Holy Rule for Sept. 20
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Pam, serious decline in kidney function, for the best course of treament.
Tom's daughter who has masses in neck; the biopsy has determined them to be Lymphoma. Still waiting for more exact tests so that stage and treatment can be determined. Continued prayers are requested.
Kathleen, 27, who has joined a wiccan group and for her husband, also wiccan, and her worried parents.
J. T., a teenager, now hospitalized for at least a week for emotional and mental problems.
Dan S., in critical condition with a gunshot wound after attempting suicide.
John C., contemplating joining the oblate program at an abbey nearby, and that he find a new job soon.
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 20, May 21, September 20
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
To fear the Day of Judgment.
To be in dread of hell.
To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
To keep death daily before one's eyes.
To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
Not to love much talking.
Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
To listen willingly to holy reading.
To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
holy, that one may be truly so called.
Different instruments of good works push our buttons- that in itself
should be something of a clue to self-discovery. Usually what pushes
one's buttons for good or ill is worth examining a bit. However, we
can also have very selective eyes and it is sometimes even more
useful to go back to the parts we skimmed quickly and ran past. Most
people would love to have a lengthy discussion on laughter and the
Holy Rule at this point, but I'm not going there.
I'm going to a point that is often ignored completely: the existence
of hell. Now, bear in mind that I write from a point as close to
universalism (the notion that all people will go to heaven,) as one
can possibly come and remain a Catholic. I believe in hell, but I
hope to find it empty. Neither I nor anyone who hopes to escape hell
themselves can want or will ANYONE to be there. It would be so
wonderful to find hell empty. What joy!
However, a bit of realism that looms closer to objectivity than
subjectivity is in order here. I hate to tell you that, although I
clearly must have made it into the last round of interviews, I did
NOT get the job of Arbiter of the Universe, Cosmos and All That Is.
No one else did, either. That's God's and God's alone. Hence, what we
WISH would be or would LIKE to see or even HOPE to see is not quite
as definitive as we might think. Wishful thinking may be warm and
cuddly, but it is rather shoddy theology.
Hell is real, it exists. Given the track record of living human beings
in embracing God, it is not altogether foolish to assume that some of
those billions throughout time died at war with God and insisted on
staying that way. Heartbreaking, yes, but not unlikely.
Jesus Himself speaks of hell, and if one wishes to posit that He was
mistaken or wrong, a whole kettle of fish that will not end in
Christianity or Christ's divinity ensues. In spite of what many of us
hope, that all suffering is taken care of in this life, He speaks of
hell and He speaks of it as eternal. One must assume He knew what He
was dealing with...
Private revelation is hardly normative, but when it does not
contradict Scripture or tradition or the living voice of the Church
it can be at least elucidating. Numerous mystics have had visions of
hell. Much to my regret, none of them so far has reported it to be
empty, either. Nope, there WAS a population of sorts. Not terribly
On the other hand, and VERY consoling, is yet another private revelation,
that of our Lord to St. Faustina. She said that no one goes to hell unless
they really want to and insist upon it. Now THAT is comforting!!! While some
conceivably might do that, it makes the choice far less likely. She also
wrote that, at the moment of death, Christ floods the soul and heart with
such a deluge of grace that, if the door to the heart is open only a crack, the
Lord will triumph. A soul could resist, but only with great difficulty. Deo
So, what is this all about? Well, for starters, do all you can to
ensure that you don't go there!! But that is not enough. Pray, pray,
pray for sinners, for the conversion of all, for the dying, for those
We have seen again and again that prayer DOES change things, even
when the objects of our prayers do not know they are being prayed
for! That is a mystery. We do not understand how it works, but it
works! Get busy! When we appear before the Judgement seat it will not
hurt at ALL to have a truckload of souls to our credit! Acquire a
hunger for souls; that is appropriate to all, not just clergy or
monastics. It is the mark of a loving Christian faith.
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]