Holy Rule for July 25
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Lola, growth on her tongue, biopsy likely to be taken.
Trevor, on a mission of medical mercy to Haiti fro 9 days.
J., really toxic mess at work and she may lose her job, that she find another job soon, before that happens.
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 25, July 25, November 24
Chapter 45: On Those Who Make Mistakes in the Oratory
When anyone has made a mistake while reciting a Psalm, a responsory, an
antiphon or a lesson, if he does not humble himself there before all by
making a satisfaction, let him undergo a greater punishment because he
would not correct by humility what he did wrong through carelessness.
But boys for such faults shall be whipped.
This chapter bears the key to Benedictine community and
mercy: the offender is willing, perhaps even eager at times, to humble
himself after a fault, without any prompting, before any action is taken
from superiors. Contrast this with those who resist ardently the
slightest correction and you will quickly see what such behaviour
indicates! The hallmarks of our Order are humility and obedience.
OK, another little slice of monastery life here! Brother Isidore is
Canadian, and runs very true to the stereotypical Canadian politeness
and reticence we Statesiders often tease him about. Brother joins in
this fun with a lot of good humour. (Please note British Commonwealth
spelling preferences here, a token offering!) One of his favourite lines
of jest is: "I'm sorry, it was my fault." This is best repeated while
striking his breast, after a glaringly obvious gaff by the OTHER party,
and all enjoy a laugh.
We follow the custom of kneeling in choir when one makes an audible
mistake here. Brother Isidore used to sit in my row. On more than one waggish
occasion, I have been known to comment that, if one wants to have a
little fun in choir, all one needs to do is make a mistake, act like
nothing happened, and wait for the Canadian to kneel. Oh, well, it's a
joke we all like- even Brother Isidore!
The kneeling is just a way to say "I'm sorry" to the group. It also has
some (though by no means a total,) deterrent effect. Many are the days
when I kneel for the third time in one Office hour and just think: "Why
don't I just STAY on my knees for the duration?" It can be funny, too.
Hear a big gaff and watch 2/3 of a row kneel after the verse is
finished. On the other hand, I often- though not always, alas- try not
to look at who kneels. I can assure you, from the many times I kneel
myself, I find merit in the practice every time. Honestly and truthfully
admitting gaffs can be a source of great growth.
And there's the key for all of us who are NOT in choir. Admit your
mistakes, own up, apologize. These common courtesies are very Christ-
like and are very, very rare in our world today. Modern people can have
such a distorted view of their own impeccability. When we admit ours, we
throw a compelling image of Christ into that secular morass. It may be
just throwing bread on the waters, but we never know whom our truthful
admissions may touch and lead to God.
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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