Holy Rule for Nov. 13
Prayers, please, for our Br. Isidore on his birthday, ad multos annos, many years and many more!
Prayers, please, for Barry and BIll, special intentions.
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 14, July 14, November 13
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
An hour before the meal
let the weekly servers each receive a drink and some bread
over and above the appointed allowance,
in order that at the meal time they may serve their brethren
without murmuring and without excessive fatigue.
On solemn days, however, let them wait until after Mass.
Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday,
the incoming and outgoing servers
shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren in the oratory
and ask their prayers.
Let the server who is ending his week say this verse:
"Blessed are You, O Lord God,
who have helped me and consoled me."
When this has been said three times
and the outgoing server has received his blessing,
then let the incoming server follow and say,
"Incline unto my aid, O God;
O Lord, make haste to help me."
Let this also be repeated three times by all,
and having received his blessing
let him enter his service.
Blessing readers and servers may strike the modern reader as a bit
silly: a CEREMONY of blessing to do a no-brainer like that for a
week? Ah, well there's the rub. Ancient monastics (and many Eastern
Orthodox monastics even in our own day,) did NOTHING without a
blessing. This results in all kinds of blessings for things we would
take for granted. When the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne went as a
group to the guillotine, at least one of the nuns approached the
Prioress and asked; "Permission to die, Mother?" The Prioress blessed
her to die.
Getting a blessing, asking God's help for even seemingly trivial
matters is a powerful reminder of our own weakness. It is a statement
that we can do nothing without Him, that we truly are nothing that He
has not given. There is a great humility in asking anyone for help.
In this instance, however, humility is richest truth: we need God's
help for everything. We do things only because He enables us, whether
we asked Him for help or not. Our very lives would not exist without
We still bless readers and servers. Short ceremony, same every week.
We all pray together for whomever is serving us. Since we are small
(only 7,) the Superior is often reader or server. When that happens,
he kneels like anyone else and the senior monk blesses him. It's a
little family ritual.
But what is its message for families in the world? For single Oblates
living alone? The message is that there are no tasks too insignificant
to bless with prayer. St. Benedict has earlier encouraged us to begin
every good work with prayer, but maybe we have forgotten. Because the
monastic is MINDFUL, careful, attuned to life, nothing is
unimportant, nothing should be done "on automatic pilot." There is
that healthy level of mistrust of self that will ask for Divine
assistance in any endeavor. "Bless, Lord, yet another
diaper." "Bless, Lord, emptying the trash." "Bless, Lord, management
meeting!!" "Bless, Lord, picking up pins."
Making dinner or washing the dishes? Take a quiet moment in the midst
of either to say "Help!" and "Thanks!" Two simple, one word prayers.
No matter how chaotic your household, everyone will find time for at
least that. God knows the details, knows your heart and can readily
fill in the blanks! We may think God needs essay-length prayers, but
He doesn't. He may enjoy hearing from details from us, as He told St.
Faustina that , but He also hears our one word or one line prayers.
Of course, there is another side to simple things like serving table,
picking up pins and the like. No, one could not have done anything
without God's help, but ah, if one does them out of love and care!
Bingo! Double coupons, so to speak! If that pin got carefully picked
up because of a barefoot and running child, or a beloved pet who is
prone to "tasting" whatever she can find on the floor, simplicity
becomes a very much greater matter, indeed. Now it is very close to
the heart of God, and that is a wonderful place to be.
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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