Holy Rule for Sept. 2
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Doreen's Mom, feeling unwell from unknown causes.
Junior, approxiimately 45 minutes without breathing after an asthma attack, on machines and thought to be brain dead, and for his parents.
Beth, MS worsening and facial involvement.
Ann, Menier's disease and needing improvement badly.
Philip, to accept God's will about schooling.
Kelly, has a severe health problem, possibly cancer, waiting for the biopsy report. Please pray for her and her family: husband, Glenn, and children Victoria and Geordan. They are all having a hard time with this.
Patty, 59, recovery after suffering a stroke.
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 2, May 3, September 2
Let us arise, then, at last,
for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
"Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
let us hear with attentive ears
the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
"Today if you hear His voice,
harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
"Whoever has ears to hear,
hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
And what does He say?
"Come, My children, listen to Me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
"Run while you have the light of life,
lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).
St. Benedict, just by virtue of the period in which he lived, would
have been rather more attuned to the Eastern Church Fathers than
many in the West are today. Not for nothing does he also recommend
St. Basil's Rule to his monastics! Given all this, the
phrase "deifying light", which probably strikes most Westerners as
just a lovely bit of poetry, would ring altogether different bells
in Eastern minds, and may well have rung those bells in the mind of
St. Benedict himself.
Deification, the process of humanity becoming more God-like, is a
central theme of Eastern spirituality, a favorite theme of the
Fathers and a big central issue in Eastern monasticism. The whole
idea of the Incarnation is viewed as God becoming Man so that man
could be deified. (Don't take that term "deified" literally. The
idea was that people became God-like, participated in His wondrous
Being, not that they literally became gods!)
But there was a profound awareness of grace allowing us to share
in God's life and to become ever more
like Him, of being ever more intimately united with the Triune
Life. Put another way, the East would say that we were created in
the image and likeness of God, but we have lost the likeness.
Deification, monastic struggle, the spiritual life, all of these
strive to regain that likeness.
We so often speak of balance, but what does that balance entail?
It is this very deification, it is the closest attempt we can make to restore
the rightness of Eden. It is our halt and lame effort to become what
God intended us to be, as closely as we can in a fallen world.
So, as we continue our loving Father's pep talk at the beginning of
his Holy Rule, let us resolve to never again let that
phrase "deifying light" slip past our eyes as just another literary
device. No way! Deification and Light are what we are all about.
Shine on, dear brothers and sisters, shine on!
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]