Holy Rule for Dec. 6
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
Helen and Fred, on their death anniversaries, Dec. 6 and 9 respectively, and for their son, Brian.
Father Jude, on the anniversary of his death.
Fr. Brennan Connelly, OFM, of St. Anthony's Shrine, Boston, MA.
Prayers for the spiritual, temporal and physical welfare of the follwoing, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Elaine, and her dog, Abbie, 11, who apparently has a urinary infection, hopefully it will respond to treatment.
Sarah struggling with active alcoholism.
a young man who has serious stomach issues.
Averill, metastatic cancer, for his happy death or for a miracle.
Bruce, stage four cancer.
7 dialysis patients who were treated with possible contaminants. They are all in Intensive Care.
Katie & Lane, in desperate need of prayer. Katie is pregnant with twin girls who have Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), a serious disorder that occurs in identical twins who share a placenta.
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
April 6, August 6, December 6
Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything
On no account shall a monastic be allowed
to receive letters, blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever
from parents or anyone else,
or from her sisters,
or to give the same,
without the Abbess's permission.
But if anything is sent her even by her parents,
let her not presume to take it
before it has been shown to the Abbess.
And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide
to whom it shall be given,
if she allows it to be received;
and the sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved,
lest occasion be given to the devil.
Should anyone presume to act otherwise,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.
Part of this is about equality, part of it is about depending on
one's community for everything. But there is another part that is
more readily available to monastics and Oblates in the world, a
certain cloister of the heart, a partial flight from the secular.
Outside news, to which we all can become so easily addicted, is not
always useful, let alone nourishing. When I was a pastoral associate
in Boston, I was the slave of the weather channel: knew the five day
forecast ALL the time. Then I moved here- no cable anywhere- and
pretty much let God surprise me each morning with whatever was
available. Granted, traveling on foot and by subway to do a lot of
ministry in Boston, I did have a greater need to know, but not THAT
We used to get the NY Times every week, but stopped a while back. If
something really big happens, the regulars who come
to Mass will tell us. That's how we found out about Princess Diana.
Our contractor told us about 9/11. We were in Mass, praying for the
world anyway, with no clue that the towers were literally falling as
we prayed, that the Pentagon was on fire and thousands were dead.
It really didn't matter, in one sense, whether we knew or not: we
were already praying. Our prayers did not need details to be
effective. The heart of God was already breaking, already knew, HAD
already known from all time and beyond. We were just begging Him to
look at His people while not knowing which ones needed it most. That
made no difference. We ALWAYS know less than Him. It is the usual
There is much that is false, truly false and illusory in the
world. We all know that quite well. What we can miss is that media's
job is to make a lot of things much, much more real and pressing than
they are or will ever be. That sort of illusion we can easily do
This is in no way obscurantist or anti-intellectual, but a part of
the monastic heart actually LIKES to be out of touch in some areas
and profits from same. No one has to live in a cave, but I, as I
imagine most of us without any dream of large stock holdings, would
have managed quite well without knowing about every corporate scandal
in excruciating detail.There's a lot of stuff we DON'T need to
know, and in not knowing some of it there lies a great peace!
Love and prayers,
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Prayers, please, for Kathleen, 92, having esophageal surgery, many problems, badly needs prayers.
Prayers, please, for Adolfo and his wife, Mary Carmen.
Prayers for Chris, on his 42nd birthday, graces galore and many more!
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.
January 17, May 18, September 17
Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel
In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
But if anyone should presume to do so,
let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
At the same time,
the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
and in observance of the Rule,
knowing that beyond a doubt
he will have to render an account of all his decisions
to God, the most just Judge.
But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
be of lesser importance,
let him take counsel with the seniors only.
It is written,
"Do everything with counsel,
and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).
The key here is not to contend insolently; there is no proscription
against telling the Abbot one feels something is amiss, so long as it
is done respectfully and humbly. We are Benedictines, not fascists;
we have a Father, not a Fuhrer.
Human nature being what it is, people are usually more prone to cite
the Abbot's responsibility to seek counsel than they are to cite the
equally important proscription against contending with one's Abbot!
There's a cure for that and many other ills buried within this
chapter, a telling phrase whose observance promises peace. That
little gem urges the monastics not to follow their "own heart's
Follow that gem and peace abounds! For one thing, whether abbot or
monastic, parent or child, boss or employee, the focus of the
relationship ceases to become self. None of us are anywheres near the
big deal we'd either like to be or think ourselves to be! Much of
what seems earth-shattering to us is really small stuff, indeed.
This is so important to monastic struggle because it is so intricately
interwoven with detachment and holy indifference. We must learn how
to hold onto our inner peace, how to safeguard it from damage at the
hands of trivia. An abject TERRIBLE day for us, one when we are so
hurt or angry that the world seems to have stopped, is just another average
day for the rest of the community. Until, of course we decide we ARE
the center of the universe and ruin it for them... Cling to that
knowledge of trivia and less will suffer!
At that point of recognizing trivia, truth and therefore, humility
enter into the equation. We need very good "trivia
detectors" and their default setting must be aimed at ourselves,
rarely cast elsewhere except in cases of really great need. We can
keep those detectors more than amply busy just in our own hearts
and wills! We need to know deception, falsity, trivia, but it is
essential to know them first in ourselves.
If these good tools of detection are aimed only at others, the result
will be pride and a fall, not humility and truth. Jesus said "I am
the Truth," and to Him we must prefer nothing. Hence, our first
desire must always be the truth and the truth is that the earth does
not revolve around us as an axis!
Our age, particularly, has embraced the idea of "Follow your bliss!"
Well, maybe...sometimes.... but maybe not, too. Our "bliss" is no
guarantee of infallibility. Years ago, and for many years of my life,
I thought my "bliss" would be very different from where I finally wound up.
As a handy rule of thumb, I would say that the will of God quite
often looks nothing like bliss at first. Hence, confusing bliss with
the divine will can be very risky. The will of God often BECOMES
bliss when we are in the midst of following it, or in hindsight, but we
have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!
Love and prayers,
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