Holy Rule for Oct. 20
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and phisical health of the following, please, and for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Fr. McAlear, degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Carl, who passed away yesterday. He lived a long life-had much material success and had the wisdom and humility to share it with so many people less fortunate than himself.
Vicky, who has battled cancer for years and is now at Stage-Four and going through chemotherapy. Prayers for her, her spouse and family who are worried and caring for her.
Craig, who's condition makes it difficult to succeed socially and academically in a traditional school setting-and for his mother and brother who are helping him navigate these challenges.
Linda, 42 year old mother of three young children and has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She starts chemo on Friday. Three treatments then surgery followed by twelve more chemo treatments. For God's perfect will and care for her and her family.
Krystal, to accept and make good use of life with increasing neurological problems for which there is no further treatment. Thqanks to the Lord for providing her with her steadfast and loving husband of 37 years who truly lives his middle name, Joseph; and for the good doctors in her life! May God forever bless them!
Prayers for the eternal rest of Gretchen, who passed away unexpectedly last Sunday, and for her husband Ken and their family and friends and all who mourn her.
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 19, June 20, October 20
Chapter 16: How the Work of God Is to Be Performed During the Day
"Seven times in the day," says the Prophet, "I have rendered praise
to You" (Ps. 118:164).
Now that sacred number of seven will be fulfilled by us if we
perform the Offices of our service at the time of the Morning
Office, of Prime, of Terce, of Sext, of None, of Vespers and of
Compline, since it was of these day Hours that he said, "Seven
times in the day I have rendered praise to You." For as to the
Night Office the same Prophet says, "In the middle of the night I
arose to glorify You" (Ps. 118:62).
Let us therefore bring our tribute of praise to our Creator "for
the judgments of His justice" (Ps. 118:164) at these times: the
Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext, None,
Vespers and Compline; and in the night let us arise to glorify Him.
Tucked neatly into all this business of naming and counting the
Hours of the Divine Office comes the actual reason we go to choir
or say the Office alone. It is "our tribute of praise to our
Creator 'for the judgments of His justice' "
OK, tribute, praise, glorify, all those things are familiar enough
to us, but the zinger here is "for the judgments of His justice."
Whoops! A lot fall out on that one! Whether we realize it or not,
the reason we praise God as Benedictines is to thank Him for ALL
His decisions in regard to us. That isn't easy, but it is terribly
valid and terribly necessary.
We thank God- admittedly sometimes with gritted teeth- for all the
things that did and DIDN'T work out the way we wanted them, for
every acceptance and every rejection that brought us to be as we
find ourselves today, in His arms, even when we cannot feel His
arms. The jobs we didn't get, the great loves which were not
reciprocal, the course we flunked, the kids that went wrong, the
illness that dogs us, the spouse we should never have gone out with
twice, the unwanted pregnancy, the miscarriage, EVERYTHING that has
shaped our lives and persons is something we thank God for in the
I mention only the difficult things, because anybody can be
thankful that the apparently great stuff worked out. Nor am I
saying all the bad stuff is God's fault, or that it's our own
fault, but ALL of it is turned to good by God, and that is worth
singing about! All of
it! If we look back honestly, we can see the hand of His goodness
in the darkest times, we can see it in NOT having our way, we can
see it in everything.
Since the way God turns all to good is a mystery we shall never
know fully in this life, we cannot adequately say much of anything
but thanks and praise, the stammered joy of someone who has
received a really great gift and is astounded at such generosity.
Thanks, God. And hey, You really DID know what You were doing all
along, didn't You?
Own it, beloveds, God's will truly IS best. All is really mercy and
grace! All! And, uh, oh yeah- Alleluia!!!!!!!!!
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]