Holy Rule for Dec. 24
Prayers for Sarah B., very sick, and for her parents.
Pryares for Pam, in her 40s and the mother in a beautiful faith-filled family with 3 children (10,12, 15). She has a diagnosis of end-stage pancreatic cancer. She began chemotherapy to have time to say farewells, but is only expected to live a few months. "We aren't counting on a miracle," says her husband John, "but we will gladly accept one." Prayers for all her family, too.
Some people want to make an offer on Elaine and Craig's home, but have to sell their condo first, prayers that all goes well and they get an offer.
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 24, August 24, December 24
Chapter 66: On the Porter of the Monastery
At the gate of the monastery
let there be placed a wise old woman,
who knows how to receive and to give a message,
and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about.
This porter should have a room near the gate,
so that those who come may always find someone at hand
to attend to their business.
And as soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her,
let her answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!"
Then let her attend to them promptly,
with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God
and with the warmth of charity.
Should the porter need help,
let her have one of the younger sisters.
If it can be done,
the monastery should be so established
that all the necessary things,
such as water, mill, garden and various workshops,
may be within the enclosure,
so that there is no necessity
for the sisters to go about outside of it,
since that is not at all profitable for their souls.
We desire that this Rule be read often in the community,
so that none of the sisters may excuse herself
on the ground of ignorance.
When a phone or doorbell rings, whether in a great Benedictine abbey
or an urban Benedictine apartment, we have the opportunity to
practice the hospitable grace that the Holy Rule requires of all.
Dorothy Day's friend and mentor, Father Hugo, used to say that we
love God as much as the one we love the least.
That would readily translate for me. I LOVE to see certain guests arrive,
look forward to it as soon as I hear they are coming. Those are not the
receptions on which I should judge my hospitality. The tough-to-love
The point here is that we ARE Benedictines, whether our answering
style of door or phone makes that evident or not. I might not like to think
so, but the anonymity of just saying "Hello," on the phone, without my
name or title does not entitle me to be harsh or gruff or rude. All of us are
bound by something Benedictine within us to be kind and gracious to all
who call or visit.
Someone who calls a monastery for the first time can be driven
away or attracted by the way they are dealt with on the phone.
A vocation could driven away by a smartingly cold response. To
risk alienating someone because of our own moods might mean that we
cheat someone out of a spiritual respite they sorely need.
I can't tell you how many people who just called us out of nowhere in the
last 12 years have become real members of our family, greatly
beneficial to themselves and to us. Anyone of those first experiences
could have been irreparably soured by a cranky phone manner. Look at
what all of us would have lost had that happened.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the eternal rest of Emilia’s Mom, who died peacefully, and prayers for Emilia and all her family and all who mourn her Mom.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Timothy, OSB, of New Subiaco Abbey, Arkansas, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.
Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Charlie’s bladder cancer surgery went well and the lab work came back clear, cancer-free. Prayers for his continued recovery and health.
Prayers for the health of Brs. Bruno, Anselm and Ephrem, of New Subiaco Abbey, all three have had a variety of hospitalizations and problems.
Prayers for Doug and Catherine, who have lost some family members in the past year, may their loved ones rest in peace and may those surviving be consoled.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Greg, and for all his family and all who mourn him
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,