Holy Rule for Mar. 23
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Hillary, a blogger just diagnosed with cancer.
Archbp. Daniel Buechlein, OSB, who suffered a mild stroke.
Frank, 90's, for whom we have prayed, he did have his leg amputated and now faces rehab. His family thanks all who prayed and continued prayers, please, for Frank and his family.
Duane, suffering with liver cancer, and his wife, Anne, may they feel the love and comfort
of Jesus and of the people who care about them, and for healing as God wills.
Christopher, that God grant him a fulfilling job, soon.
For D, having a terrible time with sexual addiction and same sex attraction.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Elaine's Dad, on his birthday.
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 23, July 23, November 22
Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table
Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
so that all together may say the verse and the oration
and all sit down to table at the same time --
through his own carelessness or bad habit
does not come on time
shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
If then he does not amend,
he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
but shall be separated from the company of all
and made to eat alone,
and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
at the verse said after the meal.
It is terribly important for families to eat together. St. Benedict
knew this 1,500 years ago and things have not changed that much in
human nature since his time. The links between members are restored
at a shared meal. Small wonder that Jesus left us a Meal as His
legacy to remember Him by and to unite us all.
I can hear the groans from Oblates in families that schedules
conflict and how can this be possible. I assure you, I do not know,
especially since I don't know all the ins and outs of anyone's
personal situation. I do know, however, that a family meal is so
important that it must be worked into one's life somehow. Once a week
is better than nothing, but even that is far too little. Every day
might be out of the picture, but it ought to be the ideal.
Sometimes we need to get a firm grip on what is most important. That
might mean we have to help our children get real, as well. Being
children, they ought not to be expected to have a tool kit capable of
enabling any and all decisions on their own. I know and love one
family whose soccer and hockey schedules ruin much of the year. I
worry about them, I truly do.
The parents make at least a better than average attempt to go to
Church, but I am in no way certain that survives either sports
season. Hey, I know kids get invested and I know it is hard to say
no, but Sunday? Shot? For most of the year? God can wait, hockey
can't? Not only is a terrible religious message being given here, but
a very false message is given to each of the two athletes as well:
the world revolves around you. Everything stops when you have a game.
Well, not exactly, nor is that the best idea to turn a kid loose on
the world with.
Make no mistake, parents DO form their kids in a religion they care
about. Unfortunately, if that religion is sports, the message comes through loud
A while back opening day for the Boston Red Sox fell on Good Friday. There
was a huge (and very embarrassing push!) for the Archdiocese to dispense fans
from meat abstinence on that day so they could have a hot dog at the game. I
am not making this up, but I wish I were. Good Friday or the Red Sox, where is
one's heart? I am glad the Archdiocese did not bend.
Reclaiming Sunday is not some hyped up Benedictine idea. It is
Christian. Our faith itself demands that we get rest and some time
together, hopefully for prayer! It would seem that, if one was to be
firm anywhere, on any day of the week, Sunday might be the place to
start. Frankly, if the child gripes that everyone else does it, this
would offer a particularly apt time to convey the message that we are
not like everyone else, nor are we supposed to be. That's part of
Heavens, my Jewish friends grew up with a far better
sense of who they were than many Christian (or post-Christian!) kids
get today. And their Sabbath was SATURDAY. Now that cut
into more than a few things. But there was a great, great lesson
available there for those kids. Pity the ones who missed it.
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]