Holy Rule for Aug. 25
Prayers, please, for Diane, 54, early onset dementia, and for James, her caregiver.
Prayers for Dot, 85, COPD, in ICU on C-PAP mask. This is her third hospitalization in a year, her lung disease is progressing.
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 25, August 25, December 25
Chapter 67: On Brethren Who Are Sent on a Journey
Let the brethren who are sent on a journey commend themselves to
the prayers of all the brethren and of the Abbot; and always at the
last prayer of the Work of God let a commemoration be made of all
When brethren return from a journey, at the end of each canonical
Hour of the Work of God
on the day they return, let them lie prostrate on the floor of the
oratory and beg the prayers of all on account of any faults that
may have surprised them on the road, through the seeing or hearing
of something evil, or through idle talk. And let no one presume to
tell another whatever he may have seen or heard outside of the
monastery, because this causes very great harm. But if anyone
presumes to do so, let him undergo the punishment of the Rule. And
let him be punished likewise who would presume to leave the
enclosure of the monastery and go anywhere or do anything, however
small, without an order from the Abbot.
Rare is the person who can manage to stay employed without at least
a slightly different persona at work. We are one thing there,
because we have to be, but when we clock out, much, if not all of
the work persona is shed. In fact, we usually have a whole
repertoire of different selves, being one thing with our grandmother and quite
another with a childhood friend we have known all our lives, one
thing with the promising new date and quite another with the spouse
of many years!
Secular society has enlarged upon this tendency to its own ends.
Because the tendency is so deeply rooted in us, we may fail to see
its dangers when carried to extremes. Thanks to a society often
glaringly unassisted by revelation, we have the unhappy concept of
different umbrellas, different sets of ethics to cover different
areas of life. "Hey, religion is fine if you want it, but this is
BUSINESS!" or "I may be a Christian, but this is public service. I
was elected by a constituency that expected me to leave some of
that Gospel stuff at the door." Well, folks, such notions do not
wash well. In fact, they really don't wash at all.
The message of the Holy Rule and of the Gospel is that there is one
umbrella, period. There is one persona, period. Granted, in the
latter, shades and gradations may last throughout most of our
struggling lives, but the goal is clear. All monastic, all
Christian, all the time. One heart, one umbrella, one Lord, one
faith, one baptism.
That work persona that we drop when we clock out, the totally free
and other person we are on days off or on trips away can be an OK
notion in relation to work. Wouldn't we find someone who was a
salesperson or teacher or secretary or manager ALL the time to be a
dreadful drip? The concept fails, however, when it is applied to
vocations, to any vocation at all. One does not take a vacation
from being married or a parent or ordained or a monastic.
Do I hear loud screams in cyber-space as I mention BALANCE again?
Sorry, but it is true. There is a balanced way to be under one
umbrella all the time that we must strive to achieve. Yes, I am
different with different friends, we all are, we have to be, charity
demands that. But there is a commonality between all the threads of
our behavior. We are monastics. We are freer within defined limits.
It is to the balance of those defined limits that this chapter
At Petersham, we still follow this custom of prayer for one who
will be away overnight. The prayers are said in the refectory,
after grace. One is blessed leaving and returning, while kneeling
in the center of the ref. It's just a way of saying, as a
community, that we all know that maintaining that one umbrella can
be tough, especially when one is away alone. We want to support
each other with our prayers, we want our brother to know that our
hearts are with him all the way.
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,