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,
[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.
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 the safety all the people, property, buildings and animals threatened by extreme fires in Tennessee. Many fires are being fought, prayers for those fighting them and trying to help.
Prayers for the people of Mosul and Aleppo, and for all in danger and crisis from fighting and war in these areas.
Prayers for Ann, who has a possible detached retina, that it can be treated successfully. She is also praying to accept God’s will, whatever that may be. The troubled retina is in the better of her eyes, so retaining vision there is very important.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew and for all his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the recovery of the 11 injured in the Ohio State University attack, one of whom is critical. Prayers, too, for the repentance and conversion of the attacker, who was killed, and prayers for his eternal rest and for the families of all.
Prayers for Val, who fell and broke her hip. She is recovering from surgery but is not doing well with uncontrolled blood pressure and is in ICU. Also prayers for her family.
Prayers for Ron, for whom we've prayed, who had open heart surgery postponed. His condition is not great and this surgery needs to happen as soon as possible.
Prayers for Chiara's return to the Church. She is doing so much helping others that she doesn't need to look far to discover Christ's presence in those she helps.
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. Also that Bev finds full time work soon.
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,