Holy Rule for Mar. 10
Continued prayers for Michael LoPiccolo, he is still about the same and thanks all for your prayers.
Continued prayers for Dot, COPD, out of ICU now, but still hospitalized.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Cos, Br. Vincent's Dad, on the anniversary of
his death and for his widow, Vita, and all their family.
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 10, July 10, November 9
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery
For the care of the monastery's property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbess appoint sisters
on whose manner of life and character she can rely;
and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbess shall keep a list of these articles,
as the sisters succeed one another in their assignments
she may know what she gives and what she receives back.
If anyone treats the monastery's property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let her be corrected.
If she fails to amend,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.
OK, for "monastery" substitute the word "planet" and you will
understand that there is a very Benedictine imperative for ecology!
The planet on which we live is surely a great treasure for which any
monastery or any one of us is responsible.
And that is the further message here: responsible! Monasteries do
own things, but always with stewardship, always with sharing. So it
must be for each of us, for every Christian. We are stewards of great
and priceless goods. We are entrusted with the very arena of life,
the only arena of life as we know it. God created this awesome world,
this splendor of life and beauty for the common good and salvation
of all people. We must keep that fact in clear focus.
Contrast how things of actually much less worth are guarded and
protected. Would that we surrounded the earth with as much love and
care as the Crown Jewels of England receive, or the Pieta, or other
great treasures of art or history. What if all rainforests were as
protected as the freakishly embalmed body of Lenin? These are things
on which much care has been expended, but our lives do not depend on
them. Our lives do depend on the earth, and so do the lives and
chances for salvation of many others who would come after us, who
OUGHT to come after us, who will need our world to live.
Americans in particular can equate lack of waste with stinginess.
It's a terrible view of things, but deeply rooted. Consumerist
society encourages waste because it fuels profits for the few at the
top. Sad that many below cannot be made to see that when we waste, we
are hurting ourselves in more ways than one: ecologically,
economically AND spiritually.
Waste is a lack of mindfulness for others. The reasons we have been
subtly taught to live with criminal waste as if it were nothing are false,
totally false. They are not luxury, they deny others. Why live a lie? We do
not live on a planet of infinite resources.
Monasteries and homes are microcosms of the universe. We must never
look at conservation as if our actions alone will advance the rise or
prevent the fall. They very well may do neither. What our actions CAN
do is limit our complicity. That is the only safe rationale for
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said that we must start small, that every drop
of fresh water makes the ocean less salty. It is, however, a fair bet that
the Atlantic will remain quite salty, indeed, in spite of our efforts! That's
not the point.
All God will ever ask us is what we added to the problems around us, what we
failed to do to make things different or better. We will be judged on
efforts, not results. The results are often completely out of our hands, but the
striving never is. Littlest things done with great love can truly change the
whether we can see that or not.
God knows many things single-handedly cannot be fixed by us alone. No average
person could have stopped the Holocaust in Nazi Germany alone, but some chose
not to be in any way part of it, often at the cost of their lives. What if
everybody had done that? See what I mean? A wealth of opportunity in choice
awaits all of us.
We have failed to call most valuable what is truly most valuable. Nothing and
no one at all can live, can seek God or do His works without the planet on
which we live. Benedictinism must always and everywhere call us to a
conversion from that falsehood.
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,