Prayers for all the Faithful Departed on this Feast of All Souls, may they all speed to heaven and eteranl bliss.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Patrick, for all his family and for all who mourn him.
Belated birthday prayers for our Sr. Mary Herbert, on her 94th birthday.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:
Cathy, Lee and Ray, mental illness.
Continued prayers for Greg, multiple myeloma.
Sean's sister, soon to be married, and for her fiance.
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 3, July 3, November 2
Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
with her,or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
punishment of excommunication.
This chapter was written for those who had already gone through all
the earlier stages. They wound up in the ultimate form of monastic
exclusion. At that point, one must leave the monastic and Abbot to
themselves and pray. We are not called to play good cop/bad cop any
We must stand back in prayerful silence. God gave the monastic and
the superior and the Abbey to each other. It is folly of the
richest sort to assume He didn't know what He was doing. God also
gave the parent and child, boss and employee, and the spouses to
Remember, at some point one must do nothing but pray.
There are plenty of ways to be genuinely helpful before that point
is reached and one ought to do so. I surely tried to love my
students who broke my heart with their pain, but at some point I
God gave X this parent and God is not mean. Cannot be. Will never
be. I had to trust Him at that extreme and pray for the best, which
is all God works for anyway. And God works MUCH more efficiently
than I do.
Our railing at the seeming harshness of this chapter can cover
another very important fact. Sometimes WE are the seemingly
malevolent torturers and we don't even see that. Rare is the person
who can truly judge themselves with the standards they
apply to others! Even worse, it often happens that we are BOTH the
torturer and the innocent victim, doing it most hatefully within
our hearts, where none but God can enter.
Our own flawed and fallen hearts trash our own pathetic souls,
beating them up with all kinds of useless recrimination and self-
loathings. Whoops! Not what we would have first noticed, is it? Yet
we sometimes lock the doors of that torture chamber with the key
that locks out even God: free will. We and we alone can thwart God
in our own regard. Scary power, isn't it?
Check out the times we have "excommunicated" ourselves, check out
the times we have foolishly placed ourselves beyond any help from
anyone. The injustice there is much harder for us to see, but it is
terribly real. Whenever we do that, we affirm the terrible heresy
that we know better than God, that His omniscience stops at the
door to our inner
I love Gerard Manley Hopkins; he is my all-time favorite poet. I
think he and I had more than a thing or two in common, not least of
which were the tendencies to depression and beating oneself up with
extreme efficiency. Here's something he wrote that sings to my
heart, and I hope to yours as well.
"My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet."
Pray for the awful excommunications that you CANNOT help and look
ever so carefully for those you and you alone can relieve, those of
your own soul and heart! God alone can bring good from evil, any
evil. Ask Him, let Him. He will never fail.
A final word on this day when many of us are thinking on Purgatory.
This is my own opinion, not official teaching, but I don't think it
contradicts the teaching in any way. Try to think of Purgatory as
also being our chance to forgive ourselves. Surely the awesome
mercy and love of God are so infinite that many of us may have a
hard time accepting them at first, a hard time forgiving OURSELVES
for being so dumb. Purgatory might very well serve that purpose,
too! We cannot, after all, be perfectly happy in Heaven until we
are perfectly comfortable there. For that comfort, self-forgiveness
is very necessary!
Love and prayers,
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