Holy Rule for Oct. 1
Thanks to all who wished me a happy feastday, I really appreciate all the prayers, and prayers for all of you.
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 31, June 1, October 1
Chapter 7: On Humility
The third degree of humility is that a person
for love of God
submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
"He became obedient even unto death."
Looks a little repetitious here, doesn't it? Almost like St. Benedict
was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something to use for a
third step, so he'd still wind up with twelve. Not so.
This short passage tempts one to a short reading and that casual
perusal will miss the terribly important things here. These are the
important elements that frame and sustain our obedience: it is done
for love of God, it is submission to another and it is lifelong.
Remove any one of those mainstays and you no longer have a
It is nothing to persevere to the end without love. Nothing. It is
nothing to obey without love, war criminals did that quite admirably. Nor
does it avail us anything at all to be obedient to ourselves: big
challenge there! We'd wind up Sarabaites for sure, worshipping
nothing but the idol of our own wills.
This third degree gives the reason for Benedictine obedience: "for
the love of God." We do not obey for so little as an orderly community,
our obedience is not mere sociology, it is love. More even than just
love, it is love of the One Who is Love at its highest perfection.
We obey Love's delegates, our superiors, unto death. There are two
meanings hidden in that phrase. It can mean martyrdom, obeying even
to the point of being killed, but it also means obeying all of our lives,
till the moment of our deaths. Frankly, few of us will be martyrs, because
few of us are worthy of that grace. ALL of us, however, are called to the
lifelong white martyrdom of obedience, which can often remind us that
St. Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought heaven cheaply", that
they gained in one instant what the rest of us must plod on for many
decades in a lifelong struggle to gain.
Like Christ, for love, we become "obedient even unto death." During
the Spanish Civil War, in the 30's, Communist forces raided the
Benedictine monastery of El Pueyo, taking its 18 monks prisoner. One
of the very significant things about this group is that many were
just average monks, nothing special. All of them were martyred and
one witness said that they went to their death "joyfully, as if going
to a fiesta." These martyrs were members of our Subiaco Congregation
and we are justifiably proud to have them as our brothers.
Benedictine obedience of love, even unto death is decidedly not the
kind that would please earthly tyrants. In fact, they'd gladly kill
us for it. There is quite a likeness to our crucified Lord if we
embrace that peril fully.
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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