Holy Rule for Aug. 12
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Fr. Paul, OSB, on the anniversary of his death, and for all his Community and all who mourn him.
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
Apr. 12 - Aug. 12 - Dec. 12
When she is to be received she promises before all in the oratory
stability, fidelity to monastic life and obedience. This promise
she shall make before God and His Saints, so that if she should ever
act otherwise, she may know that she will be condemned by Him whom
she mocks. Of this promise of hers let her draw up a document in the
name of the Saints whose relics are there and of the Abbess who is
present. Let her write this document with her own hand; or if she
is illiterate, let another write it at her request, and let the
novice put her mark to it. Then let her place it with her own hand
upon the altar; and when she has placed it there, let the novice
at once intone this verse: "Receive me, O Lord, according to Your
word, and I shall live: and let me not be confounded in my hope"
(Ps. 118:116). Let the whole community answer this verse three
times and add the "Glory be to the Father." Then let the novice
prostrate herself at each one's feet, that they may pray for her.
And from that day forward let her be counted as one of the
community. If she has any property, let her either give it
beforehand to the poor or by solemn donation bestow it on the
monastery, reserving nothing at all for herself, as indeed she
knows that from that day forward she will no longer have power even
over her own body. At once, therefore, in the oratory, let her be
divested of her own clothes which she is wearing and dressed in the
clothes of the monastery. But let the clothes of which she was
divested be put aside in the wardrobe and kept there. Then if she
should ever listen to the persuasions of the devil and decide to
leave the monastery (which God forbid), she may be divested of the
monastic clothes and cast out. Her document, however, which the
Abbess has taken from the altar, shall not be returned to her, but
shall be kept in the monastery.
The Church approves religious rules. This is the basis for asserting
that our Holy Rule is inspired by the Holy Spirit, because the
Church gave its seal of approval. The Church, however, is
indubitably older and wiser than monastic life. It predates every form of
religious commitment. It is the blessing of the Church which makes
official monastic life possible for any and all of us.
This is just a prelude to saying that the wisdom of the Church long
ago stopped people from making solemn vows, a life-long commitment
difficult to break, right out of novitiate. Not only does this
longer program protect people, to a certain extent, from making a
mistake, it also spares the monastery from having a lot of undesirables with
chapter votes running the show.
A year may well have been enough in St. Benedict's time. People had
vastly shorter life spans, it was a bigger chunk of their lives.
They also had to grow up more quickly and their options were fewer
by far than those of our own day.
Oblates, therefore, can garner a few kernels of truth in this
chapter about commitment, that bugbear of the baby boomer generation
and beyond. Modern people find it terribly hard to commit, some
never manage it at all. As such, a bit of wisdom older than our own
age may be very useful in our everyday lives.
Whether it's a marriage or engagement or a job or a volunteer
chairperson position, don't jump at things. Read the Rule, so to
speak, three times at least! Look, look, look as mindfully as you
can at the truth and reality of the situation.
Benedictines are not people afraid of commitment, but we live in a
world where many are. Our witness here must be care and balance. We
must resolutely walk BETWEEN the extremes of foolhardy haste and
crippling fear. In the world of today, that is no small witness and
no easy task. Pull this one off, and you have a done a service to
many, not just to yourself!
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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