Holy Rule for Oct. 27
Prayers, please for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Genny, heart valave tests today.
Deo gratias, Abigail, who was abducted has been found and returned to her family, her abductor was arrested. Prayers for his conversion and repentance.
Brian B., severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Bella, the 9 yr old shooting vicitim we have been parying for is making good progresws, but still very ill. Continued prayers.
Fr. Joe, on his 30th birthday, and for his parents and siblings.
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, BJL
February 26, June 27, October 27
Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer
When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station, we do
not presume to do so
except with humility and reverence. How much the more, then, are
complete humility and pure devotion necessary in supplication of
the Lord who is God of the universe! And let us be assured that it
is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7),
but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction. Our prayer,
therefore, ought to be short and pure, unless it happens to be
prolonged by an inspiration of divine grace. In community, however,
let prayer be very short, and when the Superior gives the signal
let all rise together.
There is a necessary tension in Benedictine prayer, both public and
private, between the awesome majesty and otherness of God and His
infinite closeness and approachability. God is among us. He is not
the guy next door, but neither is He some untouchable, easily
offended emperor or sultan. Both these truths must be addressed in
order to maintain a correct balance.
God doesn't need ceremony, He doesn't need anything. All the high
church in the world might (or might not...) tickle His fancy, but
it does not one whit for Him personally. The rub here is that WE
need what we offer to God, and that has been all too often
In a very real and subtle sense, we BECOME what we offer to God,
often quite unnoticed by ourselves. The upshot of all this is
clear: offer God the lowest possible common denominator and that is
what those offering same will become. Offer Him empty and
presumptuous high church as theatre and be not surprised when those
things become rather ridiculously silly themselves. In very sad
fact, either empty extreme will make people pathetically silly and
spiritually impoverished besides.
St. Benedict says far less about personal prayer than the
Carmelites, but everything he says here would warm the hearts of
Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. The "short and pure"
prayer that he recommends was already a great favorite of the
Desert Fathers and Mothers. They loved "one-liners", often just
repeating "O God, come to my assistance," or other phrases from
the Psalms, many of which figure in the Office to our own day.
This is another truly Benedictine form of prayer, one that can be
started without any preparation at all, the "short and pure"
aspirations repeated from the heart. The Jesus Prayer would work
well here, or any other of a number of phrases from devotional
Scripture. Like the early Desert monastics, one may weave them into
virtually any part of the day or work.
Even a surprise moment of solitude on an elevator is a chance for a
few good Jesus Prayers! In line at the grocery store one could
choose to only read the scandal sheet headlines every other day
(LOL!) and use some of that time for aspirations instead.
Opportunities abound! The shortness of this prayer is perfect for
busy Oblates, a real connection to our Benedictine family and way
that is accessible to all.
We can get distracted when repeating a one-line prayer many times.
On the one hand, one should struggle to remain focused, but on the
other, a Desert Father once quipped that, if God counted
distraction at Psalmody, no one could be saved! I have always taken
comfort in that saying, since frequently (like, say, daily...) I
more closely resemble a Tibetan prayer wheel than a praying,
conscious monk. It may be folly, but I hope God is pleased with
even those "prayer wheel" times. Another Desert saying has it that,
even when we are distracted at prayer, it still annoys the demons
and is worth at least that!!
A very Benedictine warning here that the Carmelites would strongly
approve: prayer is only to be prolonged by "inspiration of divine
grace." When God does let us feel something wonderful in prayer, a
very understandable temptation is to hang onto the feeling, to
prolong it, to produce it again. Doesn't work, folks, and it could
very well turn into a trap. When God prolongs prayer or gives us
graces, fine! Relax, swim in His grace and enjoy it, but never,
ever try to fill the pool for a quick dip on your own. That's not
the way prayer- or God- works.
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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