Holy Rule for Nov. 14
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Jack, one of our miracle bablies, on his first birthday. Ad multos annos, many more!
Melissa, that she get funds to go to school or that she gets back to work.
Deo gratias, Anne's 6 hour surgery went well. Prayers now for her recovery. She has had several units of blood and has low blood pressure.
Genny LoPiccolo, more tests to diagnose and hopefully treat her heart condition. Please pray for peace and healing for Genny as all this waiting had been very stressful for her.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, rpaise Him. Thanks so mcuh. BJL
Chapter 36: On the Sick
Before all things and above all things,
care must be taken of the sick,
so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"
But let the sick on their part consider
that they are being served for the honor of God,
and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
by their unnecessary demands.
Yet they should be patiently borne with,
because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
that they suffer no neglect.
For these sick let there be assigned a special room
and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
as often as may be expedient;
but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
let them be granted more rarely.
let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
for the restoration of their strength;
but when they are convalescent,
let all abstain from meat as usual.
The Abbess shall take the greatest care
that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.
"Before all things and above all things..." is a very strong
statement. If St. Benedict meant that, and we must assume he did,
monasteries and families should not only make sure that the sick are
full and equal members, but even that they have priority. The sick
bear a responsibility in this: they are not to "vex" those caring for
them, but even if they fail in that, they must be borne with
Let's face it, at a certain point, the sick are definitely "out of
the loop" in human society. This is even more true of the long-term,
chronically ill. This is, of course, very typical primate behavior-
for a nomadic troop of baboons, it would be fine. Christianity and
Benedictinism, however call us to rise far above such limitations of
natural response. We are called to be more than natural. We are bound
to strive for the SUPERnatural.
Even in monasteries, especially large ones, the sick can be shelved
and forgotten by some members.In this aspect, the monastics mirror a similar
flaw in the secular world and in many families: out of sight, out of mind.
The concerns of one's active daily life can lead to a certain
selfishness, and the Holy Rule is trying to prevent this. We must be
different from the world, different from that nomadic troop of
primates. We must be more. Both Gospel and Rule, baptism and monastic
commitment demand that.
The flip side of this coin- and I think those who have worked in
hospitals and nursing homes can confirm this- is that there is
something very special about those who quite resolutely do NOT leave
the sick out of the loop. In both monastery and world, those with a
heart for the ill seem to be a special breed.
Oblates in the world, there is a rich field of endeavor here and you
will hardly have to get in line to enter it. Nursing homes freak you
out? There are adult day care programs that might be easier for you.
I used to do four Communion services a week in such places when I was
in Boston, and, had I been able, they would have gladly let me do
more. When I left to come here, seven years ago, every single one of
those services dropped to once a month or less. There is work for you
to do if you want to get yourself commissioned as a Eucharistic
minister and go for it. These were people that not only the world,
but even the Church had largely forgotten. The chance to do anything
for them enriched my life immeasurably.
Does even day care get to you? Then turn to the families of the
chronically ill. To a large extent, they often share the isolation of
the patient in a very real and very unfair way. Find some ways to not
forget them, to give them a breath of normalcy and relief and you
will find their lives, the patient's life and your own changing for
the better. Everyone can do something, and there is plenty to do!
Ask most people what the hallmark of the Benedictine Order is and
they will likely respond with either liturgy or hospitality. Our Holy
Rule's prescription that all guests be received as Christ is
justifiably famous, as is our concern for the liturgy. However,
another hallmark less attended to is this chapter's insistence that
we receive and serve Christ in the sick, too. Would that we deserved
to have people choosing between THREE hallmarks for their answer-
care of the sick, liturgy and hospitality!
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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