Holy Rule for Sept. 4
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Norm, for a happy death and all his family and all who will mourn him.
Melissa, that she find work.
Barrington House community of seniors, give them all faith and hope.
Graeme, finishing one job and preparing to search for another.
P. and his wife, a marital rolller coaster of difficulty, but some progress, Deo gratias.
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
January 4, May 5, September 4
Having our loins girded, therefore,
with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14),
let us walk in His paths
by the guidance of the Gospel,
that we may deserve to see Him
who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12).
For if we wish to dwell in the tent of that kingdom,
we must run to it by good deeds
or we shall never reach it.
But let us ask the Lord, with the Prophet,
"Lord, who shall dwell in Your tent,
or who shall rest upon Your holy mountain" (Ps. 14:1)?
After this question,
let us listen to the Lord
as He answers and shows us the way to that tent, saying,
"The one Who walks without stain and practices justice;
who speaks truth from his heart;
who has not used his tongue for deceit;
who has done no evil to his neighbor;
who has given no place to slander against his neighbor."
This is the one who,
under any temptation from the malicious devil,
has brought him to naught (Ps. 14:4)
by casting him and his temptation from the sight of his heart;
and who has laid hold of his thoughts
while they were still young
and dashed them against Christ (Ps. 136:9).
It is they who,
fearing the Lord (Ps. 14:4),
do not pride themselves on their good observance;
convinced that the good which is in them
cannot come from themselves and must be from the Lord,
glorify the Lord's work in them (Ps. 14:4),
using the words of the Prophet,
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to Your name give the glory" (Ps. 113, 2nd part:1).
Thus also the Apostle Paul
attributed nothing of the success of his preaching to himself,
"By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
And again he says,
"He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (2 Cor. 10:17).
If one doesn't read this portion VERY carefully and thoughtfully,
it is easy to see why so many Christians, even some monastics, have
been taken in by the heresy of Pelagianism. (Even poor Evagrius
himself was accused of "semi-Pelagianism'!) That heresy taught that
we could actually save ourselves, it was the original "bootstrap"
theology. It placed far too much emphasis on us and on our efforts.
There is a very delicate tension and balance
which must be maintained when dealing with faith and our own works.
Important point: we can ONLY do real good because of our inclusion
into Christ, Who is Perfect Good, at Baptism. End of story there!
We might, without Christ do all kinds of nice stuff, and I would be
the last to say that none is in God's good graces for just such
nice stuff: the Spirit blows (and saves!) wherever It wills. I feel
sure that many people who, through no fault of their own cannot or
do not, know Christ nevertheless delight Him with their sincerity
of doing right.
Our growth in grace, however, is made possible only by God. No
manner of spiritual gymnastics on our own could do that. That is
crucial to remember, and the last portion of this reading makes is
clearly evident. It ALL comes from God. Of ourselves, we are less
Having said that, and here comes the delicate balance, we have
chosen, each in our own conditions, to follow a monastic path of spirituality.
Monasticism quite surely DOES involve a lot of works, of practices. That's the way it
What we must school ourselves to always be aware of is that these
works and practices, of themselves, are nada, zilch, nothing at all. It is
the God for Whom we undertake the road and the love with which we
travel that transforms all this "nada" into (you should pardon
this Southwestern U.S. phrase...) the whole enchilada!!
Yes, our works matter. Yes, the monastic who deserts them entirely
will flounder. But no, the focus here is not our own work, our
presumed merit. The merit, the good, and the work of grace is God
and His work in us.
I feel sure that most of us would affirm the statement that all
good in us comes from God, but we must be very, very careful to
really KNOW that, believe it utterly, with all our hearts. Lip-
service in this area can be dangerous.
We are, truly, even the best of us, nothing more than unprofitable
servants who have done only what was commanded. And, let us be
truthful, few of us- myself included first in this failure- even do
all that was commanded. Humility chimes in again!
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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