Holy Rule for July 26
A blessed feast of Sts. Ann and Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin, to all
and especially prayers for all our Anns and Joachim's on their nameday.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Anthony and his doctors and family. He will being undergoing critical heart surgery at Children's Hospital.
Sara and her sister. Sara is having a hard time coping with her sister's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, usually fatal within a year and wants to be suppoortive. Prayers for them both.
Callum, 4, seriously ill in the hospital with pnemonia and the fluid is not draining off. And for his parents and brother.
Brian, still in a lot of pain after surgery and awaiting heart valve surgery.
Lucille, who is now scheduled for surgery next Monday to find the source of her liver blockage. She is encouraged by the fact that her lab work does not seem to indicate Cancer, but she is still terribly uncomfortable with severe itching all over and jaundice.
C., off of work with stress/anxiety/depression. He had a breakdown in 2009, despite a happy marriage/home life. His problems are at work, and none of the issues raised at the time of his going off initially were ever addressed. In fact, there is a history of long-term stress-induced absence there (several years, several workers) - it is not a nice place to work.
G, same work place, too much work loaded onto him, too little help, and not a great deal of self-confidence. His wife left him a few months ago and he has had to move in with his parents until he finds somewhere suitable to go.
Greg, financial insecurity - no work, no regular income, and not quite at retirement age.
Deo Gratias, Sandy, 90, has been moved from hospital into the same care home where his late wife, Esther, spent her last 3 years. Sandy knows the place well, and the staff know him and are fond of him.
Deo gratias, Helen is doing well after hernia surgery and thanks all for prayers.
Caroline's mother who is awaiting blood results in order that she may have some needed oral surgery.
for the safety and protection for a man who recently began work in a branch of law enforcement.
Belated prayers for our Br. Bernard on the anniversary of his solemn profession
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
March 26, July 26, November 25
Chapter 46: On Those Who Fail in Any Other Matters
When anyone is engaged in any sort of work, whether in the kitchen, in
the cellar, in a shop, in the bakery, in the garden, while working at
some craft, or in any other place, and she commits some fault, or breaks
something, or loses something, or transgresses in any other way
whatsoever, if she does not come immediately
before the Abbess and the community of her own accord
to make satisfaction and confess her fault, then when it becomes known
through another, let her be subjected to a more severe correction.
But if the sin-sickness of the soul is a hidden one, let her reveal it
only to the Abbess or to a spiritual mother, who knows how to cure her
own and others' wounds without exposing them and making them public.
The Chapter of Faults, wherein monastics confessed public, external
faults, had become rather routine the way it was practiced before Vatican
II. I remember, years ago, seeing a glossary list of Latin phrases used
to describe different faults. As practiced, I'm not sure it was the most
useful thing in the world at all.
However, look at the kernel here, important for both monasteries and
families: communication. What St. Benedict wrote about was not the
formalized and largely empty ritual that the late 20th century had come
to know, it was an airing session of sorts. These can be very useful.
People in any life are often reluctant to open up about what bothers
them, monastics are often even more so! To provide a structured way and
time to do so might have given some just the extra distance and
protection they needed.
Slights and wrongs and hurts that lie hidden and unexpressed can
fester into a spreading, malignant growth. Note that the Holy Rule
bids us never let the sun set on our anger. We have to get the things
that REALLY bother us out. This hardly means a free for all, that would
be very contrary to the whole spirit of the Rule, but it does mean that
genuine differences must be solved in an open and
respectful and humble way.
The way for today's community or family may not be to do this all
together- but then again that might not be all bad, occasionally. At
any rate and however we do it, St. Benedict asks us to own up to our
failures and those of others because he knows it is terribly damaging
not to do so. A important item here is that the all the members must
feel safe to express themselves. How many kids who were afraid to open
their mouths to a parent about really serious troubles in their
relationship are still in therapy years later?
Whether alone or in a group, when we confess our fault to others, we
lighten our load. When we honestly and gently tell others that they have
hurt us or wronged us, we are often surprised to find that they were
unaware of having done so- no wonder they "kept right on doing it!" We
can also be wonderfully surprised at the depth of feeling with which
apologies may be made. Very often the gentle and loving exposure of a
problem between people gives us remarkable opportunities to show our
nobler side and to see that side of our brothers and sisters.
The goal of this is peace, so it must never be done for any other
motive, for anything less than loving. There is the danger that we
lose track of the important "difference between the virtue of honesty
and the vice of brutal frankness" as my friend, Fr. Roger used to say.
This must never become an accepted arena for getting back at one
another. The whole purpose here is to end strife, not perpetuate it.
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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