Holy Rule for July 21
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Benedict, a young father who died unexpectedly, and for his wife, Monica, their children, Timothy and Eliza (who is handicapped,) for his Mom and brother, Al, and all their family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the follwoing, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Br. Daniel, of Pluscarden, on his feastday,graces galore and many more. Ad multos annos!
Amy, for whom we prayed, has died but her parents still need our prayers. Amy's mom is talking about leaving and getting her own place. Amy's Dad is devastated. Not only has he lost his daughter but now his wife. Prayers that she stays and they are blessed with a healthy marriage. Prayers that they are given hope and blessed with acceptance of all that has happened. Prayers also for Amy's aunt, Cindy, who is carrying so much pain and worry about all of this.
Please continue prayers of healing for Tanner. He had more blood tests to see how his liver is doing and the results will be in tomorrow. Prayers that Tanner's wife sees all she is doing and how it is tearing their family apart. Prayers for Tanner to accept how things turn out and that he sees he is not alone.
Nancy T. and her family.
a family member of Linda's, who needs prayer badly for a healing miracle.
Jeff and Jane-struggling and in need of reconciliation and grace.
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 21, July 21, November 20
Chapter 42: That No One Speak After Compline
Monastics ought to be zealous for silence at all times,
but especially during the hours of the night.
For every season, therefore,
whether there be fasting or two meals,
let the program be as follows:
If it be a season when there are two meals,
then as soon as they have risen from supper
they shall all sit together,
and one of them shall read the Conferences
or the Lives of the Fathers
or something else that may edify the hearers;
not the Heptateuch or the Books of Kings, however,
because it will not be expedient for weak minds
to hear those parts of Scripture at that hour;
but they shall be read at other times.
If it be a day of fast,
then having allowed a short interval after Vespers
they shall proceed at once to the reading of the Conferences,
as prescribed above;
four or five pages being read, or as much as time permits,
so that during the delay provided by this reading
all may come together,
including those who may have been occupied
in some work assigned them.
When all, therefore, are gathered together,
let them say Compline;
and when they come out from Compline,
no one shall be allowed to say anything from that time on.
And if anyone should be found evading this rule of silence,
let her undergo severe punishment.
An exception shall be made
if the need of speaking to guests should arise
or if the Abbess should give someone an order.
But even this should be done with the utmost gravity
and the most becoming restraint.
Anyone who lives in any family, monastic or otherwise, can attest
that undistracted silence in solitude can be hard to find. That is
precisely why St. Benedict deliberately and firmly carved this chunk
out of the monastic day. Believe me, it is a rare treat and a sacred
hush which blankets the already mysterious darkness of the night.
One of the reasons behind grand silence actually working so
well is that it is a social contract agreed upon and practiced by
all. It is done together, like most things in cenobitic community
life and that enhances both its power and its appeal. The whole place
more or less shuts down together. A few lights stay on longer than
others, but profound silence reigns.
There is a very close relationship between silence and solitude. Each
has the potential to produce the other. One can be all alone and
filled with noise and one can be silent in a group without any
solitude at all. All that is necessary is to add distractions of
whatever kind. The end of both silence and solitude is to free the
mind for God, for prayer, for rest in Him. Done right, a community of
a hundred in the same room could be individually as alone as a cave-
dweller on Mount Athos. Done wrong, one might as well be in Times
Ever know the joy of lovers alone when they know absolutely no one
will disturb their privacy? The door is locked, the phone is
unplugged, the world is theirs. Why? Because (at least hopefully,)
nothing will distract them from each other. So it is with silence and
solitude and God. That's what makes it so wonderful. Try to recall
that lover's joy, if you have ever known it, and you will have a
clear picture of what grand silence ought to be. The final relief and
joy of leaving the world outside one's door, the retreat into the
privacy of the inner chamber.
I will not pretend to be clever enough to tell Oblates in families
how they might find this. Creative ways probably exist, but you might
have to just wait for a visit to a monastery to get the full effect.
All I will say is that one must always carve silence out of any
family LOVINGLY, that's what makes it holy and sacred. If you become
at all cranky about it, the whole value is flushed and you might as
well watch a really mindless TV show. Silence and solitude can work
together, but only with the catalyst of love that makes them a
trinity of power and grace.
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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