Holy Rule for May 20
Kathleen wishes to express her Deo Gratias for her job search. In the last five days, she has received two job offers! She also wanted to pass along to all those praying on her behalf her thanks.
Prayers, please, for Dami, the widow of Ron who died at his own hand during a police stand-off, for whom we prayed. Their house and its contents were completely contaminated with tear gas, making it very difficult to salvage anything. Even worse, while using the armored car to force an entry to the building, the house was knocked off its foundation and is now condemned. She has until the 13th of July to salvage what she can and then it will be razed and disposed of. Prayers for all this family, please, and for the eternal rest of Ron.
Prayers, please, for Andrew, 6, seizure of unknown origin. EEG scheduled, and for his sister, Jayde, who has GI problems, and for Richard and Mary Lou and all their family.
Deo gratias for Luna, the 3 year old. Her test results came back negative for leukemia. They are going to run some more test to try to determine what is causing her symptoms, but the other possibilities are not as grave. Thanks be to God!
Prayers for a priest and his sister. She has just had brain tumor surgery, but unfortunately for her the tumor had metastasized and they have told her that her life expectancy is now probably less than 12 months, as they will be unable to operate again. She's taking it badly, prayers, too, please for her brother and for the whole family.
Prayers for Dave and his family and their cat, Bella, who is very ill. Prayers for the cat's health and recovery, and especially for Marian and Angelina, both very attached to Bella.
January 19, May 20, September 19
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
Not to give way to anger.
Not to nurse a grudge.
Not to entertain deceit in one's heart.
Not to give a false peace.
Not to forsake charity.
Not to swear, for fear of perjuring oneself.
To utter truth from heart and mouth.
Not to return evil for evil.
To do no wrong to anyone, and to bear patiently wrongs done to
To love one's enemies.
Not to curse those who curse us, but rather to bless them.
To bear persecution for justice' sake.
Not to be proud.
Not addicted to wine.
Not a great eater.
Not a grumbler.
Not a detractor.
To put one's hope in God.
To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in
But to recognize always that the evil is one's own doing, and to
impute it to oneself.
These Instruments of Good Works are an excellent compendium and
summary of Christianity itself. The very order in which they are
listed seems to be less than accidental: the first and greatest
commandment that Jesus spoke of, to love God with one's whole being,
is first, followed by His second commandment of love of neighbor.
Selections from the 10 commandments follow that. Hence, it would seem
to be no accident that the exhortations to avoid perjury and
to "utter truth from heart and mouth" immediately follow one that
bids us never "to forsake charity."
Jesus tells us: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." St. John
tells us that "God is Love." There is no way to safely dissociate
these things from one another.
God is Truth, so it is little wonder that offending truth offends
God. Another reason that deceit and falsity are so terribly
wrong is that they destroy trust and make community either less
possible or totally impossible.
When I taught in grammar school, some of our children would
simply lie as a first resort, not a last. It was rather an attitude of
"Hey, give it a shot! It might fly..." This was not my impression
alone, but all of the faculty's. It was sad, but we had to accept the
fact that one could not safely trust some of our children.
One could usually dig out the truth one on one, alone, but one
didn't always have the time or privacy to do so. That made it very
hard to build a community based on trust. We loved
our kids like crazy, but we had to be sadly aware that there was
sometimes a more than average manipulation of truth.
That's one thing among children, whom one is trying to lead forth, to
form. Among adults, it is often flat out fatal to community as soon
as noticed. We certainly need to forgive and we certainly need to be
innocent as doves, but we are not asked to be fools. There is no
command that bids us hold our second hand firmly on a hot stove while
apologizing with the one first burned. Jesus knew very well what
lying would do to our hearts, how it would impair them. That's why we
are asked to never do that to one another.
Trust and community, love and truth, life and the way, these are
entwined in the heart of God, that heart to which we all hope to go.
We need all of those things for our journey.
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]