Holy Rule for Oct. 17
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Jaylin, 4 months. Needs to start eating on his own, (he has a feeding tube,) before being discharged.
Naika, young girl with sickle cell anemia, for continued recovery.
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 16, June 17, October 17
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
The Morning and Evening Offices should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord's Prayer in its place at the
end so that all may hear it, on account of the thorns of scandal
which are apt to spring up. Thus those who hear it, being warned by
the covenant which they make in that prayer when they say, "Forgive
us as we forgive," may cleanse themselves of faults against that
But at the other Offices let the last part only of that prayer be
said aloud, so that all may answer, "But deliver us from evil.
The Our Father is THE Christian covenant of peace. If St. Benedict
insists it be said aloud twice a day, it is because he knows well
the tempests- nay, HURRICANES- in teacups that can spring up in any
enclosed home group, be it cloister or family. Things get magnified
inappropriately precisely because those we live with are dear to
us. If they weren't, they would be much less able to hurt or annoy
There weren't subways in St. Benedict's time, but there was a world
outside. Picture yourself riding a subway with any or all of these
types: an alcoholic, an abuser, a severely disturbed mental
patient, a tragic drug addict. These are just the ones that we
might notice, too. All of us on the subway ride daily with liars,
thieves, adulterers and worse, we just don't know it. Even though
the subway can offer a bit of a challenge to Christian peace, to
forgiveness, one usually has only to wait for one's stop, hoping
meanwhile that a transit cop will appear. If the situation is
really frightening, one could get off early and catch the next
In family or community, sometimes even in the workplace, we may not
change trains. Not only that, but there are often no transit cops
at all. Always remember that Christian life, Benedictine life, is
never tested when it is easy. Sorry folks, but it is only through
testing that we grow, that our practice improves.
On the subway or bus, or even in the artificially detached
situation of world newscasts, it can be a LOT easier to forgive. It
comes at little or no price at all. It's pretty easy to forgive
even horrible criminals if they have not harmed our home circle, if
they have not directly harmed us. Hate to say it, folks, but the
easy stuff is not where it's at for us. A 50 yard dash may be the
beginnings of an Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, but it is
never the whole picture.
The key to Benedictine peace is forgiveness, which is why St.
Benedict stresses that phrase and calls it a covenant. It truly IS
a covenant of peace. We are daily asking God, twice out loud, but
ideally many more times than that alone, to forgive us in the
that we forgive.
Whoa! Risky business there! Any chain's strength is decided by its
weakest link, so think of the person you LEAST forgive. There you
will have the model you are suggesting to God
that He use in forgiving you. As Fr. Hugo used to say: "You love
God as much as the one you love least."
Fortunately, God is always offering us His infinite Divine Mercy,
in spite of the terms we offer Him. If He did not do so, I imagine
heaven would be an appallingly sparsely populated place, indeed.
Nevertheless, I'll bet He will remind us of the terms we offered
and how little mercy they would afford us.
Roman Catholicism and most other mainline Christian denominations
have not been known as peace churches, historically. They have not
made the dogmatic necessity of pacifism that the Mennonites or
Quakers have. Still, it is very hard to look at the Gospel itself or
at the daily Our Fathers and understand how so many wars have
happened in Christian history, especially between allegedly
If every monastery refectory, every dining room table and every
workplace lunch room had perfect forgiveness and peace, the world
would be so so much better, because genuine peace truly is
contagious. Do you see why we have to start at home, to start
small? It's the only place we have to begin.
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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