Holy Rule for Dec. 13
Tristan, the baby with croup, is home from the hospital and doing well. Continued prayers for his recovery.
Sean's Dad completed his radiation for melanoma and docs consider it a success, though too early to be sure yet. Continued prayers that he recovers.
Owen's interview went well, he should hear something in a week or so.
Please pray for healing for Darren (early 40's) who recently lost his father, which sudden event has put him back into a very bad downward spiral of depression. Darren was hospitalized with depression following service in the Gulf with the British Army and has never fully got over whatever it was that happened there. Prayers for his wife and family, too.
Prayers for Dave and Marian on their 31st wedding anniversary.
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 13, August 13, December 13
Chapter 59: On the Sons of Nobles and of the Poor Who Are Offered
If anyone of the nobility offers his son to God in the monastery
and the boy is very young, let his parents draw up the document which
we mentioned above; and at the oblation let them wrap the document
itself and the boy's hand in the altar cloth. That is how they offer
As regards their property, they shall promise in the same petition
under oath that they will never of themselves, or through an
intermediary, or in any way whatever, give him anything or provide
him with the opportunity of owning anything. Or else, if they are
unwilling to do this,
and if they want to offer something as an alms to the monastery for
their advantage, let them make a donation of the property they wish
to give to the monastery, reserving the income to themselves if they
And in this way let everything be barred, so that the boy may have no
expectations whereby (which God forbid) he might be deceived and
ruined, as we have learned by experience.
Let those who are less well-to-do make a similar offering. But those
who have nothing at all shall simply draw up the document and offer
their son before witnesses at the oblation.
This is the chapter that allows us to have (and be!) Oblates. How
different would all of our lives be if this chapter had never been
written! While I dwell on the Order as a whole in this reflection,
how drastically different and how impoverished my life would be
without Oblates. How very deeply my life is shaped by so many of you
and how very grateful for that I am!
Reflect a moment on how rich your life WOULDN'T be if you had no
Benedictine family, if the Order had never even been founded. Think
about brothers, sisters and friends whom you would not know, about
what you would have missed. For starters, many of us would not be
members on at least a couple of the forums this appears on- they
wouldn't exist! Our wonderful fraternity in cyberspace would have
never happened at all.
In my own life there would have been no St. Leo, no Brother Patrick,
no Petersham or Pluscarden. My college degree would never have
happened and my dear friend, Jean Ronan, would never have even met
me, let alone taught me theology.
Every single thing I ever received from the Benedictine Order, all the
example, all the awe and joy, and yes, even all the pain that formed
me, would never have existed, nor would I have had any role in the
lives of my Benedictine family of brothers and sisters. Nada. Zilch.
Europe would look a lot different, probably worse, and the Book of
Common Prayer would be devoid of all those wonderful OSB elements
like Morning Prayer and Evensong. Even the architecture of Anglican
Churches would differ: the monastic choir-in-sanctuary style would
probably be unknown.
Often the best way to access a treasure is to imagine its loss. We
can take for granted things which are of inestimable value. Make
today's chapter an opportunity for such an assessment. Carry it even
further, to some other dear and wonderful things in your life. What
if there were no Church? What if you had no family ? (I know, I
know... sometimes that sounds tempting! But even in dysfunctional
families, you would NEVER be exactly who you are without them.) Often
the best appreciation of how things are can be had by such
We all owe a great, great deal to St. Benedict and to his sons and
daughters. Let us pray for our Benedictine family and give thanks,
deep thanks for the gift we have all received!
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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