Holy Rule for Feb. 7
Prayers, please,for the eternal rest of Fr. Luis Salazar, murdered in Colombia, and for all his famiy, parish, and all who mourn him, also for the conversion of his murderers.
Prayers for the spiritual and physical welfare of the following, for all their looved ones and all who take care of them:
Kris B, single mother of 3, who works two jobs is having knee arthroscopy surgery Friday morning due to problems with the cartilage in the knee and they're checking to see if there are any chips, torn ligaments or tendons. Recovery time between 3-4 weeks.
Craig, needs badly to sell two cabins to help their financial situation.
Rochelle, 19, for whom we prayed when clots were removed from her spine, has been transferred to a spinal institute for 1-2 months, she cannot walk yet but can wiggle her toes.
Nancy, she went to the hospital with an emergency -- seems to be a blood clot that began with headaches, gave a pain in her left arm then traveled to her left lung and now her leg hurts.
Marian, who had a stroke, has beeen cleared to go home on Thursday, staff amazed at her progress. Deo gratias and continued prayers, as she still has some rehab therapies to go through from home.
Steve Petrica, being ordained a transitional deacon this weekend.
C., soon celebrating 27 years of sobriety in AA.
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
February 7, June 8, October 8
Chapter 7: On Humility
The tenth degree of humility
is that he be not ready and quick to laugh,
for it is written,
"The fool lifts up his voice in laughter" (Eccles. 21:23).
Face it, beloveds, speech and laughter have a lot in common! Both are
often fake, insincere, nervous or empty. Both are often employed for
no reason other than to break a silence which makes us uncomfortable.
Both are frequently unnecessary. To the degree that both are
sometimes false, they are destructive of truth and, therefore, of humility.
I speak from experience as one of the big-time braying mules, all
too ready to lift my fool's voice in laughter! People like me are
quick to defend themselves by making the other side look dumb or
challenged: "Oh, I can't stand someone with no sense of humor!" Well,
the issue here is NOT having a sense of humor, all of us need that.
It is having a hair trigger on same or, worse. It's having a
catastrophic first strike capability to laugh when no one else does,
to see humor where it truly does not exist, or to be silly in the
presence of those far wiser than oneself.
Every good monk I have ever known has laughed. The best monks,
however, did not laugh easily. A knowing, warm smile with bright eyes
or a discreet chuckle would have been most usual for them. They were
not quick to laugh, nor did they roar loudly with laughter.
There's another connection between speech and laughter here. Their
moderate, virtuous use is connected to wisdom, which is why the person
who rarely speaks at all is usually listened to when they do say
something. Ditto the use of laughter. If Br. X, who laughs at
everything, including things that aren't funny, howls in laughter,
people don't ascribe much to the affair. On the other hand, if Br. Z,
who is NOT given to laughter, even chuckles it is a sign that
something is REALLY funny!
Stupid laughter and stupid speech are both pathetic as a first
resort. Both can stem from thinking we know something that we really
do not, or that we can see clearly and entirely what we really see
only partially, if that. Our ignorance in such matters may be missed
by others, but those we live with can usually point it out, unless
they are too polite or charitable to do so!
Having said that about ignorance, let me jump in to defend valid
laughter and truthful senses of humor. Merely being curmudgeonly and
not laughing is definitely NOT the idea! That treats the symptom, not
the cause! Joyless, cranky, unduly serious people who take
themselves, above all, FAR too seriously, are every bit as much out
of touch with reality as the braying mules.
Both laughter and speech can be cruel and ought never to be so for the
Christian. But both can be loving and charitable, too. Surely there is no
implied here of charity! What of the many times when a laugh or chuckle truly
did break the ice, lighten the moment or cheer someone up. One would be hard
pressed to claim that those charitably kind uses of laughter were forbidden.
Humility is truth, remember that one? As Sheen observed, both the sense of
faith and the sense of humor are the terribly important ability to see through
The good monks I described who rarely laughed were not morose. They were not
so because they were holy enough to know better! They were cheerful, joyful men.
That stands in high (and pleasant!) relief to being either a crank or a
That's the issue here: being holy makes us humble, being holy makes
us avoid extremes!
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,