Holy Rule for Jan. 27
Prayers, please, for a Sister in Texas who is 87 and has deteriorating kidneys. She is trying to discern whether or not to go on dialysis if the medication doesn't restore more kidney function. Please pray that the medication will work, or that she will be at peace in making the decision.
Prayers for Pearl, who he has some eye and neurological issues that she is dealing with, along with the stress of paying for insurance, meeting her job requirements and trying to do all the right things. Prayers for peace and healing!
Prayers for Cheryl and her job serach, may God give her the job He has for her.
Prayers for Izzy, a sveral weeks old infant, for her eternal rest and for her parents and all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers, please, for Br. Timothy of Pluscarden on his feastday, and for all our Timothys and Tituses, graces and blessings galore! Ad multos annos!
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 27, May 28, September 27
Chapter 7: On Humility
Let a man consider
that God is always looking at him from heaven,
that his actions are everywhere visible to the divine eyes
and are constantly being reported to God by the Angels.
This is what the Prophet shows us
when he represents God as ever present within our thoughts,
in the words "Searcher of minds and hearts is God" (Ps. 7:10)
and again in the words "The Lord knows the thoughts of men" (Ps.
Again he says,
"You have read my thoughts from afar" (Ps. 138:3)
and "The thoughts of people will confess to You" (Ps. 75:11).
In order that he may be careful
about his wrongful thoughts, therefore,
let the faithful brother say constantly in his heart,
"Then shall I be spotless before Him,
if I have kept myself from my iniquity" (Ps. 17:24).
One of the things I always wanted to get for Dame Maggie, my late
cat, was a bird feeder that I saw. Picture an air conditioner put in
a window backwards, with the protrusion inside. It was like that, but
rather like an aquarium made of one way mirrors. The birds, all
unwitting, came INSIDE to dine in that mirrored cube and I'll bet she
would have loved it. Alas, the price was out of the question.
Ah, how like those birds we are! Unfortunately, we CAN afford the
cubes of mirrored walls all to easily: we create them ourselves, with
our own illusions and ignorance and forgetfulness. We live and move
in the falsity that we are unobserved. We forget altogether that God
and His angels see us in every moment, in every place.
Ever look over your shoulder to see if the boss was around? Ever
relax because your parent or spouse was gone to the store and you had
at least an hour of privacy? Most of us have. Kids behave differently
(a LOT differently!!) when the teacher is out of the classroom or has
turned away from them. We are conditioned to monitor our behavior
according to who is or is not present.
The the big-time difference with our loving God is that He is
always in the office, never leaves the classroom, and never goes to
the store. Faced with that truth, we defend ourselves with the only
foolish thing we have left: forgetfulness of His presence. Well, sorry,
beloveds, but it is false.
He doesn't leave. He's always there. The spiritual world is all about us
at every second, every instant. We just would rather not credit the
fact, but that in no way makes it otherwise. It's a big mistake to
think of the omnipresence of God as outdated, as something that
happened "back then" but not now. That omnipresence never changes.
Now, what is all this doing in a chapter on humility? Easy! We can be
proud if we think we are not found out. The child who deals with a
teacher who hasn't seen is a VERY different kid from the one who has
been caught! We are hopefully humble if we admit we have been caught. We
have to remind ourselves that nothing happens in secret and, having
said that, that our track record is hardly so sterling as the one we
would like to present to the world. Humility is truth, truth is the
correct accordance of the mind with reality. And the reality is that
we all fall regularly!
Ever hear married folks talk about things they quit
doing when no longer single? They thought they were alone before!
Ever have the illusion of privacy yourself, with the door firmly closed?
Ha! Thought you were alone, didn't you?
Sigh... it is so deep in us!
Now, look, this is not to get you crazy about security cameras in places.
(Look how used we are to them, in fact!) The whole purpose
here is just to get us more in tune with reality and the reality is
that we could always be better. So there comes conversion of manners,
that other Benedictine vow: we must never stop striving to be better.
Face it, m'dears, we live and move and have our being in the banquet
hall of the greatest King. Whether we credit that or not, it is so.
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,