Holy Rule for July 19
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Will and his parents and family. Their marriage is facing great difficulties and they are going on a Retrouvaille retreat next month.
Melissa, back problems and needing a new transmission in her car, also needs to get back to work.
Baby Jack Albert, being baptized this weekend.
Nathan 17, who is having a very rough time right now.
Betty, gastric cancer.
Carol and Jack, special intentions.
Lucille, liver blockage and may be requiring surgery, in a lot of distress, severely itchy from her liver problems.
Pamela, carotid artery blockages causing blackout, will presumably have surgery.
Becky, for discernment in a project to be undertaken this fall, for guidance and direction and for conversion of loved ones.
Continued ardent prayers for the happy death of Norm, who has resisted accepting Christ for many years.
Nicholas, 22, brain tumor, for whom we prayed, it may not be cancer, definitive biopsy results not back yet. His parents thank all for the prayers and are so touched that they plan to return to the Church. Continued prayers for all, Nicholas is having chemo to shrink the tumor.
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 18, July 18, November 17
Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food
We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
that every table have two cooked dishes
on account of individual infirmities,
so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
may make his meal of the other
Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
let a third dish be added.
Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
If they are to have supper, the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
to be given them at supper.
But if it happens that the work was heavier,
it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
should it be expedient, to add something to the fare.
Above all things, however, over-indulgence must be avoided
and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
as over-indulgence according to Our Lord's words,
"See to it that your hearts be not burdened
with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).
Young boys shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
but less; and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.
Except the sick who are very weak,
let all abstain entirely from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.
If you are the only Oblate in the family, do NOT try to introduce
your non-Benedictine children or spouse to the full rigors of this
chapter. Don't go there... Very bad idea! However, there are all
kinds of creative ways that you can "monasticize" your diet while
leaving the family happy!
If you work outside the home, or most of your family is at work or
school and you stay home, look at your lunch, or whatever meal you
eat on your own. That's the place to make changes. You can change the
amount you eat, maybe even make the time a bit later. Most
workplaces, struggling to cover all the slots at lunch hour, might be
glad if you wanted to eat lunch when the others had finished. Check
If you pack and carry your own lunch, you can often find a GREAT
monastic discipline in making it plain and less often varied. Try
peanut butter and jelly for a while. Great source of protein and
antioxidants. Try taking just fruit. Three of the nurses I've worked
with- and none of them for monastic reasons- ate the same lunch every
single day. Two of them used to always eat saltines and peanut
butter, the other ALWAYS ate one can of sardines with crackers.
Always. Nobody died, but the lounge used to smell awful after Rosa
dined on her sardines in that small room!
Rosa's sardine idea might not be fine daily for you, but what about once
a week, on Fridays, say. One can of sardines and some fat-free saltines.
Lunch for a little over a dollar or so. Great source of fish oil, omega-3 and
all that. Also, these days, about the only fish one can afford is canned. Sigh... Docs
recommend three servings a week for cardiac health. That might be a
lunch idea you can live with!
What ever you do try to make changes in your own diet with an
eye to health and the ecology. If you are careful not to make a big
deal of it and to serve really good-tasting food, you can even employ
these principles to some degree with your family, if you are the
cook! Lots of meat-stretching dishes over noodles or rice will never
be thought of as penitential. Some really good beans as a side dish
are great fiber, great protein, possibly fat-free and CHEAP! Red
beans (or black beans,) over rice are traditionally ethnic and
Try to add healthy elements that will go unnoticed, too. A Franciscan
hermit who made a retreat here turned me onto a great idea: soy
powder. She used it for milk shakes, which never quite caught on with
me. The taste was not great (to me, at least,) and I hate to clean a
blender every day. On the other hand, there is about 24 grams of protein
in 1/3 cup of that stuff, about 33% of your daily requirement. Dump a half
cup into a bread pudding and it will never be noticed. Surely there are
other things you can find to sneak it into as well!
Always remember, the best penances are those we do not choose. For
many of us, that could be as simple as following one's doctor's
orders on diet carefully. So many things are diet-related and those
habits are so hard to break. Let you doctor be your abbess in this
respect and you will not only get healthier in body, but in spirit as
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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