Holy Rule for Apr. 5
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved oness and all who take care of them:
Monsignor Inácio José Schuster, 41, the vicar general of the Diocese of Novo Hamburgo, Brazil. He is in stable condition in a local hospital after being shot in the face during a robbery attempt..
Julianna Claire, born March 11th and in back in hospital with a fever, and for her worried parents, Katie and Bill.
Olga, 95 on April 5th - for a happy birthday.
Nina, 79, going in for foot surgery tomorrow, for her daughter, Eva, and all her family.
a young couple and their relationship.
Megan, 15 years old, an A student diagnosed with a cancerous tumour on her brain stem. She is having surgery, but Surgeons know that they can't remove all of the tumour and they also know she is not suitable for chemotherapy.
Deo gratias, Bob has his new hip and is glad the surgery went well. Rehab is more difficult than he expected, but he's determined to be up and about soon. He thanks everyone for their concern and prayers. Keep them up!
Deo Gratias for the safe arrival of John's Great God Daughter - Emma Sofia and for her delighted parents Ana and Dominic.
Oscar's mum. We prayed for her earlier this year, her Cancer is causing so much sorrow. Her chemo has been postponed once again because she was completely sedated due to an unbearable pain, and it being impossible to operate on her or give her chemo if she did not eat or stay conscious. Her family must, then, accept her inminent demise. Prayers for God's will and her happy death if He calls her.
Prayers, please, for Marian on her birthday, many blessings and many more!
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 5, August 5, December 5
Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests
Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
who are never lacking in a monastery,
arrive at irregular hours.
Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
Let them be given such help as they need,
that they may serve without murmuring.
And on the other hand,
when they have less to occupy them,
let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
And not only in their case
but in all the offices of the monastery
let this arrangement be observed,
that when help is needed it be supplied,
and again when the workers are unoccupied
they do whatever they are bidden.
The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
and in a prudent manner.
On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
associate or converse with guests.
But if he should meet them or see them,
let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
ask their blessing and pass on,
saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
It is the last paragraph which strikes me. Most monasteries no longer
enforce it strictly, thankfully. However, it brings to mind a rule of
thumb that may be applied in other situations.
Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
do. File that info any way you like, but I'd give her a LOT of
room...I'd smile sweetly when I had to and then give her a very wide
berth! I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
a way, never. Watch out for the pursed lips and narrowed eyes, the
shaming attitude, the evident disgust. None of these things are
monastic traits. All of them are signs that a lot of further work is
Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, but they are means to an
end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.
Look at the many Desert Father and Mother accounts of guests arriving
unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
entertaining with gratitude and evident cheer. Now and then one sees
a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
rather than undergo, a wonderful principle from Dom Jean-Marie Dechanet, OSB,
in his book on Christian Yoga.
There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.
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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