Holy Rule for May 24
Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, for Carol and John, celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary, for blessings and graces galore and many, many more graced years together.
Prayers for Sr. Irma, OSB, of Holy Name Monastery, FL. She is dying at home at the Monastery with hospice care. Prayers, too, for all the Sisters and others taking care of her, for her happy death and for all who will mourn her.
Please pray for peace of mind for a wife who is concerned that another woman is interested in her husband, apparently with just cause. Pray that the husband remain strong and faithful as he has been. Please also pray the woman, who is making a nuisance with phone calls and "accidental" meetings, has a successful completion of a business transaction so that she will not need to bother the couple any longer.
Prayers for Melissa, four months pregnant, and for her boyfriend who has difficulty with that and for her parents, whom she has moved in with, and for the baby. For God's best and perfect will for them all.
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
January 23, May 24, September 23
Chapter 5: On Obedience
But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
since He Himself has said,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
then even though he fulfill the command
yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
who sees that his heart is murmuring.
And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
unless he amend and make satisfaction.
It is our hearts that convict us in obedience. Not because of
feelings or emotions, those can be mistaken, but because of the
relationship between love and will. Many of us have loved someone and
hated having to do something that the love required, but we did it
anyway. Our feelings or repugnance were over-ruled by the will in our
hearts to love. Face it, love does not ALWAYS feel too good, which is
a principal way it differs from mere feelings.
Jean Ronan, one of my favorite teachers used to tell me to always make all
decisions "in the light of the death candle", that is, as if one were about to
die. How hearing that annoyed me at 30, but how true it is, and the closer one
gets to the possibility of that death candle, the truer it is. There's a handy
rule of thumb here. Does our choice put God and our faith first, no matter what?
If it does not, something is terribly wrong.
There is also the trust of faith involved here. God is God and we must firmly
believe He will do the best for us, no matter how unclear that may sometimes be.
Jesus often told St. Faustina to ask her superiors for permissions, hard
permissions, to do this or that extra prayer or mortification, that He KNEW they
would refuse. Then, after the refusal, He would tell Faustina that
her obedience meant more to Him than the thing denied.
He also said to her that all creatures do His will, whether they want
to not or, whether they know it or not. Now there's a hefty order!
Still when we look at St. Paul's remark that, "for those who love
God, all things work together for good," this is not at all far-fetched.
St. Paul did not say "all wise things", or "well-intentioned things", or
"cooperative things". He said "all" and he was inspired to say that by
the Holy Spirit.
"All things".....hmmmm. There is a mystical point where the will of God
cannot be thwarted. This is evident in the lives of many saints. When Jesus
told them nothing could harm them, He wasn't just kidding around! In spite
of seemingly insuperable odds, His will for them would triumph again and
again. But this is NOT just for saints: it is true for all of us! Obedience
throws us into the vortex of that, but it gets easier as our faith
(and experience of God's goodness!) deepens.
We have been too ready to think that obedience depends only on
humans, who are flawed. It doesn't. All obedience is given to God.
Our love and trust and His love and mercy are the deciding factors,
not the universally flawed human weakness that plagues every human
means of God's will in this world.
Want a little theological aside here? Look at what this concept of
all doing His will does to the concept of sin. It makes it the ULTIMATE rip-off.
If, even when we try to thwart God, we further His plans (and face it, He
*IS* clever enough to pull that off,) then we are left with absolutely nothing
but the bitter ashes of our own useless self- defeat. With Him or against Him,
His kingdom will nevertheless come. What a tragedy to have been nothing
more than a futile obstacle to that!
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]