Holy Rule for Aug. 25
Prayers for the eternal rest of Janet, who died after a long battle with cancer, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal wel;fare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Joan, she's recently lost part of her leg to complications of diabetes, now the wound is not healing and she is having more surgery today and will probably lose more of the leg.
Claudia, that her trip back to college be safe, and her academic year bear fruit intellectually, morally, spiritually, in the arms of Mother Church.
a friend of Ann's, who has had a recurrence of cancer afetr eight years, and now it is on the lung.
Deo gratias, the Belgian nuns are gradually coming home from the hospital, recovering well. Continued prayers.
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 25, August 25, December 25
Chapter 67: On Brethren Who Are Sent on a Journey
Let the brethren who are sent on a journey commend themselves to
the prayers of all the brethren and of the Abbot; and always at the
last prayer of the Work of God let a commemoration be made of all
When brethren return from a journey, at the end of each canonical
Hour of the Work of God
on the day they return, let them lie prostrate on the floor of the
oratory and beg the prayers of all on account of any faults that
may have surprised them on the road, through the seeing or hearing
of something evil, or through idle talk. And let no one presume to
tell another whatever he may have seen or heard outside of the
monastery, because this causes very great harm. But if anyone
presumes to do so, let him undergo the punishment of the Rule. And
let him be punished likewise who would presume to leave the
enclosure of the monastery and go anywhere or do anything, however
small, without an order from the Abbot.
Rare is the person who can manage to stay employed without at least
a slightly different persona at work. We are one thing there,
because we have to be, but when we clock out, much, if not all of
the work persona is shed. In fact, we usually have a whole
repertoire of different selves, being one thing with our grandmother and quite
another with a childhood friend we have known all our lives, one
thing with the promising new date and quite another with the spouse
of many years!
Secular society has enlarged upon this tendency to its own ends.
Because the tendency is so deeply rooted in us, we may fail to see
its dangers when carried to extremes. Thanks to a society often
glaringly unassisted by revelation, we have the unhappy concept of
different umbrellas, different sets of ethics to cover different
areas of life. "Hey, religion is fine if you want it, but this is
BUSINESS!" or "I may be a Christian, but this is public service. I
was elected by a constituency that expected me to leave some of
that Gospel stuff at the door." Well, folks, such notions do not
wash well. In fact, they really don't wash at all.
The message of the Holy Rule and of the Gospel is that there is one
umbrella, period. There is one persona, period. Granted, in the
latter, shades and gradations may last throughout most of our
struggling lives, but the goal is clear. All monastic, all
Christian, all the time. One heart, one umbrella, one Lord, one
faith, one baptism.
That work persona that we drop when we clock out, the totally free
and other person we are on days off or on trips away can be an OK
notion in relation to work. Wouldn't we find someone who was a
salesperson or teacher or secretary or manager ALL the time to be a
dreadful drip? The concept fails, however, when it is applied to
vocations, to any vocation at all. One does not take a vacation
from being married or a parent or ordained or a monastic.
Do I hear loud screams in cyber-space as I mention BALANCE again?
Sorry, but it is true. There is a balanced way to be under one
umbrella all the time that we must strive to achieve. Yes, I am
different with different friends, we all are, we have to be, charity
demands that. But there is a commonality between all the threads of
our behavior. We are monastics. We are freer within defined limits.
It is to the balance of those defined limits that this chapter
At Petersham, we still follow this custom of prayer for one who
will be away overnight. The prayers are said in the refectory,
after grace. One is blessed leaving and returning, while kneeling
in the center of the ref. It's just a way of saying, as a
community, that we all know that maintaining that one umbrella can
be tough, especially when one is away alone. We want to support
each other with our prayers, we want our brother to know that our
hearts are with him all the way.
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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