Holy Rule for Dec. 13
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
Jean, for whom we prayed, has gone to God. Her little dog, Morgan, has found a new home. Deo gratias.
Annette's nephew, who took his own life, and especially for his devastated family, who had no hint he was gooing to do this.
Deo gratias and continued prayers for:
Audrey from whom we have been praying about her cancers, is being released from hospital tomorrow.
Thomas, the student who broke his neck, he can breathe on his own, can talk and has some feeling coming back into his hands. Many thanks for the prayers, but please keep on for his recovery.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Alex, to have hope, even amidst a depression which is building up.
Dave and Marian, on their 30th wedding anniversary, and for Dave esp., as his neck and shoulder injuries are flaring up painfully.
Bruce, his marriage has broken down. He is in another country and his mum is hoping that he will be able to come home briefly over Christmas.
Rupert - keen to try his vocation, but has health issues. Please pray that he will be able to find a place which suits him, preferrably with the Franciscans.
Terry, possibly has cancer. Prayers for him and his family.
Barbara, her health is not as good as it could be.
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 13, August 13, December 13
Chapter 59: On the Sons of Nobles and of the Poor Who Are Offered
If anyone of the nobility offers his son to God in the monastery
and the boy is very young, let his parents draw up the document which
we mentioned above; and at the oblation let them wrap the document
itself and the boy's hand in the altar cloth. That is how they offer
As regards their property, they shall promise in the same petition
under oath that they will never of themselves, or through an
intermediary, or in any way whatever, give him anything or provide
him with the opportunity of owning anything. Or else, if they are
unwilling to do this,
and if they want to offer something as an alms to the monastery for
their advantage, let them make a donation of the property they wish
to give to the monastery, reserving the income to themselves if they
And in this way let everything be barred, so that the boy may have no
expectations whereby (which God forbid) he might be deceived and
ruined, as we have learned by experience.
Let those who are less well-to-do make a similar offering. But those
who have nothing at all shall simply draw up the document and offer
their son before witnesses at the oblation.
This is the chapter that allows us to have (and be!) Oblates. How
different would all of our lives be if this chapter had never been
written! While I dwell on the Order as a whole in this reflection,
how drastically different and how impoverished my life would be
without Oblates. How very deeply my life is shaped by so many of you
and how very grateful for that I am!
Reflect a moment on how rich your life WOULDN'T be if you had no
Benedictine family, if the Order had never even been founded. Think
about brothers, sisters and friends whom you would not know, about
what you would have missed. For starters, many of us would not be
members on at least a couple of the forums this appears on- they
wouldn't exist! Our wonderful fraternity in cyberspace would have
never happened at all.
In my own life there would have been no St. Leo, no Brother Patrick,
no Petersham or Pluscarden. My college degree would never have
happened and my dear friend, Jean Ronan, would never have even met
me, let alone taught me theology.
Every single thing I ever received from the Benedictine Order, all the
example, all the awe and joy, and yes, even all the pain that formed
me, would never have existed, nor would I have had any role in the
lives of my Benedictine family of brothers and sisters. Nada. Zilch.
Europe would look a lot different, probably worse, and the Book of
Common Prayer would be devoid of all those wonderful OSB elements
like Morning Prayer and Evensong. Even the architecture of Anglican
Churches would differ: the monastic choir-in-sanctuary style would
probably be unknown.
Often the best way to access a treasure is to imagine its loss. We
can take for granted things which are of inestimable value. Make
today's chapter an opportunity for such an assessment. Carry it even
further, to some other dear and wonderful things in your life. What
if there were no Church? What if you had no family ? (I know, I
know... sometimes that sounds tempting! But even in dysfunctional
families, you would NEVER be exactly who you are without them.) Often
the best appreciation of how things are can be had by such
We all owe a great, great deal to St. Benedict and to his sons and
daughters. Let us pray for our Benedictine family and give thanks,
deep thanks for the gift we have all received!
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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