Holy Rule for July 14
Prayers, please, for the happy death of Richard, nearly 81, heart failure and fluid on his lung. He has no faith and didn't want to see a priest. He is likely dying, prayers, especially Divine Mercy chaplets, are urgently needed.
Prayers for Donna, on her birthday and prayers that she get her marriage blessed.
Prayers for Lisa, a rare mitochondrial disorder has her unable to absorb nutrients. She has lost 20 lbs and is very ill. Prayers, too for her husband, Phillip, and their children, Anna, Ellie and Tim. Prayers for effective treatment and healing, please.
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. BJL
March 14, July 14, November 13
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
An hour before the meal
let the weekly servers each receive a drink and some bread
over and above the appointed allowance,
in order that at the meal time they may serve their brethren
without murmuring and without excessive fatigue.
On solemn days, however, let them wait until after Mass.
Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday,
the incoming and outgoing servers
shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren in the oratory
and ask their prayers.
Let the server who is ending his week say this verse:
"Blessed are You, O Lord God,
who have helped me and consoled me."
When this has been said three times
and the outgoing server has received his blessing,
then let the incoming server follow and say,
"Incline unto my aid, O God;
O Lord, make haste to help me."
Let this also be repeated three times by all,
and having received his blessing
let him enter his service.
Blessing readers and servers may strike the modern reader as a bit
silly: a CEREMONY of blessing to do a no-brainer like that for a
week? Ah, well there's the rub. Ancient monastics (and many Eastern
Orthodox monastics even in our own day,) did NOTHING without a
blessing from their elder. This results in all kinds of blessings for things we
would take for granted. When the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne went as a
group to the guillotine in the French Revolution, at least one of the nuns
approached the Prioress and asked; "Permission to die, Mother?" The Prioress
blessed her to die.
Getting a blessing, asking God's help for even seemingly trivial
matters is a powerful reminder of our own weakness. It is a statement
that we can do nothing without Him, that we truly are nothing that He
has not given. There is a great humility in asking anyone for help.
In this instance, however, humility is richest truth: we need God's
help for everything. We do things only because He enables us, whether
we asked Him for help or not. Our very lives would not exist without
We still bless readers and servers. Short ceremony, same every week.
We all pray together for whomever is serving us. Since we are small
(only 7,) the Superior is often reader or server. When that happens,
he kneels like anyone else and the senior monk blesses him. It's a
little family ritual.
But what is its message for families in the world? For single Oblates
living alone? The message is that there are no tasks to insignificant
to bless with prayer. St. Benedict has earlier encouraged us to begin
every good work with prayer, but maybe we have forgotten. Because the
monastic is MINDFUL, careful, attuned to life, nothing is unimportant,
nothing should be done "on automatic pilot." There is that healthy level of
mistrust of self that will ask for Divine assistance in any endeavor. "Bless,
Lord, yet another diaper." "Bless, Lord, emptying the trash." "Bless, Lord,
Making dinner or washing the dishes? Take a quiet moment in the midst
of either to say "Help!" and "Thanks!" Two simple, one word prayers.
No matter how chaotic your household, everyone will find time for at
least that. God knows the details, knows your heart and can readily
fill in the blanks! We may think God needs essay-length prayers, but
He doesn't. He may enjoy hearing from us, but trust me, we NEVER tell
Him anything that's news to Him.
Of course, there is another side to simple things like serving table,
picking up pins and the like. No one could have done anything
without God's help, but ah, if one does them out of love and care!
Bingo! Double coupons, so to speak! If that pin got carefully picked
up because of a barefoot and running child, or a beloved pet who is
prone to "tasting" whatever she can find on the floor, simplicity
becomes a very much greater matter, indeed. Now it is very close to
the heart of God, and that is a wonderful place to be.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- +PAXPrayers for Dot, 86, COPD, on her birthday.Continued prayers for Beckham, surgery to remove bladder blockage was successful, kidney damage remains to be determined.Deo gratias, Bone scan for DJ shows cancer is contained in the prostate and he will have surgery Sept 30. Of your kindness please continue to pray that surgery will eradicate all the cancer.God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much! JL
January 7, May 8, September 7
And so we are going to establish
a school for the service of the Lord.
In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
our hearts expand
and we run the way of God's commandments
with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
Thus, never departing from His school,
but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.
"Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.
That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
with God, pray us there.
Love and prayers,