Holy Rule for Aug. 6
Prayers, please, for the Camaldolese nuns of Transfiguration Monastery, Windsor, NY, on their patronal feast.
Prayers for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
Troy, 45, heart attack while jogging, and esp. for his Mom, Judy, aand all their family.
Peg's nephew, killed in a motorcycle acccident.
Victoria's friend, who died suddenly choking on food, and for Victoria, who must give the difficult eulogy at her funeral.
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Dale, prostate cancer, not curable, but prayers the life extending treatemnts work at their best.
Kenni Faye, surgery for kidney cancer.
Maryann, colon and liver problems.
Ren, treatment for bladder cancer.
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 6, August 6, December 6
Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything
On no account shall a monastic be allowed to receive letters,
blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever from parents or anyone
else, or from her sisters, or to give the same,
without the Abbess's permission. But if anything is sent her even by
her parents, let her not presume to take it before it has been shown
to the Abbess. And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide to
whom it shall be given, if she allows it to be received; and the
sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved, lest occasion be
given to the devil.
Should anyone presume to act otherwise, let her undergo the
discipline of the Rule.
Community, even in its Latin roots ( "com" meaning with and "unitas"
meaning unity,) is fully dependent upon unity. Do anything to
threaten or destroy that unity and you have threatened or destroyed
the community itself. For this reason, St. Benedict goes out of his
way to explain why some exceptions must be made on account of
infirmity or weakness and also expressly forbids other forms of
favoritism. This chapter is a prime example of the Holy Rule
giving firm and adamant instructions about inequality.
St. Benedict has already made it clear that monastics are to be
given everything they need, truly need. He has even made some
provision for those whose weakness makes further consideration
necessary. Remember, our Benedictine poverty is based on lack of
excess, not extreme want. If, through violating the principles in
this chapter, excess is allowed to creep in for a few, it will
result in hard feelings, jealousies and other unlovely traits that
will strike at the heart of common unity.
Such excess also damages the individual monastic receiving it. The
monastic struggle is stymied if one enters rich and, thanks to his
family, remains so, or if one enters poor and latches onto a
benefactor whose gifts make one rich by comparison. Just as oxygen is
necessary for fire, so is a certain equality necessary for
community. We need that community, because, as Benedictines, it is
our way to God. We dare not threaten it with "Animal Farm"
adaptations that find us saying that "some monastics are more equal
What can Oblates glean here? Well, what about our attitudes towards
classism and the world at large? How smugly indifferent dare we be
about anyone in abject poverty, about any system or government that
keeps people in such dire straits? How do we assess our own economic
position in regards to sharing? How much above others do we allow
ourselves to be economically, socially? There are a wealth of deep questions
here, and a wealth of troubling answers in the unjust inequalities
that abound in human society when it is unaided by grace.
One aside to close. We ask permission before giving things to one
another. Shortly after I arrived here,
the cellaress of the Sisters' community gave me a postcard of Canada
geese, because she knew I liked them. This woman, who could by
assigned charge do almost anything with the goods of the monastery, approached
me with the card and said: "I have permission
to give you this." I was impressed. It may seem silly to some, but I
was truly edified.
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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