Holy Rule for Dec. 3
Prayers for Bill, our Oblate novice who is being installed into the order of Acolyte this evening, the last minor order before permanent diaconate. May God bless his ministry.
Prayers for the spiritual. mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Doug, another of our Oblate novices, homebound with serious diabetic problems with his foot for three months, surgery will be neessary at some point, in a special diabetic cast because of skin damage caused by the first cast, also has a bone infection and will lose one toe and some bone in surgery.
Someone seeking discernment for what is next in God's will, tough decisions to be made and not much familial support for making them. Special prayers, too, to the individual's patron saint: God knows who that is.
Marcella, who's suffered a stroke and has some left-side paralysis.
Edward, who's about to enter hospice with advanced abdominal cancer. Edward has two adult children and this is a very hard decision for them.
Scott, 45, just had a heart attack. He and his wife have three little kids.
Rose who has a rapidly-growing brain tumor. No specific diagnosis yet, but it doesn't look very hopeful.
Pat who fell and injured her ribs in a particularly painful sort of way.
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 3, August 3, December 3
Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery
Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
When the Work of God is ended,
let all go out in perfect silence,
and let reverence for God be observed,
so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
And at other times also,
if anyone should want to pray by herself,
let her go in simply and pray,
not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
when the Work of God is ended,
lest another be hindered, as we have said.
"...let nothing else be done there or kept there." Don't think for a
moment this refers to only furniture, storage or other activities. It
refers to our hearts, too. We must be terribly careful of what we
take into the oratory, what we carry in our hearts, because it not
only colors our prayer, but often the prayer of those around us as
Even half-aware people who live together for years can spot
trouble immediately. They may not know what is wrong, but they are
themselves disquieted by it. Often one never finds out what is
troubling another, so one just prays for them. But the empathy, the
sympathy that moves one to do so by observation has colored the
oratory experience ever so slightly from one of untrammeled peace.
Sometimes we honestly cannot help what we carry in our hearts. I know
that all too well. There have been times when I could scarcely calm
the cacophonic roar of anxiety and hurt. For me, as I am sure for
some others, too, it is all but impossible to pray at such times, through
no fault of our own. So long as we do not will such distraction, our
prayer remains intact. Involuntary distractions are crosses to be borne with
patience, not sins we should become despondent about. Despondency
is a far greater enemy of the spiritual life than distracted prayer!
Do your best to stay focused, if you cannot, offer that to God, too,
and rejoice that you have been humbled by it. Depressives and others
with certain mental illnesses should recall that inability to
concentrate is often part of the disease, not our fault at all. If a cut bleeds,
do we feel guilty? Of course not. Many of us who suffer from such things
are already far too prone to beat ourselves up. Don't let distractions
at prayer that you didn't want and couldn't help be a reason for that.
I resolve to be a bit more careful to try to empty my heart whenever
I can, but I sometimes cannot. Nothing seems clear or right. So I
just say: "Look, maybe what I am offering You really is nothing at
all, maybe I shouldn't even dare. If it is nothing, please forgive
me. If it's not, please take it for whatever it is worth." Sometimes
that's the best we can do.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- +PAXPlease continue prays for the recovery of our good Brother Jerome.
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
February 14, June 15, October 15
Chapter 12: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said
The Morning Office on Sunday shall begin with Psalm 66
recited straight through without an antiphon.
After that let Psalm 50 be said with "Alleluia,"
then Psalms 117 and 62,
the Canticle of Blessing (Benedicite) and the Psalms of praise (Ps.
then a lesson from the Apocalypse to be recited by heart,
the responsory, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany and so the end.
Ever notice how a loving parent makes allowances so the kids WON'T
slip up or be discouraged? Good teachers do the same thing. Some
things are made so deliberately easy that all of the students can
generally make it through the hoop!
St. Benedict does this with both morning Offices, beginning Vigils
and Lauds with 2 psalms that are said every day. He even stresses
that, at Lauds, the 66th Psalm is to be said slowly, so that the
monastics may have time to gather.
Those two Offices are the time people are most likely to be running
late, either because they had to bound out of bed at the last minute,
or because the "necessities of nature" break between Vigils and Lauds
delayed them unexpectedly. It is worth noting that only with these
two Offices, when tardiness can so easily occur, does the Holy Rule
make such allowance. For a further bit of trivia, these four Psalms
are repeated every day: one could miss them several times in a week
and still have said all 150 Psalms in that week.
Sometimes people (including, alas, ourselves!) can make unrealistic
conditions and demand that others meet them. The concept of failure
is built into those demands. We fence people about with our own
standards that they could not possibly meet, then condemn them for
failing to meet them! What a sad and tragic game.
Take a self-inventory and check to see if there is anyone you dislike so
intensely that they cannot be right, no matter what they do. If there are any
such folks, it's time for you to change, not them! I recall, alas, one pastor
who annoyed me so much that even when he used incense (something I ordinarily
love,) I carped to myself that he didn't do it right. With me, he just could NOT
win. Sigh... When things get that bad, it's ourselves who need the overhaul,
not the presumed "offender."
St. Benedict, by his example, teaches us to be the exact opposite. He
shows us that we should be gentle and loving, that we should not be
about setting burdens on others that are guaranteed to make them fail
or quit or be discouraged. If we have received such kindness, we
should pass it on!
Love and prayers,