Holy Rule for Nov. 15
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Kevin, 46. He has had MS for 17 years and has been managing quite well. About 6 months ago he had a severe set back and is now in a nursing home. Tests have shown he has developed a rare form of MS. Prayers for Kevin's recovery so he can become independent again. Prayers for Kevin's family who is so very upset over all of his suffering.
Michele who has to go for regular mammograms. Cancer runs in their family. Prayers that Michele is always healthy and never develops cancer. Michele and her husband have 7 children, the youngest only a few years old so they need their mom.
Charlene as she is still waiting to get into her appointment. Prayers she does not have cancer and that the tests show it is nothing serious.
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. BJL
March 16, July 16, November 15
Chapter 37: On the Old and Children
Although human nature itself is drawn to special kindness
towards these times of life,
that is towards the old and children,
still the authority of the Rule should also provide for them.
Let their weakness be always taken into account,
and let them by no means be held to the rigor of the Rule
with regard to food.
On the contrary,
let a kind consideration be shown to them,
and let them eat before the regular hours.
In this chapter, on the old and children, as well as in many other
places, such as the references to those who require more material
things and the care of the sick are highlights of Benedictinism's
faceted gem: personalism. St. Benedict sees persons as they are,
where they are. He meets them at many different points on the road to
monastic life, even within the monastery itself. He urges us to do
the same. He also calls all whom he meets at all of those
points "beginners", lest any of us become proud or think ourselves
better than the weak lamb he goes after.
The Holy Rule bends and twists and stoops to make many allowances for
many different sorts of weakness. In doing so, it clearly shows the
loving father's heart of the man who wrote its Prologue in such
The tenderness of St. Benedict shines through here. These are strong
words for weakness: "ALWAYS taken into account," and "BY NO MEANS
held to the rigor of the Rule for food." Though he prefaces his
chapter recalling that any healthy human nature has a certain level
of consideration for these age groups, our holy Father Benedict
quickly returns to a very consistent theme of the Holy Rule: we are
called to more than mere nature. We are called to enhance our nature
to the heights of sanctity. Our considerate mindfulness for every
person and their individual needs must be greater than that of the
St. Benedict's aim is that each of us ALWAYS see the person first.
That kind of loving mindfulness will make the chapters on the sick
and the young and old seem to be complete no-brainers. This is the
way we should be seeing everyone: real people for whom they really
are, nothing more or less. Circumstances do arise that require
greater attention, but the foundation of that is a firm theology of
It should come as no great shock that the most frequent obstacle to
viewing others correctly is ourselves. Our own image, our self, our
pain, our projections get in the way of the lens of truth. We have to
spend our monastic struggle learning to put those things aside, so
that the light of others may shine through unobstructed.
With our own needs at least on a back burner, or better yet, shelved
far off in the pantry, we can begin to truly see others and their
needs. Wipe the mud of self from our eyes and we can see the
treasures that surround us. Mother Teresa of Calcutta surely did
that. She saw beauty that all of us less holy than she missed big-
time and she saw it in everyone.
A key to all this is a favorite quote from Antoine de St.
Exupery's "Little Prince":
"The essential is invisible to the eyes. One can only see rightly
with the heart."
That's what our Holy Rule demands: the cultivation of the very loving
eyes of our hearts!
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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