Holy Rule for May 30
Prayers for Craig who went to the doctor last week for throat x-rays and fearing cancer. He should receive the test results on Tuesday. Prayers that there is nothing wrong and Craig is healthy.
Prayers for all service people and others who have lost their lives, or had them changed forever in wars. May our Memorial Day tomorrow be one of prayers for the living and the dead.
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 29, May 30, September 29
Chapter 7: On Humility
We must be on our guard, therefore, against evil desires,
for death lies close by the gate of pleasure.
Hence the Scripture gives this command:
"Go not after your concupiscences" (Eccles. 18:30).
since the eyes of the Lord observe the good and the evil (Prov. 15:3)
and the Lord is always looking down from heaven
on the children of earth
"to see if there be anyone who understands and seeks God" (Ps. 13:2),
and since our deeds are daily,
day and night,
reported to the Lord by the Angels assigned to us,
we must constantly beware, brethren,
as the Prophet says in the Psalm,
lest at any time God see us falling into evil ways
and becoming unprofitable (Ps. 13:3);
and lest, having spared us for the present
because in His kindness He awaits our reformation,
He say to us in the future,
"These things you did, and I held My peace" (Ps. 49:21).
The theme of God seeking His laborers first expressed in the Prologue
comes back here, like background hints of melody woven through an
overture. God SEES us, yes, but He also SEEKS us, seeks those who
seek Him. If we forget that, God's loving, watchful care over us (He
assigns angels to us!) is reduced to the lackluster charm of a security camera,
an "Eye in the sky."
Ever lose somebody in airport? It's a funny sort of panic, because
both of you know that ultimately, somehow you will connect. Until
that happens, however, a lot of anxious hunting takes place. Do you
know the joy when two such people finally find each other? It ain't
slight! While one says "Thank heavens I found you!" the other is
saying, "But I was looking for you, too, EVERYWHERE!" There is a
great common blessing in such moments, one which far transcends the
anxiety of the search which preceded it.
That's how it is with God. While we are seeking Him, even BEFORE we
are seeking Him, He is seeking us. There is so much love in that searching,
on both parts. The novice is to be examined to see if she truly seeks God.
But the question is not just for novices. "Quaeremus inventum," said St.
Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we have found." And so it goes. A monastic
life done right has seeking and finding writ large on every page, from
beginning to end.
Angels got a bad press in the Roman Catholic world in the late 60's
and beyond. It became fashionable to be rather scornful of such
belief and some skeptics viewed guardian angels as only a slight step
beyond the fairy godmothers of children's tales. Well, folks, it was
one time they weren't on the crest of a wave. The signs of the times
told them that emphatically when a ground swell of popularity arose
with angels as its focus.
The angels are
more than human, but less than divine. They share our status of being
creatures, but they have powers beyond our ken. No wonder popular
culture embraced them: they are a very good entry level awareness of
something beyond, something spiritual. Whatever else they may be,
they are real. Why waste 'em? Let them help us all they can and let
us ask for more besides! There may be reservations among some of our
readers about praying to saints, but Scripture abounds with examples of
conversations with angels, a comforting assurance for our Protestant readers.
Go for it!
A couple of years ago, a confessor recommended that I pray to
my Guardian Angel about a problem. No one had said that to me in years! I
took his advice, however, and loved the results.
By the way, the Guardian Angels are the patrons of the American
Cassinese Congregation. I know some guys who probably would have
loved to change that during the "bad press" years. Thankfully, no one
did! Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us!
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]