Holy Rule for Oct. 28
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 27, June 28, October 28
Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery
If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it
brethren of good repute and holy life, and let them be appointed
deans. These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
observing the commandments of God and the instructions of their
Let men of such character be chosen deans that the Abbot may with
share his burdens among them. Let them be chosen not by rank but
according to their worthiness of life and the wisdom of their
If any of these deans should become inflated with pride and found
deserving of censure,
let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time. If he will
not amend, then let him be deposed and another be put in his place
who is worthy of it.
And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.
St. Benedict reverences seniority- a traditional monastic value- in
many places, but he also moderates that tradition, keeping it from
turning into ageism. When considering the appointment of these
deans, their worthy lives and teachings are the criteria, not their
age. Unspoken here, but nevertheless evident, is the demand that seniors
obey such young officials.
There is no room for griping about young "whipper-snappers" here!
Obedience is not about the age or wisdom or human perfection of the
superior. It is about faith that God leads us through such flawed
human beings of every sort. When "X" crosses you or breaks your
heart or stokes your anger, it is imperative to recall that this
often has precious little to do with "X" and his or her
personality. It's is God's gift to your self-study. He wants you to
learn something about yourself and tests you. "X" might not even be
faintly aware of being used as an instrument of His will!
(Recalling this all the time is a LOT harder than it sounds, for some a
A further check here is given by the insistence on personal
holiness. Granted, even in monasteries, the clever and
manipulatively ambitious sort can get around this and sometimes do,
but what if all our offices, in monastery AND Church went to really
holy people? The first objection (usually put forward by the
ambitious who would be overlooked under this system!) is that they
would be TERRIBLE administrators. So? The point there was what?
Next time you want a fun day-dream, try to picture a Church and
Order run entirely by the holy and wise. Wow! Now usually, day-
dreaming is an utter waste of time, but this one is not. After you
have spent some time envisioning all those things, go out and BE
dreamed. Truly live as if the dream had come to pass. Be prepared
to be a little lonely: none of us are likely soon to see a Church
run entirely by saints. But we can all make that dream one person
closer to coming true, by changing ourselves, by incarnating that
ideal as best we can. The only ones we can surely change are
Of course, there will be loud complaints about saints in charge,
too. For one thing, as Dorothy Day observed, saints can be terribly
hard to live with. For another, the problem is our lack of faith,
a problem even good governance will not remove. Only we can remove
problem. It starts with us!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the healing of Layla, 5, who broke two bones in her arm while skating, and for her family, who are wooried about her.
Prayers that E. will return to Confession after many years.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Catherine, and for her family, especially her daughter, Eliza, and all who mourn her.
Birthday prayers for Kathy and Fr. Patrick, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Prayers for the eternal rest of Ernest and his sons Ernest and, Sean, they died at different times a while ago. Prayers for all their family, esp. Maria and Rosemary, and for all who mourn them.
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 10, June 11, October 11
Chapter 8: On the Divine Office During the Night
In the winter time,
that is from the Calends of November until Easter,
the sisters shall rise
at what is calculated to be the eighth hour of the night,
so that they may sleep somewhat longer than half the night
and rise with their rest completed.
And the time that remains after the Night Office
should be spent in study
by those sisters who need a better knowledge of the Psalter
or the lessons.
From Easter to the aforesaid Calends of November,
the hour of rising should be so arranged that the Morning Office,
which is to be said at daybreak,
will follow the Night Office after a very short interval,
during which they may go out for the necessities of nature.
In St. Benedict's time, and for centuries afterwards, life on a self-sustaining
farm, which monasteries were supposed to be, was far more difficult and
time consuming than it would be today. The simplest things that we now do
with the flick of a switch were big deals, involving lots of human workers and
every available daylight hour.
Hence, the monks got up early, very early, to get in much of their monastic day
before the sun (and the critters!) rose for the day. There was, of course, a
penitential aspect to this early rising, too, and the ancient Christian practice
of the night vigil.
There's at least a possible hint for Oblates of today in all this. Get up a bit
earlier if you can, and devote those silent and dark morning hours or minutes to
your monastic endeavors. Knock off a late TV favorite and go to bed a tad
earlier. We always find time for what we love most. If, however, one is married
and has a spouse that doesn't want one to blissfully retire at 7:30 or so, this
will not work. Marriage is a primary, sacramental vocation and demands
Two very human glimpses into the personality of St. Benedict here. He
is thoughtful and kind, making sure the monastics have time for a
bathroom run and he is not prudish about mentioning it. Its part of
the human and part of family life. As casually as a Mother asks young
children if anybody "has to go" before a trip, he throws out mention
of the fact that not everyone could make it through two long services
without great discomfort!
Love and prayers,