Holy Rule for Jan. 14
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all theri loved ones and all who take care of them:
Kristen's grandmother, very close to death, for her happy death and for Kristen and Trevor and Kristen's Mom, travleing from FL to NC to be with her.
Taylor, 13, she has severe emotional problems and is in a lot of trouble at school, family cannot seem to get her stabilized.
Diana and her husband Jamie. He's been out of work for over a year and can't find a job, even tho' he went back to school to learn a new trade. Unemployment comp stopped and they are now living off their savings. He keeps trying to find a job, but no one is hiring. They hope they can get back on Unemployment.
Fr. C, investitgating a new ministry opportunity, prayers for discernment, esp. during next week.
Deo gratias, Jed is showing signs of improvement and hopefully turning towards recovery. Continued prayers.
Deo gratias, Mary Ellen has nothing wrong with her spleen, seems to be diverticulitis and she is resting at home. Continued prayers.
Craig, that he be blessed with real estate sales so he and his family can start working their way out of their debt which is mounting fast.
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 14, May 15, September 14
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
The Abbess should always remember what she is
and what she is called,
and should know that to whom more is committed,
from her more is required (Luke 12:48).
Let her understand also
what a difficult and arduous task she has undertaken:
ruling souls and adapting herself to a variety of characters.
One she must coax, another scold, another persuade,
according to each one's character and understanding.
Thus she must adjust and adapt herself to all
in such a way that she may not only suffer no loss
in the flock committed to her care,
but may even rejoice in the increase of a good flock.
When we read these portions of the Holy Rule which deal with the
Abbot or other officials a very handy suggestion is in order. Read
them to see what the Abbess DOES comply with, not what you feel she
misses, because no one I have ever known in the abbacy is perfect
enough to fulfill them all at all times.
Read them with one eye on who the Abbot or boss or parent really is
as a frail human being, what sort of person he is, and the other eye
focused on what is demanded of him by the Holy Rule. Chapters such as
this one will give you a really valuable insight into what those
officials are wrestling with, a glimpse of how tough it can be to
tread the very fine line.
Parents, fear not! I'll bet most people couldn't read
this chapter's portions without cringing a little, maybe even a lot. If your
eyes are even half open, you will see the areas of failure every time
you read them. (If, by some odd oversight, you have missed one or
two, your children are quite likely to point them out to you the next
time they get mad!!)
Use those areas as goals to work on, but don't
beat yourself up on them too badly. Not only does no one ever get
there all at once, but, frankly, I think hardly anyone ever gets there
all the way period. It is death and purgation which finally perfect us.
Meanwhile, we struggle and plod.
Finally, since the majority of us will never be Abbots, read these
portions of the Rule to see how you measure up. How many of these
qualities do you have? When one of the things demanded of the Abbess
is exercised in your regard, how gracefully, even gratefully, do you
receive it? Authority is a two-way street. Any kid who thinks it ALL
devolves on parents hasn't read the Commandments past number three.
There are responsibilities both parties must uphold.
Change "Abbess" to "Christian" and read again. Then add "Benedictine"
to "Christian" and re-check that part about "to whom more is
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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