Holy Rule for Mar. 30
May our Father grant us all peace of mind to put aside the cares and distractions of our lives so we may focus our hearts, souls and minds upon Christ who on Good Friday died for our sins.
Deo gratias, Mick, for whom we prayed only has a malformed blood vesel in his brain, no surgery needed.
Prayers for Bob, whose chemo has been cut back.
Prayers for Matty, age 12, for her release and deliverance from the demonic influences she is living under during these most important formative years of her life.
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 30, July 30, November 29
Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor
On Sundays, let all occupy themselves in reading,
except those who have been appointed to various duties.
But if anyone should be so negligent and shiftless
that she will not or cannot study or read,
let her be given some work to do
so that she will not be idle.
Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft
of such a nature as to keep them from idleness
and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away
with excessive toil.
Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.
The greatest mentor in my monastic life was Brother Patrick Creamer,
OSB, of St. Leo Abbey in Florida. I learned so much from Brother Patrick.
He had such a great influence on my life. He died September 14, 2004, two weeks
short of his 90th birthday. Say a prayer for him. My debt to him is great and
much of what I pass on to you I received from Patrick first. I have long
hoped that even in the slightest and most occasional of ways, I could
be a Patrick now and then to someone else.
Years ago, Brother Patrick told me: "Never judge yourself by others-
there will always be people who will do more than you and people who
do less." There's a very obvious corollary to that maxim: never judge
others by yourself, either! I have struggled for years to learn both.
I still have not succeeded, but I keep trying. Every time I remember
those words I am shamed at how many more times I forget them. I hope
and pray all of you are much better students of life than I am!
The Abbot is not the only one who has to see, really see weakness and
allow for it. All of us do. That's what it means to bear one
another's burdens as well as we can. If and when so-and-so finally
gets their act together, it is highly unlikely that they will be an
exact clone of someone so utterly perfect as ourselves! We can be so
self-centered that we unwittingly actually expect that to happen. If
we stop to look at how ludicrous such a thing is, we'll have to
laugh, because if we didn't, we'd cry.
God made individuals, tons of them. Their optimal state is going to
be just as individual, just as different , one from another. Hey,
that's the beauty of the mosaic, which would, after all, have all the
charm of a tiled floor if all the pieces were the same color and
It is not just the weakness of others we have to see. We have to see
our own, as well. How many people there are who are thinking: "When
Jerome gets his ducks in a row, he'll be just like me." Sorry, y'all.
Ain't gonna happen, no more than you all are going to wind up (God
forbid!) looking frighteningly like me. Strengths and weakness are
the only tools we have to work with. If we don't even see them, they
won't be much good.
I confess that I do not know 20% of what my computer can do. I'll
probably never know most of its ability. That's often the case with
computers, but how tragic it is if we allow that to happen with
ourselves. That's why the monastic struggle points us to even deeper
self-examination, self-knowledge and humility.
Hey, a hard drive is neither here nor there in many senses, but a human
soul needs a LOT of disk scanning and defragmentation. There'd better
be a good anti-virus program, too, as well as lots of extra memory!
Fortunately, these things cost nowhere near what software does. They were all
bought for us at a tremendous price. Just ask the Guy Who did that
and He'll give you all the free downloads you could ever need!
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,