Holy Rule for Mar. 27
Prayers for the following:
G and E, a young couple married four years ago, now on the verge of splitting up, that they can rediscover their love for each other so that their marriage heals, God willing.
Amy, needs to find a job.
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 27, July 27, November 26
Chapter 47: On Giving the Signal for the Time of the Work of God
The indicating of the hour for the Work of God
by day and by night
shall devolve upon the Abbot
either to give the signal himself
or to assign this duty to such a careful brother
that everything will take place at the proper hours.
Let the Psalms and the antiphons be intoned
by those who are appointed for it,
in their order after the Abbot.
And no one shall presume to sing or read
unless he can fulfill that office
in such a way as to edify the hearers.
Let this function be performed
with humility, gravity and reverence,
and by him whom the Abbot has appointed.
A quickie here that applies to all, in monastery or out. It sometimes
happens that we desire a job we ought not to have. It sometimes
happens that we get a job that is too much for us and realize that in
the midst of things. These are times for the great truthfulness of
humility, to either stop seeking the task in question or to frankly
admit that we cannot do it as it should be done.
Such honesty is hard, to be sure. Our hearts get in the way. We are
attached to things which are in themselves good, but which would not
be good for us. Not everyone would make a great parent, but there are
plenty of people who want to be badly, whether in fact they would be
good at it or not! Whoops! Tough on the kid there! There are also
people who would be superb parents who cannot be, yet another
thing to be accepted truthfully.
Anyone who has ever seen karaoke or open mike night or a piano bar
knows that MANY who would love to be cabaret singers are far from
that! What our hearts call us to is not always true, alas! Perhaps
most of us have also known people who would have been fantastic
spouses who are quite inexplicably alone.
A big part of discerning here is careful, frank self-examination and
self-knowledge. Another huge piece of the puzzle is looking at where
we REALLY are and where God has presumably placed us. Not everything
is open to every age, place or time. Were I to decide that I
absolutely HAD to become a flamingo farmer in central New England,
the flamingoes would be MOST unhappy by next December or so, and most
likely all dead well before February! See what I mean?
Because our hearts are involved, there is pain when the thing desired
is not for us. That is hard, beloveds, but pain need not be futile or
useless. Unite your pains to those of Christ and His Mystical Body,
to those of His Passion that all of us in His Mystical Body may help bear
throughout the rest
of time. Then the Father will see only His beloved Son when He looks
at us. Then the world will be somehow better and helped by our
suffering, mute and unknown. Nothing is wasted with God and His
Divine Mercy. Nothing! Nothing at all!
Love and prayers and don't waste suffering, y'all!
[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,