Holy Rule for Aug. 31
Prayers for Paul, dealing with serious family issues.
Prayers for Ben that he sells or rents his property and that he becomes more aware of how many people love and care for him.
Deo gratias for past prayers answered.
Prayers, please, for an elderly woman who is having a cataract operation on Wed, 1 Sept.
Prayers for Carol, having reverse shoulder replacement Tuesday. Had total shoulder replacement last Oct. but it didn't work so she is anxious about having this one.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Peter, 54, and his wife, Jacqueline, 53, killed in a motorcycle/car accident and for all their family and all their loved ones, especially Lottie, 82, mother of Jacqueline, and for all who mourn them. Prayers, too, for the four other people injured in the wreck.
Both my parents are long deceased, but today would have been their
69th wedding anniversary, so prayers, please, for Jerome and Louise, who first
gave me some of what I am able to pass on to others, who also first
took me to St. Leo Abbey. That opened a lifelong love of both St.
Leo and Benedictinism for me. How much I owe them! For their eternal rest and
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.
I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my
into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact
that I MUST be joking....
Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us
awake to the reality that we will for all of our lives, always be
freshmen next year!
That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
the way, nothing special there!
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 even the best of us are but observing
this minimum Rule.
God is so vast and we are always taking the tumbling
first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
beaming with the pride an 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!
Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for George, needs a heart valve replacement, but is too weak for the surgery. Prayers that he can have the surgery or, should God call him now, for his happy death.