Holy Rule for Aug. 29
Prayers for the eternal rest of Sharon, who died of leukemia, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for Peter, renounced his Catholic faith and converted to Judaism.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mery and
grae. God is never absent, prasie Him! Thanks so much. JL
April 29, August 29, December 29
Chapter 71: That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another
Not only is the boon of obedience
to be shown by all to the Abbot,
but the brethren are also to obey one another,
knowing that by this road of obedience they are going to God.
Giving priority, therefore, to the commands of the Abbot
and of the Superior appointed by him
(to which we allow no private orders to be preferred),
for the rest
let all the juniors obey their seniors
with all charity and solicitude.
But if anyone is found contentious,
let him be corrected.
And if any brother,
for however small a cause,
is corrected in any way by the Abbot or by any of his Superiors,
or if he faintly perceives
that the mind of any Superior is angered or moved against him,
let him at once, without delay,
prostrate himself on the ground at his feet
and lie there making satisfaction
until that emotion is quieted with a blessing.
But if anyone should disdain to do this,
let him undergo corporal punishment
or, if he is stubborn, let him be expelled from the monastery.
OK, now we're getting into radical. Any human group, from the
military to a kindergarten at recess expects one to obey the
leader. But each other? Give me a break! How many jobs would you
have quit if you had to obey all of your co-workers?
Well, giving a break is exactly what is intended here. The Kingdom
of God, which the Holy Rule seeks to guide us to, is ruled by love.
It includes a hierarchy, yes, but that, too,
is founded on love. The Kingdom of God strives for peace and
serenity.The quickest way to soften an environment and let peace flourish is
to keep people more or less happy, and the quickest way to do that
is to give in to their wishes whenever possible, to put self second
and others first.
Now we're getting to the heroic stuff. There are ulterior benefits
to obeying the boss, but another peer? What's the big deal there?
The big deal is love, the big deal is forgetfulness of self, the
big deal is the abdication of control issues.
Monastic struggle will not free one who is attached to control.
That ambition will thwart the good of the struggle. Don't beat
yourself up too badly on this one if you live in the world, because
many, many monastics in cloisters fail it as well. It is one of
Satan's sneakiest tricks and he enjoys its effectiveness immensely.
What could be better than something the poor victims hardly notice
at all that eats up their hard work like a ravenous cancer? Very, very handy.
Rather than worry about the pathetic individuals so addicted, who
can make life so unpleasant for those they live with, why not just
pray for them and focus on changing ourselves? We can be part of
the solution. We can go out of our way to make life easier for each
other. We can pray for those who don't.
A horrible truth of monastic life is that if one waits for everyone
to get perfect (according, of course, to one's own standards!) the
result will be futile and frustrated stagnation. Community we may
be, but all on the same page we shall never be till heaven, and
maybe not even there!
It's a snap to be a skunk at a garden party. Anybody can pull that
off with no effort at all. Lots of people do, all the time! The
harvest, however, is isolation and loneliness, which result in
bitterness that only fuels the vicious cycle.
In contrast, it is a bit difficult at first to be easy on others, but it is
ALSO addictive when done right! One will soon be hunting for ways
to be easy to live with, because every drop of water makes the ocean a tiny bit
less salty, as Bl. Teresa of Calcutta used to say. The harvest, too,
is far more precious: a growing warmth that makes one ever more
gentle, more open, more loving and glad to be so. The harvest is joy
and love, not the lie of possession and bitterness. It attracts, rather
than repels others.
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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