Holy Rule for Aug. 30
Prayers for the Companions of St. Luke Abbey of St. Benedict in Donnelson, Iowa which was flooded. Sugar Creek overflowed and caused a lot of damage to the new buildings...guest houses, living area for the community and the Abbot's quarters and the refectory. Two vehicles that were gifts to the Abbey/Abbot were also lost.
For one with post traumatic stress disorder, that he be able to feel joy at a significant family event.
Deo gratias, Bob, for whom we prayed, has work guaranteed to him for two years, he thanks St. Joseph especially for his prayers. Prayers, too, that a large outstanding debt is paid to Bob, as that will ease his situation considerably.
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
April 30, August 30, December 30
Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal Which They Ought to Have
Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another --
no one following what she considers useful for herself,
but rather what benefits another;
tender the charity of sisterhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!
"Evil zeal" ought to catch our attention. We tend to think of zeal
as more or less good, but it is not in every circumstance. There
can be zealous enthusiasm in the service of things other than good,
all too often! There can also be evil zeal, even real cruelty done
in the name of things which are, in themselves, actually good.
Satan loves to dupe people into wickedness in the name of good.
The beginning and end of the Holy Rule are, to me at
least, "sweetheart" chapters. They float and fly with elegance and
grace and prose that stirs the soul. I love literature like that!
I have to take special care when reading either portion that I do
not let my love of beauty carry me away, that I come down to earth
long enough to look at the dreadfully tough (or, in this case,
evil,) things St. Benedict is talking about.
Because we have a tendency to egocentricity, we tend to view evil
zeal as an extreme (which it is!) of the opposing camp, of
those "other" folks, which is not necessarily true. Vices,
extremes, can flourish all too gleefully in just about any
environment, at any point on the spectrum, including our
own hearts! This is a crucial truth.
If we lack this wisdom, it is easy to assume that those who agree
with us are zealously, quite totally wonderful people. Sure
it's nice to have people agree with us and it is very human to enjoy
that, but their agreement is not a trustworthy standard
of "wonderful." Our lack of self-objectivity can blind us there.
Don't make the mistake of assuming that only wicked people have
wicked zeal. Anyone can, just as anyone can be vain or envious or
the victim of their own anger. Vice is no respecter of persons, and
its only antidotes are humility and love.
I know I'm in the presence of evil zeal in ways that are hard for me
to articulate. It's an intuitive feeling for me, a constriction of
the heart, which is understandable, because evil zeal loves to step
on others' hearts. Even feels gloriously justified in doing so! Hey,
let's crush another heart today! Real work of merit
there.... But that is exactly how vice is made possible, by
converting it in the victim's mind into a work of "goodness."
Evil zeal divides, holy zeal unites. Whether is be a Church or
family or monastery or work place (or e mail list!!) you can be absolutely
certain that a needlessly divisive, partisan zeal is not and cannot
be a holy thing. Strong statement? You bet it is. God is One and
God is Love. Whatever leads to unnecessary factional disunity and
needlessly broken hearts, hurt feelings or useless upset is just
flat out wrong, not of God, big trouble.
Evil zeal presumes to look down from above, but only beckons others
downward. Holy zeal looks up from humility and calls all together
upward. The call of evil zeal is selective, while that of holy zeal
is universal. Evil zeal patronizes with condescension, holy zeal
knows better than that. Real sanctity never, ever patronizes.
But the greatest tragedy of evil zeal is its ability to blind its
adherents totally. That may be evidenced by the fact that many of
the people I am writing about here might quite likely drop me a
private post to say how wonderful today's reflection was. Please
don't let that happen to you! Go back, read the whole thing slowly
and then think: "He's writing about me!" Because I am. And I am
writing about me, too. There are evil zeals in everyone of us and
we must fight the darkness of their blindness all of our lives,
rooting them out one by one. But we cannot weed in the dark- we
need at least a little light to see!! I pray that we may all have
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,