Holy Rule for Oct. 29
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following:
Br. Andrew, OSB, and for all who mourn him, especially Joe.
Fr. David Ward, of Scotland, and for all who mourn him, he was formerly a monk at Ft. Augustus Abbey, which is now closed.
Prayers, for James, just joined the Marines and his parents are worried for him and prayers for his sister, Mary, just graduated from college. Prayers for the best of God's will for all.
Prayers for Lana, 44, cancer of liver, kidney and colon and needs to start her treatments as soon as possible.
Prayers for Tim, widowed father of three, diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and other medical problems, too, plus facing heavy duty chemo and radiation.
Prayers for Linda, extnensive dental work.
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 28, June 29, October 29
Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep
Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.
A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.
Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
yet with all gravity and decorum.
The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
those of the older ones.
When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.
Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
always, the picture is balanced!
As for the candle, the elderly may have problems during the
night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
needed. However, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
have been to prevent mayhem and murder of the snorers, an idea
which has doubtlessly occurred to many light sleepers!
Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
today, but its nice to see the thoughtfulness behind its original
expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the "mother" in St.
Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.
One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
and care expressed NON-verbally.
There is a particularly good suggestion for Oblates: practice
showing non-verbal affection some time! Try to express your care,
concern and camaraderie for those around you with smiles, winks,
pats on the back and such. Not ALL the time, but hone this skill. A
wordless message of praise or solidarity or love can be treasured
by another, often much more than what we might have said.
A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
that is a monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.
One species of Australian eucalyptus keeps the ground around itself
clear by emitting a toxic substance that renders other growth
impossible. Sad to say, but sometimes monastics in community (or in
families, or in workplaces!) can engage in a very similar activity.
There is a terrible facial message that says: "Don't even come near
me- with anything at all!" We need to watch ourselves carefully for
Everyone has bad days, now and then. Good communities and good
families know how to spot them in each other. If, however, those
days get strung together for some time and fairly often, something
is very, very wrong. The monastic life, in
cloister or marketplace, is not the proper arena for eucalyptus
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,