Holy Rule for Aug. 16
Prayers for good health for Jim C. after a procedure to remove filters blocking blood clots. He is very anxious.
Prayers for Michele, facing challenges at home and at work.
Deo gratias, Kathy, for whom we prayed, has made a full recovery from her knee replacement.
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 16, August 16, December 16
Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received
But if as a guest he was found exacting or prone to vice, not only
should he be denied membership in the community, but he should even
be politely requested to leave, lest others be corrupted by his evil
If, however, he has not proved to be the kind who deserves to be put
out, he should not only on his own application be received as a
member of the community, but he should even be persuaded to stay,
that the others may be instructed by his example, and because in
every place it is the same Lord who is served, the same King for
whom the battle is fought.
Moreover, if the Abbot perceives that he is worthy, he may put him
in a somewhat higher rank. And not only with regard to a monk, but
also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders previously
mentioned, the Abbot may establish them in a higher rank than would
be theirs by date of entrance if he perceives that their life is
Let the Abbot take care, however, never to receive a monk from
another known monastery
as a member of his community without the consent of his Abbot or a
letter of recommendation; for it is written, "Do not to another what
you would not want done to yourself" (Tob. 4:16).
Not all criticism is good. Every person at the door of your
workplace, home or monastery has been sent or allowed there by God.
They may even be doing His will unwittingly by their pickiness or
crankiness. That doesn't mean that every single criticism should be
taken to heart. Sometimes the message God sends is positive,
sometimes negative, sometimes merely an exercise in endurance! Trust
me, I worked in the guest house for over 12 years...
Some of us are so complacent that we badly need to be taken down a
bit. Others, however, have such wounded self-esteem that they will
need protection, need to be careful and yes, MINDFUL enough to
balance what is said to them by critical types. Hear what people say,
but sift it very carefully.
Critics might be right, but they might be wrong, too. Some people, I
have no doubt, are sent to us for no reason other than to teach us
to recognize such fools as those of whom St. Paul speaks and suffer
them [hopefully!] gladly.
Watch out for terribly angry or unhappy people who work hard-
whether consciously or not- at making everyone else as miserable as
themselves, finding fault with absolutely everything. These
types set themselves up. After a while, others do not listen to
them, even on the occasions when they are right.
Learn, if you don't already know, how to discount the anger of people like that.
Don't let them destroy your inner peace, you need that too badly!
Strive to never be a person like that. Don't make a life calling out
of shaking people up, they'll get over you fast. But neither should a
timid, uncharitable politeness make you afraid to speak when it is
really necessary and might actually help. Balance, ALWAYS balance!
All of us, guests and hosts, critics and sufferers, need to be
guided by charity and gentleness. I know people with whom talking is
as dangerous as skipping through a field of land-mines. One never
knows what will set them off. The most innocent and sincere
exchange can trigger an explosion.
Monastics must never, never be like that. We must work at
eradicating every possible trace of that in ourselves. Such
pettiness is all too full of self, beyond which, it actually hurts
and harms people. What on earth shall we say to God if He ever asks
us about that?
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]