Holy Rule for Apr. 28
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the folllowing for all their loved one and all who take care of them:
Deo Gratias! Grateful thanks for prayers answered about Ashley and Charlotte, who have decided together to keep the expected baby and to remain together to support the child and one another.
Dot, breast cancer surgery today, had surgery on her other breast for cancer three years ago,
Kaitlin, one course away from graduating from college. She is having a tough time with this particular course. She did poorly on the last test and now is facing a retake and final simultaneously this Saturday.
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 28, August 28, December 28
Chapter 70: That No One Venture to Punish at Random
Every occasion of presumption
shall be avoided in the monastery,
and we decree that no one be allowed
to excommunicate or to strike any of her sisters
unless the Abbess has given her the authority.
Those who offend in this matter
shall be rebuked in the presence of all,
that the rest may have fear.
But children up to 15 years of age
shall be carefully controlled and watched by all,
yet this too with all moderation and discretion.
All, therefore, who presume
without the Abbess' instructions
to punish those above that age
or who lose their temper with them,
shall undergo the discipline of the Rule;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tobias
Ever work in a place where there was such chaos that you always had
to be protecting yourself from just about everybody, where you never
knew from which quarter doom might swoop down without warning. Trust
me, it ain't much fun. Been there, done that! St. Benedict wisely saw
that healthy people cannot live that way- it makes them sick- and
sick people cannot either, it makes them sicker in a big hurry!
Our communities, our families, and our own behavior at work or school
should never buy into such lunacy. One advantage of a central
authority is that it takes the heat, or ought to take it! To leave
those we have under our care at the mercy of each other, be they
siblings or monastics or employees, is a terrible abdication of
The other telling thing here is the proscription against losing one's
temper. Hey, I know it happens, and I often even know how. It surely
has happened to me, alas. But our communities are to be founded on peace.
When disagreement comes or wrong is done, our first resort must
NEVER be the overkill of the heaviest possible artillery. Much less than
that is effective in most cases and giving more than is necessary just
destroys our inner peace. That, my friends, is something we should
never allow things around us to destroy.
Two other important things are to be borne in mind. The other person may
honestly have no clue that they have offended or done anything wrong. It
may be in our own wrong-headed perceptions. Also, the silent treatment or
the cold shoulder freeze out are demeaning and not terribly mature ways to
deal with conflict, especially if the person receiving such nonsense is
expected to either know or guess what she has done wrong. Such petulant
behaviors are beneath humanity itself, much less Christianity and terribly beneath
Far from the "mutually assured destruction" tactic of the nuclear days,
we should always and everywhere espouse gentleness and polite restraint.
Our disagreements and corrections should be marked with mercy, even to
those who fail mercy themselves. (There is no shortage of such people and
no need to duplicate services there!) So much of charity is genuine courtesy
and respect, qualities which are sadly easy to fail. We must be mindful, ever
Love and prayers,
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A blessed Easter to all! Christ is risen, truly He is risen!!
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temproal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Luke, house sale - his house has been on the market for over a year and he really needs to sell it and downsize after the end of a long-term relationship.
Deo Gratias, V. has been offered and very limited place next year on the post-graduate course of his dreams...now he needs the money to pay for it.
Funding for D. to further his studies, or inspiration for something even better.
Continued prayers for baby Grace and her family. She is stable but still on oxygen in the house 24/7, and is waiting to see a specialist.
Jual, young mother of three battling breast cancer. Nodules found in her lung. Having surgery Sunday.
Prayers for safe journey, and back, for an extended family going on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land for almost 2 weeks, and prayers for a wonderful time.
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 8, August 8, December 8
Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren
For bedding let this suffice:
a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow.
The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot,
to see if any private property be found in them.
If anyone should be found to have something
that he did not receive from the Abbot,
let him undergo the most severe discipline.
And in order that this vice of private ownership
may be cut out by the roots,
the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt,
knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets;
that all pretext of need may be taken away.
Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind
the sentence from the Acts of the Apostles
that "distribution was made to each according as anyone had need"
In this manner, therefore,
let the Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy
and not the ill-will of the envious.
But in all his decisions
let him think about the retribution of God.
There is a tendency, both within the cloister and without, to hunt
for dramatic ascetic practices, while ignoring the truly more
difficult matters that lack the fanfare. Lights! Camera! Action! We
must always be wary of the Nora Desmonds of our hearts, who are
always willing to say, a la Sunset Boulevard: "I'm ready for my close-
up now, Mr. DeMille." How we do love to star, even at self-
Well, there's two bad pieces of new for Ms. Desmond et al. First the
penances we choose are usually not the most effective ones. The
best ones are imposed by God or our situation of daily duty and they
become tremendous means of grace when we patiently embrace them.
Second, the ones we do choose can be terrible risks for pride, which
undoes our efforts so insidiously.
What on earth does this have to do with the current chapter? Easy-
and very, very hard, too! The great ascesis here is to aim at
limiting ourselves to "all the necessary articles." There is a
challenge here for everyone from Abbot Primate to newest Oblate
novice. It is a challenge we shall likely never meet fully in life,
so it is something we can always be profitably picking at!
Do you know anyone at all, in any vocation, who has absolutely
nothing beyond what they need? I have known a few; alas I cannot
say it of myself. I think this is an area where we can all look at a challenging
grace-filled ascetic struggle that is placed on us by the Holy Rule.
Down-sizing actually feels great, once one gets over the consumerist
terror of doing so! One will quickly find that, in this area, less
really *IS* more, (unlike poetry and art, architecture and liturgy,
alas...! Minimalism there gets old fast...) We become freer when we
let go of things which hold us more than we realize.
We can get buried in things we are saving to complete unfinalized
plans that will never come to fruition, and while we save them, we
are disheartened by our own failure to use them. Jettison, m'dears,
jettison. As the one Desert Father used to say to the brethren,"Flee,
brothers, flee!" so do I say: "Jettison!"
This has the further charm of fitting well into a depressive's sofa
paralysis, too. Recall how I told you about that resolution to make
three things, no matter how tiny, better each day? Works here, too!
And you will often find to your delight that the trip to dumpster or thrift
shop donation includes 7, 8, or more things!
Keep chipping away and the mountain of our false hearts' desires,
beloveds. And one day may all those chips be ground to sand and may
we stand together on level, smooth quartz
sand, confronted by nothing but the dazzling ocean of God's
unfathomable mercy and love!
Love and prayers,
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