Holy Rule for Aug. 8
Julie, for whom we have so often prayed, has died. Prayers for her eternal rest and for her husband and 2 yr. old daughter and all their family, and for all who mourn her, esp. Carol.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them.
Dorothy, in hospice, Alzheimer's, was heard saying hte rosary without beads the other day.
Tina's Mom, diagnosed without warning with terminal cancer, and for Tina and all her family, and her best friend, Rachel, who is very distraught with all this.
Becky, who is pregnant with her second child and has developed gestational diabetes and a painful pelvic separation....prayers for a full term healthy birth for baby and mom.
a woman who has benign breast tumor fibroadenomas that have exceeded normal size again. This is her second surgery in 3 years.
Helen, who has been in the hospital for a few weeks with kidney stone issues and her husband, Tony.
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 8, August 8, December 8
Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren (continued)
For bedding let this suffice: a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and
a pillow. The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the
Abbot, to see if any private property be found in them. If anyone
should be found to have something that he did not receive from the
Abbot, let him undergo the most severe discipline.
And in order that this vice of private ownership may be cut out by
the roots, the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt, knife, stylus, needle,
handkerchief, writing tablets; that all pretext of need may be taken
away. Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind the sentence from the
Acts of the Apostles that "distribution was made to each according
as anyone had need" (Acts 4:35). In this manner, therefore, let the
Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy and not the ill-will of the
But in all his decisions let him think about the retribution of God.
WOW! Sneaky personal stashes, even in St. Benedict's time! Some
things in human nature never change... What is really going on here?
Property is not evil in itself. Why would St. Benedict be so upset
on this count?
The following common flaws in ownership apply largely to us all,
even if they have greater ramifications for monastics in community.
Things can be a useful tool- St. Thomas taught that a certain amount
of goods was necessary to help us more effectively work out our
salvation. However, they can all too easily exceed that necessary
mark and become idols and falsehoods. That's what the Holy Rule
seeks to prevent.
Look at the rich man building granaries in the Gospel. Three HUGE
mistakes there! He wasn't sharing as much as he could, he thought he
could protect his wealth from loss and he thought his wealth would
protect him from disaster. Wrong on all counts.... We, too, when we
hoard, are usually guilty of at least one or two of those three
lies, sometimes all of them at once. Speaking as a hoarder in only
episodic recovery, I know what I'm talking about. I have allowed
things to lie to me all too often.
Things don't make us safe. God does. Things will never protect us.
God does. In the ultimate sense, things cannot make us happy, though
they might for a while. God does. Things wear out, run out, corrupt,
get stolen or lost. God does not.
Things tell us we're in control. We're not. Things can tell us we
are special, different from those "other" people who do not have
them. We're not. Things can convince we we'll be at peace, once we
get them. We won't.
Things can and do serve a lot of perfectly wonderful purposes. They
do so, however, only when used and valued in correct balance. I have
seen people so delighted by a simple gift that I've wished I had
more to give. But neither I nor the recipient thought that gift
bought love, or thought it was an adequate substitute for my own
love for them. Had we done so, the whole experience would have been
colored quite differently for both of us, and
not too enjoyable.
Most of us will spend most- if not ALL- of our lives trying to fine
tune the reality of things. Not just material things, but all that
monasticism asks us to balance: sexuality, our will, our hearts, our
actions, our words. That will be a tremendous, lifelong struggle.
We won't win any of those battles in one or two forays, not unless
God gives us a VERY rare and nearly unheard of grace. We have to
keep chipping away at this mountain range all of our lives. We'll
probably never reduce those mountains to a flat, fertile valley
The most that we can usually hope for would be gently rolling
foothills. Still, God knows that far better than we do, and all God
asks is that we keep chipping, always chipping and grow not
disheartened. Does that sound much like perseverance in stability?
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]