
works in which our monasteries are engaged. Often choir or the Psalm
arrangement has to be adjusted and the Holy Rule provides for this.
Don't try to make the demands of your secular life seem less than
those of monasteries themselves. They aren't. They are often your
first vocation, your "day job", if you will. Like it or not, for
most Oblates, our Benedictine calling is in addition to some other
vocation. Both must always be respected, if anything has to suffer,
the primary vocation comes first. (Hence the name!)
By now I think most of you know me well enough to realize that I
spend the great bulk of my time and effort trying to explain to you
how the Holy Rule IS applicable to daily life anywhere. This is one
time, however- and there are sure to be others- when I have to tell
you that it is NOT applicable fully. If you have a problem in this
area, please listen carefully. Nobody wants to be like Sisyphus!
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,