Holy Rule for Sept. 3
Prayers, please, for Thomas, in New Zealand and having great difficulty obtaining work. If he doesn't find employment in the next few weeks he will be deported home to India, a move that he does not want at all.
Prayers for Chris & Beth, travelling from the north of Scotland to Southern California to visit Greg, Beth's brother. God grant them safe travels, and happy times. This is the first trip to America for Beth since her & Greg's mother, Star, died nearly three years ago, while they were there visiting. God rest her soul.
Prayers for Fr. Gregory. on his feastday, many graces and blesssings!
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.
January 3, May 4, September 3
And the Lord, seeking his laborer
in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,
"Who is the one who will have life,
and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33:13)?
And if, hearing Him, you answer,
"I am the one,"
God says to you,
"If you will have true and everlasting life,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips that they speak no guile.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
And when you have done these things,
My eyes shall be upon you
and My ears open to your prayers;
and before you call upon Me,
I will say to you,
'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).
What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,
than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
Behold, in His loving kindness
the Lord shows us the way of life.
This is perhaps my all-time favorite reading from the Holy Rule.
The gentle, loving tenderness of both the Divine Merciful Christ
and our holy Father Benedict are here in abundance. One is tempted
to merely bask in the warmth, rather than write, but I will try to
Lest any of us (which, as the Holy Rule would say, God forbid,)
tend to pride at undertaking the monastic way, this one deflates
that balloon in a hurry. Christ seeks US. What mercy! Our very
being is nothing but an act of His love and mercy, all that we have
love and His mercy, yet, on top of all that, He seeks US! We're
talking God here, not some other created being. We're talking the
Alpha and Omega, end all and be all, the First Cause, you name it.
The very force of life and light and truth and love and mercy in the
cosmos, before all time, names us, knows us and calls us.
I can get carried away writing about the Prologue, so indulge me
here as I do so. Beloveds, for so you are to me, our fractured
hearts and sin-veiled eyes just cannot see the way, nor can we name
the hurts or their cures well. God and God alone can pierce that
darkness and He offers to do so before we even ask. This is awesome
grace, this is enough for a lifetime's meditation on humility. Hard
things to come in the struggle are real, but their harshness is in
some way illusory: "Behold, in His loving-kindness, the Lord shows
us the way of life."
In the midst of all this sweetness, look at the question he puts in
the Lord's mouth: "Who is the one who will have life and desires to
see good days?" Granted, it is a quote from the Psalms, but St.
Benedict could have used something else, or written his own, or
employed a rhetorical question. He didn't, though, he used this one
and that is most fortunate.
St. Benedict does not have God in the teeming marketplace hollering
out: "Who wants to be a monk? Who wants to be a nun? Who wants to
be an Oblate?" (Chuckle: if God DID call out "Who wants to be an
Oblate?", how many people you know would say: "What's an Oblate??")
No doubt, for some on the monastic way, those may have been the
questions. For many others, it was not nearly that direct.
This question allows us to ponder (if God and you will pardon the
phrase,) the Divine sneakiness. How many of the stories we hear of
how people came to the monastic way and were drawn to the
Benedictine life give witness to God's loving "sneakiness." God
cannot lie and His query here is not a lie, but He can certainly
CHOOSE the truth He uses to draw us. Like any parent of a stubborn
child, He knows that some approaches work better than others.
I know Brother Bernard Aurentz, now dead, joined St. Leo because he
liked Florida and thought the monastery was on the Gulf of Mexico!
The picture of a palm tree by water in a vocation ad sure sold him!
He just didn't realize they were on a large lake, 40 miles inland!
God didn't deceive him, He just didn't make the geography evident
until the guy arrived and stayed for the rest of his life.
There is a lot more than sneakiness in this question, however. How
many times, when speaking of monastic life, or married life, or any
vocation, do we stress its harsher aspects? To some extent,
monastic life and married life get the brunt of this: "Oh, it isn't
easy, blah, blah, blah...It's no cinch, there's a lot of hardship."
OK, there is, no problem there, but there is also a lot of
sweetness if any vocation is done right.
How many people would have gotten married if the proposal included
a litany of night-feedings and diaper pails, much less if the
proposal could have announced the birth of a severely handicapped
child or the paralysis of the spouse or the tragedy of an auto
accident far in the future. We do both marriage and monastic life a
great harm when we
emphasize only the difficult things. There IS joy in marriage,
great joy, and there is in the monastic way, too. Just like any
good proposal, God asks us to respond to the good things He is
offering and they are not slight!
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]