Holy Rule for Nov. 3
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the folliwng, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Barbara Anne, it seems to be a disc problem in her neck, radiating pain down her right shoulder and right arm. The disc may be ruptured and impinging on the nerve that leads all the way to her right hand. It's not a constant pain at this time, but intermittent, and wakes her up at night.
Marianne, 88, who has been incapacitated by a crippling stroke for many months, and now has pneumonia and congestive heart failure, and has just been placed in the care of Hospice. For a happy death whenever God calls her. Please pray also for her two remaining sisters, Janet and Joyce, and for all her family.
Deo gratias and prayers of thanks for Veronica, for whom we prayed re her cancer. It was found that there were no other cancer spots in her body apart from the tumour on her lung which has now been successfully removed. She is so grateful for all prayers... thanks too from her family.
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 4, July 4, November 3
Chapter 27: How Solicitous the Abbot Should Be for the
Let the Abbot be most solicitous in his concern for delinquent
brethren, for "it is not the healthy but the sick who need a
physician" (Matt 9:12) And therefore he ought to use every means
that a wise physician would use. Let him send senpectae, that is,
brethren of mature years and wisdom, who may as it were secretly
console the wavering brother
and induce him to make humble satisfaction; comforting him that he
may not "be overwhelmed by excessive grief" (2 Cor. 2:7), but that,
as the Apostle says, charity may be strengthened in him (2 Cor.
2:8). And let everyone pray for him.
For the Abbot must have the utmost solicitude and exercise all
prudence and diligence
lest he lose any of the sheep entrusted to him. Let him know that
what he has undertaken is the care of weak souls and not a tyranny
over strong ones; and let him fear the Prophet's warning through
which God says, "What you saw to be fat you took to yourselves, and
what was feeble you cast away" (Ezec. 34:3,4). Let him rather
imitate the loving example of the Good Shepherd who left the ninety-
nine sheep in the mountains
and went to look for the one sheep that had gone astray, on whose
weakness He had such compassion that He deigned to place it on His
own sacred shoulders and thus carry it back to the flock (Luke 15:4-
This is the chapter that makes the entire penal code (as it is
usually termed,) of the Holy Rule clear. The Abbot (or parent
or teacher or boss or spouse,) is actually called to exercise super
concern for the fallen. Hence, it is clear that the whole purpose
of punishment in the Holy Rule is only to heal, to reform. It is an action
of great hope, not a cop out of exclusion, not simply writing a person
off because of the difficulties presented.
How often do we "punish" another, or even ourselves, as a means of
write-off, of abdication of our responsibility to love? Both the
Gospel and St. Benedict teach us that is wrong, it is not a
Christian response and not at all the way we should "conveniently"
unload ourselves of a troubled human being in our lives.
All of us charged with the care of others must pay close attention
to this chapter. It is so easy to love the "perfect" child or the
whiz kid student. It is so easy to heap acceptance and confident
affirmation on the types of employees who least need it, while the
strugglers and the strays have their feelings of inferiority
confirmed. People of any age quite often stoop to the level that
others expect of them. We must offer them the best chance we can to
do and be all that they can.
The world will offer all the empty praise that is necessary to the
successful. It is the shallow way of the world to do so. Christians
and monastics, however, are called to be OTHER than the world.
There has to be something topsy-turvy in the way we love that
becomes puzzlingly apparent. We have to love the underdog, even
when the underdog is driving us slowly nuts. This doesn't mean we
don't love the holy and good ones, it means we never, never fail to
love the plodders. It means that we always remember that we are
in many ways ourselves.
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]