Holy Rule for June 30
Pryaers for the eternal rest of:
Adeline and Wayne. Both have just gone to God after long lives.
Krystal's brother and for his wife and son left behind,
And prayers for all their families and all who mourn them.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Rosie, job interview on Friday, having been unemployed for three months. This is the first interview she's had in well over three years, and she is scared.
P who is about to lose his job, and for his wife C and their children, that he'll find another job quickly and that they'll be able to manage if he is unemployed for a while.
Mike, who suddenly needs a heart transplant, and his wife Shari.
Mary who, after many long years in a nursing home, appears to be reaching her end, that it may be peaceful and graces given to her, all her family, and those who take care of her.
Dawn Marie, 35, wife, mother of 3, and devoted special education teacher who is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, that the upcoming visit to a major university medical center find doctors blessed in wisdom to help keep this life-altering disease under good control.
For all those who have difficulty dealing with the chronically ill.
Krystal, looking forward to her Final Oblation, for fidelity to her vocation.
Deo gratias -- Germain's scalp ulcer is completely healed after months. an excision removed a cancerous lesion. 20 stitches needed to close it. completely well now.
Continued prayers for Arjahn, relationship issues, new business and special intention,
and for Ben special intention, relationship and real estate issues,
and for JS, school issues -- needs money, for starters.
Deo gratias for all prayers answered in the past.
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 29, June 30, October 30
Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults
If a brother is found to be obstinate,
or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
If he fails to amend,
let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
But if even then he does not reform,
let him be placed under excommunication,
provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
if he is perverse, however,
let him undergo corporal punishment.
While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal code
of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that they are
too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The Benedictine
atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a lot of
timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving, they're just
useful means of avoidance.
Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding confrontation
with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in authority are
called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not even those
that are horribly difficult to lift.
The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
examine your conscience." If you are in authority, or get there
someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly hard
for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be ignored, but
sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one of the VERY
great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me, fasting pales
to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!
I have known monastics (and employees and managers and parents!) who
forced more than one person out by their unchecked behavior, something a
good superior could have fixed or at least mitigated. It is even more tragic
when the one in charge is taking the easy way out by non-intervention.
God's will has to work around and in spite of human frailty, but
human frailty can and does often put huge obstacles in the way.
Meanness and abusiveness can destroy others' vocations as well as
one's own. So can cowardice and inactivity in the name of false
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]