Holy Rule for Sept. 27
Prayers, please, for our Br. Vincent, on his feastday, graces galore and many
more! And for the eternal rest of Fr. Vincent, of St. Leo Abbey, for St. Vincent
Archabbey and for all our Vincents.
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 27, May 28, September 27
Chapter 7: On Humility
Let a man consider
that God is always looking at him from heaven,
that his actions are everywhere visible to the divine eyes
and are constantly being reported to God by the Angels.
This is what the Prophet shows us
when he represents God as ever present within our thoughts,
in the words "Searcher of minds and hearts is God" (Ps. 7:10)
and again in the words "The Lord knows the thoughts of men" (Ps.
Again he says,
"You have read my thoughts from afar" (Ps. 138:3)
and "The thoughts of people will confess to You" (Ps. 75:11).
In order that he may be careful
about his wrongful thoughts, therefore,
let the faithful brother say constantly in his heart,
"Then shall I be spotless before Him,
if I have kept myself from my iniquity" (Ps. 17:24).
One of the things I always wanted to get for Dame Maggie, my late
cat, was a bird feeder that I saw. Picture an air conditioner put in
a window backwards, with the protrusion inside. It was like that, but
rather like an aquarium made of one way mirrors. The birds, all
unwitting, came INSIDE to dine in that mirrored cube and I'll bet she
would have loved it. Alas, the price was out of the question.
Ah, how like those birds we are! Unfortunately, we CAN afford the
cubes of mirrored walls all to easily: we create them ourselves, with
our own illusions and ignorance and forgetfulness. We live and move
in the falsity that we are unobserved. We forget altogether that God
and His angels see us in every moment, in every place.
Ever look over your shoulder to see if the boss was around? Ever
relax because your parent or spouse was gone to the store and you had
at least an hour of privacy? Most of us have. Kids behave differently
(a LOT differently!!) when the teacher is out of the classroom or has
turned away from them. We are conditioned to monitor our behavior
according to who is or is not present.
The trouble with God (if one dares put it that way,) is that He is
always in the office, never leaves the classroom or turns His back
and never goes to the store. Faced with that truth, we defend
ourselves with the only foolish thing we have left: forgetful denial.
Well, sorry, beloveds, that denial gives us no "privacy" from God,
it is false, totally false.
He doesn't leave. He's always there. The spiritual world is all about us
at every second, every instant. Sometimes we would rather not credit the
fact, but that in no way makes it otherwise. It's a big mistake to
think of the omnipresence of God as outdated, as something that
happened "back then" but not now. That omnipresence never changes.
Now, what is all this doing in a chapter on humility? Easy! We can be
proud if we think we are not found out. The child who deals with a
teacher who hasn't seen is a VERY different kid from the one who has
been caught! We HAVE to be humble if we admit we have been caught. We
have to remind ourselves that nothing happens in secret and that our track
record is not so sterling as the one we would like to present to the
world. Humility is truth, truth is the correct accordance of the mind with
reality. And the reality is that we all fall regularly!
Now, look, this is not to get you crazy about video cameras in every
place. (Look how used we are to them, in fact!) The whole purpose
here is just to get us more in tune with reality and the reality is
that we could always be better. So there comes conversion of manners,
that other Benedictine vow: we must never stop striving to be better.
Face it, m'dears, we live and move and have our being in the banquet
hall of the greatest King! Whether we credit that or not, it is so.
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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