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Holy Rule for Apr. 3

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Pope John Paul II. That may seem redundant, with millions already praying, but even when millions pray, our own prayers
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 3, 2005
      +PAX

      Prayers for the eternal rest of Pope John Paul II. That may seem redundant, with millions already praying, but even when millions pray, our own prayers let us have a share in the good that God is always doing, and, in this instance, a share in the good done by this remarkable Pope. Prayers, too, for newly weds Sara and Max and their 3 months premature son, Max, Jr., that his struggle to thrive and gain strength is successful. Prayers for Julie, a wonderful mother and her kids: a lot of stress right now and she needs rest. Lord, help them as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much! JL

      April 3, August 3, December 3
      Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

      Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
      and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
      When the Work of God is ended,
      let all go out in perfect silence,
      and let reverence for God be observed,
      so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
      will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
      And at other times also,
      if anyone should want to pray by herself,
      let her go in simply and pray,
      not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
      She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
      shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
      when the Work of God is ended,
      lest another be hindered, as we have said.

      REFLECTION

      Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
      clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
      youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
      assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
      the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
      not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
      my several charges at the time!

      Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
      and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
      written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
      times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
      Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
      closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
      Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
      could be saved!

      The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
      dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
      moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
      sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
      streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
      of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
      floozy, indeed!

      But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
      hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
      dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
      Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
      best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
      gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
      percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

      Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
      Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
      limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
      loving and delighted Mother who tries with all Her might to keep from
      laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

      Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
      not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
      God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
      rejoice! The great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
      and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
      videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
      we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
      it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
      trounced but good.

      It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
      the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
      come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
      poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
      we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
      we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
      dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

      Oh, yeah, ESPECIALLY the mirrors part!!

      Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX Prayers, please for a widowed Mom of two grown sons, 54, just diagnosed with colon cancer and spots on her liver. Prayers for her mother-in-law, who is
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 3, 2006
        +PAX

        Prayers, please for a widowed Mom of two grown sons, 54, just diagnosed with colon cancer and spots on her liver. Prayers for her mother-in-law, who is coming to help her out, also for her grandson, for whose Hodgkin's we prayed last year, doing great, but too soon to call it remission. Deo gratias for him and ardent prayers for Mom and Grandmom. Prayers for Bob, brain tumor, very weak from chemo and radiation, and for his wife, small in stature but tall in bravery caring for him, for spiritual and physical strength for them both. For another Bob, needs a liver transplant, suffering wild moods swings from hepatic encephalopathy and unwilling to treat them, very hard on him and his wife. For a woman trying to care for her Mom, who has Alzheimer's and macular degeneration. Understandable anxiety is overwhelming the caretaking daughter, and meds and therapy have not helped thus far. Prayers for her and her Mom.

        Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Oblate Dennis, who died this morning, and for Robbie, his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for Mother Claudia and for her Mom, who is ill with liver cancer and an uncertain prognosis. Prayers for C., that the right therapist and therapy emerge for her severe depression. Lord, hep 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

        April 3, August 3, December 3
        Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

        Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
        and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
        When the Work of God is ended,
        let all go out in perfect silence,
        and let reverence for God be observed,
        so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
        will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
        And at other times also,
        if anyone should want to pray by herself,
        let her go in simply and pray,
        not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
        She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
        shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
        when the Work of God is ended,
        lest another be hindered, as we have said.

        REFLECTION

        Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
        clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
        youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
        assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
        the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
        not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
        my several charges at the time!

        Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
        and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
        written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
        times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
        Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
        closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
        Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
        could be saved!

        The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
        dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
        moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
        sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
        streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
        of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
        floozy, indeed!

        But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
        hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
        dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
        Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
        best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
        gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
        percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

        Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
        Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
        limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
        loving and delighted Mother who tries with all Her might to keep from
        laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

        Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
        not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
        God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
        rejoice! Our great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
        and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
        videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
        we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
        it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
        trounced but good.

        It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
        the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
        come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
        poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
        we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
        we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
        dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

        Oh, yeah, ESPECIALLY the mirrors part!!

        Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        jeromeleo@...
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
        +PAX Prayers, please, for Joe, his driver s license is missing and he is seriously stressed out. Prayers for Julia and for her husband, who is having
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 2, 2007
          +PAX

          Prayers, please, for Joe, his driver's license is missing and he is
          seriously stressed out. Prayers for Julia and for her husband, who is having
          neurological problems: numbness in hands and feet, blood in spinal column, no
          diagnosis yet. Prayers for Shelli, that the Lord leads her to peace and good works
          as she leaves the work-a-day world and that her anxiety levels lower.

          Prayers for Solange, 18, who is suffering from Lupus for a little over 5
          years now. Her kidneys are failing, she had to drop out of college and she just
          started chemotherapy last week. Prayers for all her family, too. Prayers for
          a troubled family and marriage, one spouse using the children against the
          other. 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 3, August 3, December 3
          Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

          Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
          and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
          When the Work of God is ended,
          let all go out in perfect silence,
          and let reverence for God be observed,
          so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
          will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
          And at other times also,
          if anyone should want to pray by herself,
          let her go in simply and pray,
          not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
          She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
          shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
          when the Work of God is ended,
          lest another be hindered, as we have said.

          REFLECTION

          Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
          clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
          youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
          assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
          the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
          not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
          my several charges at the time!

          Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
          and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
          written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
          times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
          Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
          closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
          Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
          could be saved!

          The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
          dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
          moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
          sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
          streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
          of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
          floozy, indeed!

          But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
          hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
          dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
          Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
          best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
          gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
          percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

          Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
          Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
          limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
          loving and delighted Mother who tries with all Her might to keep from
          laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

          Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
          not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
          God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
          rejoice! Our great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
          and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
          videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
          we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
          it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
          trounced but good.

          It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
          the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
          come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
          poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
          we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
          we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
          dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

          Oh, yeah, ESPECIALLY the mirrors part!!

          Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
          Jerome, OSB
          _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
          _brjeromeleo@..._ (mailto:brjeromeleo@...)
          Petersham, MA








          ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jeromeleo@stmarysmonastery.org
          +PAX Prayers of Deo gratias and many years for Sal, brand new Oblate novice of St. Andrew s Abbey, Valyermo. Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 2, 2008
            +PAX

            Prayers of Deo gratias and many years for Sal, brand new Oblate novice of St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo.

            Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Jim.

            Prayers, too, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

            Edna, terminal breast cancer.

            Al, severe heart disease.

            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 3, August 3, December 3
            Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

            Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
            and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
            When the Work of God is ended,
            let all go out in perfect silence,
            and let reverence for God be observed,
            so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
            will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
            And at other times also,
            if anyone should want to pray by herself,
            let her go in simply and pray,
            not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
            She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
            shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
            when the Work of God is ended,
            lest another be hindered, as we have said.

            REFLECTION

            Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
            clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
            youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
            assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
            the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
            not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
            my several charges at the time!

            Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
            and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
            written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
            times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
            Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
            closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
            Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
            could be saved!

            The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
            dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
            moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
            sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
            streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
            of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
            floozy, indeed!

            But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
            hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
            dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
            Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
            best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
            gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
            percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

            Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
            Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
            limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
            loving and delighted Mother who tries with all Her might to keep from
            laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

            Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
            not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
            God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
            rejoice! Our great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
            and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
            videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
            we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
            it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
            trounced but good.

            It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
            the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
            come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
            poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
            we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
            we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
            dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

            Oh, yeah, ESPECIALLY the mirrors part!!

            Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
            Jerome, OSB
            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
            Petersham, MA




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday to all. Prayers for all making the Divine Mercy Sunday devotion today, that they may make it and be filled with many graces.
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 2, 2016

              +PAX

               

              Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday to all. Prayers for all making the Divine Mercy Sunday devotion today, that they may make it and be filled with many graces. If you need details on how to make the devotion, see this link:  https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/feast.htm

               

              Prayers for Brad and Debra, getting married civilly, outside the Church. She is a lapsed Catholic, Brad was raised in no faith. Prayers that they get their marriage properly blessed and that all, including Debra’s daughter and Brad become practicing Catholics.

               

              Prayers for the health of our Sr. Mary Paula, still in rehab.

               

              Prayers for our Sr. M. Emmanuel and for her Mom’s health.

               

              Prayers for our Fr. Dunstan and for his Dad’s health.

               

              Prayers for the soul of Father Darwin,39, Diocese of San Cristobal, Venezuela who was found murdered on March 31.

               

              Prayers  for Jan N., in the hospital with health issues, may be transferred to rehab Monday to help get her walking again. Prayers, too, for her husband, Jeff, who now is suffering from the flu and cannot go see her.

               

              Prayers for newborn Abigail Frances, and for her parents and grandparents.

               

              Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Daniel and his daughter-in-law, she was received into the Church on Holy Saturday.

               

              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 3, August 3, December 3
              Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

              Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
              and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
              When the Work of God is ended,
              let all go out in perfect silence,
              and let reverence for God be observed,
              so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
              will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
              And at other times also,
              if anyone should want to pray by herself,
              let her go in simply and pray,
              not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
              She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
              shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
              when the Work of God is ended,
              lest another be hindered, as we have said.

              REFLECTION

              Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
              clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
              youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
              assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
              the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
              not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
              my several charges at the time!

              Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
              and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
              written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
              times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
              Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
              closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
              Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
              would be saved!

              The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
              dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
              moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
              sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
              streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
              of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
              floozy, indeed!

              But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
              hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
              dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
              Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
              best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
              gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
              percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

              Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
              Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
              limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
              loving and delighted mother who tries with all her might to keep from
              laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

              Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
              not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
              God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
              rejoice! Our great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
              and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
              videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
              we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
              it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
              trounced but good.

              It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
              the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
              come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
              poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
              we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
              we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
              dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

              Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
              Jerome, OSB
              http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
              Petersham, MA


               

               

               

               

            • russophile2002
              +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest if Encarnacion, on the 40th day since her death, and for the consolation of her family and all who mourn her. Prayers for the
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 2

                +PAX

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest if Encarnacion, on the 40th day since her death, and for the consolation of her family and all who mourn her.

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Norbert Bosslet, OSB, 89, of Neuburg Abbey, Germany, and for all his family, Community and all who mourn him.


                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 3, August 3, December 3
                Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

                Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
                and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
                When the Work of God is ended,
                let all go out in perfect silence,
                and let reverence for God be observed,
                so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
                will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
                And at other times also,
                if anyone should want to pray by herself,
                let her go in simply and pray,
                not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
                She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
                shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
                when the Work of God is ended,
                lest another be hindered, as we have said.

                REFLECTION

                Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
                clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
                youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
                assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
                the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
                not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
                my several charges at the time!

                Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
                and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
                written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
                times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
                Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
                closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
                Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
                would be saved!

                The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
                dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
                moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
                sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
                streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
                of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
                floozy, indeed!

                But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
                hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
                dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
                Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
                best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
                gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
                percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

                Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
                Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
                limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
                loving and delighted mother who tries with all her might to keep from
                laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

                Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
                not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
                God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
                rejoice! Our great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
                and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
                videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
                we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
                it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
                trounced but good.

                It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
                the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
                come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
                poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
                we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
                we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
                dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

                Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
                Jerome, OSB
                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                Petersham, MA


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