Holy Rule for Apr. 23
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Chuck Colson and for all his family and all who mourn him.
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 23, August 23, December 23
Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery
To us, therefore, it seems expedient
for the preservation of peace and charity
that the Abbot have in his hands
the full administration of his monastery.
And if possible let all the affairs of the monastery,
as we have already arranged,
be administered by deans according to the Abbot's directions.
Thus, with the duties being shared by several,
no one person will become proud.
But if the circumstances of the place require it,
or if the community asks for it with reason and with humility,
and the Abbot judges it to be expedient,
let the Abbot himself constitute as his Prior
whomsoever he shall choose
with the counsel of God-fearing brethren.
That Prior, however, shall perform respectfully
the duties enjoined on him by his Abbot
and do nothing against the Abbot's will or direction;
for the more he is raised above the rest,
the more carefully should he observe the precepts of the Rule.
If it should be found that the Prior has serious faults,
or that he is deceived by his exaltation and yields to pride,
or if he should be proved to be a despiser of the Holy Rule,
let him be admonished verbally up to four times.
If he fails to amend,
let the correction of regular discipline be applied to him.
But if even then he does not reform,
let him be deposed from the office of Prior
and another be appointed in his place who is worthy of it.
And if afterwards he is not quiet and obedient in the community,
let him even be expelled from the monastery.
But the Abbot, for his part, should bear in mind
that he will have to render an account to God
for all his judgments,
lest the flame of envy or jealousy be kindled in his soul.
The overwhelming majority of us, myself included, are never going to
be a Prior or Prioress. Firm grasp on the obvious there!! What,
however, may we glean from this chapter? There are at least several
First, even if your position gives you a certain level of honor,
never be so stupid as to believe it, to become proud, to take
yourself far too seriously. Cling to a self-knowledge of your
limitations, your sins and failings, especially when being praised.
Yes, we are human, yes, it is nice to hear those things, yes,
sometimes they even seem close to the truth, but praise, rank and
honor can be awful traps. Like crack cocaine, they can addict us the
first time we really give in to them. Great caution is in order here.
Second, every commitment to Christ, Baptism, Oblation or Profession,
obliges us to a higher standard of self-control. The Holy Rule,
because speaking of a superior, uses the phrase "raised above the
rest." We should read therein that ANY commitment which separates us
and sets us further apart for the service of God means that we must
more carefully observe the precepts of the Rule.
Even though it can be quite annoying to hear, how often someone will say,
immediately after a litany of transgressions the person has committed, "And
she is an OBLATE!" (Or Franciscan Third Order, or whatever.) People rightly
expect more of us because of our religious inclinations and we should
not disappoint them.
Third, and perhaps most important of all, no one, save God alone, is
indispensable. No one. Want to see the change that your removal from
the scene will effect? Stick your forearm into a bucket of water, and
then pull it out. Same thing, folks, the waters close right in and
things go on quite nicely. The higher water level while our arm was
there was only illusion anyway. This one can work in happy concert
with the above warning about taking ourselves too seriously. Usually,
when we THINK we're hot stuff, we aren't, and even if we truly are at
some point, it is FAR better not to know that, and a LOT easier for
the spiritual struggle.
Yes, we ARE important, we are infinitely important to God and, as a
result, to each other. But what makes us so is holiness and love and
struggling for virtue, not rank.
Love and prayers,
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Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for al their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Pat, terminal brain cancer, for her happy death.
Deo gratias, David got his contract, prayers for him in his new job.
Debbie , a mother of two young children, just diagnosed with lymphoma leukemia;
Shannon, that she know God's great love for her and be open to his guidance and will;
for financial stability for two persons who are in debt
Andrew, brain cancer, on his 31st birthday.
Lorene, experiencing pains and illness symptoms and worried about results of what this could be. Please pray that she is fine and no disease/illness. Very frightened.
for those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy. May they come out of this tragedy with optimism and find love, peace, health and happiness again.
Paul C. and his family, for God's will to be done.
Prayers for the eternal rest of John F. Kennedy, on the anniversary of his
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
March 23, July 23, November 22
Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table
Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
so that all together may say the verse and the oration
and all sit down to table at the same time --
through his own carelessness or bad habit
does not come on time
shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
If then he does not amend,
he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
but shall be separated from the company of all
and made to eat alone,
and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
at the verse said after the meal.
OK, before we all get hopelessly mired in the belief that St.
Benedict is REALLY mired in punctuality issues, let's try a parable
reality check. What if every bus (or train or plane or subway,)
waited for the latecomer to arrive? For starters, the schedule of
everyone sitting helpless on that mode of transportation would be
disrupted. Everyone would be late, every single one. Some would miss
work, others a wedding, others still a connection with friends to
leave on vacation. If all public transport followed such a program,
our whole world would be a chaotic mess of very unhappy campers in
Benedictine communities do things together. Usually, that means that
a late arrival at a meal keeps everyone sitting there when already
finished, waiting for the tardy one to eat. (Occasionally a superior
will intervene and end the meal more or less on time, but often that
is not the case. Everybody waits.) This lengthening of the meal then
throws the whole schedule off. The Office cannot suffer, it's times
are inexorable, so what usually gets clipped is free time, recreation
or work. Rob people of these on a regular basis and they can get very
Lateness which is unavoidable is just that, unavoidable. That's a
time when the meal ought to be prolonged, when the others ought to
witness that we "bear one another's burdens" and so fulfill the law
of Christ. Brother X is my brother. I am responsible for a large chunk
of his communal life. If I say that doesn't matter and stroll into
dinner whenever I feel like it, something is terribly wrong with me.
I need to have my skewed vision and values corrected. That's what
this is all about: loving one another rightly.
Much of the Holy Rule which deals with communal life (and is VERY
easy to apply to family life or workplace,) has to do with what should
really be common courtesy and decency. Granted, sometimes those values get
wrapped in ancient language and gesture, making it less easy to see
how simple and modern they are, but those exhortations to polite,
considerate, gentle living are things anyone can follow in any milieu, to great
benefit! Many of those courtesies are threatened or altogether lacking today.
Helping keep them alive may start a conversion in another we will never know
Love and prayers,
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