Holy Rule for Dec. 14
Prayers, please, for Christine, surgery for a brain tumor.
Prayers for Earl, who had a stroke.
Prayers for newborn Kenneth Alexander, prayers of thanks, he and his mother are doing fine, prayers, too, for his parents and great uncle Richard, who asked.
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 14, August 14, December 14
Chapter 60: On Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery
If any ordained priest should ask to be received into the monastery,
permission shall not be granted too readily. But if he is quite
persistent in his request, let him know that he will have to observe
the whole discipline of the Rule and that nothing will be relaxed in
that it may be as it is written: "Friend, for what have you come
It shall be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot and
to give blessings and to celebrate Mass, but only by order of the
Without such order let him not make any exceptions for himself,
knowing that he is subject to the discipline of the Rule; but rather
let him give an example of humility to all.
If there happens to be question of an appointment or of some business
in the monastery, let him expect the rank due him according to the
date of his entrance into the monastery, and not the place granted him
out of reverence for the priesthood.
If any clerics, moved by the same desire, should wish to join the
monastery, let them be placed in a middle rank. But they too are to
be admitted only if they promise observance of the Rule and stability.
The quintessential question of the Holy Rule is that of
Jesus: "Friend, for what have you come?" The only acceptable answer
to the question is: "To seek God." That might be rephrased in any of
a number of ways, but that's the main event, the only game in town,
the end all be all of Benedictine monastic life.
It is very necessary, in stating that we seek God, to admit that we
haven't altogether found Him yet, nor will we ever do so before
death. Even in the beatific vision of heaven itself, we creatures
will never, ever get to the root of our Creator, to the "ground zero"
of God. We will travel ever deeper into Him for eternity.
Another way of saying this is that we need to come to the Holy Rule
and to the Gospel and to Christ admitting how frighteningly little we
DO know, how very much we need to learn. If we think an MDiv or an MD
or a BS may have corrected that problem, even slightly, well, maybe
the degree is just about all we've gotten from the experience.
For heaven's sake, after spending so many years of my life trying to
become clever, what a tremendous relief it is to be admittedly dumb:
pluperfectly, fallibly, humanly, screamingly, shriekingly DUMB! Boy,
I love it! Ignorance truly *IS* bliss, just like they told ya!
In one sense, I heartily recommend it. It is the only position from
which one may learn anything at all. Get too smart (or think you
have!) and you will never listen, thereby failing another Benedictine
hallmark. You won't learn because all your energy will go into
composing your rejoinder or response. Such people do not learn. They
merely joust. Life is more than that, much more. Tons more.
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,