Holy Rule for May 1: Divine Mercy Sunday
This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, if you are not familiar with the devotion,
info can be found here: http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=2369
The Lord promised that those who would confess and receive Communion on
Divine Mercy Sunday would receive complete remission of all punishment, that
they would basically have their baptismal innocence restored.
Prayers, please, for Sister Lany Jo, on her feastday. Graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!
Prayers for all celebrating the beatification of Pope John Paul II today, in Rome and elsewhere, for great graces for all of them, many conversions of heart and safety for all the travelers.
Prayers for Ray's wife, looking into joining the Church, may the Holy Spirit guide her mind and heart and soul.
Shirley, 87, for whom we prayed, has been moved to hospice, Prayers, please, for her happy and peaceful death. I am not sure she is baptized, so we might pray for that, too.
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
May 1, August 31, December 31
Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
Established in This Rule
Now we have written this Rule
in order that by its observance in monasteries
we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
and the rudiments of the religious life.
But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
For what page or what utterance
of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not a most unerring rule for human life?
Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
does not loudly proclaim
how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
Then the Conferences and the Institutes
and the Lives of the Fathers,
as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
what else are they but tools of virtue
for right-living and obedient monks?
But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
they are a source of shame and confusion.
Whoever you are, therefore,
who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ
this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
and then at length under God's protection
you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
which we have mentioned above.
How great must our God be! I have never known anyone who kept all of
the Holy Rule perfectly, but I have known many that I thought were
great saints, very observant monastics. St. Benedict is clearly
telling us that God is ever more- infinitely more!- than we may attain by
observing this beginners' Rule.
God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps.
Our Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
the "rudiments" of the spiritual life! Ours is the "minimum" Rule,
the least Rule for rank beginners! Nothing but basics here... But ah,
the loftier heights to which those basics can lead!
"Whoever you are, therefore, who are hastening to the heavenly
homeland..." That "whoever" is the true object of all this heartfelt
tenderness of Saint Benedict , the one for whom he wrote! He only
made one qualifier, that of "hastening to the heavenly homeland." It
seems that some of our decisions about who matters and who does not
have employed a somewhat more restrictive standard than that of our
holy Father Benedict... and to our peril.
"Whoever you are..." I don't care who you are or how much I disagree
with you, whether I nearly hate your positions or love them blindly,
it is you I am called to love, to honor to respect, to cherish as a
fellow monastic traveler. You.
In the United States, where, through much of our history, Catholics
and Jews shared a roughly equal amount of contempt, great camaraderie
could flourish between the two and still quite often does. Having
said that, it has always amused me that many Jews I know get along
MUCH better with Catholics than they do with Jews who disagree with
them! How like ourselves!
When disagreement happens within our family, we hurt more, it is more
important to us. The differing opinion of a stranger on the subway
would hardly matter at all! Maybe the fact that we CAN get hurt and
angry is a good sign, maybe it means we are at least beginning to
love, but it is HOW we get hurt or angry that we have to examine
very, very closely.
The important thing is not opinion or observance or concepts or
tempests in teacups. The important thing is you. Whoever you are.
Every time I fail that, I have to get up, apologize and start over. Maybe
not right from square one each time, but again each time. If I ever stop
doing those things, I have stopped being a Benedictine.
Whoever you are, but it's not just me that has to embrace that. You
do, too. We all do. We ourselves are the only ones we can insist upon
reforming, however, the only ones we can make change. That might be
good to keep in mind, whoever you are.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]