Holy Rule for Aug. 20
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal wlefare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Elaine. She must have another scan for a lower bowel lump Tuesday. Also, the cleansing regime is extremely difficult for her and it is risky for her to lose weight.
Carol, safe travels home
Melissa, that she find work, and that she find daycare for her baby, Jack.
Four nuns in Belgium, three of them very seriously ill, even life-threatened, after eating mushrooms from their garden.
Prayers, please, for Petersham's Br. Bernard and for all our Bernards on their
feastday: graces galore and man, many more. Ad multos annos!
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
grace. God is never absent, paise Him! Thanks so much. JL
April 20, August 20, December 20
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess
In the constituting of an Abbess let this plan always be followed,
that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen either by the
whole community unanimously in the fear of God
or else by a part of the community, however small, if its counsel is
Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine should determine the choice of
the one to be constituted, even if she be the last of the order of
But if (which God forbid) the whole community should agree to choose
who will acquiesce in their vices, and if those vices somehow become
known to the Bishop
to whose diocese the place belongs, or to the Abbots, Abbesses or
the faithful of the vicinity, let them prevent the success of this
conspiracy of the wicked, and set a worthy steward over the house of
God. They may be sure that they will receive a good reward for this
action if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.
There is an old monastic saying that holds that "The community gets
the Abbot it deserves and the vocations it deserves." Like most
generalizations, this one has kernels of both falsity and truth.
Heresy is obviously taking a small truth and making it the only truth
and this is no different. It is rash (even if sometimes seemingly
handy!) to simplify the inscrutable workings of the Holy Spirit, of
our all-merciful God and His love into such a small compartment of
However, there IS that kernel of truth! I have certainly lived
through times and seen them elsewhere which gave
frightening credence to one or both halves of the axiom! There is a
human side to these things, God DOES use human means to accomplish
His perfect Will and we, let us face it, are far from perfect
The sad truth that the saying does NOT address is that even good and
holy houses are thirsting badly for vocations these days. Something
else, something other, something strange has been added to imbalance
the equation and no one can be sure just what. Pray, pray with all
your hearts for vocations, good and holy vocations to the monastic
life on every level, as monks, as nuns, as Oblates. With our dimmed
vision looking through glasses darkly, we can neither see nor know
perfectly what wonders of His Will God is working now, much less
why! Just pray for His Will for all of us!
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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