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1610Holy Rule for Oct. 2

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  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    Oct 1, 2006

      A blessed feast of the Holy Guardian Angels to all, especially to those of
      the American Cassinese Congregation, whose patrons they are. Graces and
      blessings to all!

      Prayers for Kaye, ill and perhaps suicidal, for her husband and all her
      family. Prayers for David, longstanding, severe depression, electroshock therapy
      has only has some effect, and for Christ, who has stood by him through all.
      Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for the gift of Pearl, turning 95 this
      week, and may blessings in abundance be hers. Prayers for the happy death and
      eternal rest of Mr. Klang, a Wisconsin high school principal shot to death by a
      15 year old student, and for all his family and those who mourn him. Prayers,
      too, for the troubled teen who shot him and for his family. Prayers for
      Harry, taking a doctoral exam this Tuesday at the University of Edinburgh. 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 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 stumbling block 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! Just think of the old
      name for tuberculosis,) and profit. Nothing else matters as 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 think I know very clearly that a person or situation is
      wrong, really know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a
      particularly controlled fashion, "with a silent mind."

      There is a big issue about judgment here. We are not to judge. We
      often think we can "assess" when we truly cannot. It is better to
      wisely abstain from such "assessments". We never have all the facts
      of another person's heart or soul, never. That's why we have been
      told not to judge.

      Jesus did say, after all, that He is the Truth. He is not calling us
      to stupidity or denial, but 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 amateur at duping us.

      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! We are
      to love, love and always love!

      I can recall some awful flame wars on religious lists about religious
      topics. Predictably, quite early on the tone 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 Gormican,
      OSB, (the elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made
      Br. 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 him. It
      his strong sense of "nobodiness" that made him someone extremely special
      and free.

      At 18, I thought entering into heated argument was the thing to do. It was
      1967 and there was no shortage of such heat in the monastery or the Church.
      Br. David, quite rightly, knew that it would result in a night (or a whole
      day) of strife and nothing would be changed. David knew that a hidden
      lay brother in Florida was not going to change the Church at all by
      fighting with other people who were similarly powerless. Praying,
      maybe, but fighting, no! He was humble enough to know this and go to
      his room. How I wish I had been that smart- then or now!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      Petersham, MA

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