Holy Rule for Feb. 6
Prayers for the eternal rtest of Rita, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for Pat's husband Herb, going for a cancer check up tomorrow that the results are good. Herb has battled many battles and just got out of the hospital. Prayers for their safe travels asthere is a lot of snow and their trip is over an hour away. Prayers for Pat and her sister Cathie. Cathie was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few months ago so Pat has a lot on her plate and needs prayers also.
Prayers please for Frank with a neurological problem on the right side of his face, very painful.
Pryares for Lydia, 50's, recovering from the effects of a stroke and tumor removal.
Continued prayers for Mrs Cicone. She recently had breast surgery for a return of cancer and was recuperating at home when she fell and fractured her pelvis. Now back in ICU in much pain. Her daughter, LInda, who was just starting to think about returning home, now will have to stay for an indefinite amount of time to care for both her parents who are dealing with seroius health issues. Prayers please for all their family.
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! Thasnks so much.
February 6, June 7, October 7
Chapter 7: On Humility
The ninth degree of humility
is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
not speaking until he is questioned.
For the Scripture shows
that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19)
and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).
Well, you can safely bet that I fail this one right and left.
Obedience is essential to humility, but as we climb the steps, other
virtues that figure in humility are presented to us. Why is silence
important? Because when someone like me is shooting his mouth off all
the time, whether being really funny, or just thinking he is, offering the
world choice observations of his "exquisite" wisdom, what's really
going on is a desire to be at the center of things, to be star and
protagonist. Lights, camera, action! Why?
If I am bored- and I often am- I make a joke, create my own
excitement, change the human situation I have walked into to suit MY
needs. Maybe others weren't bored at all, even if they politely laugh
and seem to enjoy it. That trait doesn't say much for my depth.
I need to be entertained? Hello!?!? Can't I find enough material in
silence to keep me busy? What's really going on here? Short attention
span much? I can get so absorbed in elevating humor and speech as
positive, necessary goods that I can easily forget that both can be
tools of control, and control is not for the humble.
Naming that does not mean I do not have to work at change. I do. I
think it was Flannery O'Connor who said that accepting ourselves does
not preclude an effort to be better. Change may be so gradual that
none will ever notice, but every time I resist any useless temptation
to open my mouth, there is a small victory.
Face it, we think a lot of what we have to say is important because we
think WE are important, or funny or clever. We truly have divinely created
dignity, but that is not usually what is employed in making these decisions
Silence is not incompatible with charity or cheerfulness. Brother
David Gormican, OSB, of St. Leo, now gone to God, was a paragon of
this step (actually, of all of them!) Brother would speak first if he
needed something, but otherwise, he waited until he was spoken to or
asked something. No surprise that he usually looked very recollected:
When he was called on to speak, it was always cheerfully and
with something I can only describe as sweetness. I don't mean he was
sugary, I mean sweetness in the best possible sense. When Brother
David DID speak, one would never think that silence was unloving; all
his compassion and love just shone right through.
Brother David was truly a saint. No doubt, had he wished to run off
at the mouth as I do, he could have given you all much better and
deeper wisdom and holiness than me. But part of his holiness was
silence and his humility allowed people far less bright (like me,) to
talk all they wanted, unchallenged.
On the rare occasion when he wouldn't leave something unchallenged,
the weight of a well-chosen phrase or two of his would offset pages of prose!
Part of the reason his words bore such weight is that he was so usually
silent that people LISTENED when he spoke. Sadly, that is not true for many of
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,