Holy Rule for Apr. 20
Prayers for Madekine, having surgery, and for her parents, Kristen and Trevor, and for the family's dog, Bo, who has end stage bone cancer.
Prayers for David, on his 55th birthday-- may he continue to live his life in faith ad multos annos!
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 20, August 20, December 20
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess
In the constituting of an Abbess
let this plan always be followed,
that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
or else by a part of the community, however small,
if its counsel is more wholesome.
Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
even if she be the last of the order of the community.
But if (which God forbid)
the whole community should agree to choose a person
who will acquiesce in their vices,
and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
to whose diocese the place belongs,
or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
They may be sure
that they will receive a good reward for this action
if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.
There is an old monastic saying that holds that "The community gets
the Abbot it deserves and the vocations it deserves." Like most
generalizations, this one has kernels of both falsity and truth.
Heresy is obviously taking a small truth and making it the only truth
and this is no different. It is rash (even if sometimes seemingly
handy!) to try to fit the inscrutable workings of the Holy Spirit, of
our all-merciful God and His love into such a small compartment of
phrase! There is infinitely more to God's loving plan than that.
God has a plan from all eternity which none may ultimately thwart. Even
those who seek to impede that plan serve only to further its cause, whether
they want to or not, whether they know it or not. God can use anything.
And *A* plan is exactly the right phrase: God has ONLY one plan, with
only one goal: the salvation of all. God lacks a plan B because none is
necessary. God uses ALL human agency, of any kind, to further the
perfect good of His plan. God can turn absolutely every human
event, good or evil, to useful means to further that perfect plan of love,
mercy, salvation and good- yes, even joy!- for all.
However, there IS that kernel of truth! I have certainly lived
through times myself and seen them elsewhere which gave
frightening credence to one or both halves of the axiom! There is a
human side to these things, God DOES use human means to accomplish
His perfect Will and we, let us face it, are far from perfect
On that human side of things, like does tend to attract like. A house
where holiness is at least frequent, if not common, is likely to
elect an Abbot good and holy enough to nurture that. Unfortunately,
houses may elect one Abbot to counterbalance the effects, (not
always delightful,) of his predecessor, so a lot of things come into
play here. A house where holiness abounds is likely to attract holy
The grim truth that the saying does NOT address is that even good and
holy houses are thirsting badly for vocations these days. Something
else, something other, something strange has been added to imbalance
the equation and no one can be sure just what. Pray, pray with all
your hearts for vocations, good and holy vocations to the monastic
life on every level, as monks, as nuns, as Oblates. With our dimmed
vision looking through glasses darkly, we can neither see nor know
perfectly what wonders of His Will God is working now, much less why!
Just pray for His Will for all of us!
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,