Holy Rule for Jan. 9
Prayers for Paul, that he may endure the present challenges.
Deo gratias, Doug's toe removal surgery went well. continued prayers for his recovery.
Prayers for Martin, having a knee replacement on Wednesday, for a smooth course and no post-op infection, please God.
Prayers for Al, who had a massive stroke.
Prayers for Amy, regaining her health after a bout with an eating disorder.
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 9, May 10, September 9
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery
should always remember what she is called,
and live up to the name of Superior.
For she is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery,
being called by a name of His,
which is taken from the words of the Apostle:
"You have received a Spirit of adoption ...,
by virtue of which we cry, 'Abba -- Father'" (Rom. 8:15)!
Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command
anything which is against the Lord's precepts;
on the contrary,
her commands and her teaching
should be a leaven of divine justice
kneaded into the minds of her disciples.
Folks, the abbot is a parent, so, while I am writing about abbots in
my experience, this is also true of parents, or any authority
position. Stick with me, you'll see what I mean in the end.
It will no doubt come as a great relief to other cranky types like
me to note that the leaven gently kneaded into the minds of certain
disciples often seems to have a downright under whelming effect. A
hallmark of us curmudgeonly types is impatience: we do not suffer
fools gladly, the miracle is that we endure them at all. Most of all,
we want those fools FIXED, right now, or yesterday at the latest!
The tragedy of this is that, in assuming we can recognize fools so
terribly well, we completely miss the fool at work in ourselves.
That's not the only issue, though. This leaven-in-the-dough stuff
works two ways. Throw a measure of leaven into a heap of cornmeal and
you'll wind up with a different critter than several cups of
buckwheat or flour would produce. For all I know, you could probably
throw yeast into concrete and wind up with a meringue-like patio.
Both components are essential to the change, both elements affect the
Abbot and monastic, parent and child, boss and employer, all these
are very, very intricate duets of God's mercy and grace. Neither may
be very evident to one while in the midst of things! Time and wisdom
and hindsight bring a different view. Beyond that, all of us change:
the characters in the catalyst are always changing, no matter how
subtly. God has done some awesomely loving fine-tuning here!
God uses human means to accomplish His will, as my dear
professor, Dr. Jean Ronan, so often said. Ah, but the abbacy scores
doubly on this maxim. A very human abbot is elected by a very human
community. Sometimes, abbots are elected to counteract each other.
The human community gets tired of the very human tendency of an abbot
to stress one thing above others. Hence, tight reins are often
replaced with loose ones and vice versa.
Those human means which God uses are often quite firmly addicted to
extremes. The extremes then vex a majority to the opposite extreme.
(I know this is the Marxist dialectic and I know it is not always
true, but it does have a kernel of application. Even a stopped clock is right
twice a day.) Sometime after we are all so fatigued with polarization that we
have briefly stopped watching, perhaps a median virtue ensues!
And what about that leaven that I couldn't notice having much effect?
Well, neither I nor anyone else knows, save the person and God. Some
die, some leave before the effect is seen. Leaven works. It may work
slowly, it may work in a variety of ways, but leaven does
something sooner or later! Faith and trust in God's Divine Mercy
require that we have a LOT of patience with bread cast on waters in
A final note, much, maybe even MOST of the leavening work of grace
and sanctification in our own hearts and souls takes place unnoticed, the
silent, unsung, yet constant workings of the Divine Mercy. Usually we
don't even realize it until a long while after its completion. One
day we wake up and finally notice something is different, something is
better in us. Such secret works are all the
gratuitous gift of the Leaven of all leavens Himself! Deo gratias!!!!
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,