Holy Rule for May 7
Prayers,. please, for the spiritual and bodily health of the following:
Joe, under a lot of stress and for his wife, Jeanmarie.
Joe, a new dad who cannot find work, and for his wife and daughter, Elise and Laura.
Bishop Gordon, recovering from pericarditis
Benek - prayers needed for a new job after being laid off.
Glenna, in her late 70s, who fell and faces surgery on two fractures on her hip Tuesday. (She had just returned to her home after a long spell in rehab.) And for her three sons trying to deal with their mother's failing health.
the Eleazar Fernandez family, general well-being.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Michael, for whom we prayed, who died of cancer, and for all his 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 6, May 7, September 6
So we have asked the Lord
who is to dwell in His tent,
and we have heard His commands
to anyone who would dwell there;
it remains for us to fulfill those duties.
Therefore we must prepare our hearts and our bodies
to do battle under the holy obedience of His commands;
and let us ask God
that He be pleased to give us the help of His grace
for anything which our nature finds hardly possible.
And if we want to escape the pains of hell
and attain life everlasting,
then, while there is still time,
while we are still in the body
and are able to fulfill all these things
by the light of this life,
we must hasten to do now
what will profit us for eternity.
The first section of the Prologue asked us to seek God's blessing
before doing any work. Today we are asked to prepare our hearts and
bodies for the struggles ahead and ask God for His help. Both of
these precepts are quite nicely filled by making the Morning
Offering. Now I know that is a Roman Catholic prayer, and I also know
we have (thanks be to God!) many Oblates of other faiths among us.
Bear with me, please. I think this has applications for everyone.
The morning offering is considered rather passe in some Roman
Catholic circles. One actually wonders why, in an age that loves
computers with tons of memory, hard drives that do all the work for
us, even more work than our own minds could dream of doing.The morning offering,
makes computer ability look like shooting fish in a barrel.
The morning offering is the perfect capstone, cornerstone and
beginning for a great life of intercessory prayer. It unites the
poverty of our own lives, prayers, works, joys and sufferings with
those of Christ, with those of His Mystical Body. It plunges the
finite smallness of our own actions into sea after sea of infinite
grace and perfection and, wrapped in that awesome completeness,
offers them to the Father in the perhaps most perfect personal gift
we could ever hope for that day, short of martyrdom itself.
Ever forget to pray during the day? The morning offering makes our
very heartbeats and breathing prayers, means of grace for ourselves
and for all. We have offered ALL our works, even the unconscious ones
of our bodies to God, and we have offered them in union with the most
perfect sacrifice of Jesus. With a gift tag like that, the Father is
quite likely to be pleased, indeed. Each time we blink, or eat,
suffer or rejoice, we link that to Christ on His Cross. None of us
have enough bytes of memory to really do that (I have forgotten about
it at least three times while writing this sentence!) The morning
offering is our "hard drive" it is the program that saves to disk and
Our baptism into the Mystical Body gives us the right to plug into
that infinite worth. It would be a shame if we missed the
opportunity. Let me tell you, with complete sincerity, that all the
works of my entire life couldn't save a flea from drowning in a
raindrop. No way. Buried within the depths of Christ, however, their
value becomes literally infinite.
Ever feel bad that you forgot to pray for some one who asked, or only
whispered a quick: "Lord, help her."? The morning offering makes our
life and our prayer an infinite pie, one which can never be sliced
too thin. Counting huge groups and individuals, I pray every single
day for literally billions of people and not one of them is short-
changed at all. That's the marvel of uniting our lives and heart
daily to Christ. Every slice of the pie gets served on the plate of
His infinity, every single one. Cloaked in the perfect mercy and
offering of Jesus, every single act, even the keys I just struck and
the mouse I just moved are wonderful prayers for all, for everyone
throughout time. That's not shabby, folks!
Ever wish that your heart prone to largesse had all the money in the
world? How generous you would be! But, with the morning offering, you
have daily more than that. Claim your infinite share and spread it
around! Name people and groups, sure, but know that God has a memory
that never quits. You can say: for all people in all time" and it
WILL count! Heavens, I pray for all Oblates (among lots of other
groups every day. Not only could I not name them, I don't even know
them, nor is it possible for ANYONE to know them all throughout time.
But God does, and it counts!) There is no one reading this for whom I
have not prayed every single day.
God is my hard drive! The morning offering is a very neat method!
Look, folks, it's a Roman Catholic prayer. I'll give you a version of
it at the end of this post, but there are many others. I KNOW that
some of our Oblates who are not Catholic may have to amend it a bit
and that's OK, go for what God and your heart allows. I think,
however, that all Christians could agree on at least these
essentials. (Someone please correct me here, if I am wrong.) Offer
all your prayers, works, joys and sufferings in union with those of
Christ, for the intentions of Christ, for all the Church and its
leaders, for all people throughout time. Say it any way your heart
allows, but do at least this much and congratulations: you have just
thrust your own prayers and works and joys and sufferings into the
very heart of the Cosmos, into the whole of history itself. You now
stand beside Christ in HIS perfect work in every age. WOOOOF!
And, if today is your first morning offering, or your first in some
time, make it a habit to pray for all Benedictines each day!
Love and prayers,
O my Jesus, I offer You this day my prayers, works, joys and
suffering, for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart and Divine
Mercy, in union with every sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world
and with all the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of Your Mystical
Body throughout time, in reparation for our sins and in thanksgiving
for all Your benefits. I offer them for the Pope's intentions and all Church
leaders, for the unity of all Christians.
(Now you can add your own intentions- don't be stingy here, you have
infinity! I always end my own list with: for everyone and everything
throughout time, created by Your hands, I offer You my life for these and for Your will for them.)
End with: Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto
Yours. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You.
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Prayers, please, for the following, and for all their families and all who take care of them:
Barbara, dementia worsening, major meltdown on Friday, and for her husband, Jim.
a member of Jane's family newly diagnosed with cancer.
Al. His vision is critical to his work. He had cataract surgery and now the lens that was implanted will have to be removed Monday and replaced with a new one. Doc says there is a high risk of a detached retina. Please pray that God will guide the surgeon's hands and for complete healing.
Denise, that she get her marriage blessed and return to the Sacraments.
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
February 1, June 2, October 2
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fourth degree of humility
is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
and even any kind of injustice,
enduring all without growing weary or running away.
For the Scripture says,
"The one who perseveres to the end,
is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
"Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!
And to show how those who are faithful
ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
"For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
they go on with joy to declare,
"But in all these trials we conquer,
through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
Again, in another place the Scripture says,
"You have tested us, O God;
You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
You have brought us into a snare;
You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
it goes on to say,
"You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).
Moreover, by their patience
those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
in adversities and injuries:
when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
when forced to go a mile, they go two;
with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).
Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
presented in its most flawless form. It is not an unreachable goal, but neither
should we expect significant progress before noon today. It is our call and
our vocation, but it is a lifelong task.
The danger for schleps like me is that this step can give one an image
of a perfect, 1950's TV sitcom Mom: shirt dress, high heels and pearls as
everyday wear, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a kitchen as clean
as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place. Full make-up on rising
and wears hat and matching gloves to shop. PUHLEEEZE! Give me a break.
Real patience in action is not at all like that.
Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think that it's easy for
others and therefore something is wrong with you: it isn't easy
for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
me." Neither is true.
The Rule and Scriptures were meant for strugglers. They were written
for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred veterans like
you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Hey,
there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
can... the fridge broke today.
Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
rather a very cheap lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
the middle of things.
Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
believe them. Patrick, my late and beloved mentor, was so very different.
Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
Marion, who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend occasionally, in years
when that sort of thing didn't often happen. Abbot Marion was wise enough
to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and then.
Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose
I can also tell you that, during the worst
of those years, Patrick helped scores of folks who came to him, because a
transparently wounded person usually can. I can also tell you that
Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83 or so!! What a
witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.
Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
little at a time, let NONE of us be "perfect" TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be.
Patrick held forth from his infirmary room until his death
at two weeks short of 90. A steady stream of visitors never waned.
On the head of his bed and on the shaving mirror over his sink were
two small notes, written in his own inimitable hand: "Lord, let me
come to You." They broke my heart the first time I saw them. I still
didn't want to lose him. But I know how right he was and how richly he
deserves that loving embrace for which he so patiently waited.
Love and prayers,
Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
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