Holy Rule for Oct. 4
Theona, for whom we prayed has died peacefully, prayers for ehr eternal rest and for all who mourn her.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Linda, and for her dad, Francis, 90, and his health is deteriorating. He is having an angioplasty tomorrow (Mon) and a stent put into his leg to try to increase circulation in one of his legs. He has diabetes too, and the Dr. is afraid to try surgery on him.
Barbara, a young mother who has a young daughter, and a new baby. The mother just was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Clem, large abdominal mass on his colon, surgery this week, and for his wife, Delores and for the eternal rest of Delores' brother, Br. Tobias, who died nearly two years ago of colon cancer.
Sr. Wendy, RSJ, it seems she's run into a wall around grief-related issues with the death of her mother recently.
Many of our lives have been touched for the better by Francsicans- there are so
many of them! Prayers for them all on the feast of St. Francis.
Prayers for Brie, on her 29th birthday, ad multos annos and may blessings.
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 3, June 4, October 4
Chapter 7: On Humility
The sixth degree of humility
is that a monk be content
with the poorest and worst of everything,
and that in every occupation assigned him
he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
saying with the Prophet,
"I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
I have become as a beast of burden before You,
and I am always with You" (Ps:22-23).
It is easy to miss the hardest word in this reading. Our eyes fly
right away to the ones we want to argue with- and these days many
want to argue with them! Slyly stuck into the first line is the
demand that the monastic "be CONTENT with the poorest and worst of
everything." The connection this time is not to obedience, but to
other virtues in humility's service: simplicity and stability.
Contentedness does not bide its time for a jump to something better,
does not merely undergo, but accepts rather matter-of-factly.
Contented monastics aren't hunting for or wondering about something
else, usually it doesn't even occur to them. Truly contented people,
in monasteries or in marriage or in the world do not spend a lot of
time on "what if?" or "what next?". In the 70's a lot of people loved
the popular phrase on posters: "Bloom where you are planted." Quite
possibly they never stopped to think exactly what that meant: being
contented enough to blossom in any circumstance. Whoops! A little
more teeth to that version!
I know from personal experience: stability with divided attention,
with tons of Plans B, C, and D, simply is not very effective. It is
better than nothing, to be sure, but it is nearly nothing when
compared with its power once all those distractions are dropped. We
often cannot drop them all at once, but we must try to stay rooted,
ever more and more rooted.
I know one great monk who told me, at 83, that
he had finally decided to stay! There was not even a hint of irony of
twinkle in his voice. On the other hand, I have known monks who were
happy as clams and completely contented in their forties. It is a
different struggle for each of us.
Truly contented simplicity and stability are powerful, counter-
cultural witnesses to offer this age. Materialism, consumerism and
the short attention span rule. A consumerist society is actually
fueled by provoking discontent: how else can superfluous consumption
Every time one person, family or monastery gets even
partially free of those constraints it is a powerful witness to those
still bound. Most of us truly do not "need" more. The Holy Rule can
teach us that, but not if we look at it through the lenses we have
hauled along with us from the 21st century world. Those lenses are
completely invested in our reaching the opposite- and false-
Two cautions here. Good ole Gulf coast Florida boy that I am, I can
tell you that when one goes crabbing with a big floating washtub full
of blue crabs tied to your belt, you never have to put a lid on it.
Why? Because whenever one crab gets close to crawling out, the others
will pull it down. Don't be surprised if this happens to you!
Lots of people LOVE consumerist enslavement, or at least think they do!
The other, equally important consideration is that simplicity is NOT just
a way to save money- though it will free up plenty. The goal is not
to hoard what you have saved, but to spread it around or, as St.
Elizabeth Seton said: "Let us live simply, so that others may simply
As to the "bad and worthless workman" line, where I expect there'll
be a lot of dissent, well, that isn't St. Benedict or me. You'll have
to argue with Jesus Himself on that one. He said that after we have
done ALL that was commanded us, we should say we are nothing but
unprofitable servants. Being God, I don't imagine He was mistaken.
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.