Holy Rule for Feb. 28
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Sherman and for all his family and all who mourn him, esp. Sister Sylvia, OSB, and her brother's family.
Prayers for Cathie, cancer and now she has an infection at an unknown site, she can't have her chemo if she has an infection and there are multiple problems with her treatment. They are having trouble finding veins for tests.
Prayers for Judith, trying to sell her home.
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 28, June 29, October 29
Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep
Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.
A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.
Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
yet with all gravity and decorum.
The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
those of the older ones.
When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.
Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
always, the picture is
In the dormitory, the elderly may have problems during the
night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
needed. Of course, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
it may have been to prevent mayhem and murder of snorers, an idea
which has occurred to many light sleepers!
Dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
today, but its nice to see that thoughtfulness behind its original
expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the mother in St.
Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.
One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
and care expressed NON-verbally.
A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
that is a
monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.
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,