Holy Rule for Aug. 24
Prayers for the happy death of Karen, sent home to die, and for all her family and all who will mourn her, esp. Scott and Mary Ann.
Deo gratias, Elaine got a good report from her CT scan.
Continued prayers for the 4 Belgian nuns with mushroom poisoning, still in the hospital but doing better.
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.
April 24, August 24, December 24
Chapter 66: On the Porters of the Monastery
At the gate of the monastery let there be placed a wise old woman,
who knows how to receive and to give a message, and whose maturity
will prevent her from straying about.
This porter should have a room near the gate, so that those who come
may always find someone at hand to attend to their business. And as
soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her, let her
answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!" Then let her attend to
them promptly, with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God and
with the warmth of charity.
Should the porter need help, let her have one of the younger sisters.
If it can be done, the monastery should be so established that all
the necessary things,
such as water, mill, garden and various workshops, may be within the
enclosure, so that there is no necessity for the sisters to go about
outside of it, since that is not at all profitable for their souls.
We desire that this Rule be read often in the community, so that
none of the sisters may excuse herself on the ground of ignorance.
This idea of self-sufficiency, of everything one needs within the
enclosure, is a great boon. Even if you are as haphazard in habits
as I am, try to carve a day or two or three when you DON'T have to
go out for anything once you get home, or a day off when there is no
reason at all to leave your home. If you don't already know it, you
will soon find that these days are treasures. Doesn't matter if the
kids are home and noisy as ever, there is a certain solitude and
security that being self-contained, even for a day, engenders and it
Remember all that talk about stability? Benedictines are, at the
root, homebodies of sorts. We thrive and blossom in the solitude and
security of homes, wherever they may be. That's why these days of
not going out become so precious. They are times of freedom and
for us and that's exactly what monastic struggle is about: offering
us the freedom to grow and bloom!
You cannot gag the kids and tie them up for the day, tempting as
that may sometimes seem! But you can leave the phone unplugged or
the answering machine turned down and the radio or TV off now and
then. One or all three will heighten the sense of secure enclosure
in the warmth of your own space.
After all, the Desert Fathers used to say: "Stay in your cell and
your cell will teach you everything." That won't usually happen at
first, we have to learn to listen to our homes. Once we do, we will
find that they will, indeed, teach us subtly and almost non-stop!
Our various enclosures, even those urban apartments, offer us a
reprieve from the rush and bustle of the world around us and we
gradually learn to love that respite dearly. Please, for your own
sake, for your family's sake, for your spouse's sake, find a way to
spend a day entirely at home. Then, as you grow into it, find ways
to increase the number of those days! I am certain you will want to
By the way, if your home ever gets to teaching you so much that it's
making you crazy, remember that is probably because a nerve has been
touched. It might be wise to check which one! And one more thing:
learn to treasure those whose needs interrupt or trash your day of
cloister. They are gifts, too.
Christ often comes in very distressing disguises. Rejoice! (I know,
I know....) Monastics reveal a LOT about themselves by the way they
handle those who disturb their prayer, silence, or solitude. Much of
it is often not pretty. Don't go there! Kindness, always kindness
and mercy. A smile will draw more people to Christ than a scornful
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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