Holy Rule for Oct. 4
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:
Selah, 5 mos., heart problems
Justus, child cardiac patient, recovering from 2 open heart surgeries.
Josh, deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Riley, blood clots
Lori, thyroid cancer
Baby Payton, one successful orthopedic surgery but many problems remaining.
Sr. Mary Daniel had a biopsy test positive for breast cancer, and is undergoing a full mastectomy on Monday. Please pray for her, and for Don who requests prayers.
Sr. Germaine, second cancer surgery for an aggressive cancer.
Blanche who is awaiting brain surgery, and for her children, especially Nancy, who are trying to meet her needs plus keep their own lives going.
For family unity. That Ruth's heart my be softened and all family wounds
my be healed.
Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam Diocese in the UK, Chairman of Catholic Agency For Overseas Development and the other bishops travelling to a meeting in Rome 'The African Synod' for Reconciliation and Justice & Peace; and for the success of that Synod which is lasting for most of October.
For aid agencies helping all those facing the turmoil of tsunamis and earthquakes in the Pacific region; and starvation caused by drought in East Africa.
Many of our lives have been touched for the better by Francsicans- there are so
many of them! Prayers for them all on the feast of St. Francis.
Prayers for Brie, on her 28th birthday, ad multos annos and may blessings.
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 3, June 4, October 4
Chapter 7: On Humility
The sixth degree of humility
is that a monk be content
with the poorest and worst of everything,
and that in every occupation assigned him
he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
saying with the Prophet,
"I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
I have become as a beast of burden before You,
and I am always with You" (Ps:22-23).
It is easy to miss the hardest word in this reading. Our eyes fly
right away to the ones we want to argue with- and these days many
want to argue with them! Slyly stuck into the first line is the
demand that the monastic "be CONTENT with the poorest and worst of
everything." The connection this time is not to obedience, but to
other virtues in humility's service: simplicity and stability.
Contentedness does not bide its time for a jump to something better,
does not merely undergo, but accepts rather matter-of-factly.
Contented monastics aren't hunting for or wondering about something
else, usually it doesn't even occur to them. Truly contented people,
in monasteries or in marriage or in the world do not spend a lot of
time on "what if?" or "what next?". In the 70's a lot of people loved
the popular phrase on posters: "Bloom where you are planted." Quite
possibly they never stopped to think exactly what that meant: being
contented enough to blossom in any circumstance. Whoops! A little
more teeth to that version!
I know from personal experience: stability with divided attention,
with tons of Plans B, C, and D, simply is not very effective. It is
better than nothing, to be sure, but it is nearly nothing when
compared with its power once all those distractions are dropped. We
often cannot drop them all at once, but we must try to stay rooted,
ever more and more rooted.
I know one great monk who told me, at 83, that
he had finally decided to stay! There was not even a hint of irony of
twinkle in his voice. On the other hand, I have known monks who were
happy as clams and completely contented in their forties. It is a
different struggle for each of us.
Truly contented simplicity and stability are powerful, counter-
cultural witnesses to offer this age. Materialism, consumerism and
the short attention span rule. A consumerist society is actually
fueled by provoking discontent: how else can superfluous consumption
Every time one person, family or monastery gets even
partially free of those constraints it is a powerful witness to those
still bound. Most of us truly do not "need" more. The Holy Rule can
teach us that, but not if we look at it through the lenses we have
hauled along with us from the 21st century world. Those lenses are
completely invested in our reaching the opposite- and false-
Two cautions here. Good ole Gulf coast Florida boy that I am, I can
tell you that when one goes crabbing with a big floating washtub full
of blue crabs tied to your belt, you never have to put a lid on it.
Why? Because whenever one crab gets close to crawling out, the others
will pull it down. Don't be surprised if this happens to you!
Lots of people LOVE consumerist enslavement, or at least think they do!
The other, equally important consideration is that simplicity is NOT just
a way to save money- though it will free up plenty. The goal is not
to hoard what you have saved, but to spread it around or, as St.
Elizabeth Seton said: "Let us live simply, so that others may simply
As to the "bad and worthless workman" line, where I expect there'll
be a lot of dissent, well, that isn't St. Benedict or me. You'll have
to argue with Jesus Himself on that one. He said that after we have
done ALL that was commanded us, we should say we are nothing but
unprofitable servants. Being God, I don't imagine He was mistaken.
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,