Holy Rule for Jan. 11
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Alan, for whom we prayed, and for Donna, AJ, Amanda, Barbara and Tom and all his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the spiritual and physical welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Michael, awaiting a lung transplant to replace his own that have been ravaged by cystic fibrosis. He is now in the hospital and is not doing well. He has been told that he will not be going home unless the transplant happens. He is currently #4 or 5 on the transplant list but his condition is worsening.
Stephanie in her 20's, returning to the Catholic Faith and to Mass but needs the Sacrament of Confirmation, nevering having been confirmed.
Deo gratias, Sarah got a call for the job she has been interviewing for and a job offer is forthcoming.
Deo gratias, Page's breast cancer was early detected and able to be treated with a lumpectomy, foloowed by radiation and chemo, prognosis is good.
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 11, May 12, September 11
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
Therefore, when anyone receives the name of Abbess,
she ought to govern her disciples with a twofold teaching.
That is to say,
she should show them all that is good and holy
by her deeds even more than by her words,
expounding the Lord's commandments in words
to the intelligent among her disciples,
but demonstrating the divine precepts by her actions
for those of harder hearts and ruder minds.
And whatever she has taught her disciples
to be contrary to God's law,
let her indicate by her example that it is not to be done,
lest, while preaching to others, she herself be found reprobate (1
and lest God one day say to her in her sin,
"Why do you declare My statutes
and profess My covenant with your lips,
whereas you hate discipline
and have cast My words behind you" (Ps. 49:16-17)?
"You were looking at the speck in your brother's eye,
and did not see the beam in your own" (Matt. 7:3).
This isn't just for abbots and parents, this is for all of us.
Example is put forward as the primary means of teaching, even before
words. All of us must "walk the talk" and practice what we preach.
Everyone of us is obliged to somehow uncover the splendor of the City
of God in our lives, to show it to others. Mere verbal description
will be of little help in comparison to actually living out the
All of us put forward an image of who we are in words, one way or
another. As years go by, we usually get a more or less complete
picture of who we are and of the self we wish to present to the
world. This is where family, community and marriage can be so
important. The people who live with us see right through the flaws
in our verbal picture.
It is less easy for us to believe in our grand and false images of
ourselves when we are rubbing shoulders with one or more reality
checks all the time! These reality checks can point out genuine
greatness in areas we might not have expected, but they can also
underscore the pathetic comedy of our pretensions. Both are useful
for humility, both lead to truth. Just be careful not to believe it when
you are praised too much.Those pointing out our flaws are no
more infallible than we are, but they can often be a lot more
Ever watch a foreign film with the audio badly dubbed into another
language? It is jarring and annoying. What St. Benedict is saying to
all of us here is to get the picture and the sound into synchronized
form. For all Christians, all Benedictines, there should be no
disparity between video and audio! Lofty ideal that!
St. Benedict knew that loftiness would be hard for us to reach, too.
He knew there would be beams in our eyes, specks in others'. Hence, a
lot of this boils down to approach and attitude. Come on to others
from a position of "I'm OK and you are not," and see where it gets
You might make a temporary dent. You might even change a few of
the really less than bright. Most wise people, however, will give you
a lot of room. They see the mask, the falsity there, and it inhibits
much else from getting through to them. It's like really competent
actors being cast in a role that does not fit them at all. One sits
through the whole movie thinking: "No way can I believe that she is
so-and-so!" "Great play, nice plot, but I didn't find the male lead
Hopefully, at that final Awards night, there will be Tony's, Emmies
and Oscars for all of us, with maybe a Golden Globe or two thrown
into our totals!
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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