Holy Rule for Oct. 5
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Jual, for whom we have prayed, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
LG, university music minister, wife and the mother of a teenage son, who will have surgery in the coming weeks for a double abdominal mass. It may be cancerous or it may be adhesions from earlier surgeries related to childbirth.
Ross, alcoholic, won't seek help, had to leave his living space.
Natalia, 24, cancer in her thigh bone, chemo and radiation now. She is very active in sports and now faces the possibility of a prosthetic leg and extensive treatment. Prayers for her worried parents and uncle and all her family, too.
Catherine, infection and pneumonia after her 4th surgery and going downhill with complications, prayers, too for her husband, Steve and mother, Sigrid and all who are worried about her.
Lorene, called in for further testing after a mammogram and very concerned, hoping no cancer is found.
Prayers for Pat, on her birthday, many more and graces galore.
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
February 4, June 5, October 5
Chapter 7: On Humility
The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
"But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
"After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
"It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).
So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
Very ancient interpretation of this Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
name a few.
OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
have no problem!
But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.
God alone can know all those things.
OK, one argues, so if we can't know anyone is worse, we sure can't
know if they're better, either. Quite right! Our God-given natural
assessment abilities allow us to be sure of no one's wickedness or
goodness, not even our own state of grace. But we have more facility
in self-judgement than we have in regard to others. We have more
parts of the puzzle there, even though we still don't have them all,
we have windows into our own hearts and minds that we have in no
So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
position for learning and spiritual growth.
If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
listening, really listening.
And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!
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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