Holy Rule for May 1
Prayers, please, for my dear friend, Sr. Lany Jo, on her feastday. Blessings and graces galore and many years, ad multos annos!
Prayers, please, for Father Ed and his Catholic Student Center at Wright State, Ohio. The last part of fundraising is very difficult for them: they need to raise $150,000 to complete their drive for a new chapel and student center. Prayers, too, that low bids come in so the work can be done.
Prayers for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who mourn them:
Travis, died accidentally in a fall, and especially for his fiance, Tracey and 9 year old son, Tyler.
Ann and Renae. May God speed them all to heaven.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Lisa, surgery to remove a brain tumor
Virginia, multiple health problems, plus ssvere arthritis and needs a shoulder replacement.
Deo gratias! Charlene, for whom we prayed, had the
surgery to remove the tumor on her pancreas and adrenal glands and there are
no signs of cancer.
Nadia. She has breast cancer that has spread to her lymph
nodes; the diagnosis isn't good. She had her first session of chemo and
radiation to shrink the tumors.
Michelle, who recently had a miscarriage, just found out she's pregnant again. She's really nervous she'll lose this baby too.
Rita, having hip replacement surgery on Friday. She is very concerned about it.
Byron, who has been feeling badly for several months. They first thought it was lung cancer, now are wondering if it is TB. He is hospitalized and had fluid drawn off his chest yesterday. Also for his wife, Debra, she was bitten by a rattlesnake about 10 days ago and spent several days in ICU, and is still healing.
Tami, a single mother with two children been in the hospital all week on oxygen and heart monitor, she has a very serious case of pneumonia. She really needs prayer and she really needs to have revelation of Jesus in her life.
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
May 1, August 31, December 31
Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
Established in This Rule
Now we have written this Rule
in order that by its observance in monasteries
we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
and the rudiments of the religious life.
But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
For what page or what utterance
of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not a most unerring rule for human life?
Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
does not loudly proclaim
how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
Then the Conferences and the Institutes
and the Lives of the Fathers,
as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
what else are they but tools of virtue
for right-living and obedient monks?
But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
they are a source of shame and confusion.
Whoever you are, therefore,
who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ
this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
and then at length under God's protection
you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
which we have mentioned above.
How great must our God be! I have never known anyone who kept all of
the Holy Rule perfectly, but I have known many that I thought were
great saints, very observant monastics. St. Benedict is clearly
telling us that God is ever more- infinitely more!- than we may attain by
observing this beginners' Rule.
God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps.
Our Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
the "rudiments" of the spiritual life! Ours is the "minimum" Rule,
the least Rule for rank beginners! Nothing but basics here... But ah,
the loftier heights to which those basics can lead!
"Whoever you are, therefore, who are hastening to the heavenly
homeland..." That "whoever" is the true object of all this heartfelt
tenderness of Saint Benedict , the one for whom he wrote! He only
made one qualifier, that of "hastening to the heavenly homeland." It
seems that some of our decisions about who matters and who does not
have employed a somewhat more restrictive standard than that of our
holy Father Benedict... and to our peril.
"Whoever you are..." I don't care who you are or how much I disagree
with you, whether I nearly hate your positions or love them blindly,
it is you I am called to love, to honor to respect, to cherish as a
fellow monastic traveler. You.
In the United States, where, through much of our history, Catholics
and Jews shared a roughly equal amount of contempt, great camaraderie
could flourish between the two and still quite often does. Having
said that, it has always amused me that many Jews I know get along
MUCH better with Catholics than they do with Jews who disagree with
them! How like ourselves!
When disagreement happens within our family, we hurt more, it is more
important to us. The differing opinion of a stranger on the subway
would hardly matter at all! Maybe the fact that we CAN get hurt and
angry is a good sign, maybe it means we are at least beginning to
love, but it is HOW we get hurt or angry that we have to examine
very, very closely.
The important thing is not opinion or observance or concepts or
tempests in teacups. The important thing is you. Whoever you are.
Every time I fail that, I have to get up, apologize and start over. Maybe
not right from square one each time, but again each time. If I ever stop
doing those things, I have stopped being a Benedictine.
Whoever you are, but it's not just me that has to embrace that. You
do, too. We all do. We ourselves are the only ones we can insist upon
reforming, however, the only ones we can make change. That might be
good to keep in mind, whoever you are.
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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