Holy Rule for Feb. 26
Prayers, please, for Peter, running for state senate on a pro-life platform.
Prayers for Patrick, who is being interviewed today for the high school he wants to go to in the Fall. It's very difficult to get in there and a lot depends on the interview.
Deo gratias, Mary Ellen, for whom we prayed, passed all her exams and now has her Master's degree in Theology.
Prayers for the spiritual. mentl and physical health of the folloiwng, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:
Donald, who enters the hospital today to begin radiation to reduce a tumor that has reached the tip of his spine.
Serena, labor being induced for the delivvery of her baby girl, and for a safe and healthy delivery for both. Prayers, too, for the proud grandparents, Dave and Marian.
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 26, June 27, October 27
Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer
When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station,
we do not presume to do so
except with humility and reverence.
How much the more, then,
are complete humility and pure devotion necessary
in supplication of the Lord who is God of the universe!
And let us be assured
that it is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt
but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction.
Our prayer, therefore, ought to be short and pure,
unless it happens to be prolonged
by an inspiration of divine grace.
In community, however, let prayer be very short,
and when the Superior gives the signal let all rise together.
There is a necessary tension in Benedictine prayer, both public and
private, between the awesome majesty and otherness of God and His
infinite closeness and approachability. God is among us. He is not
the guy next door, but neither is He some untouchable, easily
offended emperor or sultan. Both these truths must be addressed in
order to maintain a correct balance.
God doesn't need ceremony, He doesn't need anything. All the high
church in the world might (or might not...) tickle His fancy, but it
does not one whit for Him personally. The rub here is that WE need
what we offer to God, and that has been all too often forgotten in
the last 40 years or so. In a very real and subtle sense, we BECOME
what we offer to God, often quite unnoticed by ourselves.
The upshot of all this is clear: offer God the lowest possible common
denominator and that is what those offering will become; offer Him
empty and presumptuous high church and be not surprised when those
offering such things become rather pathetically silly themselves. In
fact, sad fact, either extreme will make people pathetically silly
and spiritually impoverished besides.
Balance, always balance! The Holy Rule says "our prayer should short
and pure." Fine, but the last part of that phrase has often gotten
lost in the struggles of reform. Just plain short doesn't get it. God
doesn't care about short, except insofar as it cheats us, those He
The balance of short AND pure will feed a normal soul well.
Hence, if you find liturgy in any given place leaves you at least
hungry and maybe starving, it's a safe guess that something might be
wrong. God is still served, but His people often are not. That should
upset both God and us.
A very Benedictine warning here that the Carmelites would strongly
approve: prayer is only to be prolonged by "inspiration of divine
grace." When God does let us feel something wonderful in prayer, a
very understandable temptation is to hang onto the feeling, to
prolong it, to produce it again.
Doesn't work, folks, and it could very well turn into a trap. When
God prolongs prayer or gives us graces, fine! Relax, swim in His
grace and enjoy it, but never, ever try to fill the pool for a quick
dip on your own. That's not the way prayer- or God- works.
Love and prayers,
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Don, for whom we prayed, has died without seeing the Priest. Ardent prayers for the repose of his soul and for his brother, Jim, his wife and family and all who mourn him.
Kaitlin, whose test we prayed for has also been able to get out of the bad real estate deal she was enmeshed in. Deo gratias, and thanksgiving prayers!
Lola, whose back surgery we prayed for, has now developed pain/numbness in her other leg. Unsure of the cause, possibly a bone chip or spur, they are taking her back to surgery this afternoon. Continued prayers, please, and for her brother, Richard and all their family.
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 6, June 7, October 7
Chapter 7: On Humility
The ninth degree of humility
is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
not speaking until he is questioned.
For the Scripture shows
that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19)
and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).
OK, if you are a parent, you cannot speak to your children only when
they question you. The therapy bills in later years would be
astronomical. There are many situations in a Benedictine life lived
in the world, among non-monastics, where this has to be altered, but
its kernel of truth must be discovered and maintained.
WHY do we talk needlessly? Quite often it is nothing more than a
trick to change the reality around us. We are bored, or we feel we
are not getting enough attention or we think the mood too heavy, so
we speak to change whatever annoys us at the moment. I should know.
I am infamous for creating my own entertainment when things seem
dull to me. That's not always a great idea...
Some tough moments, some difficult stuff are meant to be endured.
They are part of our necessary learning and growth. Ever notice how
we assess a child's maturity by its ability to be quiet and non-
fidgety in surroundings (like Church!) that do not spoon feed its
attention span? Well, the same is true of us at every stage. We do
ourselves harm if we defuse every single tense moment with a word or
two. We cheat ourselves.
All too often we speak only to remind the universe around us, which
has carelessly forgotten for a second that we are its center, of a
whole bevy of falsehoods: I am the cutest, smartest, or wittiest, I
have the solution to all of this. What folly on the part of the
entire cosmos to forget our importance! Better speak to clear the
Those who know me are thinking: "HE wrote THIS?!?" Yes, alas, I am
guilty of all I wrote. Three times a year the Holy Rule reminds me of
that and each time I am aware that I need to work on it. Thanks be to
God, the Rule IS read three times a year: usually by the time the
next reading comes up, my interest has flagged and I have to start
over. As for the part about the talkative not being "stable on the
earth," well, there have been times in the last 18 years
when God had to nail my feet to the floor to keep me faithful and I am
not dead yet... I have not always been His most willing pupil, but
oh, is He ever patient! And infinitely merciful!
But, as one Desert Father said, that's what we do all day in
monasteries: "We fall down and we get up."
Love and prayers,
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