Holy Rule for May 7: The Morning Offering
Prayers, please, for Joy, laid off since October, she has a very important job interview coming up,
Prayers for Br. Benedict, very ill and on a ventilator, if no changes occur after a novena they are making, the ventilator will be removed.
Continued prayers please for various people without jobs, or who may soon be without a job:
James, Matthew, Giordano, Iris, Phil, and all others who are struggling.
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 6, May 7, September 6
So we have asked the Lord
who is to dwell in His tent,
and we have heard His commands
to anyone who would dwell there;
it remains for us to fulfill those duties.
Therefore we must prepare our hearts and our bodies
to do battle under the holy obedience of His commands;
and let us ask God
that He be pleased to give us the help of His grace
for anything which our nature finds hardly possible.
And if we want to escape the pains of hell
and attain life everlasting,
then, while there is still time,
while we are still in the body
and are able to fulfill all these things
by the light of this life,
we must hasten to do now
what will profit us for eternity.
The first section of the Prologue asked us to seek God's blessing
before doing any work. Today we are asked to prepare our hearts and
bodies for the struggles ahead and ask God for His help. Both of
these precepts are quite nicely filled by making the Morning
Offering. Now I know that is a Roman Catholic prayer, and I also know
we have (thanks be to God!) many Oblates of other faiths among us.
Bear with me, please. I think this has applications for everyone.
The morning offering is considered rather passe in some Roman
Catholic circles. One actually wonders why, in an age that loves
computers with tons of memory, hard drives that do all the work for
us, even more work than our own minds could dream of doing.
I have 12,400 names in a data base I built on royal genealogy, a favorite
hobby. One click and a few seconds will tell me how any two of them
are related, even up to mind-boggling relationships like eighteenth
cousin three times removed. It will start at a point like that and
then list all lesser relationships, until common ancestors are all
depleted. No way I could EVER do that. The morning offering, however,
makes computer ability look like shooting fish in a barrel.
The morning offering is the perfect capstone, cornerstone and
beginning for a great life of intercessory prayer. It unites the
poverty of our own lives, prayers, works, joys and sufferings with
those of Christ, with those of His Mystical Body. It plunges the
finite smallness of our own actions into sea after sea of infinite
grace and perfection and, wrapped in that awesome completeness,
offers them to the Father in the perhaps most perfect personal gift
we could ever hope for that day, short of martyrdom itself.
Ever forget to pray during the day? The morning offering makes our
very heartbeats and breathing prayers, means of grace for ourselves
and for all. We have offered ALL our works, even the unconscious ones
of our bodies to God, and we have offered them in union with the most
perfect sacrifice of Jesus. With a gift tag like that, the Father is
quite likely to be pleased, indeed. Each time we blink, or eat,
suffer or rejoice, we link that to Christ on His Cross. None of us
have enough bytes of memory to really do that (I have forgotten about
it at least three times while writing this sentence!) The morning
offering is our "hard drive" it is the program that saves to disk and
Our baptism into the Mystical Body gives us the right to plug into
that infinite worth. It would be a shame if we missed the
opportunity. Let me tell you, with complete sincerity, that all the
works of my entire life couldn't save a flea from drowning in a
raindrop. No way. Buried within the depths of Christ, however, their
value becomes literally infinite.
Ever feel bad that you forgot to pray for some one who asked, or only
whispered a quick: "Lord, help her."? The morning offering makes our
life and our prayer an infinite pie, one which can never be sliced
too thin. Counting huge groups and individuals, I pray every single
day for literally billions of people and not one of them is short-
changed at all. That's the marvel of uniting our lives and heart
daily to Christ. Every slice of the pie gets served on the plate of
His infinity, every single one. Cloaked in the perfect mercy and
offering of Jesus, every single act, even the keys I just struck and
the mouse I just moved are wonderful prayers for all, for everyone
throughout time. That's not shabby, folks!
Ever wish that your heart prone to largesse had all the money in the
world? How generous you would be! But, with the morning offering, you
have daily more than that. Claim your infinite share and spread it
around! Name people and groups, sure, but know that God has a memory
that never quits. You can say: for all people in all time" and it
WILL count! Heavens, I pray for all Oblates (among lots of other
groups every day. Not only could I not name them, I don't even know
them, nor is it possible for ANYONE to know them all throughout time.
But God does, and it counts!) There is no one reading this for whom I
have not prayed every single day, many by name, but it doesn't
matter. God is my hard drive! I have prayed for the next new guest
who arrives for a first visit for literally years, every single day.
The morning offering is a very neat method!
Look, folks, it's a Roman Catholic prayer. I'll give you a version of
it at the end of this post, but there are many others. I KNOW that
some of our Oblates from other Churches may have to amend it a bit
and that's OK, go for what God and your heart allows. I think,
however, that all Christians could agree on at least these
essentials. (Someone please correct me here, if I am wrong.) Offer
all your prayers, works, joys and sufferings in union with those of
Christ, for the intentions of Christ, for all the Church and its
leaders, for all people throughout time. Say it any way your heart
allows, but do at least this much and congratulations: you have just
thrust your own prayers and works and joys and sufferings into the
very heart of the Cosmos, into the whole of history itself. You now
stand beside Christ in HIS perfect work in every age. WOOOOF!
And, if today is your first morning offering, or your first in some
time, make it a habit to pray for all Benedictines each day!
Love and prayers,
O my Jesus, I offer You this day my prayers, works, joys and
suffering, for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart and Divine
Mercy, in union with every sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world
and with all the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of Your Mystical
Body throughout time, in reparation for our sins and in thanksgiving
for all Your benefits. I offer them for the Pope and all Church
leaders, for the unity of all Christians.
(Now you can add your own intentions- don't be stingy here, you have
infinity! I always end my own list with: for everyone and everything
throughout time, created by Your hands, I offer You my life, in
holocaust for these and for Your will for them.)
End with: Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto
Yours. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.
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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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