Holy Rule for Sept. 5
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Sarah, a young funeral director, looking for direction in her career. She loves the work and is good at what she does, but seeks a better work environment. Please pray also for spiritual growth for Sarah and her family.
J., who has had a nervous breakdown and is in residential care. Please, Lord, that he is now able to resolve his issues and come out of this with the strength to carry on with the rest of his life.
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 5, May 6, September 5
Hence the Lord says in the Gospel, "Whoever listens to these words
of Mine and acts upon them, I will liken to a wise person who built
a house on rock. The floods came,
the winds blew and beat against that house, and it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).
Having given us these assurances, the Lord is waiting every day for
us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions. And the days of
this life are lengthened and a respite granted us for this very
reason, that we may amend our evil ways. As the Apostle says,
"Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent"
(Rom. 2:4)? For the merciful Lord tells us, "I desire not the death
of the sinner, but that the sinner should be converted and live"
People like me are very prone to regard repentance- the sense in
which it is used here meaning real turnaround and conversion- with
the same eagerness that we ordinarily reserve for cleaning the
refrigerator: "I'll get around to that..." Truth is, I rarely do
get around to the fridge.
What happens instead is that one of our wonderful Oblates, Richard
of Chicopee (who gets this daily reflection,) comes for a weekend
and cleans the icebox. Hallelujah! Saint Richard!! Thank you,
Richard! Richard cleans like a dream and the world looks a lot
better whenever he's been here!
If you are not like me, and your icebox has ALWAYS been clean, is
buffed up every week to shining glory and you carry a damp
washcloth every time you open the fridge just in case, then fine,
this portion perhaps was not written for you. However, it should be
noted that even immaculate icebox types may have to check behind
the icebox or take a
look at the oven.... I mean, if you want to be REALLY perfect, you
could move the fridge and wax the floor underneath- with paste wax
and a buffer, of course!
Get my point? This is surely written for most of us. Most of us
have some sort of a grungy corner that we'll "get to tomorrow," if
ever. St. Benedict is reminding us again that "Now is the
acceptable time..." St. Isaac of Syria said: "This life has been
given to you for repentance, do not waste it in vain pursuits."
Sadly, people like me hear in St. Isaac's words: "This life has
been given to you for icebox cleaning..." Yeah, right! Oh boy, what
a gift! Just can't wait to get up for that each morning!" And we
shrug and walk away. Why? Because the typically monastic idea of
repentance is very different from that of our modern Christianity.
We tend to look at repentance as necessary in proportion to guilt.
The early monastics saw it as necessary, period; for everyone. We
would almost chuckle at the idea of a virgin martyr of twelve in
the Roman world repenting. "Of what?" we'd incredulously ask. The
early monastic would see no problem there at all. Repentance, from
a monastic and Benedictine view, is needful to for all because all
are fallen, all are incapable of living the Christian life without
God and grace, all, left to their own whims, would fall short of the
The repentance we speak of here is similar to that of baptism, but
not identical. Certainly one can be saved without entering the
monastic way (or cleaning refrigerators, for that matter!) What St.
Benedict is speaking of here is the special road of the monastic
Plenty of saints, in fact most saints, were neither monks nor
Benedictines. Big news there! What St. Benedict is saying is "OK,
this is our approach. There are, of course, others, but if you want
to use ours, this is what you have to do." "Repent!" St. John the
Baptist cried again and again in the desert, and somewhere along
the way of that preaching, Jesus, the Lamb of God, stepped into the
Jordan. Folks, if HE can answer the call to repent, anyone can! He
had no need at all!
What our repentance affirms is that we cannot be monastics with no
trouble: our natures make that impossible. On our monastic way to
God, many, many human things stand in our hearts and in our way.
That's what we repent and shall always have to repent. Whenever our
focus, our purity of heart is fragmented in any way, that's what we
have to repent.
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery
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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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