Holy Rule for Nov. 1
Prayers for Michael LoPiccolo, who posted for me during the storm. Thanks for all he does, he is an agent of God's love to all of us.
A blessed Solemnity of All Saints to all! Happy Feastday, Everybody! Let us all pray for each other and graces and our intentions.
May all the Saints, especially those of our own families and friends, intercede to God for us and bring us closer to Him. May we
all rejoice together in the Communion of Saints!
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their familes and all who mourn them:
Fr. Theodore, OSB, of St.Procopius Abbey, and for the Community.
Jan Pawel, A World War II veteran of the Polish Air Force and RAF.
Carol, who died of metastatic cancer, and for Wendy, her daughter.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber killed himself and seven others when he drove his explosives-filled jeep into St. Rita's parish in the city of Kaduna, Nigeria, during a Mass. Hundreds were wounded in the attack. Prayers for all and for the attacker.
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Sr. Jerome, still in rehab after several weeks from her stroke and wanting badly to get home. Making slow but steady progress.
Update: The Echo results for Genny LoPiccolo are back. The valve is not leaking any worse but the heart muscle itself is weaker than the last test. Not the result we were praying for. Please continue prayers for healing and peace as Genny does not handle this sort of thing well.
Ray, colon and liver surgery and for a cancer free recovery.
a 73 yr. old man released from prison, that he may adjust well to life on the outside and be truly reformed.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All ismercy and
grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL
+++++++++In yesterday's reflection, I said that there were times
when we should NOT correct. Indeed, there are, but I should have
fine-tuned it a bit more. There are situations in which one is
morally obliged to say something, where one's silence could
actually be complicity. Gentleness and courtesy and love are still
the norm here, but one can actually harm another by not mentioning
seriously sinful matters. Careful assessments must be made as to
whom, when and how it is best to approach the matter, but we cannot
excuse ourselves by shrugging it off, saying we are not "detached"
enough to correct. That might be true in monastic issues that are
not seriously sinful, but it is not true in grave moral
issues. When in doubt, ask a pastor or spiritual director or
confessor to help you with
March 2, July 2, November 1
Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults
Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault be excluded both
from the table and from the oratory. Let none of the brethren join
him either for company or for conversation.
Let him be alone at the work assigned him, abiding in penitential
sorrow and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle where he
says that a man of that kind is handed over
for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5). Let him take his meals alone in
the measure and at the hour which the Abbot shall consider suitable
for him. He shall not be blessed by those who pass by, nor shall
the food that is given him be blessed.
OK, here's a meditation that fits the feast today: How many of
those Saints we are celebrating today once found themselves under
this stringent punishment and now find themselves in heaven's
bliss? Probably more than one or two! Punishments like this are a
wake-up call. Not everyone will take that call, but no doubt many
who are whooping it up in heaven today would gladly give witness to
the wisdom of doing so!
Saints are perfected, not perfect. The final product is very
different from any point that came before. Punishments like those
today's chapter suggests are dreadful as end points, but they are
not at all so as wake-up calls, as points on the way. On the
contrary, in such cases they can have great beauty. "Amazing Grace,
how sweet the sound!"
We have different ways of giving wake-up calls today. I remember a
priest whose Abbot walked unannounced into his rectory and
said: "Pack a bag, Father, you are going into treatment for alcohol
today at Guest House. Right now!" In his case, as in so many, that
drastic step worked, thanks be to God. That priest died a very
The error, however, and it is often made out of cowardice, is not
to give ANY wake-up calls at all. Dump the penal code in the Holy
Rule and let the failing monastics figure it out for themselves.
This approach is utterly wrong.
In the first place, it woefully fails charity. Genuine love often
obliges us to do unpalatable things. To shirk that demand is
terribly wrong. Secondly, the monastic mired in whatever delusion
of sin or illness of addiction has, more often than not, lost the
ability to see clearly. That's what the community and superior must
do for such a monastic. To fail to help such a one to awaken to the
Light that is there for all is a horrible thing.
We must always remember that Christ came to call the sinners, not
simply the just. We can pay a lot of lip service to that concept
without realizing that it could be rendered as: "Christ came to
call those monastics who need excommunication, not those who
don't." Get the picture? The ones we most roundly judge (in spite
of Jesus' insistence that we never do so!) are the ones for whom He
came. To deny them any opportunity to wake up and get with the
program is awfully short of genuine love.
St. Benedict himself says that he wrote his Holy Rule "for
beginners." Well, folks, check out any skating rink and watch the
beginners there. You won't have any trouble figuring out who they
are. Their arms are awkwardly outstretched in futile attempts at
balance. They wobble, they're clumsy and inept. They fall down a LOT.
To assume that, in our brave new world, all monastics have lost
that clumsy ineptitude of beginners is a tragic mistake. We are all
beginners and we will all die beginners. That's just the way the
monastic struggle is. We must begin again over and over.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]