Holy Rule for Feb. 16
Moyra writes from Belfast, N. Ireland, asking that we pray for peace there as violence has erupted again.
Prayers for Moyra's Dad, for healing, he has lost seven toes to diabetes, and for her Mum, who cares for him and for Moyra's sister, brother-in-laww and niece, who do so much for them.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Michael, 47, who died before he could get a lung transplant. We had prayed for him, but he was taken off life support and died. Cystic fibrosis was the lung problem and he could not survive without a transplant.
Prayers for Roy; fell and broke his hip. Surgery a must. Dr.'s say there is a good chance he will not make it through the operation. Roy has received the Last Rites from his family priest. Include prayers for Dan and Angela, Roy's son and wife; and Roy's wife who is very grieved.
Prayers for Shannon, who must have yet another eye surgery to remove or repair scar tissue from previous surgeries. The doctor believes that the scar tissue is a factor in a retinal detachment. She has been so good about getting her life in order, please pray that this will not derail her progress.
continued prayers for Jill and Debbie who are trying to quit smoking.
Prayers for Beverly, for as positive as possible results for tests.and special intention.
Prayers for JS, difficult work situation and school situation.
Deo gratias for past prayers answered
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 16, June 17, October 17
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord's Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, "Forgive us as we forgive,"
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.
But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, "But deliver us from evil."
If one just counts the times we say the Our Father aloud, at Mass,
Lauds and Vespers, it's three times a day. Actually, given the silent
repetitions at minor Hours, Compline and grace at table, the number
jumps considerably. Added up, that can be pretty damning evidence at
the Judgement seat if we don't mean what we are saying!
Do we forgive? Do we really want His Kingdom to come? Or His Will to
be done? Probably, in many cases, yes and no... The work of our
monastic lives is to make that equation all "yes"! We argue with God
over His Will, we seek to change His mind, as if we really could! As
for forgiveness and His Kingdom, well, you can't have one without the
other! The very equality of all in God's love that will obtain in the
Kingdom already chafes us when we stop to think of someone we
mightily WISH He did not love quite that much!
As Dorothy Day's friend, Fr. Hugo, used to say: "You love God as
much as the one you love the least." That remark shames me every
single time I think of it. It is a great barometer of just how far
one has to go, of how much God really matters to one. So far, I have
never had a shortage of people I loved little enough to be quite
embarrassed. But I am working on it, and that is all any of us can do.
This perfection called for in the Lord's Prayer is a task we will
never complete. There will always be more to do, our ducks will never
be in a row, we will never and can never be utterly perfect. That's
why we need a Savior, that's what He did. That's how ALL the "i's"
got dotted and "t's" got crossed (literally!)
Jesus does call us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, but He
also knows that job will never be finished. He wants us to keep trying, but
He certainly knows that no one could do that exactly without becoming God.
Let us be frank in holding out no hope of anyone ever doing that!
Still, that is the standard He set for us. we must aim for that goal and strive
for it. Jesus Himself asked us to do 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,