Holy Rule for Aug. 18
Prayers, please, for Peggy; medical tests on Tuesday.
Prayers, please, for a very special intention of mine.
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 18, August 18, December 18
Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community
Let all keep their places in the monastery established by the time
of their entrance, the merit of their lives and the decision of the
Abbot. Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly; but
let him always think of the account he will have to render to God
for all his decisions and his deeds.
Therefore in that order which he has established or which they
already had, let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace
and Communion, intone the Psalms and stand in choir. And in no place
whatever should age decide the order or be prejudicial to it; for
Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.
Except for those already mentioned, therefore, whom the Abbot has
promoted by a special decision or demoted for definite reasons, all
the rest shall take their order according to the time of their
entrance. Thus, for example, he who came to the monastery at the
second hour of the day, whatever be his age or his dignity, must
know that he is junior to one who came at the first hour of the day.
Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline in all matters and by
I have known one monk of St. Leo who may perhaps have been delighted
to be the most senior monk by age and entrance, but he is long gone
now. The others I have known, who either held the first place or
hovered near it, could not have cared less, might even chuckle about
it if reminded. I like their way better.
Rank is a handy way to organize people in line, but after that, its
usefulness quickly diminishes. Rank that one desires or seeks can be
downright pernicious and fatal to a monastic life. If you look at
this chapter closely, it is not hard to see that St. Benedict wanted
his monastics to pretty much take their place and forget about it-
going any higher or lower had nothing to do with their own decision
anyhow and they should be at peace.
There's the rub: to be at peace! We need peace, we need inner
serenity. It is no accident that it became our motto, PAX. That
peace of soul is fertile earth in which God tills His bountiful
fields of graces. It is the foundation we need to build houses firm.
That inner peace becomes impossible when our primary focus is a
scramble to the top. Archbishop Sheen called ambition "the
ecclesiastical lust" and he was very right. What obsesses us often
comes to enslave and own us outright, a tragic turn of events. Our
thirst ought to be holiness, not power or position.
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,