Holy Rule for Aug. 10
Ardent prayers, please, for Paul and his wife. After many years of marriage, she is having second thoughts.
Prayers for all those killed and injured in recent anti-Christian attacks in Nigeria and for all their families and all who mourn them and for the perpetrators.
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 10, August 10, December 10
Chapter 57: On the Artisans of the Monastery
If there are artisans in the monastery, let them practice their
crafts with all humility, provided the Abbot has given permission.
But if any one of them becomes conceited over his skill in his
craft, because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery,
let him be taken from his craft and no longer exercise it unless,
after he has humbled himself, the Abbot again gives him permission.
If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold, those responsible
for the sale must not dare to practice any fraud. Let them always
remember Ananias and Saphira, who incurred bodily
death (Acts 5:1-11), lest they and all who perpetrate fraud in
monastery affairs suffer spiritual death. And in the prices let not
the sin of avarice creep in, but let the goods always be sold a
little cheaper than they can be sold by people in the world, "that
in all things God may be glorified" (1 Peter 4:11).
Monasteries, even up until the late 20th century, were marvelous
examples of self-sufficiency, provided they were in areas where
farms could be had, and most of them were. St. Leo is the only place
in the world I where I have ever tasted raw milk.
When I was a boy, they had their own dairy farm, citrus packing
plant, beef cattle ranch, hay operation, carpentry shop, garage,
upholstery shop, printing press, and probably even more that I've
forgotten. They milled their own cedar to roof the Abbey Church.
There was a paint shop and artists' studios for painting, ceramics
and stained glass, with a stab at sculpture, too. Well before my
time, the old German brothers made the monks' shoes, too.
Granted, the people who know how to do these things are largely
dying off, and they were usually lay brothers, a now defunct
category, but how I would love to see some of that return in my
lifetime. One felt different in such a place, safer somehow. There
was no need to go
out or buy, we had own our and it was even better. We were enslaved
to less things outside of our lives.
Now, even monasteries, with fewer members than in those days, cannot
do many of these things anymore, much less many Oblates in the
world. I would, however, stress that there is a very, very deep
connectedness to homegrown and handmade things. It verges on the
liturgical, and surely enhances same. It is, in a very lower case
sense, truly sacramental.
These things are NOT good because they are cheaper, though they
often are, but because they connect and involve us in our own
survival and life. They enrich us, this is "soul food" in the most
Do whatever you can to break even the tiniest area of dependency and
see how good it feels. One herb in one pot on a sunny window or fire
escape might be enough to start a healthy addiction. Can't grow
things? (Start with chives or oregano. Both are perennial, both will
die of nothing but thirst. Fresh chives are so good and so different
in taste that you
will never used freeze-dried again. Never.)
Try any useful craft. The first time I made my own habit I felt like
a million dollars, even if I didn't look QUITE that good... Check
out the first used bread machine you can find (they are pricey,
alas...) set the timer and you can have bread ready when you get
home from work in
minutes of prep time. (If you don't have even a few minutes, freeze
batches of measured dry ingredients when you DO have a minute. Then
just add liquids and yeast in the morning. Less time than making
coffee.) You will never walk down the bread aisle (read "airy sponge
aisle",) in a store the same way again!
Crock pots are always available very cheap at used stores and tag
sales. Get one. While you work, as any single person who's used one
can tell you, dinner will be ready. It will smell and taste a LOT
better than microwaved frozen food, too. If the pot has a removable
crock, you can even prepare the raw ingredients the night before and
Anything, anything you can do or learn to do to set yourself the
least bit free, to connect yourself more, will be on the side of the
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]