Holy Rule for Oct. 2
Prayers, please, for two special intentions.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Richard, prostrate cancer. He has had surgery and follow-ups, but the P.S.A. numbers are high and the prognosis does not look too good. His father and grandfather died of prostate cancer. And for Pat, his sister and only sibling.
Judith, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, for her happy death and all who will mourn her.
Maryann, on her birthday.
Enes, having a radical mastectomy.
C., going on a discernment retreat to the Cistercians.
Pat who is waiting to get an MRI. She previously had a CT scan which revealed a 2.2 center thickening on her frontal brain lobe. Prayers that she quickly gets in to get the MRI.
A blessed feast of the Holy Guardian Angels to all, prayers especially for all
members of the American Cassinese Congregation today, as this is their patronal
feast. May all our Guardian Angels watch over us and bring us ever closer to
God's perfect will for us.
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
February 1, June 2, October 2
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fourth degree of humility
is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
and even any kind of injustice,
enduring all without growing weary or running away.
For the Scripture says,
"The one who perseveres to the end,
is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
"Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!
And to show how those who are faithful
ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
"For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
they go on with joy to declare,
"But in all these trials we conquer,
through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
Again, in another place the Scripture says,
"You have tested us, O God;
You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
You have brought us into a snare;
You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
it goes on to say,
"You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).
Moreover, by their patience
those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
in adversities and injuries:
when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
when forced to go a mile, they go two;
with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).
The stumbling block here is the part about holding "fast to patience with
a silent mind." How on earth does one begin to do that? The trend in
consumerist Western society is pretty much to form people- no, let's
call them what consumerism does: "consumers"- in a mold that ALWAYS
listens to very noisy minds. That, after all, is the root of desire
and consumption (clever play on words there! Just think of the old
name for tuberculosis,) and profit. Nothing else matters as much to a
It's not surprising that living, moving and having our being in such
waters, we more or less acquire consumerist gills in order to
breathe. However, the Gospel itself, as well as the Holy Rule, tells
us that we must adopt a view which contradicts that of the secular
world. Learning to do this is neither easy nor fast.
The really hard thing here is that sometimes, even when we are right,
we have to put up and shut up, so to speak. The Rule speaks of
bearing injustice and false brethren. There are no qualifiers here
that say: "You may think it is unjust, but the truth is otherwise."
No, sometimes we must actually endure stuff that really is unjust,
endure people that truly are false. As one very wise old monk of
Pluscarden once said: "Some things will only be fixed by a cross in
the cemetery." That is frighteningly true. Some people, some
dysfunctions will go unchecked and there are only two things one can
do about it: leave or endure.
This may feel like denial to us. It isn't. That's not what's asked of
us. I may think I know very clearly that a person or situation is
wrong, really know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a
particularly controlled fashion, "with a silent mind."
There is a big issue about judgment here. We are not to judge. We
often think we can "assess" when we truly cannot. It is better to
wisely abstain from such "assessments". We never have all the facts
of another person's heart or soul, never. That's why we have been
told not to judge.
Jesus did say, after all, that He is the Truth. He is not calling us
to stupidity or denial, but He can well afford to call us to silent
endurance. The briefest look at Jesus in His Passion can affirm His
rights there. There was never a greater injustice done than that, nor
was there ever a victim so innocent and completely undeserving of all
Why is the "silent mind" such a big deal? Because you cannot get
anywhere spiritually without one. Your focus will be shattered. The
messy bit here is that your focus can be shattered by things
apparently worthwhile- the devil, after all is no amateur at duping us.
We can be tricked into spinning our wheels and expending all our
emotional and spiritual energy on dead ends that look noble, or on
things that truly are noble, but should not absorb all of our efforts
or attention. We can distort our necessary caring and charity into
anger and rage at injustice that does nothing other than perpetrate
anger and rage in more religious attire. Big mistake there! We are
to love, love and always love!
I can recall some awful flame wars on religious lists about religious
topics. Predictably, quite early on the tone stooped to hurling
charges at people, not ideas. Whoops! Wrong way, folks. The holiest
monks I know would not have even entered into that discussion. They
would have gone to their room to read
That's not denial, that's a fair assessment that Brother David Gormican,
OSB, (the elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made
correctly. Br. David was a very, very holy nobody and he knew that. It was a
freeing knowledge, one I completely lacked when I first lived with him. It
was his strong sense of "nobodiness" that made him someone extremely special
At 18, I thought entering into heated argument was the thing to do. It was
1967 and there was no shortage of such heat in the monastery or the Church.
Br. David, quite rightly, knew that it would result in a night (or a whole
day) of strife and nothing would be changed. David knew that a hidden
lay brother in Florida was not going to change the Church at all by
fighting with other people who were similarly powerless. Praying,
maybe, but fighting, no! He was humble enough to know this and go to
his room. How I wish I had been that smart- then or now!
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,