Holy Rule for May 6
Prayers, please, for Kasey, having surgery for pancreatic cancer on May 10th, special prayers to guide her doctor's hands. Prayers, too, for her husband, Tom and Gianna, their daughter.
Prayers for newborn baby Luke, his parents and all who care for him, unspecified problems, mother and child still in hospital.
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 5, May 6, September 5
Hence the Lord says in the Gospel,
"Whoever listens to these words of Mine and acts upon them,
I will liken to a wise person
who built a house on rock.
The floods came,
the winds blew and beat against that house,
and it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).
Having given us these assurances,
the Lord is waiting every day
for us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions.
And the days of this life are lengthened
and a truce granted us for this very reason,
that we may amend our evil ways.
As the Apostle says,
"Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent" (Rom.
For the merciful Lord tells us,
"I desire not the death of the sinner,
but that the sinner should be converted and live" (Ezech. 33:11).
Blessed Columba Marmion wrote:
"You may ask: Is not the monastery the ante-chamber of Heaven?
Assuredly it is; but to stay a long time in a waiting room and there
to bear monotony and annoyances, can become singularly burdensome and
require a big dose of endurance."
Probably no one really likes waiting rooms and some of us loathe them
far more than others. I certainly fall closer to the latter extreme!
It's not that I can't find anything to do, I usually can read or
pray, but not always. There is noisy talk, or there are sometimes noisier
TV's, both of which others need, so one can hardly grouse about them.
That which makes a waiting room more tolerable (like silence,) for
some makes it less so for others!
Had I to wait an entire day in a waiting room, I'd come home truly
fatigued. Weeks? Months? No doubt they'd have to crack out the
leather wrist and ankle restraints and give me psychotropic drugs IV
push!! I would be a mess. Patience is not my strong point and I am
sure many can relate to that on one level or another.
But Scripture and the Holy Rule assure us that a loving, all-merciful
God waits far more than any of us could stand. He waits for all our
lives, every instant, every millisecond. He waits before every
conversion and after every fall. He waits till our death, if need be.
At our death, when we can no longer run, He opens His arms of Divine
Mercy one last all-but-irresistible time. Even then, we could
refuse Him, but what folly that would be!
He waits. He does not stalk or crouch in hiding like a predator. His
are not the finite limits of some flawed human who watches only for
our falls, who delights at every trip or stumble. He perfectly,
patiently, lovingly, mercifully waits. GOD waits. For us, who are
less than nothing by comparison, GOD Himself waits!
There were many years when I was so emphatically trying to ignore
Him, when "...I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own
mind..." I used to hate it when people quoted Francis Thompson's
"Hound of Heaven" to me in those times. I am still annoyed
by the poem insofar as it portrays God as a rather insuperably Herculean
pursuer of very heavy foot! (Let us bless God that this is poetry and
I think that God has an infinitely more polite and respectful means
of waiting and seeking. But there are great truths in Thompson's poem
and I shall leave you with two excerpts, both quite near the end of the
poem. Beloveds, may these be the first words we all hear at death!
"All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost. I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!"
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest.
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee who dravest Me."
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,