Holy Rule for Aug. 27
Please pray for Leon, who suffered a massive stroke. He is 88. Please pray for Paul and Jeannie, Leon's son and daughter-in-law.
Please pray for Lee's healing and for his family during this difficult time.
Prayers for Mary Eleanor, surgery for her broken wrist, under local anesthesia, because she also had a concussion from her fall.
Prayers for Elaine who has to meet with her boss regarding a very sensitive situation at work. Prayers that God speaks through Elaine and explains everything perfectly so her boss understands and has a change of heart with her plan of action. Prayers that Elaine's boss respects her for her action in stopping a toxic situation. Prayers that Elaine is protected in all of this and she has the words to deter one of the managers who keeps coming to her with gossip and that he has no idea it was Elaine who brought this to light.
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 27, August 27, December 27
Chapter 69: That the Monks Presume Not to Defend One Another
Care must be taken that no monk presume on any ground to defend
another monk in the monastery, or as it were to take him under his
protection, even though they be united by some tie of blood-
relationship. Let not the monks dare to do this in any way
because it may give rise to most serious scandals. But if anyone
breaks this rule, let him be severely punished.
In one of his tapes of lectures given to formation classes at
Gethsemani, Merton speaks of a loneliness at the core of each
monastic that cannot be touched and OUGHT not to be touched. In
saying that, he articulated one of those sensed things that one
learns (hopefully!) by osmosis in monastic community. Hearing him I
had both the sense of "Wow! I never heard that before!" and also
knowing that I knew exactly what he meant, just had never talked
about it. It's just one of those things we rather "know" without
putting into words very often. Goes with the territory.
In every monastic struggler, from newest Oblate to Abbot Primate,
this place of aloneness- and sometimes loneliness- exists. It must
exist. It must be protected. It is at the very root of our
name: "monos" alone, solitary.
This is a breathtakingly sacred place of solitude, where, like
Jacob, we wrestle with God and with ourselves. It is the place
where all those unlovely things we have to confront in ourselves
are first displayed. It is part and parcel of the original monastic
way: alone with God.
It is what we have retained of the Desert. It may be the only place
left to many of us where we are like St. Antony the Great,dwelling
alone in the tombs. It can often be no less smelly and scary than
the tombs, too! Sigh... the place where we gradually meet our
true selves is not always a cloistered paradise!
Preserving this necessarily inviolate solitude is what this chapter
is all about. No matter how much one loves another monastic, one
must know to leave this place alone. This is the place where every
monastic must be a stand-alone grown up before God, with no
defenders, no co-dependency, no illusions on the part of those who
may think they are doing a favor by taking one's part. I think most
of us dwelling in monasteries know this almost by instinct. We
know, somehow, the place beyond which one must not go. To go there
imperils both parties in many, many ways.
This is the love of realism. I cannot "love" my brother by taking
from him the very arena from which monastic growth springs. If I do
so, I am defeating him and defeating myself. No, we must love in
truth, and that is not always easy. We must desire firmly the best
for those we love, and it is so easy for the self to get in the way
of those desires.
What monasticism hopes to do is to teach us the frightening
boon that we have in such solitary adulthood. It is the time we get real.
It is the moment of Truth. And Jesus did, after all, say: "I am the Truth."
What an encounter both terrifying and sublime!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Vern, for whom we have been praying, and for his parishioners at St. Francis in Bechertown, Massachusetts, his family and friends and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the eternal rest of 700 refugees who died in the Mediterranean, on their way to Italy, and for all their families and all who mourn them.
Prayers for Syro-Malabar catholic Bishop Jacob, who is donating one of his kidneys to save the life of a 30 year old Hindu man, Sooraj. Prayers they both have safe and successful surgeries and that Sooraj’s body doesn’t reject the kidney.
Prayers for newly elected Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, of St. Meinrad Archabbey, and for his Community. May he serve the Lord many years in his new role.
Prayers for toddler Grace, who has Downs Syndrome and must have minor stomach surgery later this month. Her parents worry, since she will have to be under general anesthesia.
Prayers for a young boy fighting for his life, in critical condition after being hit by a semi truck, and for his Mom and brothers and all his family.
Please say a prayer for me, too. It's my birthday.
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,