Holy Rule for Feb. 19
Prayers for a happy and peaceful death for Kathy, sister of Sr. Pat H.
Prayers for Ben, multiple injuries after a bad fall.
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 19, June 20, October 20
Chapter 16: How the Work of God Is to Be Performed During the Day
"Seven times in the day," says the Prophet,
"I have rendered praise to You" (Ps. 118:164).
Now that sacred number of seven will be fulfilled by us
if we perform the Offices of our service
at the time of the Morning Office,
of Prime, of Terce, of Sext, of None,
of Vespers and of Compline,
since it was of these day Hours that he said,
"Seven times in the day I have rendered praise to You."
For as to the Night Office the same Prophet says,
"In the middle of the night I arose to glorify You" (Ps. 118:62).
Let us therefore bring our tribute of praise to our Creator
"for the judgments of His justice" (Ps. 118:164)
at these times:
the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext, None,
Vespers and Compline;
and in the night let us arise to glorify Him.
Tucked neatly into all this business of naming and counting the Hours
of the Divine Office comes the actual reason we go to choir or say
the Office alone. It is "our tribute of praise to our Creator 'for
the judgments of His justice' "
OK, tribute, praise, glorify, all those things are familiar enough to
us, but the zinger here is "for the judgments of His justice."
Whoops! A lot fall out on that one! Whether we realize it or not, the
reason we praise God as Benedictines is to thank Him for ALL His
decisions in regard to us. That isn't easy, but it is terribly valid
and terribly necessary.
We thank God- admittedly sometimes with gritted teeth- for all the
things that did and DIDN'T work out the way we wanted them, for every
acceptance and every rejection that brought us to be as we find
ourselves today, in His arms. The jobs we didn't get, the great loves
which were not reciprocal, the course we flunked, the kids that went
wrong, the illness that dogs us, the spouse we should never have gone
out with twice, the unwanted pregnancy, EVERYTHING
that has shaped our lives and persons is something we thank God for
in the Office, everything He either permitted to happen or willed for us.
I mention only the difficult things, because anybody can be thankful
that the apparently GOOD stuff worked out. I am not saying all the
bad stuff is God's fault, or that it's our own fault, but ALL of it
is turned to GOOD by God, He alone can do that, and that is worth singing about!
All of it! If we look back honestly, we can see the hand of His goodness in the
darkest times, we can see it in NOT having our way, we can see it in
Since the way God turns all to good is a mystery we shall never know
fully in this life, we cannot adequately say much of anything but
thanks and praise, the stammered joy of someone who has received a
really great gift and is astounded at such generosity. Thanks, God.
And hey, You really DID know what You were doing all along, didn't
Truly, truly, God's will *IS* best! And all is mercy and grace!!!
A final word about the "seven times daily" part. Many regret that they
cannot do the whole Office. Indeed, few Oblates in the world have
lives that can easily accommodate that. Start with small steps. Believe me,
if one just makes a point of recalling Jesus' presence in our hearts
and souls seven times a day, that is a firm and wondrous beginning!
Doesn't take long and fits any schedule. Try it and I think you will see
what I mean, as well as a change in yourself.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, may she draw closer and closer to Christ. Ad multos annos!
Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, D., for whom we prayed a while ago, is cancer free and only needs yearly checkups. Prayers for his continued health.
Prayers for the health of Joe, prostate cancer.
Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Jenn, for whom we prayed during her open heart surgery, is being discharged to her home. Prayers for her continued health.
Prayers for L., recovering from knee surgery.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Br. Augustine, near the anniversary of his death, 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 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,