Holy Rule for Mar. 17
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Greg, for whom we prayed after his all terrain vehicle accident. He has died. Special prayers for his wife and son and all who mourn him. Greg was an organ donor, so his death gave life to others.
Praye4rs for the eterrnal rest of Deacon Al, and for his wife, Dolores, his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Megan's father, who died after an unsuccessful surgery to repair his heart and for all his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for Susan, on her birthday, many more and graces galore!
Prayers for Bob, who has an enlarged aortic aneurysm and was just diagnosed with stage 1 prostrate cancer and is no longer employed and has to apply for disability.
Prayers for Bishop-elect Tom Daly, newly appointed auxiliary bishop of San Jose, CA, may he have a long and holy ministry in the episcopate.
Prayers for DJ, trying to quit smoking.
A blessed St. Patrick's Day to all, please say a prayer for the eternal rest of
my dear mentor, Bro. Patrick Creamer, OSB. He taught me so much of what I pass
on and he always LOVED his feastday!
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 17, July 17, November 16
Chapter 38: On the Weekly Reader
The meals of the sisters should not be without reading.
Nor should the reader be
anyone who happens to take up the book;
but there should be a reader for the whole week,
entering that office on Sunday.
Let this incoming reader,
after Mass and Communion,
ask all to pray for her
that God may keep her from the spirit of pride
And let her intone the following verse,
which shall be said three times by all in the oratory:
"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
Then, having received a blessing,
let her enter on the reading.
And let absolute silence be kept at table,
so that no whispering may be heard
nor any voice except the reader's.
As to the things they need while they eat and drink,
let the sisters pass them to one another
so that no one need ask for anything.
If anything is needed, however,
let it be asked for by means of some audible sign
rather than by speech.
Nor shall anyone at table presume to ask questions
about the reading or anything else,
lest that give occasion for talking;
except that the Superior may perhaps wish
to say something briefly for the purpose of edification.
The sister who is reader for the week
shall take a little ablution before she begins to read,
on account of the Holy Communion
and lest perhaps the fast be hard for her to bear.
She shall take her meal afterwards
with the kitchen and table servers of the week.
The sisters are not to read or chant in order,
but only those who edify their hearers.
It is a safe bet that Oblates who don't live alone rarely eat in silence, so
it would be easy to ask what on earth this chapter has for them, for all of us,
in fact. Easy! Another reminder to bless every action and service, no matter how
small is here. So is the kindhearted father Benedict: let the reader have a
little something before reading, so the hunger doesn't overwhelm. (It is
funny how quickly we become accustomed to eating at EXACTLY this or that time...
Twenty minutes later can start some stomach rumblings!) A third and perhaps
less obvious point is that, when it comes to the spiritual life and its
nourishment, St. Benedict does not like to waste time. He makes judicious use of
we feed our bodies to feed our hearts, minds and souls!
Let's start with that wasted time idea.. Look at some of the other areas we
waste time actively, or passively, because we have no choice. Grocery store
come to mind, so do waiting for elevators or trains or buses, to say nothing of
riding on same. An excellent opportunity for silent prayer! One could also
carry a small book all the time, popping it out when the occasions arise. I used
study college texts in line at the store. I was working full-time and I
needed every minute. But we all need every minute to grow spiritually, because
don't know how many of those minutes we have!
Driving, if one has a tape or cd deck in the car, can be a time to "make up"
for some of that lectio divina we never seem to have enough hours in a day to
finish. I speak as one formerly hopelessly addicted to rock 'n roll oldies- I
was a radio DJ, after all- there are a lot of tapes I could have played that
would have done far more for me than the Beach Boys or the Dave Clark 5!
(Though I will always hold both dear!) No radio or
tape in your car? Make sure you have a Rosary.. There's plenty of time for one
and you will find that traffic jams, while still aggravating, can be less so
something worthwhile to do is close at hand.
Oblates who live alone surely can play a tape of reading while they eat, but
I strongly feel that even families, if the children are old enough to
understand, can glean something here. What about a brief, very brief reading at
the beginning of each meal, right after grace? Could be most anything, but the
Saint of the Day, a free e list, has perfect length Saint bios with a quote and
short point or two to ponder. (Subscribe at: _http://www.americancatholic.org_
(http://www.americancatholic.org/) ) You and your family will learn about the
Saints, about the faith. This can be done in less than 3 minutes or so, then
(hopefully!) discussion and questions follow.
You might, also, try a different kind of "silence" at meals. What about a
"fast" from all talk that doesn't praise or compliment, an occasional meal when
you agree to do nothing but tell each other the good things you appreciate about
each member? Not shabby! Or maybe a meal when we never mention ourselves,
only others at table? There are all kinds of tricks to turn conversation into
something saving rather than harming, and total silence is only one approach!
And don't forget that little gem about blessing every action. If grace before
meals (maybe even after, too!) is not already a custom, make it so. This is
not turning your family into monastics, it is a basic Christian practice that we
should never have lost.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]