Holy Rule for Dec. 12
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Toby, 37, who killed himself after killing his wife, Samantha and their daughter, Genevieve. He had been sacked from his job a week earlier. He also attacked their other two children, Kimberly and Adam, before taking his own life. Prayers for ernal rest of the dead, and for the surviving children and for all their family and all who mourn them.
Prayers, please for Ron and his wife who both have significant health problems which have led to stresses on the marriage.
Prayers, please, for Irene who is in the hospital for dehydration, pneumonia and kidney infection. It is feared that at her advanced age, this may be to much for her to take.
And, prayers too, please, for her son, Darrell, who is suffering from either a Rotator Cuff or Bursitis injury.
Prayers, please, for Sr. Joelle of Sacred Heart Monastery for heart surgery and minor cancer removal, Dec. 13th.
Prayers for Dorothy, on the anniversary of her death, and for Phyllis, her daughter, who misses her very much.
Kim, for whom we prayed, came through her kidney removals well, but now cannot tolerate morphine and hopefully some other pain relif will be available. The spots on her lung may not be cancer and she doesn't need dialysis, Deo gratias and continued prayers for her and her son, Chris.
Prayers for Tom and Jane, on their 2nd wedding anniversary and extra prayers for Tom, since it is also his birthday. Ad multos annos! Many years!
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 12, August 12, December 12
Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters
When she is to be received she promises before all in the oratory
stability, fidelity to monastic life and obedience. This promise
she shall make before God and His Saints,
so that if she should ever act otherwise, she may know that she
will be condemned by Him whom she mocks. Of this promise of hers
let her draw up a document in the name of the Saints whose relics
are there and of the Abbess who is present. Let her write this
document with her own hand; or if she is illiterate, let another
write it at her request,
and let the novice put her mark to it. Then let her place it with
her own hand upon the altar;
and when she has placed it there, let the novice at once intone
this verse: "Receive me, O Lord, according to Your word, and I
shall live: and let me not be confounded in my hope" (Ps. 118
:116). Let the whole community answer this verse three times
and add the "Glory be to the Father." Then let the novice prostrate
herself at each one's feet,
that they may pray for her. And from that day forward let her be
counted as one of the community.
If she has any property, let her either give it beforehand to the
poor or by solemn donation bestow it on the monastery, reserving
nothing at all for herself, as indeed she knows that from that day
forward she will no longer have power even over her own body. At
once, therefore, in the oratory, let her be divested of her own
clothes which she is wearing
and dressed in the clothes of the monastery. But let the clothes of
which she was divested
be put aside in the wardrobe and kept there. Then if she should
ever listen to the persuasions of the devil and decide to leave the
monastery (which God forbid), she may be divested of the monastic
clothes and cast out. Her document, however, which the Abbess has
taken from the altar, shall not be returned to her, but shall be
kept in the monastery.
The Church approves religious rules. This is the basis for
asserting that our Holy Rule is inspired by the Holy Spirit,
because the Church gave its seal of approval. The Church, however,
is indubitably older and often wiser than monastic life. It predates every
form of optional religious commitment. It is the blessing of the Church
which makes official monastic life possible for any and all of us.
This is just a prelude to saying that the wisdom of the Church long
ago stopped people from making solemn vows, a life-long commitment
difficult to break, right out of novitiate. Not only does this
longer program protect people, to a certain extent, from making a
mistake, it also spares the monastery from having a lot of
undesirables with chapter votes running the show. There are
some I have known who left in simple vows for whose exit I remain
eternally grateful! Thanks be to God that they were never chapter
members with votes. What a zoo that would have been!
A year may well have been enough in St. Benedict's time. People had
vastly shorter life spans, it was a bigger chunk of their lives.
They also had to grow up more quickly and their options were fewer
by far than those of our own day.
Oblates, therefore, can garner a few kernels of truth in this
chapter about commitment, that bugbear of the baby boomer
generation and beyond. Modern people find it terribly hard to
commit, some never manage it at all. As such, a bit of wisdom older
than our own age may be very useful in our everyday lives.
Benedictines are not people afraid of commitment, but we live in a
world where many are. Our witness here must be care and balance. We
must resolutely walk BETWEEN the extremes of foolhardy haste and
crippling fear. In the world of today, that is no small witness and
no easy task. Pull this one off, and you have a done a service to
many, not just to yourself!
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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