Holy Rule for Dec. 15
Ardent prayers for all the dead in the Connecticut school shooting. 26 dead included the shooter, apparently by his own hand, and 20 of the dead were children.
Prayers for all the dead, their families and all who mourn them, and for the traumatized children and staff who survived. Prayers for our nation, that this sort of horror doesn't happen again. Prayers for the shooter, too. Prayers that no one even considers doing such a thing again.
Prayers for Fr. Peter Connelly, OSB, of St. Benedict's Abbey, Still River, MA, on his 25th jubilee of Ordination. Ad multos annos, many more.
Prayers for Br. Vincent, on his birthday, ad multos annos, many more.
Prayers for Linda C.'s Mom, she does have a recurrence of breast cancer, and for all her family, they have been through a lot in the past few years.
Prayers for Owen, he didn't get the job from his interviews. Continued prayers for the job God wants him to have, as this has been a long road for him and his family.
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 15, August 15, December 15
Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received
If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
provided she is content
with the customs of the place as she finds them
and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
but is simply content with what she finds.
If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
and with the humility of charity,
let the Abbess consider prudently
whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
that the Lord sent her.
If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
her wish should not be denied her,
especially since there has been opportunity
during her stay as a guest
to discover her character.
One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.
There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention
He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
community. If they louse it up, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.
Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors to our lives. The
who come to those doors may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
always the middle way.
This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
listening, really listening to all comers. Listen first, sift later.
Do both, always both.
We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
not at all that holy!
An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
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,