Holy Rule for Aug. 2
Roman Catholics, please remember that Aug. 2 is the Portiuncula indulgence.
Plenary indulgence under the usual conditions of Confession, Communion within 8
days, freedom from all atachment to sin and prayers for the Holy Father's
intentions, including an Apostles' Creed, according to one source, plus making a
visit to the Blessed Sacrament in any parish Church on Aug. 2. The indulgence is
applicable, of course, to the Holy Souls, too.
Prayers, please, for the following:
John, starting a ministry of visiting the sick.
Yvonne, who has brain tumours, her husband, Paul, and two young sons Dominic and Fraser.
Paul, in the hospital with leukemia, for his recovery and for his family.
Jim, for his happy death, he is not expected to live throughout today. Prayers, too, for his family.
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
April 2, August 2, December 2
Chapter 51: On Brethren Who Go Not Very Far Away
A Brother who is sent out on some business
and is expected to return to the monastery that same day
shall not presume to eat while he is out,
even if he is urgently requested to do so
by any person whomsoever,
unless he has permission from his Abbot.
And if he acts otherwise, let him be excommunicated.
Remember that cloistered paradise of the heart I have written about
before? All Benedictines, monks, nuns and oblates, must cultivate
that monastic heart. Today's chapter is an excellent example.
Like our Christianity itself, our Benedictinism must become part of
us, rooted in our hearts, carried with us everywhere because it is
inseparable from us. While the issue in this chapter is keeping the
monastic who goes outside vigilant, mindful and observant, there is a
particular application to oblates here. This concept of carrying the
monastery with us becomes a principal means of evangelization, of
being leaven in the dough of the world, of being a catalyst for peace.
Remember that the Holy Rule teaches us that the observance of some
things becomes easier with time. Happy the day when one wakes to find
that even the smallest part of one's Benedictine struggle has become
one's very self, an integral part of who one is. This realization
will likely sneak up on one and catch us quite unawares, surprised by
joy, as it were, to steal C. S. Lewis' phrase.
With God's mercy and grace, those areas will increase over time. More
and more we actually become the monastic we have been striving to be.
That, beloveds, is an awesome feeling of joy, to say nothing of
considerable relief!! Truly, m'dears, we shall one day, with God's help,
"run in the way of His commandments with hearts enlarged."
What St. Benedict is doing is pointing out that monasticism is not
merely a job, a burden one doffs and dons. Monastic life is a
becoming, not a set of standards one only follows when one is closely
watched. The goal of monastic discipline is to make the disciple a
monastic more or less by nature.
In this respect, it closely resembles any training: nursing school is
designed to make people nurses, law school to make attorneys,
and so forth. The difference is that monasticism is not a set number of
hours per week, it's all the week, all the life. Just as any nurse in a
disaster instantly can shift into nursing mode, whether on duty or not,
the spiritually trained monastic is operative everywhere, not just in
This is a fine and consoling point for Oblates who must live abroad.
Lovely though our monasteries may be, they are not what makes us
monastics. That is something deep within, a cloister of our hearts
that we must learn to carry with us everywhere. Lots of people who
must live in crowded and noisy cities actually do a better job of
this than many monastics who live in rural peace. Take heart! It is
not all about place. It is about heart, always heart. Train and fix
your heart and you will always be fine!
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,