Holy Rule for May 6
Prayers for a peaceful, just and free election in the Philippines on May 10, prayers, too, for the 57 massacred in election violence last November, for their eternal rest, all their families and those who mourn them, and for their murderers' conversion and repentance.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Josie, an elderly lady with multiple medical problems now back in the hospital.
Jim, who has pre-cancerous cells in his mouth and has to undergo an operation. Very serious. Won't be able to speak or eat for weeks after surgery. In addition, he has terrible back pain and the shingles to boot. He's about 60.
Joyce, has tongue cancer.
Coral's Dad, who will be removed from life support today. For his happy death and eternal rest and his family and all who will mourn him.
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
January 5, May 6, September 5
Hence the Lord says in the Gospel,
"Whoever listens to these words of Mine and acts upon them,
I will liken to a wise person
who built a house on rock.
The floods came,
the winds blew and beat against that house,
and it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).
Having given us these assurances,
the Lord is waiting every day
for us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions.
And the days of this life are lengthened
and a truce granted us for this very reason,
that we may amend our evil ways.
As the Apostle says,
"Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent" (Rom.
For the merciful Lord tells us,
"I desire not the death of the sinner,
but that the sinner should be converted and live" (Ezech. 33:11).
Blessed Columba Marmion wrote:
"You may ask: Is not the monastery the ante-chamber of Heaven?
Assuredly it is; but to stay a long time in a waiting room and there
to bear monotony and annoyances, can become singularly burdensome and
require a big dose of endurance."
Probably no one really likes waiting rooms and some of us loathe them
far more than others. I certainly fall closer to the latter extreme!
It's not that I can't find anything to do, I usually can read or
pray, but not always. There is noisy talk, or there are sometimes noisier
TV's, both of which others need, so one can hardly grouse about them.
That which makes a waiting room more tolerable (like silence,) for
some makes it less so for others!
Had I to wait an entire day in a waiting room, I'd come home truly
fatigued. Weeks? Months? No doubt they'd have to crack out the
leather wrist and ankle restraints and give me psychotropic drugs IV
push!! I would be a mess. Patience is not my strong point and I am
sure many can relate to that on one level or another.
But Scripture and the Holy Rule assure us that a loving, all-merciful
God waits far more than any of us could stand. He waits for all our
lives, every instant, every millisecond. He waits before every
conversion and after every fall. He waits till our death, if need be.
Only then, when we can no longer run, does He open His arms of Divine
Mercy one last all-but-irresistible time. Even then, we could
refuse Him, but what folly that would be!
He waits. He does not stalk or crouch in hiding like a predator. His
are not the finite limits of some flawed human who watches only for
our falls, who delights at every trip or stumble. He perfectly,
patiently, lovingly, mercifully waits. GOD waits. For us, who are
less than nothing by comparison, GOD Himself waits!
There were many years when I was so emphatically trying to ignore
Him, when "...I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own
mind..." I used to hate it when people quoted Francis Thompson's
"Hound of Heaven" to me in those times. I am still annoyed
by the poem insofar as it portrays God as a rather insuperably Herculean
pursuer of very heavy foot! (Let us bless God that this is poetry and
I think that God has an infinitely more polite and respectful means
of waiting and seeking. But there are great truths in Thompson's poem
and I shall leave you with two excerpts, both quite near the end of the
poem. Beloveds, may these be the first words we all hear at death!
"All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost. I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!"
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest.
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee who dravest Me."
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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