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3969Holy Rule for Oct. 5

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Oct 4, 2012

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Jual, for whom we have prayed, and for all her family and all who mourn her.

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      LG, university music minister, wife and the mother of a teenage son, who will have surgery in the coming weeks for a double abdominal mass. It may be cancerous or it may be adhesions from earlier surgeries related to childbirth.

      Ross, alcoholic, won't seek help, had to leave his living space.

      Natalia, 24, cancer in her thigh bone, chemo and radiation now. She is very active in sports and now faces the possibility of a prosthetic leg and extensive treatment. Prayers for her worried parents and uncle and all her family, too.

      Catherine, infection and pneumonia after her 4th surgery and going downhill with complications, prayers, too for her husband, Steve and mother, Sigrid and all who are worried about her.

      Lorene, called in for further testing after a mammogram and very concerned, hoping no cancer is found.

      Prayers for Pat, on her birthday, many more and graces galore.

      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 4, June 5, October 5
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The seventh degree of humility
      is that he consider himself lower and of less account
      than anyone else,
      and this not only in verbal protestation
      but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
      humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
      "But I am a worm and no man,
      the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
      "After being exalted, I have been humbled
      and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
      And again,
      "It is good for me that You have humbled me,
      that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).


      So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
      and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
      Very ancient interpretation of this Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
      Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
      Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
      allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
      garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
      name a few.

      OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
      how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
      question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
      have no problem!

      But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
      matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
      are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
      their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
      thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.
      God alone can know all those things.

      OK, one argues, so if we can't know anyone is worse, we sure can't
      know if they're better, either. Quite right! Our God-given natural
      assessment abilities allow us to be sure of no one's wickedness or
      goodness, not even our own state of grace. But we have more facility
      in self-judgement than we have in regard to others. We have more
      parts of the puzzle there, even though we still don't have them all,
      we have windows into our own hearts and minds that we have in no
      other case.

      So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
      Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
      very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
      Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
      there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
      position for learning and spiritual growth.

      If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
      will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
      condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
      through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
      to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
      place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
      listening, really listening.

      And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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