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,
[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,