Holy Rule for Apr. 13
Margaret, for whom we have been praynbg, has died. Prayers for her eternal rest and for her son Ordice, and all her family and all who mourn her,
Prayers for Ashley, 27, beginning dialysis for diminished kidney function.
Ardent prayers for Alex -- health and long life, discernment, and special intention.
Prayers for Judith, that the closing on her house sale goes smoothly and on time. Prayers for all involved.
Deo gratias for past prayers answered
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
April 13, August 13, December 13
Chapter 59: On the Sons of Nobles and of the Poor Who Are Offered
If anyone of the nobility
offers his son to God in the monastery
and the boy is very young,
let his parents draw up the document which we mentioned above;
and at the oblation
let them wrap the document itself and the body's hand in the altar
That is how they offer him.
As regards their property,
they shall promise in the same petition under oath
that they will never of themselves, or through an intermediary,
or in any way whatever,
give him anything
or provide him with the opportunity of owning anything.
if they are unwilling to do this,
and if they want to offer something as an alms to the monastery
for their advantage,
let them make a donation
of the property they wish to give to the monastery,
reserving the income to themselves if they wish.
And in this way let everything be barred,
so that the boy may have no expectations
whereby (which God forbid) he might be deceived and ruined,
as we have learned by experience.
Let those who are less well-to-do make a similar offering.
But those who have nothing at all
shall simply draw up the document
and offer their son before witnesses at the oblation.
It's always nice to read Chapter. 59, because it is the source of our
having Oblates today. Thanks be to God for the myriad blessings and
graces that have come to the Benedictine family through Oblates and
for the graces they have received from their bonds to the Order! It
is hard for me to imagine where we would be without Oblates.
Those who are seen help us with labors and goods, and those who are
unseen, help us with a treasure of prayers whose vastness we dare not
even guess until we finally see clearly in heaven. In most cases, by
numbers, Oblates outnumber the professed of the community, so God
must have known how badly we needed them. It is most likely their
prayers that kept us going all these years.
The living and the dead, the strugglers and those already in heaven,
help us move the great throng of our Order forward through history.
What heaven must be like! The Oblates there are united to God,
already freely conversant with St. Benedict, with heroes and heroines
we can only read about. How delighted they must have been to be
welcomed by a family far more numerous than they ever imagined.
They were not strangers to those Benedictines of centuries past. Why?
Because the saints of the past hold us dear throughout our time of
trial. They already know us, they have been praying for us all along,
even if we have not met them yet in person. When I read Anglo-Saxon
Benedictine history, a favorite hobby of mine, I am just learning their
names. They already know my name: they have prayed for me for years
before I even cracked a book.
When an Oblate joins our ranks, becoming a member of this great
family, there are graces beyond counting in store. Ours is a family
of saints, of great holiness. It is also a family of strugglers, the
mediocre, the halt and lame and the beginning. The communion of
saints is replicated in miniature in our own Order. All that great sanctity,
past and present, comes, in the eternal now of heaven, to our aid.
The weak are carried by the strong. It is easy to forget the miracle
that signing one little Oblation chart on the altar effects.
If I could (and did!) write a love song for the habit, I could write one as
great for Oblates. How much they have changed and enriched my life,
how deeply I find my days entwined around Oblates from all over the
world. Prayers and insights shared back and forth, friendships that
have sprung up in cyberspace, the wonderful gift of having others spread
far and wide who share the journey with me, these are all gifts of grace to
me, inestimable gifts! My life would be so much diminished without the
gifts of light and joy, love and edification that you bring to me. Thanks so
very, very much!!
Thank God for our Oblates. Thank God for the chance He led St.
Benedict to give to them and to ourselves!
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,