Holy Rule for July 8
Prayers please for the Rev David, who is suffering from cancer who has just had a stroke. For his wife, who is depressed already, family and friends.
Prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of Else, who died this morning after a long illness, and for the comfort of her family and friends.
Prayers for Anastasia, justly lost custody of her baby and multiple problems, a very troubled youth.
Prayers for Brian who faces a serious operation on 18th July; Brian and his family are quite daunted as it is likely to be the first of a number of life threatening operations. Prayers for the surgeons and all taking care of him, too.
Prayers, please, for Norm, who has been placed on hospice for cancer, and for his wife, Marilee and their family. Please. special prayer for Norm that here, at the last, he will accept the salvation of Jesus Christ he has so adamantly refused for so many years, for a happy death for him, embracing Christ's Mercy. Divine Mercy chaplets for him would be particularly good.
Prayers for George, whose marriage of many years has broken up, and for his wife and children.
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 8, July 8, November 7
Chapter 31: What Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be
As cellarer of the monastery let there be chosen from the community one
who is wise, of mature character, sober, not a great eater, not haughty,
not excitable, not offensive, not slow, not wasteful, but a God-fearing
man who may be like a father to the whole community.
Let him have charge of everything. He shall do nothing without the
Abbot's orders, but keep to his instructions. Let him not vex the
brethren. If any brother happens to make some unreasonable demand of
him, instead of vexing the brother with a contemptuous refusal he should
humbly give the reason for denying the improper request.
Let him keep guard over his own soul, mindful always of the Apostle's
saying that "he who has ministered well will acquire for himself a good
standing" (1 Tim. 3:13).
Let him take the greatest care of the sick, of children, of guests and
of the poor, knowing without doubt that he will have to render an
account for all these on the Day of Judgment.
Let him regard all the utensils of the monastery and its whole property
as if they were the sacred vessels of the altar. Let him not think that
he may neglect anything. He should be neither a miser nor a prodigal and
squanderer of the monastery's substance, but should do all things with
measure and in accordance with the Abbot's instructions.
The Abbot is father to the family, in all respects. Some of those,
however, are delegated to others, so that no one, not even the Abbot,
may be overburdened. In one sense, the Abbot may be said to be the
father in things spiritual and the cellarer in things material. It is
interesting that St. Benedict requires very similar qualities in both.
What lies beneath that requirement is the Benedictine view of property,
of goods, of the earth itself. We scorn excess, in either direction, but
we do not scorn the material world, we reverence it as if it were one of
the vessels of the altar! We see creation
for what it truly is: a stupendous and free gift of God to all.
While we always place people before things, we demand that both people
and things be the objects of downright exquisite care. We love both
because they are God's gifts, because they are both the means of
liviing our lives for God's ends. We do not love things for themselves
alone. That's an attachment we have to be careful to avoid. That false
love, however, can lead to all kinds of erroneous ideas about the good
we administer: stinginess, hoarding, acquisitiveness.
All of these traits translate very easily into the family sphere.
Parents need to achieve a sane balance in regards to material things.
They need not to be career-driven workaholics, but they must also avoid
being poor providers through lack of concern. The key to the middle way
is love, as usual. Love the family members more than anything worldly
and the rest falls more or less into place. If children know that they
come before things, they have learned a lesson that they will pass on
for the rest of their lives.
Face it, many a rich, spoiled child, immersed in privilege, feels
unloved. Things are never an adequate substitute for our hearts, which
are what God, St. Benedict and the Holy Rule ask us to give without
reserve. It is the love, the genuine love, that a child (or anyone else,
for that matter!) will remember. All the rest is dust and ashes.
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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