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]
Prayers for the two young men with us this weekend at St. Mary’s Monastery for a Monastic Experience Weekend, may God speak to their hearts and may we all do His will.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Amaro, 64, and for all his family and all who mourn him. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of Tania, his sister, who predeceased him.
Prayers for Fr. Karola Meissner,OSB, of Poland, who turned 90 last month. Graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Prayers for Erica, having surgery, and for her family.
Prayers for D., that she returns to the Sacraments.
Prayers for Nathaniel and his wife and for all the children they teach in their parish’s religious education program.
Prayers for me, on my birthday. Thanks in advance to all!
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 2, June 3, October 3
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fifth degree of humility
is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
that enter his heart
or the sins committed in secret,
but that he humbly confess them.
The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
"Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
"Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
And the Prophet likewise says,
"My offense I have made known to You,
and my iniquities I have not covered up.
I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).
A caution here: the Holy Rule uses the Septuagint version's numbering
of the Psalms, not the Hebrew. Since most Bibles today use the latter
system, even many Catholic editions, you might find that the Psalm
referred to in this passage, which I strongly recommend you read
through, is 32, not 31.
Psalm 31 (32) is a wonderful exposition of sin and forgiveness. It
begins by recounting the joy of one whose sin has been forgiven, then
proceeds to unfold how concealing sin affects one and confessing sin
heals one. In v. 3-4, immediately prior to the 5th verse which St.
Benedict quotes, we find the following: "I kept it secret and my
frame was wasted. I groaned all the day long for night and day Your
hand was heavy upon me. Indeed, my strength was dried up as by the
Guilty secrets control us, they rob us of our freedom, they destroy
our peace. Long before one's frame is wasted (though that, too will
eventually happen,) one's mind and spirit are trashed, laid low by
the relentless fear of discovery. We shall have a MUCH harder time
spiritually, if we try to keep our guilty secrets totally hidden.
What the guilty one is fleeing is within herself, and
travels right along with her. Ever see a news clip about a fugitive
who successfully hid for decades and then was caught? I wonder what
kind of life they had in the meantime, a life never free, a life that
always had to fear. This is not what Jesus called us to.
One may not belong to a tradition which practices sacramental
confession, but all of us need the abscesses of our secret guilt
lanced and drained somehow. AA, a spiritual program which can fit
itself to any religion or no religion, insists that without confession to at
least one other trustworthy person, our faults are likely to rule us forever.
Don't spill your beans to just anyone, but don't hold them festering
within, either! [A heavy PS, too: if you do belong to a Church that
has sacramental Confession, GO!! Too many put that off at great
risk and harm to themselves.]
What keeps us chained to our dirty secrets is lack of faith, lack of
trust: no one will love me if they know this, not God, not anyone.
Well, the ending verses of Psalm 31(32) deal quite neatly with this
"Many sorrows have the wicked, but those who trust in the Lord,
loving mercy surrounds them. Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord, exult, you
just! O come, ring out your joy, all you upright of heart!" (Ps.
Not only does God forgive, but the guilty one now freed is accounted
as among the just and the upright of heart, without any further ado.
Now THAT is Divine Mercy! No heart is more full of such infinite
mercy than the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Trust Him!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You. Jesus, meek and
humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Yours.
Love and prayers,