Holy Rule for Oct. 29
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of 2 children killed by their nanny, for their parents and family and all who mourn them, and for the nanny's conversion and repentance.
Prayers for the spiritual and tamporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Richard and all the Oblates of Immaculate Conception Monastery, Ferdinand, IN, who renewed their oblation. It is Richard's tenth anniversary of Oblation.
Stacey and Rachel, both suffered miscarriages.
Ashely and Jessica, both expecting, for safe pregnancies and deliveries.
Prayers for the safety of all in the path of Hurricane Sandy, special prayers for us at Petersham, that we sustain no damage and keep our power on.
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 28, June 29, October 29
Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep
Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.
A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.
Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
yet with all gravity and decorum.
The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
those of the older ones.
When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.
Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
always, the picture is balanced!
As for the candle, the elderly may have problems during the
night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
needed. However, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
have been to prevent mayhem and murder of the snorers, an idea
which has doubtlessly occurred to many light sleepers!
Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
today, but its nice to see the thoughtfulness behind its original
expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the "mother" in St.
Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.
One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
and care expressed NON-verbally.
There is a particularly good suggestion for Oblates: practice
showing non-verbal affection some time! Try to express your care,
concern and camaraderie for those around you with smiles, winks,
pats on the back and such. Not ALL the time, but hone this skill. A
wordless message of praise or solidarity or love can be treasured
by another, often much more than what we might have said.
A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
that is a monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.
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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