Holy Rule for June 17
Prayers for the eternal rest of Bishop Ambrose, OSB, for whom we have been praying, he has gone to God. Prayers, too, for his Community, and all who mourn him.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Jayde, a young child admiited to psychiatric ward for aggression, she has very serious problems, and for her brother, Andrew and grandparents, Mary Lou and Richard. Jayde needs a miracle.
Julie, her cancer has returned.
Debbie, undergoing her third back surgery - this one may take 10-12 hours and for her sister, Barb, who has come to help with the family.
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
February 16, June 17, October 17
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord's Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, "Forgive us as we forgive,"
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.
But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, "But deliver us from evil.
The Our Father is THE Christian covenant of peace. If St. Benedict
insists it be said aloud twice a day, it is because he knows well the
tempests- nay, HURRICANES- in teacups that can spring up in any
enclosed home group, be it cloister or family. Things get magnified
inappropriately precisely because those we live with are dear to us.
If they weren't, they would be much less able to hurt or annoy us!
There weren't subways in St. Benedict's time, but there was a world
outside. All of us on the subway ride daily with liars, thieves,
adulterers and worse, we just don't know it. Even though the subway
can offer a bit of a challenge to Christian peace, to forgiveness,
if the situation is really frightening, one could get off early and catch the
In family or community, sometimes even in the workplace, we may not
be able to change trains. Not only that, but there are often no transit cops at
all. Always remember that Christian life, Benedictine life, is never tested when
it is easy. It is through testing that we grow, that our practice
On the subway or bus, or even in the artificially detached situation
of world newscasts, it can be a LOT easier to forgive. It comes at
little or no price at all. It's pretty easy to forgive even horrible
criminals if they have not harmed our home circle, if they have not
directly harmed us. Hate to say it, folks, but the easy stuff is not
where it's at for us. A 50 yard dash may be the beginnings of an
Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, but it is never the whole
The key to Benedictine peace is forgiveness, which is why St.
Benedict stresses that phrase and calls it a covenant. It truly IS a
covenant of peace. We are daily asking God, twice out loud, but
ideally many more times than that alone, to forgive us in the measure
that we forgive.
Whoa! Risky business there! Any chain's strength is
decided by its weakest link, so think of the person you LEAST
forgive. There you will have the model you are suggesting to God that
He use in forgiving you. As Fr. Hugo used to say: "You love God as
much as the one you love least."
Fortunately, for most of us, God's Divine Mercy is unfathomably deep.
It is never too late, even at
the last fleeting instant of life, for us to repent and accept His mercy!
Roman Catholicism and most other mainline Christian denominations
have not been known as peace churches, historically. They have not
made the dogmatic necessity of pacifism that the Mennonites or
Quakers have. Still, it is very hard to look at the Gospel itself or
at the daily Our Fathers and understand how so many wars have happened in
Christian history, especially between allegedly Christian nations.
If every monastery refectory, every dining room table and every
workplace lunch room had perfect forgiveness and peace, there would
likely be no war. Wouldn't happen, because genuine peace truly is
contagious. Do you see why we have to start at home, to start small?
It's the only place we have to begin.
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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