Holy Rule for Mar. 7
Prayers, please, for Michael LoPiccolo, who had prostate surgery Wednesday. I will give you an update when I can get one.
Prayers for Dot, in the hospital with COPD and breathing problems.
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
March 7, July 7, November 6
Chapter 30: How Boys Are to Be Corrected
Every age and degree of understanding
should have its proper measure of discipline.
With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore,
or those who cannot understand the seriousness
of the penalty of excommunication,
whenever such as these are delinquent
let them be subjected to severe fasts
or brought to terms by harsh beatings,
that they may be cured.
While I often suffer from the loneliness of being single, I never,
ever regret the fact that I am childless. Quite the reverse! I always
find myself deeply grateful that I have not had to face the challenge
of raising children. I have the deepest respect for those who do.
Having taught for a while, I know all too well how daunting it can
be, even just part-time in the classroom.
I also know from teaching that, while we did not use corporal
punishment at all, there were a few rare times when I wished that we
could. There were some children that I felt that possibly nothing else
could reach. I also know that was something of a cop-out on my part
to even entertain such thoughts. At the end of one's rope, all manner
of drastic things pop into one's head. I am in no way sure that any
use of violence doesn't just breed more violence, in fact, it probably
does. Change effected only by fear is not usually lasting or good.
Faced with such a problem, I don't know what one does,
other than hope and pray, literally, that the child will improve.
Praying, we must always recall *IS* doing something, not mere passivity!
I can assure you that, just as there are deeply toxic adults, there
are, alas, toxic children, too. I know. I have taught at least one. I don't
mean that we should stoop to violence, but how does one reach such a
child? I have never been able to answer that.
We are social primates. We have a cross and burden to bear for our
elevation above the rest of the primate world, a responsibility. For
a baboon troop, this is a no-brainer: drive the loser out of the
troop. After that, the next stop is the Lions' Pride Cafe and one
becomes an entree. Tempting as that kind of abdication may be, it is
something to which we can never resort.
I think we need to cling to the Benedictine model in such situations:
punish only to reform, not for revenge, not to destroy; punish
appropriately, moderately in ways that will be understood and that
fit the offense justly. When all that fails (and even before, while
we're watching it fail slowly!) PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! To pray is NOT to do
nothing. And it is often the only tool we have.
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,