Holy Rule for Aug. 5
Prayers for Frank and Jessica, united in holy matrimony on Aug. 4th, for a long and fruitful and holy life together.
Prayers for Ray, mental illness.
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
April 5, August 5, December 5
Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests
Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
who are never lacking in a monastery,
arrive at irregular hours.
Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
Let them be given such help as they need,
that they may serve without murmuring.
And on the other hand,
when they have less to occupy them,
let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
And not only in their case
but in all the offices of the monastery
let this arrangement be observed,
that when help is needed it be supplied,
and again when the workers are unoccupied
they do whatever they are bidden.
The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
and in a prudent manner.
On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
associate or converse with guests.
But if he should meet them or see them,
let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
ask their blessing and pass on,
saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
Asking that the house of God be prudently governed by the prudent
surely applies to more than the guest house. That principle goes for the
whole monastery, as well as for the families and homes of those
monastics in the world outside the cloister. This is not just another call to
frugality or economy or order for their own sakes.
The whole idea of balance and peace and moderation and serenity is
nothing more or less than a singular setting for a pearl of very
great price. We need those things for our monastic struggle to be
most effective. Sometimes a surgeon might have to operate on a bloody
battlefield, but don't be surprised if infection follows.
It's the same with us and dysfunctional, imprudent messes. We CAN
operate there if we have to, but infections are likely to follow. We
need a certain amount of reduction of inconsequential hassles to focus on the
one thing necessary. St. Benedict strives to provide us with that.
No, the monastery is not a sterile surgical suite (and I always worry
when one looks that way!) but neither is it an ill-housed flock of free range
chickens. Show me a monastery or home that has become a zoo and I can
guarantee you there will be a LOT of spiritual ramifications, as well.
We are not necessarily Thomists (though at Monte Cassino
our Order conducted some of St. Thomas Aquinas' early schooling,) but we can
surely affirm that "peace is the tranquility of order." St.Thomas' view of the
virtues is important to us, too, imbued with the principles of
Aristotle: "Virtus in media stat." Virtue stands in the middle way. What could
be more Benedictinely moderate and balanced?
It must be clearly remembered that when we speak of "prudence", we
speak of a virtue, a thing of holiness and a golden mean.
All manner of foolish timidity,
cowardice, stinge and hearts-by-Frigidaire prudishness have been
falsely named prudence.
Prudence is not and never can be a wicked thing. Prudence, real
wisdom, is a thing always to be desired. False prudence, on the other
hand, of which there is sadly no shortage, is a thing always and everywhere to
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Matt and Bettie are celebrating 22 years of marriage, not 201 as they awful typo reads. I thought it was 21 years, but Matt kindly corrected my mistake.