Holy Rule for Nov. 12
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones
and all who mourn them:
my beloved friend, Ann Chatlos, mentioned in these reflections. She died some
years ago, but today is her birthday.
Mrs. LoPiccolo, Michael's Mom, on the 4th anniversary of her death.
Prayers for Mary, a young mother with metastatized thyroid cancer.
Please pray for Kay and Harry, 92 and 96, whose in-home caregiver has given her notice, and they feel that they must move to a nursing home at this time.
March 13, July 13, November 12
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
Let the brethren serve one another,
and let no one be excused from the kitchen service
except by reason of sickness
or occupation in some important work.
For this service brings increase of reward and of charity.
But let helpers be provided for the weak ones,
that they may not be distressed by this work;
and indeed let everyone have help,
as required by the size of the community
or the circumstances of the locality.
If the community is a large one,
the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service;
and so also those whose occupations are of greater utility,
as we said above.
Let the rest serve one another in charity.
The one who is ending his week of service
shall do the cleaning on Saturday.
He shall wash the towels
with which the brethren wipe their hands and feet;
and this server who is ending his week,
aided by the one who is about to begin,
shall wash the feet of all the brethren.
He shall return the utensils of his office to the cellarer
clean and in good condition,
and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
in order that he may know
what he gives out and what he receives back.
I know some houses have moved away from having table waiters, but
something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
here, than the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
7, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.
Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the Abbot
would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice connection
there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on the feast of
the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in Church that day.
The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may not
pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like a
monastery, surely does. There's a great notion here for Oblates who
do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad or
Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon. Switch
off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!
Serving our families makes us feel very special, a kind of special
that I think humility completely allows. If you have children, for
heaven's sake, teach them to cook. As they grow older, it might well
result in a night off for you and the child will benefit. Our
relationship with any group is different when we are only in a
position of taking or receiving. To know the full breadth of love, we
must be able to give back, in ways no matter how small.
Tom Grimaldi, one of our Oblates, told me over breakfast at the guesthouse
that often his Vespers is to cook for his family. I agreed that it readily
is! Marriage is a sacrament, serving those of one's primary vocation is truly
a holy work of prayer, if only we let it be! Tom uses Vespers tapes while
he cooks, which has the added advantage of letting several Gregorian
psalm tones slip into memory for him. Now he can sing along much easier
on his visits here!
It is a very priestly and sacramental task to feed people. Not for
nothing did Jesus leave us with a Meal to remember Him by, to remain
among us as well! Not for nothing is the image of heaven a banquet.
When we cook for (or clean up after!) our family and friends we are
partaking in one of the fullest representations of the
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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