Holy Rule for Nov. 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:
Genny LoPiccolo, and Michael, her husband, she is having pacemaker surgery today.
Brooke, and her newborn baby girl, Baylee.
Tom and Justin, seriously injured with multiple injuries in a rollover accident in a forest, found 8 hours later, both in very bad shape.
Mike, who was just diagnosed with leukemia, and for his family, especially for his mother since Mike's brother died of this a few years ago.
all the Faithful Departed on this Feast of All Souls, may they all
speed to heaven and eteranl bliss.
Belated birthday prayers for our Sr. Mary Herbert, on her 96th birthday.
Cathy, Lee and Ray, mental illness.
Continued prayers for Greg, multiple myeloma.
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
March 3, July 3, November 2
Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
with her,or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
punishment of excommunication.
This chapter was written for those who had already gone through all
the earlier stages. They wound up in the ultimate form of monastic
exclusion. At that point, one must leave the monastic and Abbot to
themselves and pray. We are not called to play good cop/bad cop any
We must stand back in prayerful silence. God gave the monastic and
the superior and the Abbey to each other. It is folly of the
richest sort to assume He didn't know what He was doing. God also
gave the parent and child, boss and employee, and the spouses to
Remember, at some point one must do nothing but pray.
There are plenty of ways to be genuinely helpful before that point
is reached and one ought to do so. I surely tried to love my
students who broke my heart with their pain, but at some point I
God gave X this parent and God is not mean. Cannot be. Will never
be. I had to trust Him at that extreme and pray for the best, which
is all God works for anyway. And God works MUCH more efficiently
than I do.
Our railing at the seeming harshness of this chapter can cover
another very important fact. Sometimes WE are the seemingly
malevolent torturers and we don't even see that. Rare is the person
who can truly judge themselves with the standards they
apply to others! Even worse, it often happens that we are BOTH the
torturer and the innocent victim, doing it most hatefully within
our hearts, where none but God can enter.
Our own flawed and fallen hearts trash our own pathetic souls,
beating them up with all kinds of useless recrimination and self-
loathings. Whoops! Not what we would have first noticed, is it? Yet
we sometimes lock the doors of that torture chamber with the key
that locks out even God: free will. We and we alone can thwart God
in our own regard. Scary power, isn't it?
Check out the times we have "excommunicated" ourselves, check out
the times we have foolishly placed ourselves beyond any help from
anyone. The injustice there is much harder for us to see, but it is
terribly real. Whenever we do that, we affirm the terrible heresy
that we know better than God, that His omniscience stops at the
door to our inner
I love Gerard Manley Hopkins; he is my all-time favorite poet. I
think he and I had more than a thing or two in common, not least of
which were the tendencies to depression and beating oneself up with
extreme efficiency. Here's something he wrote that sings to my
heart, and I hope to yours as well.
"My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet."
Pray for the awful excommunications that you CANNOT help and look
ever so carefully for those you and you alone can relieve, those of
your own soul and heart! God alone can bring good from evil, any
evil. Ask Him, let Him. He will never fail.
A final word on this day when many of us are thinking on Purgatory.
This is my own opinion, not official teaching, but I don't think it
contradicts the teaching in any way. Try to think of Purgatory as, along with
its other purposes, also being our chance to forgive ourselves. Surely the awesome
mercy and love of God are so infinite that many of us may have a
hard time accepting them at first, a hard time forgiving OURSELVES
for being so dumb. Purgatory might very well serve that purpose,
while purifying us, too! We cannot, after all, be perfectly happy in Heaven until we
are perfectly comfortable there. For that comfort, self-forgiveness
is very necessary!
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]