Holy Rule for May 6
Prayers, please, that Al gets the better job he is seeking, if God wills.
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
January 5, May 6, September 5
Hence the Lord says in the Gospel,
"Whoever listens to these words of Mine and acts upon them,
I will liken to a wise person
who built a house on rock.
The floods came,
the winds blew and beat against that house,
and it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).
Having given us these assurances,
the Lord is waiting every day
for us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions.
And the days of this life are lengthened
and a truce granted us for this very reason,
that we may amend our evil ways.
As the Apostle says,
"Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent" (Rom.
For the merciful Lord tells us,
"I desire not the death of the sinner,
but that the sinner should be converted and live" (Ezech. 33:11).
Blessed Columba Marmion wrote:
"You may ask: Is not the monastery the ante-chamber of Heaven?
Assuredly it is; but to stay a long time in a waiting room and there
to bear monotony and annoyances, can become singularly burdensome and
require a big dose of endurance."
Probably no one really likes waiting rooms and some of us loathe them
far more than others. I certainly fall closer to the latter extreme!
It's not that I can't find anything to do, I usually can read or
pray, but not always. There is noisy talk, or there are sometimes noisier
TV's, both of which others need, so one can hardly grouse about them.
That which makes a waiting room more tolerable (like silence,) for
some makes it less so for others!
Had I to wait an entire day in a waiting room, I'd come home truly
fatigued. Weeks? Months? No doubt they'd have to crack out the
leather wrist and ankle restraints and give me psychotropic drugs IV
push!! I would be a mess. Patience is not my strong point and I am
sure many can relate to that on one level or another.
But Scripture and the Holy Rule assure us that a loving, all-merciful
God waits far more than any of us could stand. He waits for all our
lives, every instant, every millisecond. He waits before every
conversion and after every fall. He waits till our death, if need be.
Only then, when we can no longer run, does He open His arms of Divine
Mercy one last all-but-irresistible time. Even then, we could
refuse Him, but what folly that would be!
He waits. He does not stalk or crouch in hiding like a predator. His
are not the finite limits of some flawed human who watches only for
our falls, who delights at every trip or stumble. He perfectly,
patiently, lovingly, mercifully waits. GOD waits. For us, who are
less than nothing by comparison, GOD Himself waits!
There were many years when I was so emphatically trying to ignore
Him, when "...I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own
mind..." I used to hate it when people quoted Francis Thompson's
"Hound of Heaven" to me in those times. I am still annoyed
by the poem insofar as it portrays God as a rather insuperably Herculean
pursuer of very heavy foot! (Let us bless God that this is poetry and
I think that God has an infinitely more polite and respectful means
of waiting and seeking. But there are great truths in Thompson's poem
and I shall leave you with two excerpts, both quite near the end of the
poem. Beloveds, may these be the first words we all hear at death!
"All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost. I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!"
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest.
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee who dravest Me."
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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