Holy Rule for Nov. 27
Prayers for Albane, who just had another miscarriage. Prayers for her to be able to carry a pregnancy to term and for spiritual consolation in this time of trial for both her and her husband, Thomas.
Prayers for Shannon, for openess to God's guidance and will.
Prayers for Tobin, a 7 year old boy who has cancer and it's spreading quickly. His family is devastated. Prayers for Tobin and his complete healing. Prayers for Tobin's family and all this is affecting.
Prayers for C.'s husband, shadow spot on his lung, furhter x rays in six weeks to see if it is gone.
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 28, July 28, November 27
Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor
Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
Therefore the sisters should be occupied
at certain times in manual labor,
and again at fixed hours in sacred reading.
To that end
we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows.
From Easter until the Calends of October,
when they come out from Prime in the morning
let them labor at whatever is necessary
until about the fourth hour,
and from the fourth hour until about the sixth
let them apply themselves to reading.
After the sixth hour,
having left the table,
let them rest on their beds in perfect silence;
or if anyone may perhaps want to read,
let her read to herself
in such a way as not to disturb anyone else.
Let None be said rather early,
at the middle of the eighth hour,
and let them again do what work has to be done until Vespers.
And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty
should require that they themselves
do the work of gathering the harvest,
let them not be discontented;
for then are they truly monastics
when they live by the labor of their hands,
as did our Fathers and the Apostles.
Let all things be done with moderation, however,
for the sake of the faint-hearted.
I offer this as further proof of St. Benedict's tenderness and
gentleness: take a nap. OK, say the siesta is Italian and cultural.
Fine, but there were plenty of cultural elements he didn't let
through the monastery gate. It was a LOT hotter in Egypt and one
doesn't hear the Fathers telling people to lie down and rest, much
less saying that those who cannot sleep dare not wake those who can
with their noisiness! This is a gentle Father we have!
Surely moderation is one of the key elements woven throughout the
Holy Rule, but isn't it at least worthy of note that it is stressed
here, in the chapter on work? St. Benedict may not have had all the
handy psycho babble terms that we use today to name things, but he
had a piercingly clear perception of human nature.
He knew that some people were workaholics and that their contemplative
focus would be shattered by that. So, he counters that by saying: "Take a nap!"
Hey, what a great reality check! Wake up, y'all, the world has an axis to spin on already
and there is no need for you to duplicate services! St. Benedict
certainly knows that many things are important, even essential and he
is not at all shy about pointing them out. In the midst of all that,
he says: "Take a nap!" If you can't nap, he doesn't even say "pray,"
he tells the insomniac to read quietly!!
Look, we are known for our motto of pray and work, ora et labora. One
might well assume that if you couldn't be working, you ought to at
least be praying. Not so. Take a nap. Balance it out. Try pulling
your arm out of a bucket of water and see what happens. Water closes
right in, no problem. Much depends on us, but usually much less than
we are prone to pridefully think! Take a nap!
Our world around us will gladly and readily tell us that we are worth
nothing other than our productivity, our work, our profitability. St.
Benedict wants to be sure that when we come to his monastery, we see
those distorted values of human dignity for the falsehoods they
He wants us to work, yes, but to see work in the deep
humility of truth. A consumerist society has taught us the exact
opposite of that and we all need to patiently spend lots of time
peeling those scales from our eyes with the help of God and St.
Take a nap!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day to all in the US who are celebrating today. God be thanked for His many blessings to us all. Prayers for all and especially for the safety of those travelling.
Prayers for Cas, who has gastrointestinal cancer. Prayers, too, for Bev, his wife, and Gabrielle, their daughter. Bev is a classmate of mine from Tampa Catholic High.
Prayers for Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, OSB, newly appointed Prior of the Benedictine community at Norcia, Italy, and continued prayers for them as they recover from the catastrophic damage the earthquake did to their monastery and basilica.
Prayers for Christopher, 13, in hospice care at home with brain cancer and thought to be very close to death. Prayers for his family, too, and for all who will mourn him.
Prayers for Daniel, had an injection for knee pain, knee reduced to bone on bone and will eventually need a replacement.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Greg, and for all his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Stella, 92, a Benedictine Oblate, and prayers for her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for B., for her return to the Faith.
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 25, July 25, November 24
Chapter 45: On Those Who Make Mistakes in the Oratory
When anyone has made a mistake
while reciting a Psalm, a responsory,
an antiphon or a lesson,
if he does not humble himself there before all
by making a satisfaction,
let him undergo a greater punishment
because he would not correct by humility
what he did wrong through carelessness.
But boys for such faults shall be whipped.
Calm down, we don't whip anybody anymore. It has too often been my
experience that such lines push all the buttons of some readers these
days and blind them to the rest of the good stuff there. We don't
whip now, they did 1,500 years ago, everyone else did, too. Let's not
get so mired in the sensitivities of our own time that we forget how
terribly recent some of them are.
As I have mentioned before, in our house we do kneel in the center
when late for choir, then bow to the superior and go to our
place. We also kneel when we make audible mistakes in Church. And
yes, those things, as I pointed out, can be very useful.
But most Oblates do not have a choir to kneel in, so
what's here for the majority of us? There is the grace of humility,
without which communal life on any level, in monastery, workplace, market or
home would be unlivable.
Every single human community or whatever sort is going to have its
share of kinks, strays and crosses. Every one without fail
will mirror in some sense the fallen brokenness of humanity. The
gamut of human flaws exists in microcosm, in at least some mitigated form,
in every human group.
Even more annoyingly, most, if not all, pieces of our OWN broken
humanity will be modeled, much to our distaste, by others around us. It is,
alas, our own sins and faults in others that tend to annoy us most. Never
forget to check for that. He or she may REALLY tick you off because
of the great similarities between you!
Our job is to see to it that we are part of the solution, not part
of the problem. When, through whatever means, we become part of the problem,
we must own up to it at once and smooth it over as best and as
quickly as we can.
If you can't say "I'm sorry," for heaven's sake- quite literally- start
practicing alone in front of a mirror until the words can somehow
tumble out in public. Until they can, try some useful (though not
perfect,) substitutes, like "Excuse me," or "It was my fault." Work
on words of forgiveness, too, like: "It doesn't matter," or "Oh,
Strive to make light of things. There will never be any
shortage whatever of people who will explode and magnify things out
of all rational proportion, so don't duplicate services! Join the
minority and try to prevent hurricanes in teacups, rather than
Most outrage, most lack of apology, most tempests in teacups stem
from a distorted an unhealthy view of the self. Humility corrects
that imbalance. While you're in front of the mirror practicing
apology, why not try a bit of self-interview?
WHY do these things or persons upset you so? What do you have in
common with those who annoy you most? Most important, just who the
heck ARE you that your perceived slights are such a big deal? Try
reminding yourself that He is God and you are not. Honest reflection on these
points may be a big and promising start.
Love and prayers,