Holy Rule for Nov. 17
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
Marcel, 59, who took his own life.
Ruth, a great nurse, on what would have been her birthday.
Lenny, 80's, and esp. for his son, Dan and family.
Prayers for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Dolores, recurrence of breast cancer and for her family, especially her husband who, in his 90's, has been widowed twice by this disease and is in a state of shock. Prayers for all who are affected by cancer and for all who seek to heal it.
continued prayers for Charlene.
Kathy, stage four cancer in her lung and liver.
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 18, July 18, November 17
Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food
We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
that every table have two cooked dishes
on account of individual infirmities,
so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
may make his meal of the other
Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
let a third dish be added.
Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
If they are to have supper,
the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
to be given them at supper.
But if it happens that the work was heavier,
it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
should it be expedient,
to add something to the fare.
Above all things, however,
over-indulgence must be avoided
and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
according to Our Lord's words,
"See to it that your hearts be not burdened
with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).
shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.
Except the sick who are very weak,
let all abstain entirely
from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.
I beg the forgiveness of those living outside those U.S. who receive
this for dwelling on the dietary habits of my own country, but I
think there is a message for all of us, to one degree or another
therein. If nothing else, Americans can often serve as a very good
negative example to those of other lands and cultures, sadly, in more
than just food!
Obesity and consumerism can go hand in hand, because they are
different expressions of the same lie: you CAN get filled and it WILL
make you happy. Things will fulfill you. Food is a thing. Whoops!
Small wonder than a nation like my own that tops the charts in
consumption is also right up there in terms of a populace being
In the U.S. our attitudes to food are so badly skewed by consumerist
culture that we are truly very spoiled. What most people would see as
the simple addition of moderation to the menu we might view as a
terrible fast of deprivation. We are the people who chant that "Too
much is plenty." Well, it isn't. Too much of anything, food, or stuff
or sex is bad for one: that is the Benedictine message
Let me give my American comrades one or two simple suggestions. If
you live in another land and have already been doing these things,
indulge me, it is good advice for anyone.
For starters, try only water with meals. What?!? Unthinkable! I need
a Coke! Hey, water hydrates you (hence the term!) better than anything else
and it certainly cuts your caloric intake. Most of us do NOT drink enough
water. Start trying.
What about fat and cholesterol and fiber? I know, I know... Hey, look
at how we can be all over the place to recycle and save the planet
while cavalierly damaging our bodies, the ecosystems which are, after
all, closest to us! What about one or two meatless days a week or
just less red meat? Think twice and try to change.
Try, really try to do more of what is better for you. Face it, no
matter what else is important, your care of yourself is much more
closely monitored by God than your concern over wetlands or
whales... The commandment not to kill begins with our own bodies
and health. I often think that many of the noble efforts in the
direction of non-human, even non-animal life are displacement activities, at
least partially in compensation for the dreadful job we do with our own
bodies and with other human life.
The Rule mandates change because St. Benedict knew it was necessary
if we are to make progress on the road to God we have chosen.
However, please remember that even change must be moderate and
gradual. Going overboard all at once is likely a doomed attempt.
Try to start eating nothing but fat-free sawdust tomorrow and you are
quite likely to be discouraged, overwhelmed and fall out of the
fight. That, alas, is just what Satan wants. Discouragement is
usually his strongest weapon! Baby steps, beloveds, baby steps!
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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