Holy Rule for Jan. 3
Prayers for the eternal rest of Len, and for all his family and all who mourn him, especially Kathryn and her Mom.
Prayers for Amanda, 42, who died after unexpected complications from a routine surgery. Please pray for the repose of her soul and for her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Fr. Garrett, multiple heart problems, stent placed, still having some difficulties and problems with clots and weakness.
Nate-in an induced coma fighting for his life against leukemia-for his family, friends, loved ones and caregivers.
Jay, Beth and their family.
Dan and J.T., two lost souls who are convinced there is no God-and for their parents who also have little faith.
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 3, May 4, September 3
And the Lord, seeking his laborer
in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,
"Who is the one who will have life,
and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33:13)?
And if, hearing Him, you answer,
"I am the one,"
God says to you,
"If you will have true and everlasting life,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips that they speak no guile.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
And when you have done these things,
My eyes shall be upon you
and My ears open to your prayers;
and before you call upon Me,
I will say to you,
'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).
What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,
than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
Behold, in His loving kindness
the Lord shows us the way of life.
This is perhaps my all-time favorite reading from the Holy Rule. Then
gentle, loving tenderness of both the Divine Merciful Christ and our
holy Father Benedict are here in abundance. One is tempted to merely
bask in the warmth, rather than write, but I will try to write!
Lest any of us (which, as the Holy Rule would say, God forbid,) tend
to pride at undertaking the monastic way, this one deflates that
balloon in a hurry. Christ seeks US. What mercy! Our very being is
nothing but an act of His love and mercy, all that we have is His
love and His mercy, yet, on top of all that, He seeks US! We're
talking God here, not some other created being. We're talking the
Alpha and Omega, end all and be all, the First Cause, you name it.
The very force of life and light and truth and love and mercy in the
cosmos, before all time, names us, knows us and calls us.
He ALREADY calls us His laborers, even before we answer. He knows
intimately and well, from personal experience, the fouled up chaotic
mess in which we live. He has lived in it, too. He tenderly calls us
to "true and everlasting life" and assures us that He knows the way.
In fact, He *IS* the Way!
I can gush a bit writing about the Prologue, so indulge me here as I
do so. Beloveds, for so you are to me, our fractured hearts and sin-
veiled eyes just cannot see the way, nor can we name the hurts nor
their cures well. God and God alone can pierce that darkness and He
offers to do so before we even ask. This is awesome grace, this is
enough for a lifetime's meditation on humility. Hard things to come
in the struggle are real, but their harshness is in some way
illusory: "Behold, in His loving-kindness, the Lord shows us the way
It is solely because of heaven and Christ for all eternity that every
suffering, every cross can be diminished into absolute nothingness by
the greatness of the reward. Yes, He shows us the way to life, but,
as a wonderfully Dominican Doctor of the Church, St. Catherine of
Siena, taught us: "All the way to Heaven *IS* Heaven, because He
said: 'I am the Way.' "
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]