Holy Rule for Jan. 23
Prayers, please, for newborn Aubrey Grace, Mom, Dad, and baby are all doing well, Deo gratias. Prayers, too for her parents and grandparents, she is the first grasndchild for Deacon Bill and his wife, Terri.
Prayers for Chantal and her new grandson, he was born with only one hand. Prayers for his parents and grandparents, also.
Prayers for Kasey, on her birthday, graces and blessings 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 23, May 24, September 23
Chapter 5: On Obedience
But this very obedience
will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
only if what is commanded is done
without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
since He Himself has said,
"He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
then even though he fulfill the command
yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
who sees that his heart is murmuring.
And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
unless he amend and make satisfaction.
It is our hearts that convict us in obedience. Not because of
feelings or emotions, those can be mistaken, but because of the
relationship between love and will. Many of us have loved someone and
hated having to do something that the love required, but we did it
anyway. Our feelings or repugnance were over-ruled by the will in our
hearts to love. Face it, love does not ALWAYS feel too good, which is
a principal way it differs from mere feelings.
Jean Ronan, one of my favorite teachers used to tell me to always make all
decisions "in the light of the death candle", that is, as if one were about to
die. How hearing that annoyed me at 30, but how true it is, and the closer one
gets to the possibility of that death candle, the truer it is. There's a handy
rule of thumb here. Does our choice put God and our faith first, no matter what?
If it does not, something is terribly wrong.
There is also the trust of faith involved here. God is God and we must firmly
believe He will do the best for us, no matter how unclear that may sometimes be.
Jesus often told St. Faustina to ask her superiors for permissions, hard
permissions, to do this or that extra prayer or mortification, that He KNEW they
would refuse. Then, after the refusal, He would tell Faustina that
her obedience meant more to Him than the thing denied.
He also said to her that all creatures do His will, whether they want
to not or, whether they know it or not. Now there's a hefty order!
Still when we look at St. Paul's remark that, "for those who love
God, all things work together for good," this is not at all far-fetched.
St. Paul did not say "all wise things", or "well-intentioned things", or
"cooperative things". He said "all" and he was inspired to say that by
the Holy Spirit.
"All things".....hmmmm. There is a mystical point where the will of God
cannot be thwarted. This is evident in the lives of many saints. When Jesus
told them nothing could harm them, He wasn't just kidding around! In spite
of seemingly insuperable odds, His will for them would triumph again and
again. But this is NOT just for saints: it is true for all of us! Obedience
throws us into the vortex of that, but it gets easier as our faith
(and experience of God's goodness!) deepens.
We have been too ready to think that obedience depends only on
humans, who are flawed. It doesn't. All obedience is given to God.
Our love and trust and His love and mercy are the deciding factors,
not the universally flawed human weakness that plagues every human
means of God's will in this world.
Want a little theological aside here? Look at what this concept of
all doing His will does to the concept of sin. It makes it the ULTIMATE rip-off.
If, even when we try to thwart God, we further His plans (and face it, He
*IS* clever enough to pull that off,) then we are left with absolutely nothing
but the bitter ashes of our own useless self- defeat. Whether we are with Him or
His kingdom will nevertheless come. What a tragedy to have been nothing
more than a futile obstacle to that!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the at least 37 killed and 15 injured in a plane crash in Kyrgyzstan. For the eternal rest of the dead, the recovery of the wounded and for the families of all. Prayers, too, for those who lost homes or property, half of the village was destroyed by the crash.
The Salesians invite all to join them in praying a novena to Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians, for the release of kidnapped Fr. Tom in Yemen. The novena is from January 15-23.
Prayers for the eternal rest of JP. For whom we prayed, and for all his family, especially his son, and all who mourn him.
Prayers for John, facing two hours of dental implant surgery on Tuesday, may all go well and may he recover quickly.
Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Prayers for the eternal rest of Br. Augustine, 58, of the Maronite monks in Petersham, Holy Trinity Monastery, and for his Community, family and all who mourn him.
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 is anywhere 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
frequently have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!
Love and prayers,