Holy Rule for Jan. 11
Prayers for Julian, 2, all tubes removed so his Mom, Terah, can hold him and say goodbye, just waiting for the end to come. Prayers for all his family, and esp. his Mom.
Prayers for Sue, rocky relationship with her son, whose issues do great harm to himself, which he cannot see clearly. Now he is in the midst of an unhappy divorce and there are children involved. Very difficult situation and all must be careful. For God's healing and peace for all this family.
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 11, May 12, September 11
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
Therefore, when anyone receives the name of Abbess,
she ought to govern her disciples with a twofold teaching.
That is to say,
she should show them all that is good and holy
by her deeds even more than by her words,
expounding the Lord's commandments in words
to the intelligent among her disciples,
but demonstrating the divine precepts by her actions
for those of harder hearts and ruder minds.
And whatever she has taught her disciples
to be contrary to God's law,
let her indicate by her example that it is not to be done,
lest, while preaching to others, she herself be found reprobate (1
and lest God one day say to her in her sin,
"Why do you declare My statutes
and profess My covenant with your lips,
whereas you hate discipline
and have cast My words behind you" (Ps. 49:16-17)?
"You were looking at the speck in your brother's eye,
and did not see the beam in your own" (Matt. 7:3).
This isn't just for abbots and parents, this is for all of us.
Example is put forward as the primary means of teaching, even before
words. All of us must "walk the talk" and practice what we preach.
Everyone of us is obliged to somehow uncover the splendor of the City
of God in our lives, to show it to others. Mere verbal description
will be of little help in comparison to actually living out the
All of us put forward an image of who we are in words, one way or
another. As years go by, we usually get a more or less complete
picture of who we are and of the self we wish to present to the
world. This is where family, community and marriage can be so
important. The people who live with us see right through the flaws
in our verbal picture.
It is less easy for us to believe in our grand and false images of
ourselves when we are rubbing shoulders with one or more reality
checks all the time! These reality checks can point out genuine
greatness in areas we might not have expected, but they can also
underscore the pathetic comedy of our pretensions. Both are useful
for humility, both lead to truth. Just be careful not to believe it when
you are praised too much.Those pointing out our flaws are no
more infallible than we are, but they can often be a lot more
Ever watch a foreign film with the audio badly dubbed into another
language? It is jarring and annoying. What St. Benedict is saying to
all of us here is to get the picture and the sound into synchronized
form. For all Christians, all Benedictines, there should be no
disparity between video and audio! Lofty ideal that!
St. Benedict knew that loftiness would be hard for us to reach, too.
He knew there would be beams in our eyes, specks in others'. Hence, a
lot of this boils down to approach and attitude. Come on to others
from a position of "I'm OK and you are not," and see where it gets
You might make a temporary dent. You might even change a few of
the really less than bright. Most wise people, however, will give you
a lot of room. They see the mask, the falsity there, and it inhibits
much else from getting through to them. It's like really competent
actors being cast in a role that does not fit them at all. One sits
through the whole movie thinking: "No way can I believe that she is
so-and-so!" "Great play, nice plot, but I didn't find the male lead
Hopefully, at that final Awards night, there will be Tony's, Emmies
and Oscars for all of us, with maybe a Golden Globe or two thrown
into our totals!
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]