Holy Rule for Sept. 24
Further prayer, please. John Allen is back in the hospital with bleeding. Scheduled for radiation beginning October 4.
Prayers please for Judy, very depressed, suicidal and with other problems.
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
January 24, May 25, September 24
Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence
Let us do what the Prophet says:
"I said, 'I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue.
I have set a guard to my mouth.'
I was mute and was humbled,
and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
Here the Prophet shows
that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
to refrain even from good speech,
so much the more ought the punishment for sin
make us avoid evil words.
Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
permission to speak should rarely be granted
even to perfect disciples,
even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
for it is written,
"In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
and in another place,
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).
For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
And for that reason
if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
it should be asked
with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.
But as for coarse jests and idle words
or words that move to laughter,
these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
and for such conversation
we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.
Ever wonder why speech is considered so dangerous? Because it can
build up the false self, the very false self that we are trying to
tear down with our other hand. I have, to my shame, reveled in a
flame war or two. I got JUST the right zinger and aimed it
mercilessly. Once an astute reader commented that I had shot the
olive branch of peace with a crossbow! Ouch! He was so right!
I don't know about everyone, but I can be terribly pleased with
myself over such things, things of which I should in fact be ashamed.
Our arms can easily reach to the shoulders of that false self,
patting it on the back and congratulating it for hours afterwards.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The false self will grow and thrive badly enough
on its own. Why on earth would we wish to offer it any unwitting
Let me speak for myself, here. Probably 90% of what comes out of my
mouth other than prayer is unnecessary. A further per centage I am
afraid to even stab at is downright harmful to me. I don't imagine I
am terribly far from average in this respect.
And talk about damage from second-hand speech. There are LOTS
of things I wish I had never, ever heard. Wow, if only we would guard
silence as zealously as smoke-free zones. Wouldn't that be right in line
with fearing that which can destroy the soul more than that which kills the
body alone? I seem to recall Someone having something to say along
We aren't Trappists in the world. We cannot control our spaces as if
they were monasteries, but we can and must control our own mouths.
Total silence would likely be read as uncaring rudeness, but what
about some alternative forms of silence? What if one resolved to
speak not at all, all day, except in words of kindness, mercy or
support, to never open one's mouth except to affirm.
Now there's a thought. Could I have a seat in the no-griping section,
please? Pursue that line of thinking, be creative. Fast for a week
from contention and see what happens. Try a day of not talking at all
about yourself. Try a whole day of asking others about themselves!
One way or another, increase the levels of good one can do with
speech and diminish those of harm.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)"
Not just the tongue, folks, but the keyboard and any other writing
instrument, too! Serenity cannot coexist with meanness of thought,
word or deed. Doesn't happen. Serenity can be held only in a field of
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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