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1339Holy Rule for Feb. 1

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  • Jerry Lee
    Feb 1, 2006

      Prayers for Vivian, elderly grandmother of one of our readers, Joy. She fell yesterday and suffered a brain clot and swelling, now, after surgery, she may have a risk for developing aspiration pneumonia. Prayers for Joy, Joyce, and all their family and for the doctors who treat Vivian. Joy's son, Buddy, is having some court troubles related to his drinking, and prayers for him, too. Joy's husband, Dick, has ALS/Lou Gehrig's and she has had so much on her plate for so long. Prayers for them all, please. God's will be done.

      Prayers, please, for Carol, total knee replacement tomorrow, a previous bad experience with shoulder replacement surgery has her very apprehensive. Guide her surgeon's hands, Lord. Prayers, too, for Adam and Emma, his 11 year old dog who was abused before he adopted her. Emma has multiple surgeries tomorrow and Adam fears she might not make it. May God's will console and protect them both! Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Clinton, for whom we prayed. he lived longer than expected and has gone home to God. When told Benedictines were praying for him, he answered with a big smile! Prayers for his happy death and eternal rest, for his sister and all his family and friends who survive him. Prayers for Andy, 27, killed in a car wreck, for his happy death and eternal rest, for all his family, his fiancee, Alison, and roommate, David and all who mourn him.

      More Deo gratias: Pete had only part of his foot amputated, not the whole leg. Prayers for him and his wife Betsy, now much better able to care for him. Prayers for Corinne, intractable pain that doctors have tried three times to block, a fourth try on Feb. 14. If that doesn't work, she is uncertain what will happen. The pain is constant and terrible and is telling on her husband, Tom, who now suffers severe headaches of unknown cause, possibly from stress. Prayers for them both. Prayers, finally for all in the U.S. government after the State of the Union address last night. May all be led to God's will! Lord, help us 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 1, June 2, October 2

      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fourth degree of humility
      is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
      when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
      and contradictions
      and even any kind of injustice,
      enduring all without growing weary or running away.
      For the Scripture says,
      "The one who perseveres to the end,
      is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
      and again
      "Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!

      And to show how those who are faithful
      ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
      the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
      "For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
      we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
      Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
      they go on with joy to declare,
      "But in all these trials we conquer,
      through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
      Again, in another place the Scripture says,
      "You have tested us, O God;
      You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
      You have brought us into a snare;
      You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
      And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
      it goes on to say,
      "You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).

      Moreover, by their patience
      those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
      in adversities and injuries:
      when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
      when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
      when forced to go a mile, they go two;
      with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
      and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).


      The awful trip here is the part about holding "fast to patience with
      a silent mind." How on earth does one begin to do that? The trend in
      consumerist Western society is pretty much to form people- no, let's
      call them what consumerism does: "consumers"- in a mold that ALWAYS
      listens to very noisy minds. That, after all, is the root of desire
      and consumption (clever play on words there!) and profit. Nothing
      else matters much to a consumerist society.

      It's not surprising that living, moving and having our being in such
      waters, we more or less acquire consumerist gills in order to
      breathe. However, the Gospel itself, as well as the Holy Rule, tells
      us that we must adopt a view which contradicts that of the secular
      world. Learning to do this is neither easy nor fast.

      The really hard thing here is that sometimes, even when we are right,
      we have to put up and shut up, so to speak. The Rule speaks of
      bearing injustice and false brethren. There are no qualifiers here
      that say: "You may think it is unjust, but the truth is otherwise."

      No, sometimes we must actually endure stuff that really is unjust,
      endure people that truly are false. As one very wise old monk of
      Pluscarden once said: "Some things will only be fixed by a cross in
      the cemetery." That is frighteningly true. Some people, some
      dysfunctions will go unchecked and there are only two things one can
      do about it: leave or endure.

      This may feel like denial to us. It isn't. That's not what's asked of
      us. I may feel very clearly that a person or situation is wrong,
      nearly know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a particularly
      controlled fashion, "with a silent mind."

      Non-judging also enters in here. We must have silent minds because,
      generally speaking, we cannot be sure what is going on! Someone
      we may think is at fault for giving us the silent treatment may be in such
      pain, mental or physical, that they have all they can do to bear that. It
      may have nothing to do with us at all. We are obliged to think the best of others

      Jesus did say, after all, the He is the Truth. He is not calling us
      to stupidity or denial, but to trust Him. He can well afford to call
      us to silent endurance. The briefest look at Jesus in His Passion can
      affirm His rights there. There was never a greater injustice done
      than that, nor was there ever a victim so innocent and completely
      undeserving of all that brutality.

      Why is the "silent mind" such a big deal? Because you cannot get
      anywhere spiritually without one. Your focus will be shattered. The
      messy bit here is that your focus can be shattered by things
      apparently worthwhile- the devil, after all is no fool.

      We can be tricked into spinning our wheels and expending all our
      emotional and spiritual energy on dead ends that look noble, or on
      things that truly are noble, but should not absorb all of our efforts or
      attention. We can distort our necessary caring and charity into anger
      and rage at injustice that does nothing other than perpetrate anger
      and rage in more religious attire. Big mistake there!

      Recall the last time you saw a mini-flame war, perhaps only
      a "skirmish", erupt in any setting . Probably, quite early on it stooped to
      hurling charges at people, not ideas. Whoops! Wrong way, folks. The
      holiest monks I know would not have even entered into that
      discussion. They would have smiled and maybe shrugged and gone to
      their room to read or pray.

      That's not denial, that's a fair assessment that Brother David (the
      elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made correctly.
      David was a very, very holy nobody and he knew that. It was a very
      freeing knowledge, one I completely lacked when I first lived with

      At the ripe old age of 18, I thought entering into heated
      argument was the thing to do. David, quite rightly, knew that it
      would result in a night (or day) of strife and nothing would be
      changed. David knew that a nickel-dime monk in Florida was not
      going to change the Church at all by fighting with other people who
      were similarly powerless. He was humble enough to go to his room. How
      I wish I had been that smart- then or now!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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