Holy Rule for Mar. 26
Please pray for healing for Cheryl. Sent to the ER and admitted for being light headed, sweating, and tightness in her chest. It is possible one of her Stents might be clogging. Please also pray for her husband and son and all the family who are very concerned.
Prayers for Jennifer H. age 30, stage 4 cancer
Prayers for Ilse, 46, competent and hard-working secretary, needs badly a new job. She left a demanding job after years of harassment and is now very upset
Prayers for Margaret, 88, in the hospital, her situation has taken a turn for the worst.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Philip, homeless until 6 months sgo, and for all who mourn him, esp. the social service agencies to whom he was dear.
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 26, July 26, November 25
Chapter 46: On Those Who Fail in Any Other Matters
When anyone is engaged in any sort of work,
whether in the kitchen, in the cellar, in a shop,
in the bakery, in the garden, while working at some craft,
or in any other place,
and she commits some fault,
or breaks something, or loses something,
or transgresses in any other way whatsoever,
if she does not come immediately
before the Abbess and the community
of her own accord
to make satisfaction and confess her fault,
then when it becomes known through another,
let her be subjected to a more severe correction.
But if the sin-sickness of the soul is a hidden one,
let her reveal it only to the Abbess or to a spiritual mother,
who knows how to cure her own and others' wounds
without exposing them and making them public.
I can hear parents relating to this one! "When you break something,
why don't you tell me? Don't just hide the pieces and say nothing."
Well, truthfully, sometimes people may have been afraid to ask us
because of ways we have reacted before, but that's not always so. As
former guest master, I can assure you that many adults have very adolescent
habits when it comes to breaking something, even though they
never had any dealings with me on the matter before. Nothing is said,
the damage is hidden and I'd find out a lot later.
That's too bad, because I really like to give a monastic witness to
the value of people before things and a broken plate or glass or
toilet is a great way to do that. When people do come to me, always
apologetic, and often quite sheepish as well, I say something
like: "Oh, that's OK! We can always get another pitcher, but we can
never get another you! People before things!"
People before things. That is so crucial to remember, because all of
us have lived in a very materialist world. For people of our times,
some of the Holy Rule's insistence that we be careful of the earthly
goods of monastery or home must be carefully balanced. Otherwise, we
run into the trap of becoming monastic materialists, quite a
contradiction in terms, to say the least.
Yes, we must be careful of things, but we must always keep uppermost
in our minds that the greatest treasures or family or monastery or workplace
are the members themselves. If frugality becomes stinginess, if conservation
breaks charity, we are way, way off the mark.
There's another little gem here, right at the end. Not everyone in
the group needs to know all your details all the time, but letting no
one at all know is equally foolish. A balance must be obtained here,
as in all things.
Knowing whom to tell what to is a delicate art of paying very close
attention to reality of the other person. Such attentiveness to another is
an exquisite exercise of personalism, a trait we should all desire! Some
people may not be trustworthy, others may not profit from knowing for
other reasons, like distress or worry or even scandal. Weigh those
considerations very, very 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,