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,
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Prayers, please, for the following, and for all their families and all who take care of them:
Barbara, dementia worsening, major meltdown on Friday, and for her husband, Jim.
a member of Jane's family newly diagnosed with cancer.
Al. His vision is critical to his work. He had cataract surgery and now the lens that was implanted will have to be removed Monday and replaced with a new one. Doc says there is a high risk of a detached retina. Please pray that God will guide the surgeon's hands and for complete healing.
Denise, that she get her marriage blessed and return to the Sacraments.
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 1, June 2, October 2
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fourth degree of humility
is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
and even any kind of injustice,
enduring all without growing weary or running away.
For the Scripture says,
"The one who perseveres to the end,
is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
"Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!
And to show how those who are faithful
ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
"For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
they go on with joy to declare,
"But in all these trials we conquer,
through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
Again, in another place the Scripture says,
"You have tested us, O God;
You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
You have brought us into a snare;
You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
it goes on to say,
"You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).
Moreover, by their patience
those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
in adversities and injuries:
when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
when forced to go a mile, they go two;
with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).
Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
presented in its most flawless form. It is not an unreachable goal, but neither
should we expect significant progress before noon today. It is our call and
our vocation, but it is a lifelong task.
The danger for schleps like me is that this step can give one an image
of a perfect, 1950's TV sitcom Mom: shirt dress, high heels and pearls as
everyday wear, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a kitchen as clean
as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place. Full make-up on rising
and wears hat and matching gloves to shop. PUHLEEEZE! Give me a break.
Real patience in action is not at all like that.
Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think that it's easy for
others and therefore something is wrong with you: it isn't easy
for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
me." Neither is true.
The Rule and Scriptures were meant for strugglers. They were written
for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred veterans like
you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Hey,
there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
can... the fridge broke today.
Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
rather a very cheap lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
the middle of things.
Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
believe them. Patrick, my late and beloved mentor, was so very different.
Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
Marion, who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend occasionally, in years
when that sort of thing didn't often happen. Abbot Marion was wise enough
to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and then.
Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose
I can also tell you that, during the worst
of those years, Patrick helped scores of folks who came to him, because a
transparently wounded person usually can. I can also tell you that
Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83 or so!! What a
witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.
Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
little at a time, let NONE of us be "perfect" TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be.
Patrick held forth from his infirmary room until his death
at two weeks short of 90. A steady stream of visitors never waned.
On the head of his bed and on the shaving mirror over his sink were
two small notes, written in his own inimitable hand: "Lord, let me
come to You." They broke my heart the first time I saw them. I still
didn't want to lose him. But I know how right he was and how richly he
deserves that loving embrace for which he so patiently waited.
Love and prayers,
Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
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