Holy Rule for Mar. 10
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Osar's Dad. We prayed for his Mom, who has cancer, earlier. Prayers for her, Oscar and all who mourn his Dad, all his family anad friends.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Cos, Br. Vincent's Dad, on the anniversary of
his death and for his widow, Vita, and all their family.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all taking care of them:
Gretchen. She is dying of cancer and wants to see her son graduate. She is receiving Chemo and is down to 83 pounds but is still fighting. Josh will graduate in 2 months and 25 days.
Jeffrey, terminal cancer.
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
March 10, July 10, November 9
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery
For the care of the monastery's property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbess appoint sisters
on whose manner of life and character she can rely;
and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbess shall keep a list of these articles,
as the sisters succeed one another in their assignments
she may know what she gives and what she receives back.
If anyone treats the monastery's property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let her be corrected.
If she fails to amend,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.
OK, for "monastery" substitute the word "planet" and you will
understand that there is a very Benedictine imperative for ecology!
The planet on which we live is surely the greatest treasure for which any
monastery or any one of us is responsible.
And that is the further message here: responsible! Monasteries do
own things, but always with stewardship, always with sharing. So it
must be for each of us, for every Christian. We are stewards of great
and priceless goods. We are entrusted with the very arena of life,
the only arena of life as we know it. God created this awesome world,
this splendor of life and beauty for the common good and salvation
of all people. We must keep that fact in clear focus.
Contrast how things of actually much less worth are guarded and
protected. Would that we surrounded the earth with as much love and
care as the Crown Jewels of England receive, or the Pieta, or other
great treasures of art or history. What if all rainforests were as
protected as the freakishly embalmed body of Lenin? These are things
on which much care has been expended, but our lives do not depend on
them. Our lives do depend on the earth, and so do the lives and
chances for salvation of many others who would come after us, who
OUGHT to come after us, who will need our world to live.
Americans in particular can equate lack of waste with stinginess.
It's a terrible view of things, but deeply rooted. Consumerist
society encourages waste because it fuels profits for the few at the
top. Sad that many below cannot be made to see that when we waste, we
are hurting ourselves in more ways than one: ecologically,
economically AND spiritually.
Waste is a lack of mindfulness for others. The reasons we have been
subtly taught to live with criminal waste as if it were nothing are false,
totally false. They are not luxury, they deny others. Why live a lie? We do
not live on a planet of infinite resources.
Monasteries and homes are microcosms of the universe. We must never
look at conservation as if our actions alone will advance the rise or
prevent the fall. They very well may do neither. What our actions CAN
do is limit our complicity. That is the only safe rationale for
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said that we must start small, that every drop
of fresh water makes the ocean less salty. It is, however, a fair bet that
the Atlantic will remain quite salty, indeed, in spite of our efforts! That's
not the point.
All God will ever ask us is what we added to the problems around us, what we
failed to do to make things different or better. We will be judged on
efforts, not results. The results are often completely out of our hands, but the
striving never is.
Littlest things done with great love can truly change the world, whether we can
that or not.
God knows many things single-handedly cannot be fixed by us alone. No average
person could have stopped the Holocaust in Nazi Germany alone, but some chose
not to be in any way part of it, often at the cost of their lives. What if
everybody had done that? See what I mean? A wealth of opportunity in choice
awaits all of us.
We have failed to call most valuable what is truly most valuable. Nothing and
no one at all can live, can seek God or do His works without the planet on
which we live. Benedictinism must always and everywhere call us to a
conversion from that falsehood.
Love and prayers,
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Prayers for Fr. E., discerning a vocation to religious life.
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 11, August 11, December 11
Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters
When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
let her not be granted an easy entrance;
but, as the Apostle says,
"Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
and if it is seen after four or five days
that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
and the difficulty of admission,
and that she persists in her petition,
then let entrance be granted her,
and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.
After that let her live in the novitiate,
where the novices study, eat and sleep.
A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
to watch over them with the utmost care.
Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
and whether she is zealous
for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
by which the journey to God is made.
If she promises stability and perseverance,
then at the end of two months
let this rule be read through to her,
and let her be addressed thus:
"Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
If you can observe it, enter;
if you cannot, you are free to depart."
If she still stands firm,
let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
and again tested in all patience.
And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
that she may know on what she is entering.
And if she still remains firm,
after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.
Then, having deliberated with herself,
if she promises to keep it in its entirety
and to observe everything that is commanded,
let her be received into the community.
But let her understand that,
according to the law of the Rule,
from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
which she was free to refuse or to accept
during that prolonged deliberation.
The most important thing that St. Benedict asks of all of us on
entrance into the monastic way is whether we truly seek God. Whether
Abbot Primate or newest Oblate novice, that is what we are asked by
the Holy Rule. It is a question we shall be asked for the rest of our
lives, and one to which we must strive (and often struggle!) to say yes,
again and again, day after day.
"Quaeremus inventum," said St. Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we
have found." In truth a certain "finding" of God is necessary to whet
our appetite, to lead us to seek Him more deeply. Once that happens,
however, we can go on seeking God for the rest of time and eternity
and never get to the end of His infinite love and mercy. Even in
heaven the journey will go on, with us always being creature and Him
always loving Creator. We will never end our quest, but we will love
it, we will never reach the essence of God, but that will never
frustrate us in heaven. It's an adventure we shall love.
If we do not seek God, there is no point whatever in becoming a monastic.
St. Bernard once said something to the effect that, if one is going to go to
hell, one should choose the broad way of the world, where at least there
is comfort of a sort on the way, not the narrow way of the monastery, where
one would go from hard life to hell. I haven't paraphrased him too well, but
I hope it is clear enough. No one should waste time with monastic life if
are not seeking God, seeking to go deeper into Him. To do so would be
After novitiate, our commitment to conversion of manners obliges us to
ever seek, to ever try to improve, to never give up the quest
entirely. A Benedictine who has stopped trying to be better and
stopped seeking God is in deep, maybe even fatal trouble. We always
seek and strive. It is the very stuff of our lives as monastics.
This chapter, by the way, led to the traditional division we now have
of the Holy Rule into dates that will result in it all being read
three times a year. The novices had to hear it three times anyway and
elsewhere St. Benedict had asked that all in community hear
it "frequently." Hence, this system was devised to cover both fronts!
Love and prayers,
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