Holy Rule for July 24
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Pauline Tinguely, on the anniversary of her death. She was a charter member of Monastic Life list and truly an Amma to us all, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers, please, for the following:
Anne, who slipped and fractured her femur in three places, had surgery and will be going to a Nursing Home for rehab. She needs to keep off that leg for 9 weeks.
John, healing, peace, and grace, especially during exams.
T and M and their baby, due this winter.
Natalie, a good visit with her mom and success in an upcoming test.
Debbie, Crohn's disease, an ileostomy and gout trying to care for her parents, father with Parkinson's and dementia and skin cancer, mother with possibly recurrent breast cancer and cardiac problems. Prayers for all three of them.
E., who badly needs to go to Confession.
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
March 24, July 24, November 23
Chapter 44: How the Excommunicated Are to Make Satisfaction
One who for serious faults is excommunicated
from oratory and table shall make satisfaction as follows.
At the hour when the celebration of the Work of God is concluded in the
oratory, let her lie prostrate before the door of the oratory, saying
nothing, but only lying prone with her face to the ground at the feet of
all as they come out of the oratory. And let her continue to do this
until the Abbess judges that satisfaction has been made.
Then, when she has come at the Abbess's bidding, let her cast herself
first at the Abbess's feet and then at the feet of all, that they may
pray for her.
And next, if the Abbess so orders, let her be received into the choir,
to the place which the Abbess appoints,
but with the provision that she shall not presume to intone Psalm or
lesson or anything else in the oratory without a further order from the
Moreover, at every Hour, when the Work of God is ended, let her cast
herself on the ground in the place where she stands. And let her
continue to satisfy in this way until the Abbess again orders her
finally to cease
from this satisfaction.
But those who for slight faults are excommunicated
only from table shall make satisfaction in the oratory,
and continue in it till an order from the Abbess, until she blesses them
and says, "It is enough."
There is a LOT here for family and workplace, though one might not think
so at first glance. This chapter is not about kneeling and prostrations,
it is about asking for and receiving forgiveness.
The most important part of the puzzle here is that the offender accepts
correction, even punishment, and goes through the process to amend.
One more really important point here. Especially in the really major
offenses, it is quite likely that more monastics are involved, not just
the Abbot and the offender. Still, St. Benedict does not include them in
the decision to forgive.
This is strikingly useful. The terms of forgiveness are NOT in our
hands, but in those of the Abbess. There is someone who has the
authority and right to say: "This is finished, we've got to move on!"
Wow! Now that's the sort of umpire or referee we could use in many areas
of life. It may not be available at your place of work (unless you
are the boss,) but it surely can be a big help in any family when a
parent assumes this role justly.
There is yet another bit of wisdom to be gleaned here that has nothing
to do with body language 1,500 years old. St. Benedict establishes a
system for the contrite one to actually make amends, to ask for
forgiveness and receive it. Sad to say, there are people who would not forgive
or forget. "There is NOTHING you could do that would ever make me
This is a horrible thing, but truthfully, after a certain point, it is
no longer the fault of the one who originally goofed, but of the
one who refuses to forgive, who bears a grudge. This is a much more
serious issue than kneeling or not kneeling in choir, more detrimental to
community than stretching out by the door for a week or so. This is cancerous.
If Christians don't forgive when
asked, our common life cannot go on, and common life is an integral part
of Christianity. When people accept correction and ask for forgiveness and try
to amend, we must honor that somehow.
We still have to live with people, for all 7x70 times they ask
to be forgiven. Maybe we will never be able to be as vulnerable with
them again, but we have to establish at LEAST civility, and hopefully
even more than that. And, who knows, maybe, in time
most of our original innocence and vulnerability will return. But
those things do take time. To refuse outright to forgive is to guarantee
that the good things about reconciliation for both parties will never
happen at all. We are denied the "luxury" of such refusals
by both Gospel and Rule.
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,