Holy Rule for Mar. 12
Prayers for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
Marlene, for whom we prayed, died peacefully, prayers too for all those grieving her.
2 adults and 5 children lost in a fire in Kentucky.
Special intentions for: Beverly, Catherine D. Kari M. Linda F. Trey H. Linda A. Mary G. Jacque M. Tommy A. & Linda A. Mary G. Donna Jacque M. Jean Tim Mary Jo Steven S. Alex E. Margie F. Ayn, Eli and Hannah, Ann L. Ginger and Shannon
Prayers for Andrea, recurrent breast cancer, and Dave, her husband.
Prayers for Mike, lung cnacer, having radiation and chemo, and all his family.
Prayers for Terry. discernment as to whether or not to perform a very difficult task facing him. if he chooses to,,may he have the energy, focus stamina and clarity to carry it out successfuly as it is going to be a very tough job.
Jo continued prayers -- tough job situation.
Deo gratias for past prayers answered
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 12, July 12, November 11
Chapter 34: Whether All Should Receive in Equal Measure What Is
Let us follow the Scripture,
"Distribution was made to each
according as anyone had need" (Acts 4:35).
By this we do not mean that there should be respecting of persons
(which God forbid),
but consideration for infirmities.
She who needs less should thank God and not be discontented;
but she who needs more
should be humbled by the thought of her infirmity
rather than feeling important
on account of the kindness shown her.
Thus all the members will be at peace.
Above all, let not the evil of murmuring appear
for any reason whatsoever
in the least word or sign.
If anyone is caught at it,
let her be placed under very severe discipline.
I came here in June of 1996 as a professed diocesan hermit who
was an Oblate. From the beginning, I lived in the guesthouse,
because caring for the guesthouse was the mutual arrangement under
which I moved here from Boston. From day one that meant all kinds of
exceptions with permission for me. My life in a Boston rectory had
been very different from my brothers' lives here. My superior told me
to pretty much bring the life I had with me and make adjustments as
necessary after I arrived.
Well, it's astounding at how few adjustments got made... at least by
me. It was my brothers who accepted the exceptions. The grace and
charity with which they did so was- and continues to be- an
outstanding example of how this chapter can be lived. Not only did
they not murmur (I quite expected that they might,) they simply loved
me, took me for the roaring exception that I am
without further ado. It humbled me then and it humbles me still. I
stand in awe of my brothers, every single one of whom is younger (in
age, not profession,) than me. They are vastly better monks. I
probably couldn't live their life exactly for more than 20 minutes or
so. That does not matter to them. I do. Wow!
That can really make one deeply grateful and yes, my infirmities do
humble me and no, I don't feel important because of the kindness they
show me. I feel only gratuitous love, richly undeserved. That, my
friends is what we get from God, and that is what all our communities
should be giving to the weak ones in our midst. In home, work, school
or cloister we should all be giving the strugglers what I have
Our Congregation requires a legal contract between Community and
Oblate for claustral oblation. Hence, when I transferred everything
here and dropped the diocesan connection, the Chapter formally
approved my embarrassing life of exceptions. I used to think that the
exceptions were all that could be seen, but I know that's not true.
My brothers see Jerome, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less. By
their loving deeds they freely accord me a fullness and equality of
membership that I would never dream of demanding, and they do so
repeatedly. It is they who remind me that I belong here, not the
other way around! They never remind me in a patronizing way, either.
It's more like: "DUH?! You're one of us, you know!" And I am, I
really am, but only by God's grace and that of my brothers, nothing
at all of me.
How I wish all of you could get to know my Community. If you saw them
in action (and me in INaction!) it would preach a far more eloquent
sermon on this chapter than anything I could ever write. By the way,
I surely am accepted by my sisters here, too, but I chose to write
today of the closer ties I have with my own community of brothers.
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,