Holy Rule for Jan. 4
Prayers, please, for our Prioress, Mother Mary Elizabeth, on her feastday: graces galore and many more! Prayers, too, for all celebrating St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as their patron, and for the eternal rest of Br. Aelred Seton.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of the following, and for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Tammy, big day for her, special intention.
Deo gratias, Angel Luis, III was delivered safely by C-section, we had prayed for him and Moira, his Mom, prayers of thanks and for all the family.
Greg, ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease, and for the researchers seeking a cure, also for his son, discerning a priesthood vocation.
Joe, discerning an Oblate vocation.
Mario and his wife, Lorene. He is in a difficult position at work, where he is either going to be laid off or outsourced, and it is affecting his sleep, and his mental/physical state. They are praying that the Company offers him something like an opportunity to stay in another position, or that he is able to find a job in another company asap.
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 4, May 5, September 4
Having our loins girded, therefore,
with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14),
let us walk in His paths
by the guidance of the Gospel,
that we may deserve to see Him
who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12).
For if we wish to dwell in the tent of that kingdom,
we must run to it by good deeds
or we shall never reach it.
But let us ask the Lord, with the Prophet,
"Lord, who shall dwell in Your tent,
or who shall rest upon Your holy mountain" (Ps. 14:1)?
After this question,
let us listen to the Lord
as He answers and shows us the way to that tent, saying,
"The one Who walks without stain and practices justice;
who speaks truth from his heart;
who has not used his tongue for deceit;
who has done no evil to his neighbor;
who has given no place to slander against his neighbor."
This is the one who,
under any temptation from the malicious devil,
has brought him to naught (Ps. 14:4)
by casting him and his temptation from the sight of his heart;
and who has laid hold of his thoughts
while they were still young
and dashed them against Christ (Ps. 136:9).
It is they who,
fearing the Lord (Ps. 14:4),
do not pride themselves on their good observance;
convinced that the good which is in them
cannot come from themselves and must be from the Lord,
glorify the Lord's work in them (Ps. 14:4),
using the words of the Prophet,
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to Your name give the glory" (Ps. 113, 2nd part:1).
Thus also the Apostle Paul
attributed nothing of the success of his preaching to himself,
"By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
And again he says,
"He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (2 Cor. 10:17).
Ever have that funny feeling of surprise that the world and time and
life and events go resolutely on, even when you are stalled in
heartbreak? It is a strange egocentricity that allows us to feel
that. I remember clearly such a feeling when my father died. I was
not quite eleven. My world was shattered, everything had stopped or
changed or been put on hold.
Child that I was, it stunned me slightly to notice from the car
window on the way to the cemetery that it was just another sunny day
for everyone else. People were working, shopping, going to school.
The world WAS going on, nothing had changed for them. It made me feel
strangely even more alone in my pain: he wasn't as important to the
rest of the world as he was to me.
We can still have these feelings as adults, but hopefully we are at
least more used to them and less inclined to think the world really
DOES stop when we think it should. Tough though that can still be,
it is reality and reality is truth and truth, after all, is not
only humility but also what Jesus called Himself.
What does all this have to do with the Prologue? The same sort of
really unfortunate egocentricity can let us think that we are the
center of the known universe in other ways, can allow us to foolishly
think that our gifts or the tiny packets of virtues we have stashed
here and there are our own. No way, folks! It is grace, it is gift,
ALL is gift, beginning with our very existence!
Everything good, in every way is all from God, not us. We dare glory
in nothing but Him, for we would be less than nothing without His
grace acting in us. He is the Source that allows us to be good.
If a city has clean, wondrous, spring water, no one in their right
mind praises the pipes. No, one praises the purity of the Source. So
it is with us, m'dears, pipes one and all, nothing more or less. God
is the Source, God's mercy and love and grace and gift are the purest
of waters. We are His conduits and we dare not glory, except in the
Lord! "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give the glory!"
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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