Holy Rule for Nov. 10
Prayers for St. Leo Abbey, its monks and oblates and St. Leo University on their
patronal feast. And prayers for Hegumen Leo of Holy Trinity Monastery, Butler, PA. And maybe a prayer for me, too. Leo is my second religious name,
though so far my brothers have not been persuaded to give me two feastday celebrations, LOL!
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
James, who took his own life; that he may have accepted God's infinite Grace in his last moments.
Kyle, also a suicide, that he may have accepted God's grace in his last moments.
Noah, twin girls and another man, all died in a plane crash.
Mark, who died of testicular cancer.
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Update: First, Genny thanks all who are praying for her healing. After four more hours of testing today the Doc called. All have been inconclusive! More test tomorrow and a heart cath scheduled for next Wednesday. Please keep up the prayers.
Arjahn, health issues and conversion of life needed.
Denny, battling cancer, and for his friends, Vince and Megan
Deo gratias, Angel, 10 months, came through his surgery well, continued prayers for his recovery.
Lord, help us all asYou know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
grace. God is never
absent. Thanks so much. JL
March 11, July 11, November 10
Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own
This vice especially
is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots.
Let no one presume to give or receive anything
without the Abbot's leave,
or to have anything as his own --
whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be --
since they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills
at their own disposal;
but for all their necessities
let them look to the Father of the monastery.
And let it be unlawful to have anything
which the Abbot has not given or allowed.
Let all things be common to all,
as it is written (Acts 4:32),
and let no one say or assume that anything is his own.
But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
let him be admonished once and a second time.
If he fails to amend,
let him undergo punishment.
Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic,
married or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy
indifference to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful
opportunity for a witness against some of the real falsehoods of
modern consumerist society. This is not (nor need it be,) a preachy
attack on today's values, just a quiet refusal to go along with them.
It involves personal practice and choice, not confrontation.
Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not
desires. We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes
happens, that is not possible, we ought not to grumble.
Benedictine simplicity insists that we live in the moment of now with
Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then
don't put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground
swimming pool. That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so
harmful: they DO put our hearts on hold, they take us out of the
contented present and force us to live in an uncertain future
of "when" and "if".
That future is not real. We might never live to see it. We have no
way of knowing whether or not we will live till lunch today. The present is
all we have and anything that distracts our view from it is often a complete
waste of time.
Living in the now is a great reality check!
I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a
few suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them
comes a huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
household, but you must never force such things on children or
spouses. That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of
serenity that simplicity is designed to protect us from.
Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female.
Before I became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one
khaki and one navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with
everything. Yes, after a while, people did notice I was always in one
or the other, but so what? The shirts were different and I was clean.
The shirts came from the Salvation Army: years of wear in good
clothes for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till
Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the
kitchen, to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living
this way, you can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some
reason you really need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit
upscale and you can stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
washing them once a week is fine.
This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We
become immune to the very high levels that our society actually
encourages waste, almost demands it.
How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you
bought a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the
companies teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not
just the used part. We got used to that, sadly.
I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost
more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows
how many garage dumps in 30 years. Somebody gave me a Zippo lighter
for Christmas a few years ago. It is a bit of a hassle to keep it in
flints and fluid, but it means that I have spared the planet from at
least a little plastic.
By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption.
It won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor
are they likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is
important, is limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as
one does not become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.
Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is
the sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and
insists that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be
free of that. Why be lied to any more?
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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