Holy Rule for Mar. 2
Pryers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Someone who has had problems with drugs, alcohol and anger due to being sexually abused by a teacher, for continued abstinence from drugs and alcohol and for healing, also for the person to be baptized, as that was never done.
Betty, 76 yrs old. Went for colonoscopy and during it, they perforated the colon wall. Emergency surgery followed. Possibility of severe infection is huge.
Vicki, a young woman with Stage 4 cancer.
For Bob, spiritual strength to guide him thru the problems of less work
& increasing money concerns.
Sr Placida, OSB, who will be having surgery on Wed the 3rd of March for a tumor.
Sam, who has a very advanced and rare form of cancer.
Glen, victim of an attack from his girlfriend, severe domestic asault, had to go to the hospital. Now no longer feels safe from her and her friends, for healing and courage to do the right thing.
Damon, 5, for whom we prayed, suffered something called a "whole-brain stroke", and yet, his brain stem was unaffected. So, the greatest part of his brain suffered serious anoxia, and significant brain tissue death. Long rehab ahead, continued prayers, please.
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 2, July 2, November 1
Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults
Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault be excluded both
from the table and from the oratory. Let none of the brethren join
him either for company or for conversation.
Let him be alone at the work assigned him, abiding in penitential
sorrow and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle where he
says that a man of that kind is handed over
for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5). Let him take his meals alone in
the measure and at the hour which the Abbot shall consider suitable
for him. He shall not be blessed by those who pass by, nor shall
the food that is given him be blessed.
Justice demands that the punishment fit the crime, and St. Benedict
gives the two points between which a spectrum of other methods may
be employed. He does not want a one-size-fits-all system of
correction and clearly says so more than once.
Think of any parent or authority figure you have ever heard
criticized. If punishment was in any way involved, it is most
likely that the fault was in doing too much or too little. A cruel
person can make employees or children or monastics live in terror.
Punishment is relentless and swift and often comes without warning.
This may result in slavish compliance or outright rebellion, but it
never results in a healthy self, for authority or subject. We are
not called to live in dread of unwittingly angering some
intransigent despot, whose whims may be dangerous, indeed. We are
called to live
in peace and mercy: to receive it and to give it to others. That is
true of all monastics, superiors and those governed.
But we are not called to peace at any price whatsoever, which is
the fault of those who do too little to correct. Fear of the
governed is as stupid and pointless as fear of the governor and
neither helps anyone. While too much control may lead the community
to fear the
Abbess, too little will leave them equally afraid of each other!
Note carefully that the missing ingredients in either extreme are
love, real charity, as well as a trusting prayer for grace and
guidance. If we are not showing
His love to all, something is very wrong. If mercy does not temper
justice (and justice does not temper total inaction!) something is
Really peaceful people do not avoid confrontation at all costs, if
they do, even they will never have peace. They will have nothing
more than an uneasy truce or more less perpetual fear. That is not
the loving way to deal with a problem.
The Benedictine way is, as usual, the middle way. Some would put
down the middle way, call it weak, but, as we have seen, it takes a
tremendous amount of guts and grace to do it well. Our way is quite
the reverse of a cop-out: it requires genuine courage and grace, to
say nothing of its chief component, a lot of very frank and
truthful LOVE! Ah, yes, and that mercy which is a mirror of the
Divine Mercy, too!
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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