Holy Rule for Apr. 5
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Lori, who we have prayed for before, battled cancer for a few hard years but grew immensely in her faith and died a happy death. Deo gratias! Prayers also for her husband Bill and family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for the following:
a woman overwhelmed at work, with stakes high, needing courage, confidence and strength.
Tom, feeling worse and now has a fever.
Flo, eye double vision & macular degeneration.
Healing of John's ankle.
Healing for those with alcohol addiction.
For protection, courage,& strength for all clergy.
Joy, mother of 3, colon cancer
Rick, diagnosed with brain cancer. For him and his family as they navigate a difficult path-and may God's peace and mercy greet them along the way
Deo gratias for:
Employment opportunties hvae increased for Bob.
John has sold several homes.
Mary Claire home after surgery,Dr. feels they removed all cancer cells.
Praise & Thanksgiving for Mary Frances in successes in school work
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
April 5, August 5, December 5
Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests
Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
who are never lacking in a monastery,
arrive at irregular hours.
Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
Let them be given such help as they need,
that they may serve without murmuring.
And on the other hand,
when they have less to occupy them,
let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
And not only in their case
but in all the offices of the monastery
let this arrangement be observed,
that when help is needed it be supplied,
and again when the workers are unoccupied
they do whatever they are bidden.
The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
and in a prudent manner.
On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
associate or converse with guests.
But if he should meet them or see them,
let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
ask their blessing and pass on,
saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
It is the last part which strikes me. Many monasteries no longer
enforce it strictly. However, it brings to mind a rule of
thumb that may be applied in other situations.
Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
do. I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
a way, never.
Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, but they are means to an
end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.
Look at the many Desert Father accounts of guests arriving
unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
entertaining with gratitude. Now and then one sees
a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
rather than undergo, a wonderful principle from Dom Jean-Marie Dechanet, OSB.
There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.
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,