Holy Rule for Jan. 31
Prayers, please, for all Salesian men and women on this feast of their founder, St. John Bosco.
Prayers for Brian, turns out his ankle was broken, not sprained, and his fibula broken, too. He cannot put weight on that leg. He has to rely on others for many things, chiefly his dear wife, Ginger. Prayers for him and for all who are helping him.
Prayers, please, for Mary Rose, on her 51st birthday. Graces and blessings and
many more! Ad multos annos!
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 31, June 1, October 1
Chapter 7: On Humility
The third degree of humility is that a person
for love of God
submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
"He became obedient even unto death."
Merton once wrote "Love is the Rule." That's what we can so often
miss. One obeys out of love, love of God.
Trust my limited experience here, please, if we are acting on solely
human considerations, there is no human being on earth whose tool kit
is so complete that one can joyously follow and obey them without any
reserve or hesitation, not one. But we aren't doing it for human reasons:
we are obeying for God.
We do it for love, not for wisdom. We do it for love, not for taste
or class or savoir faire. We do it for love, not because the superior
is brilliant or right or gifted in any way. We don't do it because of
the superior at all, if we are going about things the right way. We
do it for love, for love of God.
Anything less than love of God as a motive will fall flat on its
face, and sooner rather than later! It never takes long. Life itself,
within the cloister or without, is full of so much purblind stupidity
and outright rubbish that nothing could sustain one other than love
Mother or Father might quite pointedly know little or nothing at all. The will
of God sometimes comes through to us in spite of them, not because they
are wise or stupid, right or wrong, but because of love, God's love for us.
Many people in authority advance the will of God for reasons that have little
or nothing to do with God!
They may do it unwittingly, they may do it cruelly or wrong-headedly, but
that hardly matters: the will of God comes through. I think there is a
mystical point where the love and will of God for one cannot ultimately be
thwarted, where it is actually advanced by humans who have not a clue what they
doing. Even some actively opposed to His will nevertheless advance it without a
clue. God can use anything, even His opponents, to do good for those who
love Him, who trust Him and let Him act in their souls.
We do it for love, and that love will shield us, regardless, in the
armor of His will. We must only trust Him, trust His Divine Mercy,
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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