Holy Rule for Nov. 5
Prayers for the eternal rest of my Dad, Jerome, who would have been 100 today. He died when he was only 47.
Please continue to remember in your prayers all those without heat, water, food, gas, or shelter in those States still not receiving help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Please pray for Rose who has liver disease caused by Hep C. She was supposed to start treatment for it this week, but the doctor discovered an infection in the knee she had replaced 18 months ago, so that has to be cleared up before treatment can begin. Rose is upset and depressed by all of this, so needs prayers for healing of her mind, heart and soul as well as her body.
Deo Gratias. Trey received some good news yesterday about the ramp that will be needed for Trey. Trey will be coming home Thursday. The people from the Spinal Cord Commission are going to donate the materials AND build it!
Prayers for John, colonoscopy this Monday and Anne, major surgery next week to close her mucous fistula and wound.
Stephen, who faithfully asks prayers here for many others, now needs them himself: he is in the hospital with cardiac arrhythmia and tachycardia, stress induced.
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 6, July 6, November 5
Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be
If a brother who through his own fault leaves the monastery should
wish to return, let him first promise full reparation for his
having gone away; and then let him be received in the lowest place,
as a test of his humility. And if he should leave again, let him be
taken back again, and so a third time; but he should understand
that after this all way of return is denied him.
There are variant readings of the first line of this chapter among
manuscripts. Some authorities accept the additional phrase "or is
expelled", though the RB1980 translation does not. As with so many
things this ancient, it is hard to tell who is right (and
sometimes, if that matters!) I checked in the library downstairs,
but I can't find our autographed first edition of the Holy Rule
However, let's err on the side of mercy if we are to err at all.
Since most modern translations omit the phrase, let's take a look
at the other possibility: what if it really was what St. Benedict
had in mind?
If so, it reveals a mercy and love and tenderness beyond anything
we have ever seen in the Holy Rule. If, even after all the hassle
that can occur before one actually gets thrown out one could STILL
be forgiven, and up to three times, that is very great mercy
to say the least. Still, it is a very consistent reading with the
penal code that precedes it. If the only reason for Benedictine
punishment is reform and conversion, then even the ultimate
punishment of expulsion might have a hook of possible conversion
From this perspective, let us look at ourselves for a moment. How
do we "punish" people or banish them from our lives and hearts? I
use quotes around "punish" to stress the lunacy that very often
such "punishments" harm no one but ourselves. We decide, once and
for all that this or that person has had it. End of story. Well, if
one reads the Holy Rule carefully, there MAY be an "end of story"
point for Benedictines, but it does not come as often or as early
or as readily as some of us might think and we must be saddened if
it does come!
Face it, a lot of us think of punishment is about us, not the
offender. It is OUR "justice" that gets fed, that makes demands,
that says we are done with the problem person. Whoa! If God's ideas
are anything like that (and we daily ask Him to use our standards of
mercy in the Our Father,) we are in deep, deep trouble. Our
punishments must have an eye to reform, not revenge, to conversion,
not conclusion. Permanent rifts, as even the Rule allows, may
sometimes occur, but our attitude then should be sadness, not joy.
And always, always and everywhere, we must pray for such people. Never give
up on prayer for them.
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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