Holy Rule for Feb. 17
Prayer for the eternal rest of the following, for all their families and all who mourn them:
Jeremy, died suddenly of liver failure, and for Nikki, Martha, and Benjamin and all his family.
Diana, passed on to her Heavenly Father after many special sufferings in this life. She was a devout believer and went to her death with confidence and joy. Deo Gratias!
Deo gratias, Craig and Elaine have a buyer for their house, continued prayers as the many things with their move to BC fall into place.
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 17, June 18, October 18
Chapter 14: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on the Feasts of the
On the feasts of Saints and on all festivals
let the Office be performed
as we have prescribed for Sundays,
except that the Psalms, the antiphons and the lessons
belonging to that particular day are to be said.
Their number, however, shall remain as we have specified above.
Check out the sickening glut of consumerist advertising that attends
the approach (even the very remote approach!) of Christmas,
Valentine's Day, or any other holiday whose traditions include gift-
giving. Man, the sharks move in for the kill! We can firmly trust the
secular world to promote and protect the days they stand to profit
In fact, in the US, at least, we can count on the greeting card
industry to even increase those special days. Long since bored with
just Mother's Day and Father's Day, now the card industry has now
gone to Grandparents' Day, Secretaries' WEEK, and who knows what is
next. (Not that I don't love Secretaries, I do, but let us be frank, the
greeting card industry had something other than love and gratitude in
There's a truth in all this annoying materialism: those who profit
from a thing must make it special themselves. In other words, we must
use our best efforts to celebrate our own feasts, in our own hearts, for our
own spiritual gain, since it is highly unlikely that the holiest feasts for us
(unless one is named Valentine or Patrick!!) are likely to turn up anytime
soon in the scheme of secular promotion.
In our monastery, we celebrate feastdays, not birthdays. This took a
bit of adjusting to, but now my feastday is the one everyone knows about and
to make special. WE make feastdays special. We profit from them
spiritually and it is up to us to ensure their importance.
Take a hint from this chapter and go out of your way to make your own
special saint's feast or feast of the Lord come alive for you. For
years now I have loved Feb 2, the Presentation of the Lord, or
Candlemas. It has become my favorite feast and I honestly look
forward to it and revel in it. But I had to do that myself, to
nurture the associations with the day and so forth. All of us can
give that gift to ourselves and there's no consumerist madness
involved! Especially in families, this can give the grace of a holy
and joyous celebration that is truly ours, not some whim of the
corporate world or a meaningless secularity.
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery, Petersham, MA
[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,