Holy Rule for Dec. 6
Deo gratias, Frank may have to just lose some toes, not his foot. A procedure the doc tried worked better than expeted.
Deo gratias, Theresa is less medicated than before and doing better.
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Fr. Jude on the anniversary of his
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
April 6, August 6, December 6
Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything
On no account shall a monastic be allowed
to receive letters, blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever
from parents or anyone else,
or from her sisters,
or to give the same,
without the Abbess's permission.
But if anything is sent her even by her parents,
let her not presume to take it
before it has been shown to the Abbess.
And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide
to whom it shall be given,
if she allows it to be received;
and the sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved,
lest occasion be given to the devil.
Should anyone presume to act otherwise,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.
Part of this is about equality, part of it is about depending on
one's community for everything. But there is another part that is
more readily available to monastics and Oblates in the world, a
certain cloister of the heart, a partial flight from the secular.
Outside news, to which we all can become so easily addicted, is not
always useful, let alone nourishing. When I was a pastoral associate
in Boston, I was the slave of the weather channel: knew the five day
forecast ALL the time. Then I moved here- no cable anywhere- and
pretty much let God surprise me each morning with whatever was
available. Granted, traveling on foot and by subway to do a lot of
ministry in Boston, I did have a greater need to know, but not THAT
We get a Sunday paper (the NY Times,) once a week and that is it. If
something really big happens between Sundays, the regulars who come
to Mass will tell us. That's how we found out about Princess Diana.
Our contractor told us about 9/11. We were in Mass, praying for the
world anyway, with no clue that the towers were literally falling as
we prayed, that the Pentagon was on fire and thousands were dead.
It really didn't matter, in one sense, whether we knew or not: we
were already praying. Our prayers did not need details to be
effective. The heart of God was already breaking, already knew, HAD
already known from all time and beyond. We were just begging Him to
look at His people while not knowing which ones needed it most. That
made no difference. We ALWAYS know less than Him. It is the usual
You may be sure we all watched Diana's funeral, and you may be sure
we all watched the 9/11 news. We're not dinosaurs and we cared
deeply. However, having lived on both sides now (what a song cue for
Judy Collins!) of the media divide, I can assure you that a whole lot
of extraneous stuff got mixed in with a very little bit of worthwhile
There is much that is false, truly false and illusory in the
world. We all know that quite well. What we can miss is that media's
job is to make a lot of things much, much more real and pressing than
they are or will ever be. That sort of illusion we can easily do
This is in no way obscurantist or anti-intellectual, but a part of
the monastic heart actually LIKES to be out of touch in some areas
and profits from same. No one has to live in a cave, but I, as I
imagine most of us without any dream of large stock holdings, would
have managed quite well without knowing about every corporate scandal
in excruciating detail.There's a lot of stuff we DON'T need to
know, and in not knowing some of it there lies a great peace!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for Pluscarden Abbey, on the feast of St. Andrew, one of its patrons, and for all of Scotland, whose patron is also St. Andrew. Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew, OSB, on his feastday.
On this last day of November, please remember the Holy Souls, the whole month is dedicated to prayer for them, and remember to pray for them throughout the year! Ask them to intercede for you, too, they are great friends to have and they are so very grateful to us for our prayers and help for them.
Prayers for Jamie D., that she will pass all the exams in relation to her application to UK.
Prayers for the happy death of Susan H., she has cancer, an inoperable tumor and is too weak for treatment. She may not make it until Christmas, but is in denial. She is not in a good relationship with God or her family. Prayers of healing and peace, please! Divine Mercy Chaplets, especially, for a happy death.
Prayers for the eternal rest of James C., a young man who died after years in a coma after a motorcycle accident, and for all his family and all who mourn him, especially his uncle, Fr. Paul.
Prayers for the health of Patti F., diagnosed with myelofibrosis which is a very rare bone marrow illness related to leukemia. She asks for prayers (not for a cure - there isn't one in her case,) but for energy and stamina to do the things this year she and her husband, Ernie, have already planned. Prayers for her happy death when God chooses to call her. Prayers for Ernie and all who will mourn her.
Prayers for Brittany. She found a painful lump in her right breast. It might be a blocked milk duct, as she is breastfeeding and that is quite common.
Prayers for Martin, rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. A CAT scan revealed a large mass near the pancreas.
Prayers for Bev and Erika. They are Jehovah's Witnesses. Prayers that they discover the fullness of the faith and truth in the Catholic Church.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
grace. God is never absent. Alleluia!
Thanks so much. JL
March 31, July 31, November 30
Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent
Although the life of a monk
ought to have about it at all times
the character of a Lenten observance,
yet since few have the virtue for that,
we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
the brethren keep their lives most pure
and at the same time wash away during these holy days
all the negligences of other times.
And this will be worthily done
if we restrain ourselves from all vices
and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.
During these days, therefore,
let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
"with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
something above the measure required of him.
From his body, that is
he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
and with the joy of spiritual desire
he may look forward to holy Easter.
Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
what it is that he wants to offer,
and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
and will merit no reward.
Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.
Because we read St. Benedict's 1500 year old Holy Rule with modern
eyes, it often seems harsh. To balance our perspective, we need to
see the radical nature of the Rule when written. Face it, folks, this
was most definitely a gentler Rule for European wannabes who could
never hack it in the Egyptian desert in their wildest dreams. His
introductory paragraph points out his plan of adaptation: "...since
few have the virtue for that..." Our founder was most certainly writing
for the struggling plodders of monasticism and he knew it. Keeping
that uppermost in our minds can be informatively humbling.
St. Benedict's fatherly heart was
with the underdogs, the also rans, the strays and those that others
could not be bothered with. He must have felt at some point that
there HAD to be a way for the spiritually challenged to become
monastics. A millennium and a half later, we are still benefiting
from his attempts.
Hence, for us Benedictines, when the Evil One tempts us with his lies
like: "You could never do that! You could never be THAT holy!"
our reaction must be to ignore him totally. We have no clue
of how holy we can be. God alone knows that and God alone will lead
us and show us in ways we are quite unlikely to ever understand.
Whenever the demon of discouragement tells us we are far beneath this
Rule for beginners, we must shrug indifferently and move on, briefly
impressed for once with the Father of Lies' firm grasp on the obvious.
Of *COURSE* we are beneath this Rule, beneath any of the earlier
ones. Duh?!? We're Benedictines. Our Order was founded for people
like us. That should never, ever be a cause to stop trying, to give
up or quit. On the contrary, that fact should be a heartening
confirmation that we are EXACTLY where we belong, in the best
possible remedial education program for slow learners like us, right
where God wants us.
Like a mother to a crying child, devoid of hope, who moans "But I
CAN'T, I just can't!" St. Benedict is softly saying, "Well,
just do what you can and that will be OK." Get the picture? OK! Then
go out, play nice and do what you can today... Don't be surprised if
you find that God is increasing, sometimes imperceptibly, that "what
you can" little by little to heights of great holiness, which we will
achieve all but unawares and only with His help. Someday, we really
SHALL "run in the way...with hearts enlarged."
Love and prayers,