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Holy Rule for May 19

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please for the woman who committed suicide that we prayed for yesterday and for her family and friends. They are suffering terribly. Please keep
    Message 1 of 28 , May 19, 2005
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please for the woman who committed suicide that we prayed for yesterday and for her family and friends. They are suffering terribly. Please keep Fr. Maurus in your prayers, we still hope to find his remains.

      Joyous prayers of Deo gratias for Anastasia, the teen with psych problems we prayed for, and for her parents. She is home and doing well, special prayers for her Mom, who has been really worn out by this. Deo gratias, too, for Joey and Carol, celebrating the graduation of their daughter, Sarah. Let us remember to pray for ALL parents, too. It takes so much to raise a child successfully these days, an accomplishment anyone could be proud of, but no one can do it without help and prayer! Lord, help them 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

      January 18, May 19, September 18
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
      whole soul, the whole strength.
      Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
      Then not to murder.
      Not to commit adultery.
      Not to steal.
      Not to covet.
      Not to bear false witness.
      To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
      And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
      To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
      To chastise the body.
      Not to become attached to pleasures.
      To love fasting.
      To relieve the poor.
      To clothe the naked.
      To visit the sick.
      To bury the dead.
      To help in trouble.
      To console the sorrowing.
      To become a stranger to the world's ways.
      To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

      REFLECTION

      The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
      both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
      visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
      the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
      monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
      works of mercy.

      Mercy is God's greatest attribute. Its links with love make it an
      attribute we can easily follow in our dealings with others,
      conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ. When the
      Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
      to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than
      works of mercy every day, continually throughout our lives.

      Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
      do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
      because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
      were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
      teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
      works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!

      The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
      alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
      mercy, like counseling the doubtful or enlightening the ignorant,
      praying for the living and dead. You don't have to run an almonry or
      work in one to do works of mercy. The chances are everywhere and
      often no more dramatic than offering to get a swamped co-worker a cup
      of coffee. They are often just such little things, but they are
      little things of love and therein lies their greatness and their
      Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
      our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
      for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant.

      For people who drive, the field of harvest for mercy is rich and ripe. So
      few are selfless these days in traffic, so few are willing to put another first.
      Try doing the opposite, giving way to someone needing to change lanes or
      calmly overlooking their honest mistakes. The road can be such a heartless
      place. Even if it is only smiling when someone commits a gaff that others would
      have yelled, honked or obscenely gestured at, it will make the world a gentler,
      more Christ-like place.

      Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
      already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
      have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
      for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
      there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
      miss that wonderful chance! And don't be surprised to find that works
      of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
      become more of Christ!

      If we want mercy, than we must show mercy to others. God's Heart warms
      and glows with the love He sees us showing to others. It is very much like
      that solemn equation Jesus gave us: "forgive us our trespasses as we
      forgive those who trespass against us."

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX Prayers, please, for Ginny, dying of brain cancer. She is the sister of Fr. Marc Crilly, of Ownie, one of our readers, and of Donna, our former Sr.
      Message 2 of 28 , May 19, 2006
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for Ginny, dying of brain cancer. She is the sister of Fr. Marc Crilly, of Ownie, one of our readers, and of Donna, our former Sr. Scholastica. The family is starting a novena to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha today and ask any who wish to join them. Please join them in prayer, even if you aren't making the novena. Since the novena begins today, I will send the text out to all as a separate post, so those wishing it don't have to e mail me and ask for it. This poor young woman suffered many things for years, not knowing it was brain cancer. She and her family richly deserve our prayers!

        Prayers for a woman in her 30's critically ill in ICU and doctors so far unable to find the cause. Prayers for all the health care folks who tend our our people we remember in prayer. Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Jim, for whom we prayed after his heart attack and stroke, he has gone to God. Prayers for his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for one in mid-life seeking what God has next, a change in career looms and yet clear signs of where to go next seem lacking. Prayers for God's perfect will here! Prayers, too, for C. in almost exactly similar circumstances. 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

        January 18, May 19, September 18
        Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

        In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
        whole soul, the whole strength.
        Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
        Then not to murder.
        Not to commit adultery.
        Not to steal.
        Not to covet.
        Not to bear false witness.
        To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
        And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
        To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
        To chastise the body.
        Not to become attached to pleasures.
        To love fasting.
        To relieve the poor.
        To clothe the naked.
        To visit the sick.
        To bury the dead.
        To help in trouble.
        To console the sorrowing.
        To become a stranger to the world's ways.
        To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

        REFLECTION

        The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
        both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
        visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
        the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
        monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
        works of mercy.

        Jesus told St. Faustina that the Divine Mercy is God's greatest attribute.
        Its links with love make it an attribute we can easily follow in our dealings
        with others, conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ.
        When the Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
        to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than works of mercy
        done every day, continually throughout our lives.

        Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
        do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
        because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
        were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
        teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
        works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!

        The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
        alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
        mercy, like counseling the doubtful, enlightening the ignorant and
        praying for the living and dead? You don't have to run an almonry or
        work in one to do works of mercy.

        The chances are everywhere and often no more dramatic than offering
        to get a swamped co-worker a cup of coffee. They are often just such little
        things, but they are little things of love and therein lies their greatness and
        their Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
        our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
        for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant.

        For people who drive, the field of harvest for mercy is rich and ripe. So
        few are selfless these days in traffic, so few are willing to put another first.
        Try doing the opposite, giving way to someone needing to change lanes or
        calmly overlooking their honest mistakes. The road can be such a heartless
        place. Even if it is only smiling when someone commits a gaff that others would
        have yelled, honked or obscenely gestured at, it will make the world a gentler,
        more Christ-like place.

        Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
        already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
        have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
        for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
        there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
        miss that wonderful chance! And don't be surprised to find that works
        of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
        become more of Christ!

        If we want mercy, than we must show mercy to others. God's Heart warms
        and glows with the love He sees us showing to others. It is very much like
        that solemn equation Jesus gave us: "forgive us our trespasses as we
        forgive those who trespass against us."

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        jeromeleo@...
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX Prayers for Fr. Robert, OSB, apostolic administrator of St. Leo Abbey, as he undergoes abdominal aneurysm surgery. May his surgery go well and his
        Message 3 of 28 , May 18, 2007
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          +PAX

          Prayers for Fr. Robert, OSB, apostolic administrator of St. Leo Abbey, as he undergoes abdominal aneurysm surgery. May his surgery go well and his recovery be swift and complete!

          Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Tania, whose surgery went well, but is in a lot of pain, continued prayers for her and her husband, Jose, and all their family. Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Srs. Andrea and Mary Leo, OSB, of the Bristow, VA Benedictine Sisters, celebrating their 60th jubilee.

          Linda asks prayers for her elderly parents, neither in good health, but her Dad, in very deteriorating health, can be a very difficult person. His wife, not well herself, is struggling to care for him at home. This family has a good many other problems, so prayers for them all, please. Prayers for Jeannette, a neurodegenerative disease, plus now she needs a lung transplant. Infections in her lungs give her a very uncertain, but poor prognosis without the transplant and she has been ill for long while.

          Prayers, too, for Marcin, in a coma after a freak fall, and for Michael, post-surgical troubles and wounds not healing. Prayers for all students going to their proms, may they return home safely, and for those teachers good enough to chaperone, also, Deo gratias for the students we prayed for during their final exams, all ten days finished now! 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

          January 18, May 19, September 18
          Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

          In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
          whole soul, the whole strength.
          Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
          Then not to murder.
          Not to commit adultery.
          Not to steal.
          Not to covet.
          Not to bear false witness.
          To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
          And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
          To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
          To chastise the body.
          Not to become attached to pleasures.
          To love fasting.
          To relieve the poor.
          To clothe the naked.
          To visit the sick.
          To bury the dead.
          To help in trouble.
          To console the sorrowing.
          To become a stranger to the world's ways.
          To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

          REFLECTION

          The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
          both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
          visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
          the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
          monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
          works of mercy.

          Jesus told St. Faustina that the Divine Mercy is God's greatest attribute.
          Its links with love make it an attribute we can easily follow in our dealings
          with others, conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ.
          When the Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
          to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than works of
          mercy
          done every day, continually throughout our lives.

          Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
          do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
          because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
          were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
          teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
          works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!

          The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
          alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
          mercy, like counseling the doubtful, enlightening the ignorant and
          praying for the living and dead? You don't have to run an almonry or
          work in one to do works of mercy.

          The chances are everywhere and often no more dramatic than offering
          to get a swamped co-worker a cup of coffee. They are often just such little
          things, but they are little things of love and therein lies their greatness and
          their Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
          our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
          for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant.

          For people who drive, the field of harvest for mercy is rich and ripe. So
          few are selfless these days in traffic, so few are willing to put another first.
          Try doing the opposite, giving way to someone needing to change lanes or
          calmly overlooking their honest mistakes. The road can be such a heartless
          place. Even if it is only smiling when someone commits a gaff that others would
          have yelled, honked or obscenely gestured at, it will make the world a gentler,
          more Christ-like place.

          Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
          already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
          have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
          for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
          there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
          miss that wonderful chance! And don't be surprised to find that works
          of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
          become more of Christ!

          If we want mercy, than we must show mercy to others. God's Heart warms
          and glows with the love He sees us showing to others. It is very much like
          that solemn equation Jesus gave us: "forgive us our trespasses as we
          forgive those who trespass against us."

          Love and prayers,
          Jerome, OSB
          jeromeleo@...
          http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
          Petersham, MA

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX A blessed Trinity Sunday to all! Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who
          Message 4 of 28 , May 18, 2008
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            +PAX

            A blessed Trinity Sunday to all!

            Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who treat or care for them:

            Prayers please for Marty (in rehab), Joe and Bill (dealing with cancers) and Jill, Annie, Ginny and Anne, their family members all needing and giving care.

            Deo gratias and thanksgiving for the safe arrival of a baby boy to Katie and Bill, a second grandson for Diana and Jay on May17th.

            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

            January 18, May 19, September 18
            Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

            In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
            whole soul, the whole strength.
            Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
            Then not to murder.
            Not to commit adultery.
            Not to steal.
            Not to covet.
            Not to bear false witness.
            To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
            And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
            To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
            To chastise the body.
            Not to become attached to pleasures.
            To love fasting.
            To relieve the poor.
            To clothe the naked.
            To visit the sick.
            To bury the dead.
            To help in trouble.
            To console the sorrowing.
            To become a stranger to the world's ways.
            To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

            REFLECTION

            The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
            both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
            visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
            the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
            monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
            works of mercy.

            Jesus told St. Faustina that the Divine Mercy is God's greatest attribute.
            Its links with love make it an attribute we can easily follow in our dealings
            with others, conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ.
            When the Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
            to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than works of
            mercy done every day, continually throughout our lives.

            Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
            do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
            because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
            were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
            teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
            works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!

            The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
            alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
            mercy, like counseling the doubtful, enlightening the ignorant and
            praying for the living and dead? You don't have to run an almonry or
            work in one to do works of mercy.

            The chances are everywhere and often no more dramatic than offering
            to get a swamped co-worker a cup of coffee. They are often just such little
            things, but they are little things of love and therein lies their greatness and
            their Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
            our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
            for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant.

            For people who drive, the field of harvest for mercy is rich and ripe. So
            few are selfless these days in traffic, so few are willing to put another first.
            Try doing the opposite, giving way to someone needing to change lanes or
            calmly overlooking their honest mistakes. The road can be such a heartless
            place. Even if it is only smiling when someone commits a gaff that others would
            have yelled, honked or obscenely gestured at, it will make the world a gentler,
            more Christ-like place.

            Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
            already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
            have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
            for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
            there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
            miss that wonderful chance! And don't be surprised to find that works
            of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
            become more of Christ!

            If we want mercy, than we must show mercy to others. God's Heart warms
            and glows with the love He sees us showing to others. It is very much like
            that solemn equation Jesus gave us: "forgive us our trespasses as we
            forgive those who trespass against us."

            Love and prayers,
            Jerome, OSB
            jeromeleo@...
            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
            Petersham, MA




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers for the following: our Fr. Dunstan, of Pluscarden Abbey, and his very elderly Mom and Dad. She collapsed and has been taken to the hospital. Fr.
            Message 5 of 28 , May 18, 2014
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              +PAX
               
              Prayers for the following:
               
              our Fr. Dunstan, of Pluscarden Abbey, and his very elderly Mom and Dad. She collapsed and has been taken to the hospital. Fr. Dunstan is iwth her, prayers for all the family. It is also Fr. Dunstan's feastday, so some extra prayers for that, too.
               
              Vicky, brain tumor and needs disc repair.
               
              Clover, 100, suspected deep vein thrombosis. She fell two weeks ago today, did not break anything, but injured her knee. Knee is not healing. Prayers, too, for her daughter, Holly, and all their family.
               
              Mark and his sister, Elizabeth, she is in ER, details unknown. Prayers for all their family.
               
              Leo, 3 months, had serious heart surgery, next 48 hours are critical. Prayers for his parents and family, too.
               
              Decklen, delivered by c-section, four months premature, critical condition. And for his parents, who have lost an earlier child to premature birth.
               
              Debbie and her Mom and Dad. All three are ill now.
               
              Prash, special intention.
               
              Timmy, 50's, an amputee in a nursing home who has now had a stroke and is paralyzed on one side.
               
              M.M.-- for the spiritual, emotional, and physical strength to continue to bear up under the now doubled (his former position plus the new one) responsibilities and stress of his new promotion. Also for the wisdom to choose the best of 3 alternative company offices when his current location closes at the end of the year, if he has not found work at another company by that time.
               
              continued prayers for Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, 8 mos. pregnant, a Christian whose marriage to a Christian is considered illegal since she is considered legally Muslim. Convicted of "adultery" and apostasy. Sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging after her child is born. Her 20 mos. old child is with her in prison.
               
              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

              January 18, May 19, September 18
              Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

              In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
              whole soul, the whole strength.
              Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
              Then not to murder.
              Not to commit adultery.
              Not to steal.
              Not to covet.
              Not to bear false witness.
              To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
              And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
              To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
              To chastise the body.
              Not to become attached to pleasures.
              To love fasting.
              To relieve the poor.
              To clothe the naked.
              To visit the sick.
              To bury the dead.
              To help in trouble.
              To console the sorrowing.
              To become a stranger to the world's ways.
              To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

              REFLECTION

              The Commandments are here, but so are some of the works of mercy,
              both spiritual and corporal: clothing the naked, relieving the poor,
              visiting the sick, burying the dead, helping in trouble and consoling
              the sorrowing. It is no accident that the works undertaken by
              monasteries were most often those involving spiritual or corporal
              works of mercy.

              Jesus told St. Faustina that the Divine Mercy is God's greatest attribute.
              Its links with love make it an attribute we can easily follow in our dealings
              with others, conforming ourselves more and more to the image of Christ.
              When the Father looks at us, He delights to see the image of His Son brought
              to life in us. Nothing can bring that image into sharper focus than works of
              mercy done every day, continually throughout our lives.

              Many works of mercy can be given freely, but never forget that some
              do works of mercy for a living. I used to think nursing didn't count
              because I got paid for it. Then one day, it dawned on me that there
              were plenty of people you couldn't PAY to nurse someone! No, the
              teacher, the gravedigger, the nurse and anyone else who does such
              works of mercy as an occupation are still graced!

              The works of mercy can be words, deeds, or prayers. They seek to
              alleviate pain or prevent it. Remember those spiritual works of
              mercy, like counseling the doubtful, enlightening the ignorant and
              praying for the living and dead? You don't have to run an almonry or
              work in one to do works of mercy.

              The chances are everywhere and often no more dramatic than offering
              to get a swamped co-worker a cup of coffee. They are often just such little
              things, but they are little things of love and therein lies their greatness and
              their Christ-like splendor! Courtesy, simple courtesy is extraordinary in
              our world today because it is so often neglected. The chances there
              for a word of mercy or a kind gesture are abundant.

              For people who drive, the field of harvest for mercy is rich and ripe. So
              few are selfless these days in traffic, so few are willing to put another first.
              Try doing the opposite, giving way to someone needing to change lanes or
              calmly overlooking their honest mistakes. The road can be such a heartless
              place. Even if it is only smiling when someone commits a gaff that others would
              have yelled, honked or obscenely gestured at, it will make the world a gentler,
              more Christ-like place.

              Never let a day go by without doing works of mercy. Never. If you are
              already in bed and examining your conscience when you realize you
              have missed a day, there is still time to pray for the dying, to pray
              for the living and dead. We have no excuse for missing a day and
              there is so much good at stake, good placed near our own hands. Don't
              miss that wonderful chance! And don't be surprised to find that works
              of mercy change YOU as much as they do others. Little by little we
              become more of Christ!

              If we want mercy, than we must show mercy to others. God's Heart warms
              and glows with the love He sees us showing to others. It is very much like
              that solemn equation Jesus gave us: "forgive us our trespasses as we
              forgive those who trespass against us."

              Love and prayers,
              Jerome, OSB
              http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
              Petersham, MA
               
               
               
               
               
               
            • Br. Jerome Leo
              +PAX Prayers for Earl, doing well in his new job. He works with troubled women in need and asks prayers for mothers who have abused their children and have
              Message 6 of 28 , May 19, 2014
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                +PAX
                 
                Prayers for Earl, doing well in his new job. He works with troubled women in need and asks prayers for mothers who have abused their children and have turned their life around, prayers for mothers who are currently abusers or neglect their children, and prayer for very young mothers who are practically children themselves.
                 
                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!

                January 19, May 20, September 19
                Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

                Not to give way to anger.
                Not to nurse a grudge.
                Not to entertain deceit in one's heart.
                Not to give a false peace.
                Not to forsake charity.
                Not to swear, for fear of perjuring oneself.
                To utter truth from heart and mouth.
                Not to return evil for evil.
                To do no wrong to anyone, and to bear patiently wrongs done to
                oneself.
                To love one's enemies.
                Not to curse those who curse us, but rather to bless them.
                To bear persecution for justice' sake.
                Not to be proud.
                Not addicted to wine.
                Not a great eater.
                Not drowsy.
                Not lazy.
                Not a grumbler.
                Not a detractor.
                To put one's hope in God.
                To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in
                oneself.
                But to recognize always that the evil is one's own doing, and to
                impute it to oneself.

                REFLECTION

                These Instruments of Good Works are an excellent compendium and
                summary of Christianity itself. The very order in which they are
                listed seems to be less than accidental: the first and greatest
                commandment that Jesus spoke of, to love God with one's whole being,
                is first, followed by His second commandment of love of neighbor.
                Selections from the 10 commandments follow that. Hence, it would seem
                to be no accident that the exhortations to avoid perjury and
                to "utter truth from heart and mouth" immediately follow one that
                bids us never "to forsake charity."

                Jesus tells us: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." St. John
                tells us that "God is Love." There is no way to safely dissociate
                these things from one another.

                God is Truth, so it is little wonder that offending truth offends
                God. Another reason that deceit and falsity are so terribly
                wrong is that they destroy trust and make community either less
                possible or totally impossible.

                When I taught in grammar school, some of our children would
                simply lie as a first resort, not a last. It was rather an attitude of
                "Hey, give it a shot! It might fly..." This was not my impression
                alone, but all of the faculty's. It was sad, but we had to accept the
                fact that one could not safely trust some of our children.
                One could usually dig out the truth one on one, alone, but one
                didn't always have the time or privacy to do so. That made it very
                hard to build a community based on trust. We loved
                our kids like crazy, but we had to be sadly aware that there was
                sometimes a more than average manipulation of truth.

                Trust and community, love and truth, life and the way, these are
                entwined in the heart of God, that heart to which we all hope to go.
                We need all of those things for our journey.

                Love and prayers,
                Jerome, OSB
                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                Petersham, MA

              • Br. Jerome Leo
                +PAX Prayers for the following, please: Kent, who has been hospitalized for quite a few weeks and is not getting better. Multiple organ failure at this time.
                Message 7 of 28 , May 20, 2014
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                  Prayers for the following, please:
                   
                  Kent, who has been hospitalized for quite a few weeks and is not getting better. Multiple organ failure at this time. His wife, Claire, and son Keith, who is a college student also need prayers badly. ( Kent is a convert from Mormonism, so is not very welcome in his family anymore, and all his wife’s relatives are in the Philippines , so they have very little support except for friends.)

                  C. and P., that P. remove C.'s name from a lawsuit that is not C.'s fault.

                  Lili, in the hospital, lost 18 lbs. in less than a month, trouble swallowing and choking. Pray that doctors find a way to help.

                  Jah, financial needs.

                  the eternal rest of a priest who died, and for all his family, esp. his Mom, 99, and all who mourn him.

                  the 33 children who burned to death in a bus accident in Colombia, for their eternal rest, all their families and all who mourn them.

                  Leslie's Dad, near death. For his happy death,should God call him, and for Leslie and all their family.

                  January 20, May 21, September 20
                  Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

                  To fear the Day of Judgment.
                  To be in dread of hell.
                  To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
                  To keep death daily before one's eyes.
                  To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
                  To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
                  When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
                  immediately.
                  And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
                  To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
                  Not to love much talking.
                  Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
                  Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
                  To listen willingly to holy reading.
                  To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
                  Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
                  sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
                  Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
                  To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
                  herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
                  Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
                  Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
                  holy, that one may be truly so called.

                  REFLECTION

                  By the time he wrote this, St. Benedict had no doubt listened to a
                  LOT of monastics' confess their evil thoughts. He knew the carefree,
                  breezy generalities of those who lacked depth and he also knew the
                  excruciating details of the scrupulous, who had too much to tell. What
                  he must have had to listen to in those years! Why on earth would he
                  recommend a practice so difficult for both the father and the
                  disciple?

                  Because it works, as AA and other Twelve Step members could readily
                  tell you. It offers an outside, objective opinion, a more impartial
                  estimation of one's progress or lack thereof and a chance to give
                  pertinent advice in the struggle.

                  You can also get a fairly good barometer of where a person's struggles
                  are focused by knowing where she is tempted. Satan does not waste time
                  and effort, he does not duplicate services. If you are doing a wonderful job
                  of running yourself to hell on a rail in a given area, you can be pretty sure
                  he'll leave you alone. Remember, there are the world and the flesh to
                  help him out.

                  Some of our evil thoughts DO come from us, and these may be very
                  informative, but others do not, and these also, give a better picture
                  of where we actually are. A handy rule of thumb is that if a thought
                  distresses you, upsets you, you likely did not will it. Try to let it
                  go and be done with it. The fact that we are upset often means the thought
                  did not come from us, we wouldn't care otherwise. Offer a quick prayer,
                  My Jesus, save me!

                  Real assaults of Satan that are terribly
                  noticeable usually come at a time when we are progressing. (Of
                  course, there are subtle ones day in, day out, but the biggies
                  usually mean we're doing SOMETHING right!) Hideous temptations
                  are often a good sign, not a bad one: they can mean our progress has
                  riled up the devil's anger. If we stop and look at some of those hideous
                  temptations, to blasphemy, for instance, we can clearly see that they are
                  not like us, not from us. Horrible thoughts that we would never dream of
                  seriously thinking come from the Evil One.

                  AA knew they were offering a spiritual program of recovery to people
                  from all faiths, as well as to people of no religious background.
                  They knew some Churches had one-on-one confession, others did not, so
                  they included it in the 12 steps, stating that each must make known
                  to oneself, to God AND to another "the exact nature" of their wrongs.
                  Heavy stuff, there, but why?

                  Because God, wonderful though He is, often seems not to talk back, or if
                  He does, to speak indirectly in ways that many of us miss. Because we
                  cannot tell from our own inventory what another person can tell us
                  about ourselves: we're too close to the subject to be objective!

                  Our fears and shame are so terrible when they are horrible secrets to
                  us alone. They paralyze us, wholly or partially, but they ALWAYS impede us.
                  Break that panicky isolation, tell the worst and, finding that your
                  listener has at least not dropped dead of shock, you are on the
                  way to learning something wonderfully necessary. None of us are
                  hopeless, none of us are unlovable (or unloved!)

                  For all of our Oblates who come from Christian traditions that do not
                  practice individual confession, I recommend it- so does St. Benedict!
                  T
                  hink what a regular dose of such reality could do for one!

                  Religious Confession, however, is an obligation for Catholics. Finding a regular
                  confessor may take time, but one cannot hold off confessing in the meantime.
                  Pray to the Holy Spirit to find the right priest for you. Ask God to use the
                  priest's lips to speak to you. I can't tell you how many times I have made this
                  last prayer and had it richly answered. God does use His priests. Go to
                  Confession, you will be glad you did!


                  Love and prayers,
                  Jerome, OSB
                  http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                  Petersham, MA


                   

                • Br. Jerome Leo
                  +PAX Prayers, please, for Michael LoPiccolo, on his birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!!! Prayers for Gianluca, 18 months old, in Pediatric
                  Message 8 of 28 , May 21, 2014
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                    Prayers, please, for Michael LoPiccolo, on his birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!!!
                     
                    Prayers for Gianluca, 18 months old, in Pediatric Intensive Care receiving blood transfusions for unknown blood ailment. His body is consuming his red blood cells. Please pray that doctors will determine the cause and successfully treat him.
                     
                    Prayers for Dean, who hasn't spoken to his brother, John, in over a year. May his heart be converted and the rift be healed. Prayers for John, too, on his birthday yesterday.
                     
                    Prayers for Fr. Michael, having a rest colostomy for six months after surgery to remove a bowel obstruction.
                     
                    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

                    January 21, May 22, September 21
                    Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

                    To fulfill God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
                    To love chastity.
                    To hate no one.
                    Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
                    Not to love contention.
                    To beware of haughtiness.
                    And to respect the seniors.
                    To love the juniors.
                    To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
                    To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
                    And never to despair of God's mercy.
                    These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
                    If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
                    and return them on the Day of Judgment,
                    our compensation from the Lord
                    will be that wage He has promised:
                    "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
                    what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

                    Now the workshop
                    in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
                    is the enclosure of the monastery
                    and stability in the community.

                    REFLECTION

                    Employ them ALL? "Unceasingly, day and night,"??? Give me a break!
                    You have GOT to be kidding. There are lots of these I couldn't pull
                    off if I spent a year working on each one alone- and I do NOT have 72
                    years left, especially if some are going to take way longer than a
                    year a piece. This is beyond me.

                    You bet it is, folks! It's beyond all of us, but He isn't kidding,
                    and neither is St. Benedict. Both know something that our egocentric
                    eyes can miss- it ain't about us or our strength, it is ALL about our total
                    weakness and the complete triumph of grace. The effective use of
                    these tools is grace and gift. Any successes besides that are nothing
                    but clever gymnastics.

                    In fact, it is really all about our own wretchedness being lifted up and
                    out by the saving act of Jesus Christ: His grace, His help, His salvation.
                    Our own efforts without Him are nada, zilch, absolute zero. The closer we come
                    to see and know Christ, the clearer this fact becomes.

                    One very quick little thought: even the tools we do manage to
                    pull off using are not our own, we are to return them on the Day of
                    Judgment!!! Hey, before we fall all over ourselves, patting our own
                    backs for this or that, we are doing it all with borrowed tools!
                    Humbling thought there and a further confirmation of the paragraph
                    above!

                    We need to ask God for His help and grace to become saints, we need
                    to ask Him for the loan of those tools of good works from His workshop.
                    The ability to become holy comes from God, from grace. No one at all
                    can do it without that. We must cooperate with His grace and mercy
                    and gifts. He is not stingy with His grace, but we must ask for all we can use!

                    We dare not say we are unable to be holy. Holy is not
                    linked to our ability, but to our receptivity to God's grace and His
                    mercy and will. He makes up for what is lacking in us, for lacks that
                    we could never supply. That's the wonder of all this! God uses our
                    weakness to triumph, God uses us to demonstrate His own omnipotence.
                    Our frailty becomes His praise. Wow!

                    Love and prayers,
                    Jerome, OSB
                    http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                    Petersham, MA

                     
                     
                     
                     
                  • Br. Jerome Leo
                    +PAX Prayers please for Bill, 36, severe chest pains that are resisting diagnosis. Prayers for Meghan, a single mother-to-be, for her health, the baby s
                    Message 9 of 28 , May 22, 2014
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                      Prayers please for Bill, 36, severe chest pains that are resisting diagnosis.
                       
                      Prayers for Meghan, a single mother-to-be, for her health, the baby's health, and for her job in the future. Pray for the family, especially for her mother, Laura. Bless them all with the peace of the Lord.
                       
                      Prayers that a 9 year rift between family members in Mary Beth's family be healed.
                       
                      Deo gratias and prayers of thanksgiving:
                       
                      Fr. Dunstan's Mother, 87, is home from the hospital, but increasngly frail. Continued prayers for her, Fr. Dunstan, and his Father.
                       
                      a very special private intention which was granted.
                       
                      the woman we prayed for has found a doctor.
                       
                      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

                      January 22, May 23, September 22
                      Chapter 5: On Obedience

                      The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
                      This is the virtue of those
                      who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;
                      who, because of the holy service they have professed,
                      and the fear of hell,
                      and the glory of life everlasting,
                      as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,
                      receive it as a divine command
                      and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.
                      Of these the Lord says,
                      "As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me" (Ps. 17:45).
                      And again to teachers He says,
                      "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).


                      Such as these, therefore,
                      immediately leaving their own affairs
                      and forsaking their own will,
                      dropping the work they were engaged on
                      and leaving it unfinished,
                      with the ready step of obedience
                      follow up with their deeds the voice of him who commands.
                      And so as it were at the same moment
                      the master's command is given
                      and the disciple's work is completed,
                      the two things being speedily accomplished together
                      in the swiftness of the fear of God
                      by those who are moved
                      with the desire of attaining life everlasting.
                      That desire is their motive for choosing the narrow way,
                      of which the Lord says,
                      "Narrow is the way that leads to life" (Matt. 7:14),
                      so that,
                      not living according to their own choice
                      nor obeying their own desires and pleasures
                      but walking by another's judgment and command,
                      they dwell in monasteries and desire to have an Abbot over them.
                      Assuredly such as these are living up to that maxim of the Lord
                      in which He says,
                      "I have come not to do My own will,
                      but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).

                      REFLECTION


                      Bluntly put, obedience doesn't do its best work until it
                      messes with your life, until it disturbs you and stirs up your
                      complacent, settled smugness. It's rather like a light switch. The
                      bulb doesn't go on until someone throws the switch. The potential is
                      always there, but no switch, no light. Potential light alone is not
                      terribly enlightening, as anyone who's tried to read in a fully-wired,
                      darkened room can tell you!

                      There is a big difference between apathy and detachment.
                      This chapter offers a prime example: one leaves one's own affairs,
                      drops whatever one was in the midst of and forsakes one's own will.
                      That's detachment. Apathy is selfish, detachment is selfless. Apathy
                      makes oneself the center, detachment revolves around God and
                      others. Detachment cares deeply, but not for the selfish will!

                      Apathy, on the other hand, truly doesn't care one way or the other about
                      anything. There is no ascesis in apathy, because all things are regarded with
                      equal indifference. It is the LACK of indifference and the level of personal
                      attachment that makes detachment work. Detachment is active, apathy
                      is passive. Apathy is the uncaring state, detachment is the lover's struggle
                      against undue caring. It sets our priorities aright and they need that badly!

                      Obedience was the victim of a lot of word play in the 60's and 70's.
                      One must hope it was all sincere, but it was often misguided.
                      Beloveds, if you call it "coordination" or "dialogue" or "consensus"
                      you run a terrible risk of referring to a light switch more or less
                      perpetually in the off position, or to one which casts light only where we'd
                      like it to shine. Alas, we are not usually wise enough to request light
                      where we need it most. That must be left to God and God uses obedience.

                      Love and prayers,
                      Jerome, OSB
                      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                      Petersham, MA
                       
                       

                    • Br. Jerome Leo
                      +PAX Prayers for the following: Br. Joseph, for help in real estate matters and God s will. a woman who has been diagnosed with cancer, again. She had it
                      Message 10 of 28 , May 23, 2014
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                        Prayers for the following:
                         
                        Br. Joseph, for help in real estate matters and God's will.
                         
                        a woman who has been diagnosed with cancer, again. She had it several years ago, and they thought they had 'caught it' but of course cancer has a way of coming back again. The family is really devastated. The Drs. are running tests to see what options they'll have on treating it. Pray for a miracle!
                         
                        Anselm D., still waiting for a badly needed job change.
                         
                        a college student in Cincinnati who has gone missing for close to a week – friends and authorities looking for him. May he be found safe and unharmed.

                        Jack –moved from his home of nearly fifty years into a retirement home. May he find peace, friendship and a sense of community.

                        Lois (and her sister Joan) – both living with the effects of Alzheimer’s.

                        Fr. Jan – recovering from knee surgery.

                        Little Sisters of the Poor – being denied religious liberty. May God produce a positive outcome in their upcoming litigation.

                        Betty, who goes into hospital on the 23rd for treatment of a tumor in her throat and for her husband, Mark, who has lost his faith and also has a severe cold.

                        Patrick, who graduates from High School on Sunday. May he be blessed with wisdom and a continued strong faith in the Lord.
                         
                        Ann Marie, health issues increasing,prayers that she understands God's will for her and that she is not angry.
                         
                        Beth, addict, causing much trouble wherever she goes, especially with her parents.

                        For Bill,in jail, also an addict, facing prison time for acts he commited and for Kathleen, who has enabled Bill in his addiction.
                         
                        Brittany,  as she writes a 72 hour exam starting today for her Masters in Psychology. Prayers that she can stay focused and that her study space is blessed and quiet enough for her to work. Prayers that the Holy Spirit come upon Brittany and writes through her and she gets an excellent grade. Also prayers that Brittany works where God wants her to work.
                         
                        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

                        January 23, May 24, September 23
                        Chapter 5: On Obedience

                        But this very obedience
                        will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
                        only if what is commanded is done
                        without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
                        For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
                        since He Himself has said,
                        "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
                        And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
                        for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
                        For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
                        and murmurs,
                        not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
                        then even though he fulfill the command
                        yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
                        who sees that his heart is murmuring.
                        And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
                        he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
                        unless he amend and make satisfaction.

                        REFLECTION

                        It is our hearts that convict us in obedience. Not because of
                        feelings or emotions, those can be mistaken, but because of the
                        relationship between love and will. Many of us have loved someone and
                        hated having to do something that the love required, but we did it
                        anyway. Our feelings or repugnance were over-ruled by the will in our
                        hearts to love. Face it, love does not ALWAYS feel too good, which is
                        a principal way it differs from mere feelings.

                        Jean Ronan, one of my favorite teachers used to tell me to always make all
                        decisions "in the light of the death candle", that is, as if one were about to
                        die. How hearing that annoyed me at 30, but how true it is, and the closer one
                        gets to the possibility of that death candle, the truer it is. There's a handy
                        rule of thumb here. Does our choice put God and our faith first, no matter what?
                        If it does not, something is terribly wrong.

                        There is also the trust of faith involved here. God is God and we must firmly
                        believe He will do the best for us, no matter how unclear that may sometimes be.
                        Jesus often told St. Faustina to ask her superiors for permissions, hard
                        permissions, to do this or that extra prayer or mortification, that He KNEW they
                        would refuse. Then, after the refusal, He would tell Faustina that
                        her obedience meant more to Him than the thing denied.

                        He also said to her that all creatures do His will, whether they want
                        to not or, whether they know it or not. Now there's a hefty order!
                        Still when we look at St. Paul's remark that, "for those who love
                        God, all things work together for good," this is not at all far-fetched.
                        St. Paul did not say "all wise things", or "well-intentioned things", or
                        "cooperative things". He said "all" and he was inspired to say that by
                        the Holy Spirit.

                        "All things".....hmmmm. There is a mystical point where the will of God
                        cannot be thwarted. This is evident in the lives of many saints. When Jesus
                        told them nothing could harm them, He wasn't just kidding around! In spite
                        of seemingly insuperable odds, His will for them would triumph again and
                        again. But this is NOT just for saints: it is true for all of us! Obedience
                        throws us into the vortex of that, but it gets easier as our faith
                        (and experience of God's goodness!) deepens.

                        We have been too ready to think that obedience depends only on
                        humans, who are flawed. It doesn't. All obedience is given to God.
                        Our love and trust and His love and mercy are the deciding factors,
                        not the universally flawed human weakness that plagues every human
                        means of God's will in this world.

                        Want a little theological aside here? Look at what this concept of
                        all doing His will does to the concept of sin. It makes it the ULTIMATE rip-off.
                        If, even when we try to thwart God, we further His plans (and face it, He
                        *IS* clever enough to pull that off,) then we are left with absolutely nothing
                        but the bitter ashes of our own useless self- defeat. Whether we are with Him or
                        against Him,
                        His kingdom will nevertheless come. What a tragedy to have been nothing
                        more than a futile obstacle to that!

                        Love and prayers,
                        Jerome, OSB
                        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                        Petersham, MA

                      • Br. Jerome Leo
                        +PAX Prayers, please, for Fr. Bede of Pluscarden and formerly of St. Mary s, on his feastday. Graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos! Prayers for the
                        Message 11 of 28 , May 24, 2014
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                          Prayers, please, for Fr. Bede of Pluscarden and formerly of St. Mary's, on his feastday. Graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!
                           
                          Prayers for the following:
                           
                          Kerrie, tests being run, her health has been affected by the long illness and subsequent loss of her daughter, Adrienne. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of Adrienne.
                           
                          Deo gratias, Eric passed his physical. Now the community must vote to admit him to the Abbey. Continued prayers for his vocation.
                           
                          for the eternal rest of Theresa Bakas. With her husband, John, she ran the Oblate program at St.Leo and for all her family and all who mourn her.
                           
                          Chiara, who has a job interview on Tuesday. She has had problems finding work for some time and she feels quite worthless. This would also help her settle back home where her family can help her.
                           
                          Jah, homeless and needs many things to help him.
                           
                          Martha, in poor health.
                           
                          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

                          January 24, May 25, September 24
                          Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

                          Let us do what the Prophet says:
                          "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
                          that I may not sin with my tongue.
                          I have set a guard to my mouth.'
                          I was mute and was humbled,
                          and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
                          Here the Prophet shows
                          that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
                          to refrain even from good speech,
                          so much the more ought the punishment for sin
                          make us avoid evil words.


                          Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
                          permission to speak should rarely be granted
                          even to perfect disciples,
                          even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
                          for it is written,
                          "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
                          and in another place,
                          "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


                          For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
                          the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
                          And for that reason
                          if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
                          it should be asked
                          with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


                          But as for coarse jests and idle words
                          or words that move to laughter,
                          these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
                          and for such conversation
                          we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

                          REFLECTION

                          Words, even kind words, are not always a blessing. In the absence of
                          silence, basically meaningless rituals of speech may actually serve
                          as distancers, shorthand acknowledgement of the other(s) with the
                          unspoken agreement that "Sufficient, token attention has been paid, now
                          leave me alone!" I'm not saying all such rituals are empty, they
                          aren't, but most of us have a few that really could be examined.

                          When we are alone is the best and easiest time to cultivate silence.
                          Turn off the car radio, temporarily (or even permanently!) kill your
                          television. Switch on the answer phone and turn the volume down.
                          Examine all the areas where you have added noise you truly do not
                          need.

                          Why? Because noise is usually added as distraction, and
                          distraction is what the monastic doesn't want. We don't want our focus
                          scattered, because our work is to be looking at the very unlovely things
                          in our deepest self that distraction helps us deny or ignore. We have a
                          lifelong self-scrutiny and that requires a lot of dumping the stuff people
                          generally employ to avoid such truthful self-confrontation.

                          Even boredom- another reason we add noise- can be trotted out under
                          its old monastic name of "accidie" and teach us lots. In the desert of boredom,
                          one can confront the lackluster self! No wonder we don't like it!

                          Some family church experimentation might be possible, but NEVER push
                          others into your choice of monastic style. It will do them and you a
                          great disservice. Anything attempted here must be done with consent
                          of all and without being doctrinaire, especially if there are
                          children involved. Do you really want to run the Villa von Trapp the
                          way the Captain did?? I hope not...

                          With children involved, great care must be taken and often silence
                          foresworn altogether. Always remember that one's children and spouse
                          have a higher moral claim on one's vocation than Oblation does. The
                          will of God will come to you more clearly through your marriage or
                          parenthood than it will from any secondary source, including the Holy
                          Rule.

                          If, and only if, children are willing to enter into a period of
                          silence each day, for them, make it short. We are dealing, as you
                          well know, with antsy kids and short attention spans. They're
                          SUPPOSED to be that way: respect it. Suggestion? What about 5 minutes
                          of taped reading at dinner? What about doing the cleanup in silence
                          with smiles? What about trying either just for Lent?

                          Be prepared for your efforts to fail. Not everyone can do these
                          things. If the experiment doesn't work, DROP IT at once. Never, ever
                          force your own vocation down the throats of others. Always remember
                          that there is great asceticism in the acceptance of noise we wish we
                          could avoid. Always remember that there is a hermitage of deep peace
                          and serenity in every heart, but you must build it with God's help.

                          Love and prayers,
                          Jerome, OSB
                          http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                          Petersham, MA


                          .
                        • Br. Jerome Leo
                          +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Eileen, 87, for whom we prayed, and for her son, Bud, and all their family and all who mourn her. Prayers for Ann
                          Message 12 of 28 , May 25, 2014
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                            Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Eileen, 87, for whom we prayed, and for her son, Bud, and all their family and all who mourn her.
                             
                            Prayers for Ann and her fiance, religious differences. May he return to his Faith.
                             
                            Prayers for Prash and Jah, special intentions.
                             
                            Prayers for a young mother who was raped. Her baby is only four weeks old. The rapist admitted his crime, may he truly repent.
                             
                            Deo gratias for the safety of Sue R. and her father, their problem was solved, but not in the way they expected.
                             
                            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

                            January 25, May 26, September 25
                            Chapter 7: On Humility

                            Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
                            "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
                            and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
                            In saying this it shows us
                            that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
                            against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
                            when he says,
                            "Lord, my heart is not exalted,
                            nor are mine eyes lifted up;
                            neither have I walked in great matters,
                            nor in wonders above me."
                            But how has he acted?
                            "Rather have I been of humble mind
                            than exalting myself;
                            as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
                            so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).


                            Hence, brethren,
                            if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
                            and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
                            to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
                            we must
                            by our ascending actions
                            erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
                            on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
                            By that descent and ascent
                            we must surely understand nothing else than this,
                            that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
                            And the ladder thus set up is our life in the would,
                            which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
                            For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
                            and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
                            the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

                            REFLECTION

                            Today we begin St. Benedict's exhaustive treatment of humility.
                            Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
                            impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
                            essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
                            such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
                            climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
                            humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.

                            A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
                            to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
                            experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
                            daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
                            that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
                            limited to observable data.

                            Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
                            with relations between people and visible, created things. The catch
                            here is that the humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in
                            relationship of humans to God, a sphere in which psychology often
                            finds itself woefully out of its element. It can see some things
                            amiss, but not all. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith, and
                            this impedes it in this area. Balance, always balance.

                            A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
                            great matters, nor in matters above me." This was a favorite of
                            Brother Patrick Creamer, my late mentor. He learned to do it quite
                            well and in just 45 years or so!! Say a special prayer for Patrick's
                            eternal rest with God.

                            I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
                            monastic soap opera, its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
                            many things, even most, we must learn simply not to meddle, not to
                            trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
                            call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.

                            You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
                            distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And
                            you will never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that
                            peace is humility and love, both effective vaccinations against the
                            fatal disease of power.

                            Love and prayers,
                            Jerome, OSB
                            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                            Petersham, MA
                             
                             
                             
                             
                          • Br. Jerome Leo
                            +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Jeanne, and for her daughter, Christine, and all her family and all who mourn her. Prayers for the eternal rest of David,
                            Message 13 of 28 , May 26, 2014
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                              Prayers for the eternal rest of Jeanne, and for her daughter, Christine, and all her family and all who mourn her.
                               
                              Prayers for the eternal rest of David, 29, apparent history of drug abuse, and for all his family and all who mourn him.
                               
                              Prayers for the eternal rest of Lee, who died in his sleep, and for all his family and all who mourn him. He directed the national office for religion teachers.
                               
                              Prayers for the health of Martha, CHF, diabetes, lung problems and bipolar.
                               
                              Prayers for Richard H., slow in his return to health and mounting medical bills.
                               
                              Prayers for Br. Joseph, fundraising to found a new monastery.
                               
                              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

                              January 26, May 27, September 26
                              Chapter 7: On Humility

                              The first degree of humility, then,
                              is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
                              and beware of ever forgetting it.
                              Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
                              let his thoughts constantly recur
                              to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
                              those who despise God,
                              and to the life everlasting which is prepared
                              for those who fear Him.
                              Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
                              whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
                              or the self-will,
                              and check also the desires of the flesh.

                              REFLECTION

                              Not just the ascent to humility, but every aspect of the spiritual
                              journey may be improved by meditating on the ends to which our
                              actions will lead us. How many times does a parent tell a child who
                              is discouraged and about to quit that the child must think of the
                              reward at the end of the efforts. "How nice it will
                              be to have that!" Precisely! It is not just children whose flagging
                              spirits can be bolstered by recalling the achievement to come!

                              A great deal of the monastic struggle is just plain distastefully
                              hard and unpleasant.. Fail to lighten the load a bit by recalling the
                              joys to come and you heighten the chances of failure. Heaven is real
                              or our lives mean nothing at all. Trust it's reality, think about
                              that reality, remind yourself of the wonders at hand.

                              I write the following as one who has come as close as
                              possible to believing that absolutely everyone is in heaven as the
                              limits of Roman Catholic orthodoxy allow. We must believe hell
                              exists. It is real, it may be empty and we must (out of charity,)
                              hope to find it so, but hey, we COULD be wrong. Wouldn't be very
                              nice, but it is just slightly possible that the spheres and wheels of
                              eternal reward do not spin on the axis of our opinion! Nothing says
                              things have to be the way we personally think they will be. Nor do
                              the many visions of hell seen by saints seem to bear out this hope.
                              They saw people there, alas.

                              Hell is as real as heaven. Choices as real as those which lead to
                              heaven can lead to hell. Choose something really dumb which would lead to hell
                              and it is not a wise practice to assume one will have leisure to repent.
                              Maybe. Maybe not. A well-timed 18-wheeler truck may just have your
                              name on its front bumper before lunch today. We never know.

                              [But even in the event of that 18-wheeler, we never know what happens between
                              God and the soul in the last moments, when we can no longer perceive any
                              activity or change. Pray and fondly hope that all may be saved in the
                              mystery of that hidden time!]

                              I'll bet all of us have done things we would NOT want to do within
                              seconds of death and facing God. That's what these meditations on
                              hell and heaven are about. They point out forcefully to us that we
                              ought not to do things that would put us in that sort of bind.

                              It is, however, crucially important to think on our ends. Don't freak out
                              on the road to heaven, because Jesus said: "I am the Way." As such,
                              all the road to heaven is heaven (as St. Catherine of Siena said,)
                              even when it seems otherwise, because Jesus IS that Way. On the
                              other hand, rightly and wisely freak out like crazy on any path of action that
                              leads away from heaven, away from Christ. That is a scary road, indeed!


                              Love and prayers,
                              Jerome, OSB
                              http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                              St. Mary's Monastery
                              Petersham, MA
                               
                               
                            • Br. Jerome Leo
                              +PAX Prayers for Debbie and her Dad and family, especially for her siblings that they will get involved and help with her Dad s care. Prayers for eternal rest
                              Message 14 of 28 , May 27, 2014
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                                Prayers for Debbie and her Dad and family, especially for her siblings that they will get involved and help with her Dad's care.
                                 
                                Prayers for eternal rest of Sr. Laurence Bucher OSB who passed away May 24, all who mourn her, the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia, her family and friends.
                                Please pray for Jay, who is having extensive (5 vessel) open heart surgery, and for Linda and their children.
                                 
                                Prayers for Julie, who ministers to the homeless and poor in the inner city, who faces a second surgery for thyroid cancer on Tuesday with an uncertain outlook. 

                                Prayers for the eternal rest of  the missing UC student, Brogan Dulle, who was found last night, victim of a self inflicted wound, and for all his family and all who mourn him.
                                 
                                Please pray for 3 teenagers who died in a recent car crash and their families and all who mourn them.
                                 
                                Please pray for the eternal repose of Jennifer, who took her own life over the weekend. She joins her sister, who did the same in 2002. Prayers of healing also for family and all who mourn her.
                                On-going prayers for a young man, P., who needs healing from God.
                                 
                                January 27, May 28, September 27
                                Chapter 7: On Humility

                                Let a man consider
                                that God is always looking at him from heaven,
                                that his actions are everywhere visible to the divine eyes
                                and are constantly being reported to God by the Angels.
                                This is what the Prophet shows us
                                when he represents God as ever present within our thoughts,
                                in the words "Searcher of minds and hearts is God" (Ps. 7:10)
                                and again in the words "The Lord knows the thoughts of men" (Ps.
                                93:11).
                                Again he says,
                                "You have read my thoughts from afar" (Ps. 138:3)
                                and "The thoughts of people will confess to You" (Ps. 75:11).

                                In order that he may be careful
                                about his wrongful thoughts, therefore,
                                let the faithful brother say constantly in his heart,
                                "Then shall I be spotless before Him,
                                if I have kept myself from my iniquity" (Ps. 17:24).

                                REFLECTION

                                Most of us try to keep our worst secrets and flaws hidden from
                                others, it's only natural. Therein lies the problem: it's ONLY
                                natural, and we are called to the supernatural. We
                                LIKE to be liked, that's no secret, but in order to be liked we try
                                to make a secret of our seamier sides.

                                We cannot fool God at all. Our false self is ashes before Him. If we
                                think He sees only what we project, we have a long, long battle ahead
                                of us. I hope it is true of all of us that at least some of that
                                false self falls away when we are alone with God. The more we learn
                                to see ourselves as truthfully and adequately as He sees us, the
                                closer we come to genuine humility.

                                What the Holy Rule is telling us is that our false self is ashes
                                EVERYWHERE, that the only truth, the only self is the one seen by
                                God. We cannot see all the truth of that self before death: God is
                                infinite and omniscient and we are decidedly not. We must, however,
                                strain our eyes to see every bit we can, seeing ever more and more of
                                our truth until death calls us home for a complete view.
                                Catholic that I am, I'll bet when many get that complete view, they
                                are MOST relieved to jump into purgatory for a (hopefully!) quick
                                shower before the feast! I know I will be!

                                The false self might work sometimes- false things generally do for a while-
                                it's Satan's way of fooling us. It might actually reach some truly out of
                                touch people, or some who have only a fleeting exposure. It does not
                                work, nor does any false thing, in the long run. Some people may be
                                helped in spite of our efforts, but to be really effective, we must
                                be really true, really transparent. We must stand before others as we
                                stand before God if we expect to bear real fruit.

                                Nearly 1,500 years ago, St. Benedict called us all to the humility, to
                                the truth that St. Thomas Aquinas defined as: "the agreement of the
                                mind with reality." Amen! That was the truth he wished us to present
                                to ourselves and to the world, as best we could. The closer we get to
                                extinguishing the false self in every arena, the closer we are to
                                God. The closer we are to God, the greater good we can accomplish for
                                His Body, His people.

                                Love and prayers,
                                Jerome, OSB
                                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                Petersham, MA



                              • Br. Jerome Leo
                                +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Magnus, who died unexpectedly, and for his son, Ed, and all their family and all who mourn him. Please pray that,
                                Message 15 of 28 , May 28, 2014
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                                  Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Magnus, who died unexpectedly, and for his son, Ed, and all their family and all who mourn him. Please pray that, at the moment of his death, Jesus opened the flood gates of mercy to him.
                                   
                                  Prayers for the eternal rest of Julie's partner of 18 years and for Julie and all her family, and all who mourn her.
                                   
                                  Prayers for the eternal rest of Eleanor, and for her family and all who mourn her.
                                   
                                  Prayers for Marge, she is in hospice and the prognosis is not good. Please pray for her happy death and eternal rest, and comfort for her daughter, Kim, and for her family and friends.

                                  Prayers for Billy, very weak and a low white blood cell count. He has been given 2 units of blood and is to have a bone marrow test. Leukemia is suspected.
                                   
                                  Prayers for Rebecca and her daughter, victims of domestic abuse, and for the conversion of the abuser.
                                   
                                  Prayers for vocations to St. Mary's Monastery.

                                  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

                                  January 28, May 29, September 28
                                  Chapter 7: On Humility

                                  As for self-will,
                                  we are forbidden to do our own will
                                  by the Scripture, which says to us,
                                  "Turn away from your own will" (Eccles. 18:30),
                                  and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God
                                  that His will be done in us.
                                  And rightly are we taught not to do our own will
                                  when we take heed to the warning of Scripture:
                                  "There are ways which seem right,
                                  but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell" (Prov. 16:25);
                                  and also when we tremble at what is said of the careless:
                                  "They are corrupt and have become abominable in their will."

                                  And as for the desires of the flesh,
                                  let us believe with the Prophet that God is ever present to us,
                                  when he says to the Lord,
                                  "Every desire of mine is before You" (Ps. 37:10).

                                  REFLECTION

                                  Revolutions usually have several things in common: they respond to a
                                  need, they go too far in some areas, not far enough in others and
                                  they tend to brand those not agreeing with them as criminal or
                                  psychotic. Look at Soviet Russia for most of the 20th century and you
                                  will see all of these. Look further back at the French Revolution and
                                  you will find that 1917 in Petrograd offered nothing new, perhaps new
                                  names for certain aspects, but nothing else.

                                  The last decades of the 20th century saw a tremendous psychological
                                  revolution in the West. Its effects were perhaps greatest in some
                                  religious circles, where those once wary of psychology now embraced
                                  it more or less wholesale.

                                  Pieces of our psycho-spiritual world view definitely needed change and
                                  correction. Unfortunately, like the Bolsheviks and French before them, the
                                  revolutionaries shot the Imperial family and guillotined a lot of otherwise
                                  very fine people. Their zeal went a bit too far and they were often followed
                                  unquestioningly. If one did question one was either totally discounted or
                                  "enlightened" as to the new way of things post haste, yet again like the
                                  revolutions in Russia and France- frighteningly so!

                                  In those years, a close and scathing look was taken at religious
                                  obedience and the personal will. It certainly was necessary. A lot
                                  of accumulation under the accept-without-any-question syndrome
                                  needed examination and sometimes, change.

                                  Sadly, but predictably, the pendulum swung in a
                                  very un-Benedictine fashion to the opposite extreme: question
                                  everything and accept nothing. Personal will, formerly maligned as a
                                  foolish, worthless and even dangerous entity was now elevated to
                                  lofty, noble heights that it frankly did not deserve. Not
                                  astoundingly, both extremes missed the middle road of truth.

                                  Human will is at once both potentially noble and flawed.
                                  Without God and grace assisting, the prognosis is not good. For
                                  Christians, however, God's grace and aid ARE available, but they come
                                  at the price of cooperation and cooperation demands a certain
                                  sacrifice of our own wills, often even a total sacrifice of them.

                                  It is perhaps harder for us to see the necessity of abandoning our
                                  wills than it has been for many before us. We are traipsing through
                                  the spiritual road with all kinds of extraneous, late 20th century
                                  baggage about autonomy and maturity and self-actualization carried to
                                  false extremes.

                                  Balance, always balance, always moderation in the
                                  Benedictine way! Our wills can be good and wonderful. It is, after
                                  all, with our wills that we answer God's call. But part of His call
                                  is to forget the self and forget its willful tantrums.

                                  A good superior will keep one from being too easy on oneself, but
                                  will also protect one from being too hard on oneself. I cannot tell
                                  you the number of times submitting a matter to my superior has
                                  resulted in something FAR less gruesome than what I had obsessively
                                  planned for myself! Obedience can and does protect us!

                                  Some of the wonderful things said about personal will are true, to a
                                  point, but the revolution failed to emphasize the fact that our wills do
                                  NOT come with gyroscopes or guarantees. As such, their trustworthiness
                                  as compasses is far from absolute. The superior, the Rule, the Gospel,
                                  these are the gyroscopes that enable us to will true North! Without these
                                  helps, our journey could very easily make the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
                                  (or the maiden voyage of the Titanic, if one prefers...) look like a Sunday
                                  afternoon swan boat ride in Boston's Public Gardens.

                                  Finally, St. Benedict supports his argument with Scripture. It's a
                                  clever way of saying: "Hey, you want to argue this? Take it up with
                                  God." That's where he threw the gauntlet, all those years ago. No one
                                  in their right mind would dare pick it up.

                                  Love and prayers,
                                  Jerome, OSB
                                  http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                  Petersham, MA

                                   

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                • Br. Jerome Leo
                                  +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Patrick, and for his brother, Stephen, and all their family and all who mourn him. Prayers for Martin, neck pain and
                                  Message 16 of 28 , May 29, 2014
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                                    Prayers for the eternal rest of Patrick, and for his brother, Stephen, and all their family and all who mourn him.
                                     
                                    Prayers for Martin, neck pain and checking out some lung scarring and trachea problems.
                                     
                                    Prayers for Shah, 41, suffered a stroke, and for his wife, Wendy, and their daughters.
                                     
                                    Please continue to pray for little Gianluca, 18 months old, red blood cell count still dangerously low, and that the doctors may reach a diagnosis.
                                     
                                    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

                                    January 29, May 30, September 29
                                    Chapter 7: On Humility

                                    We must be on our guard, therefore, against evil desires,
                                    for death lies close by the gate of pleasure.
                                    Hence the Scripture gives this command:
                                    "Go not after your concupiscences" (Eccles. 18:30).


                                    So therefore,
                                    since the eyes of the Lord observe the good and the evil (Prov. 15:3)
                                    and the Lord is always looking down from heaven
                                    on the children of earth
                                    "to see if there be anyone who understands and seeks God" (Ps. 13:2),
                                    and since our deeds are daily,
                                    day and night,
                                    reported to the Lord by the Angels assigned to us,
                                    we must constantly beware, brethren,
                                    as the Prophet says in the Psalm,
                                    lest at any time God see us falling into evil ways
                                    and becoming unprofitable (Ps. 13:3);
                                    and lest, having spared us for the present
                                    because in His kindness He awaits our reformation,
                                    He say to us in the future,
                                    "These things you did, and I held My peace" (Ps. 49:21).

                                    REFLECTION

                                    The theme of God seeking His laborers first expressed in the Prologue
                                    comes back here, like background hints of melody woven through an
                                    overture. God SEES us, yes, but He also SEEKS us, seeks those who
                                    seek Him. If we forget that, God's loving, watchful care over us (He
                                    assigns angels to us!) is reduced to the lackluster charm of a security camera,
                                    an "Eye in the sky."

                                    Ever lose somebody in airport? It's a funny sort of panic, because
                                    both of you know that ultimately, somehow you will connect. Until
                                    that happens, however, a lot of anxious hunting takes place. Do you
                                    know the joy when two such people finally find each other? It ain't
                                    slight! While one says "Thank heavens I found you!" the other is
                                    saying, "But I was looking for you, too, EVERYWHERE!" There is a
                                    great common blessing in such moments, one which far transcends the
                                    anxiety of the search which preceded it.

                                    That's how it is with God. While we are seeking Him, even BEFORE we
                                    are seeking Him, He is seeking us. There is so much love in that searching,
                                    on both parts. The novice is to be examined to see if she truly seeks God.
                                    But the question is not just for novices. "Quaeremus inventum," said St.
                                    Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we have found." And so it goes. A monastic
                                    life done right has seeking and finding writ large on every page, from
                                    beginning to end.

                                    Angels got a bad press in the Roman Catholic world in the late 60's
                                    and beyond. It became fashionable to be rather scornful of such
                                    belief and some skeptics viewed guardian angels as only a slight step
                                    beyond the fairy godmothers of children's tales. Well, folks, it was
                                    one time they weren't on the crest of a wave. The signs of the times
                                    told them that emphatically when a ground swell of popularity arose
                                    with angels as its focus.

                                    The angels are
                                    more than human, but less than divine. They share our status of being
                                    creatures, but they have powers beyond our ken. No wonder popular
                                    culture embraced them: they are a very good entry level awareness of
                                    something beyond, something spiritual. Whatever else they may be,
                                    they are real. Why waste 'em? Let them help us all they can and let
                                    us ask for more besides! There may be reservations among some of our
                                    readers about praying to saints, but Scripture abounds with examples of
                                    conversations with angels, a comforting assurance for our Protestant readers.
                                    Go for it!

                                    A couple of years ago, a confessor recommended that I pray to
                                    my Guardian Angel about a problem. No one had said that to me in years! I
                                    took his advice, however, and loved the results.

                                    By the way, the Guardian Angels are the patrons of the American
                                    Cassinese Congregation. I know some guys who probably would have
                                    loved to change that during the "bad press" years. Thankfully, no one
                                    did! Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us!

                                    Love and prayers,
                                    Jerome, OSB
                                    http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                    Petersham, MA


                                     
                                     
                                  • Br. Jerome Leo
                                    +PAX Prayers for Mary, on her retirement. May she have a blessed a fruitful life ahead. Prayers for Connie, diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Prayers
                                    Message 17 of 28 , May 30, 2014
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                                      Prayers for Mary, on her retirement. May she have a blessed a fruitful life ahead.
                                       
                                      Prayers for Connie, diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.
                                       
                                      Prayers for Pastor Victoria and her congregation.
                                       
                                      Forty-seven years ago today, I graduated from Tampa Catholic High School.
                                      Prayers, please for all the teachers and students there who changed my life
                                      forever for the better. Much of what I give you I received from them. I urge all
                                      of you to
                                      pray daily for those who taught you and your classmates and, if this applies,
                                      for those you've
                                      taught. It is a practice I love very much.

                                      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

                                      January 30, May 31, September 30
                                      Chapter 7: On Humility

                                      The second degree of humility
                                      is that a person love not his own will
                                      nor take pleasure in satisfying his desires,
                                      but model his actions on the saying of the Lord,
                                      "I have come not to do My own will,
                                      but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).
                                      It is written also,
                                      "Self-will has its punishment,
                                      but constraint wins a crown."

                                      REFLECTION

                                      On some occasions, I get to look after someone else's pet. I try to
                                      remember how much it means to me when someone looks after Martina, my cat.
                                      I know I try to be much more careful than I usually am about many things.
                                      That pet is someone's treasure and I have been trusted. I don't goof off! I
                                      take extra care.

                                      See what I'm getting at? Caring for another's pet done right is an
                                      example of coming not to do one's own will, but the will of one who
                                      sent us. Monastic life done right would be looking at the whole of
                                      our world, life and endeavor as pet care for God. Again and again, from the
                                      greatest things in life to the smallest, He entrusts us with the care
                                      of the apples of His eyes.

                                      That extra care that one would take of a pet or, even more so, a
                                      child one had been asked to watch, is the attitude we should have to
                                      everything. This is mindfulness in the highest order. This is what
                                      happens when the will we are obeying is Someone else's, not our own.
                                      We take extra care with the things of God because they are His, not
                                      our own.

                                      Of course, the ultimate truth is that this step points to the fact
                                      that NOTHING is really our own, everything is God's. We "own" nothing
                                      in the absolute sense, that is, with the freedom to dispense or waste
                                      or expend or destroy it with no responsibility at all for the common
                                      good. Christians "own" things in stewardship for the good of all.

                                      It may take all of our lives to realize it fully, but we are ALL
                                      doing pet care for God, all the time, nothing less and nothing more!
                                      And God, like a pet owner or parent who entrusts dear ones
                                      to another, loves our carefulness very much and treasures us deeply!
                                      How deep is our love for one who cares for someone we love, but
                                      deeper still, infinitely so, is the love of God in this respect. Ah, the warmth
                                      of His smile at such times!

                                      Love and prayers,
                                      Jerome, OSB
                                      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                      Petersham, MA
                                    • Br. Jerome Leo
                                      +PAX Prayers, please, for David Previtali, on his ordination to the permanent Diaconate, and for his wife, Marian, and all his family and all to whom he will
                                      Message 18 of 28 , May 31, 2014
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                                        Prayers, please, for David Previtali, on his ordination to the permanent Diaconate, and for his wife, Marian, and all his family and all to whom he will minister.
                                        May the Holy Spirit fill him and his ministry with joy and fruitfulness.
                                         
                                        Prayers, please, for Mary, an orphan girl who needs surgery this month.
                                         
                                        Prayers for A., who was raped, she badly needs spiritual and emotional healing.
                                         
                                        Prayers for B., she feels under attack from witchcraft and no longer trusts the Church, she has lost her faith in God.
                                         
                                        Prayers, please, for Ben, on his birthday, graces galore and many more. Ad multos annos!
                                        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

                                        January 31, June 1, October 1
                                        Chapter 7: On Humility

                                        The third degree of humility is that a person
                                        for love of God
                                        submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
                                        imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
                                        "He became obedient even unto death."

                                        REFLECTION

                                        This short passage tempts one to a short reading and that casual
                                        perusal will miss the terribly important things here. These are the
                                        important elements that frame and sustain our obedience: it is done
                                        for love of God, it is submission to another and it is lifelong.
                                        Remove any one of those mainstays and you no longer have a
                                        Benedictine.

                                        This third degree gives the reason for Benedictine obedience: "for
                                        the love of God." We do not obey for so little as an orderly community,
                                        our obedience is not mere sociology, it is love. More even than just
                                        love, it is love of the One Who is Love at its highest perfection. Without
                                        love, we are nothing.

                                        We obey Love's delegates, our superiors, unto death. There are two
                                        meanings hidden in that phrase. It can mean martyrdom, obeying even
                                        to the point of being killed, but it also means obeying all of our lives,
                                        till the moment of our deaths. Frankly, few of us will be martyrs, because
                                        few of us are worthy of that grace. ALL of us, however, are called to the
                                        lifelong white martyrdom of obedience, which can often remind us that
                                        St. Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought heaven cheaply", that
                                        they gained in one instant what the rest of us must plod on for many
                                        decades in a lifelong struggle to gain.

                                        Like Christ, for love, we become "obedient even unto death." During
                                        the Spanish Civil War, in the 1930's, Communist forces raided the
                                        Benedictine monastery of El Pueyo, taking 18 monks prisoner. One
                                        of the very significant things about this group is that many were
                                        just average monks, nothing special. They were all martyred and
                                        one witness said that they went to their death "joyfully, as if going
                                        to a fiesta." These martyrs were members of our Subiaco Congregation
                                        and we are justifiably proud to have them as our brothers.

                                        Benedictine obedience of love, even unto death, is decidedly not the
                                        kind that would please earthly tyrants. In fact, they'd gladly kill
                                        us for it. There is quite a likeness to our crucified Lord if we
                                        embrace that peril fully.

                                        Love and prayers,
                                        Jerome, OSB
                                        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                        Petersham, MA

                                         
                                         
                                      • Br. Jerome Leo
                                        +PAX Prayers for Fr. George Tariq, on the first anniversary of his priestly Ordination, may God grant him many years. Prayers of healing for Fr. X., extremely
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Jun 1, 2014
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                                          Prayers for Fr. George Tariq, on the first anniversary of his priestly Ordination, may God grant him many years.
                                           
                                          Prayers of healing for Fr. X., extremely sick and ill.
                                           
                                          Prayers for baby Gianluca, serious blood/anemia probelms, and for his parents and grandparents.
                                           
                                          Prayers for newly ordained Fr. Christopher Micale, may he have a long and fruitful ministry.
                                           
                                          Prayers for Rhoda, increasing geriatric issues.
                                           
                                          Prayers for J.S., extreme financial need.
                                           
                                          Prayers for Shah, 41, discharged from the hospital after a stroke, some right side impairment, and for Wendy, his wife and their daughters,Lillie and Abigail.
                                           
                                          Denise, that she get her marriage blessed and return to the Sacraments.

                                          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.
                                          8:36).
                                          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).

                                          REFLECTION

                                          Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
                                          presented in its most flawless form. It is not an unreachable goal, but neither
                                          should we expect significant progress before noon today. It is our call and
                                          our vocation, but it is a lifelong task.

                                          The danger for schleps like me is that this step can give one an image
                                          of a perfect, 1950's TV sitcom Mom: shirt dress, high heels and pearls as
                                          everyday wear, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a kitchen as clean
                                          as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place. Full make-up on rising
                                          and wears hat and matching gloves to shop. PUHLEEEZE! Give me a break.
                                          Real patience in action is not at all like that.

                                          Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think that it's easy for
                                          others and therefore something is wrong with you: it isn't easy
                                          for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
                                          not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
                                          this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
                                          me." Neither is true.

                                          The Rule and Scriptures were meant for strugglers. They were written
                                          for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred veterans like
                                          you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Hey,
                                          there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
                                          plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
                                          find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
                                          can... the fridge broke today.

                                          Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
                                          runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
                                          Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
                                          rather a very cheap lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
                                          is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
                                          great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
                                          the middle of things.

                                          Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
                                          me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
                                          transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
                                          hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
                                          as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
                                          believe them. Patrick, my late and beloved mentor, was so very different.

                                          Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
                                          career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
                                          it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
                                          Marion, who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
                                          to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend occasionally, in years
                                          when that sort of thing didn't often happen. Abbot Marion was wise enough
                                          to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and then.

                                          Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
                                          tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
                                          lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
                                          years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
                                          my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
                                          that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose
                                          him.

                                          I can also tell you that, during the worst
                                          of those years, Patrick helped scores of folks who came to him, because a
                                          transparently wounded person usually can. I can also tell you that
                                          Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83 or so!! What a
                                          witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.

                                          Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
                                          little at a time, let NONE of us be "perfect" TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
                                          let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be.

                                          Patrick held forth from his infirmary room until his death
                                          at two weeks short of 90. A steady stream of visitors never waned.
                                          On the head of his bed and on the shaving mirror over his sink were
                                          two small notes, written in his own inimitable hand: "Lord, let me
                                          come to You." They broke my heart the first time I saw them. I still
                                          didn't want to lose him. But I know how right he was and how richly he
                                          deserves that loving embrace for which he so patiently waited.

                                          Love and prayers,
                                          Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
                                          name!)
                                          http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                          Petersham, MA


                                        • Br. Jerome Leo
                                          +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Mark s Mom, and for Mark and all her family and all who mourn her. Prayers for Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar, abducted
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Jun 2, 2014
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                                            Prayers for the eternal rest of Mark's Mom, and for Mark and all her family and all who mourn her.
                                             
                                            Prayers for Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar, abducted by gunmen in Afghanistan.
                                             
                                            Lots of prayers for Craig who has a meeting for some potential real estate listings. For over a year he has no listings and no sales.
                                             
                                            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)
                                            and again,
                                            "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).

                                            REFLECTION

                                            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
                                            summer's heat."

                                            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. It's very true that one can run,
                                            but not hide. It is also true that, without the peace such shameful
                                            hiding steals from us, we shall have a MUCH harder time with our spiritual
                                            life.

                                            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
                                            falsehood:

                                            "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.
                                            31:10-11)

                                            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,
                                            Jerome, OSB
                                            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                            Petersham, MA


                                          • Br. Jerome Leo
                                            +PAX Thanks to all who sent me birthday prayers and greetings. I received too many to answer all individually, so many emails! But I am praying in gratitude
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Jun 3, 2014
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                                              Thanks to all who sent me birthday prayers and greetings. I received too many to answer all individually, so many emails! But I am praying in gratitude for you all and your dear ones. God bless you!
                                               
                                              Prayers for Ben, recently diagnosed with cancer, and for his wife Rachel and their children, ages 10, 8, and 6. May they feel the healing touch of the Divine Mercy.
                                               
                                              Prayers for Kaleb, 6, in ICU and just diagnosed with leukemia, and for his parents, his Mom is pregnant and his Dad flew home from his Navy assignment overseas to be with them.
                                               
                                              Prayers for Bob and his wife, Page.
                                               
                                              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 3, June 4, October 4
                                              Chapter 7: On Humility

                                              The sixth degree of humility
                                              is that a monk be content
                                              with the poorest and worst of everything,
                                              and that in every occupation assigned him
                                              he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
                                              saying with the Prophet,
                                              "I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
                                              I have become as a beast of burden before You,
                                              and I am always with You" (Ps:22-23).

                                              REFLECTION

                                              While it may be true that some people have self-esteems
                                              which are far too low, I think that many people, from my generation onward,
                                              have "worked through all that" with more than enough success. Relax,
                                              I think that often we have compensated for any imbalance and then some! With
                                              ears attuned to such 21st century self-affirmation, it is hard for us to hear
                                              lines like "worthless workman", "brought to nothing" and "a beast of
                                              burden before You."

                                              Understandably, we may listen through our filtered ears and wonder
                                              how on earth the Psalmist could say such things. Mechanisms to
                                              explain them away and denial defenses spring right up: " Must have
                                              been his primitive society, must have been some neurotic notion of
                                              religion in those days! Boy, that David REALLY needed to work on his
                                              self-image, so sad in a King, too!"

                                              I don't think any of those things are true in more than the most
                                              minimal sense, if that. David COULD say those things with honesty,
                                              because he was saintly.Let me hasten to console all concerned with
                                              that news that he was also very human. Face it, he had a lusty eye
                                              for Uriah's wife and conveniently arranged Uriah's death in battle
                                              to "legitimate" things. Nathan the prophet confronted David with the facts
                                              and the child born of his dalliance with Bathsheba died.

                                              Because this terribly human David, in a sense, had "seen"
                                              God, at least with the eyes of his soul, he could easily make
                                              truthful remarks like these about himself! Once we see even a bit of
                                              God, scales begin to fall from our eyes and we can easily see how the Prophet
                                              could say such things: they are true!

                                              I sure know I am nothing, nothing at ALL without
                                              God. If I have done a good job here and there, make no mistake
                                              that I can tell you from an inside perspective that successes were
                                              just that: here and there. Not one of them would (or could!) have ever
                                              happened without God's grace. Nada. Zilch! The total workman profile
                                              has a LOT of gaps and stuff undone, deliberately and otherwise. The merit
                                              review will probably NOT recommend a raise at this time!

                                              We need the truth of humility because we take ourselves- and the
                                              falsehoods about ourselves - far, far too seriously. Yes, we
                                              sometimes need to know we really did "OK", but we also need to often
                                              remind ourselves that we are not so hot as we thought!

                                              "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give the glory!" Yet another of
                                              David's pithy assessments of self-worth. We are, of ourselves, less than
                                              nothing. It is only because of Christ that we can truly become the "immortal
                                              diamond" of which Hopkins wrote!

                                              Love and prayers,
                                              Jerome, OSB
                                              http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                              Petersham, MA


                                            • Br. Jerome Leo
                                              +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of David and Gregory, two blood brothers in their 20 s who drowned when caught in a current, and for all their
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Jun 4, 2014
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                                                Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of David and Gregory, two blood brothers in their 20's who drowned when caught in a current, and for all their family, for Gregory's fiancee, and for all who mourn them.
                                                 
                                                Prayers for John, Becky, Amy and Anna. May God touch them as a family and individuals throughout their lives – and especially Anna on her graduation.
                                                 
                                                Please pray for Shawn. He is just found to have a brain-tumor. The extent of the problem is not yet known, but he is in good spirits and optimistic. Prayers, too,  for his wife Elaine, and children Taylor, Connor, and Danielle, and all his family.
                                                 
                                                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).

                                                REFLECTION

                                                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.
                                                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.

                                                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
                                                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                                Petersham, MA



                                              • Br. Jerome Leo
                                                +PAX Prayers for Seattle Pacific Christian University. They had a shooting today. I confirmed dead, 1 critical and at least, maybe two more of unknown injury.
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Jun 5, 2014
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                                                  Prayers for Seattle Pacific Christian University. They had a shooting today. I confirmed dead, 1 critical and at least, maybe two more of unknown injury. Prayers for the eternal rest of the dead and for the wounded and for the families of all. Prayers for the conversion of the shooter.

                                                  Please pray for Tammy. She has been diagnosed with cancer in the stomach area, between the internal organs and skin. She also currently has a kidney stone and an abdominal hernia. Prayers, too, for her husband, Jake, and their four children.

                                                  Prayers for the eternal rest and memory of all who lost their lives on D-Day,
                                                  June 6, 1944, and for all who mourn them.

                                                  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 5, June 6, October 6
                                                  Chapter 7: On Humility

                                                  The eighth degree of humility
                                                  is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
                                                  by the common Rule of the monastery
                                                  and the example of the elders.

                                                  REFLECTION

                                                  Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
                                                  as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
                                                  still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
                                                  Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
                                                  by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
                                                  neighborhood, or the workplace.

                                                  The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
                                                  detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
                                                  do things our own way is not humble. When observers come to the
                                                  monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
                                                  external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

                                                  One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
                                                  notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
                                                  may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
                                                  term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
                                                  neutrality; in the 60's and 70's it was a euphemism for "abolished."!)
                                                  That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

                                                  When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
                                                  message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
                                                  not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
                                                  surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
                                                  marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
                                                  we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
                                                  and we do so with sorry results.

                                                  No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
                                                  you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
                                                  monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
                                                  change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
                                                  better for all concerned.

                                                  The sad thing is that sometimes these things
                                                  we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
                                                  pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
                                                  public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
                                                  person.

                                                  Love and prayers,
                                                  Jerome, OSB
                                                  http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                                  Petersham, MA


                                                • Br. Jerome Leo
                                                  +PAX Prayers for a homeless woman with no place to go, in a small town with no shelters. Prayers for Fr. Freddy, safe travels, peace, joy and grace as he moves
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Jun 6, 2014
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                                                    Prayers for a homeless woman with no place to go, in a small town with no shelters.
                                                     
                                                    Prayers for Fr. Freddy, safe travels, peace, joy and grace as he moves to Texas.
                                                     
                                                    Please pray again for baby Beckam. He has stopped growing. He was on the 15th percentile after we prayed for him before, but is on the 3% now. Long term diagnosis is kidney disease. He's here for a reason, please pray, also, that his family not be shaken in faith and they understand God's will in this situation.
                                                     
                                                    Prayers for Andrew F. and his family, esp. his son and daughter-in-law and their 20 month old baby. They are Catholic refugees in Thailand and in severe financial need.
                                                     
                                                    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 6, June 7, October 7
                                                    Chapter 7: On Humility

                                                    The ninth degree of humility
                                                    is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
                                                    not speaking until he is questioned.
                                                    For the Scripture shows
                                                    that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19)
                                                    and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).

                                                    REFLECTION

                                                    OK, if you are a parent, you cannot speak to your children only when
                                                    they question you. The therapy bills in later years would be
                                                    astronomical. There are many situations in a Benedictine life lived
                                                    in the world, among non-monastics, where this has to be altered, but
                                                    its kernel of truth must be discovered and maintained.

                                                    WHY do we talk needlessly? Quite often it is nothing more than a
                                                    trick to change the reality around us. We are bored, or we feel we
                                                    are not getting enough attention or we think the mood too heavy, so
                                                    we speak to change whatever annoys us at the moment. I should know.
                                                    I am infamous for creating my own entertainment when things seem
                                                    dull to me. That's not always a great idea...

                                                    Some tough moments, some difficult stuff are meant to be endured.
                                                    They are part of our necessary learning and growth. Ever notice how
                                                    we assess a child's maturity by its ability to be quiet and non-
                                                    fidgety in surroundings (like Church!) that do not spoon feed its
                                                    attention span? Well, the same is true of us at every stage. We do
                                                    ourselves harm if we defuse every single tense moment with a word or
                                                    two. We cheat ourselves.

                                                    All too often we speak only to remind the universe around us, which
                                                    has carelessly forgotten for a second that we are its center, of a
                                                    whole bevy of falsehoods: I am the cutest, smartest, or wittiest, I
                                                    have the solution to all of this. What folly on the part of the
                                                    entire cosmos to forget our importance! Better speak to clear the
                                                    matter up...

                                                    Those who know me are thinking: "HE wrote THIS?!?" Yes, alas, I am
                                                    guilty of all I wrote. Three times a year the Holy Rule reminds me of
                                                    that and each time I am aware that I need to work on it. Thanks be to
                                                    God, the Rule IS read three times a year: usually by the time the
                                                    next reading comes up, my interest has flagged and I have to start
                                                    over. As for the part about the talkative not being "stable on the
                                                    earth," well, there have been times in the last 20 years
                                                    when God had to nail my feet to the floor to keep me faithful and I am
                                                    not dead yet... I have not always been His most willing pupil, but
                                                    oh, is He ever patient! And infinitely merciful!

                                                    But, as one Desert Father said, that's what we do all day in
                                                    monasteries: "We fall down and we get up."

                                                    Love and prayers,
                                                    Jerome, OSB
                                                    http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                                    Petersham, MA

                                                  • Br. Jerome Leo
                                                    +PAX A blessed Pentecost to all, prayers that the Holy Spirit fill the world and the hearts and souls of all people with His gifts and grace and truth and
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Jun 7, 2014
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                                                      A blessed Pentecost to all, prayers that the Holy Spirit fill the world and the hearts and souls of all people with His gifts and grace and truth and love!
                                                       
                                                      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 7, June 8, October 8
                                                      Chapter 7: On Humility

                                                      The tenth degree of humility
                                                      is that he be not ready and quick to laugh,
                                                      for it is written,
                                                      "The fool lifts up his voice in laughter" (Eccles. 21:23).

                                                      REFLECTION

                                                      Note that the Holy Rule does NOT say not to laugh at all, but just
                                                      not to laugh too fast! In another place, the Rule condemns "idle words"
                                                      which can "provoke buffoonery" (read immoderate laughter!) We are
                                                      not, however, forbidden to laugh at all. Life together will always produce
                                                      some truly comical stuff, and well-ordered appreciation of that gift of
                                                      humor is right in line with a good, balanced Benedictine life.

                                                      WHAT do we laugh at, and how? Do we find humor at others' expense cruelly?
                                                      Do we laugh in such a way as to make the person feel a fool, or in such a way
                                                      as to make her feel part of a shared family joke and joy? Do we laugh with
                                                      love and affection or with pompous derision? There are, make no mistake,
                                                      lots of good and bad ways to laugh.

                                                      There are, in every age, inappropriate uses of humor. Humor is often
                                                      a nervous cover-up, an avoidance, a substitute for real
                                                      communication. I think these examples are what the Holy Rule
                                                      addresses. We are called to relate to people on a more honest level
                                                      than perpetual joking about. That playfulness may be an antechamber
                                                      to intimacy, but it is no substitute. All loving friends share jokes,
                                                      but if jokes are ALL they share, that is sad. It takes something more than that
                                                      humor alone.

                                                      It is because humor, jokes and shared laughter can be that first step
                                                      towards intimacy that they are so very necessary for a cenobitic,
                                                      community-loving Benedictine heart. Then, of course, there is also
                                                      that Christian imperative to JOY!

                                                      Love and prayers,
                                                      Jerome, OSB
                                                      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                                      Petersham, MA
                                                    • Br. Jerome Leo
                                                      +PAX Prayers for Carol and her students in the final days of school, as they prepare for and take their exams. Prayers for Ronnie, she is ill and in the
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Jun 8, 2014
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                                                        Prayers for Carol and her students in the final days of school, as they prepare for and take their exams.
                                                         
                                                        Prayers for Ronnie, she is ill and in the hospital. Needs to see a priest badly. Prayers that she gets the Sacraments.
                                                         
                                                        Prayers for Sarah, she has ADEM (Acute Disseminated Enrephalomyelitis)--not sure how responsive she is. This is a very severe inflammation of the central nervous system--it is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own brain tissue.
                                                         
                                                        Prayers for Sam, just got engaged.
                                                         
                                                        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 8, June 9, October 9
                                                        Chapter 7: On Humility

                                                        The eleventh degree of humility
                                                        is that when a monk speaks
                                                        he do so gently and without laughter,
                                                        humbly and seriously,
                                                        in few and sensible words,
                                                        and that he be not noisy in his speech.
                                                        It is written,
                                                        "A wise man is known by the fewness of his words"(Sextus,
                                                        Enchidirion, 134 or 145).

                                                        REFLECTION

                                                        OK, writing as one who is 40% deaf, let me try to throw some light on
                                                        what this step is NOT. Remember that Benedictines espouse balance and
                                                        that balance should avoid both extremes.

                                                        I have always been hard of hearing, so I have long noted a tendency
                                                        by some to interpret "not noisy" as barely audible. I hardly think
                                                        that's the case. Even talking on the phone to other OSB houses I
                                                        sometimes pick this up: the whispered inflections that one commonly
                                                        only hears in funeral parlors. Just as we should not
                                                        roar or yell when it is uncalled for, neither should we tiptoe about
                                                        whispering when there is no need.

                                                        So, for the last of my soapbox today, we don't yell, but we don't
                                                        whisper, either, unless such adjusted speech is truly necessary.
                                                        (Who, after all, would whisper "Fire," or "Shark,"?) We seek the
                                                        Golden Mean of carefully weighed speech that others can hear.


                                                        Love and prayers,
                                                        Jerome, OSB
                                                        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                                        Petersham, MA
                                                         
                                                      • Br. Jerome Leo
                                                        +PAX Prayers, please, for the etrnal rest of Ronnie, for whom we prayed. She died without the Sacraments, so extra ardent prayers for God s Mercy, and for all
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
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                                                          Prayers, please, for the etrnal rest of Ronnie, for whom we prayed. She died without the Sacraments, so extra ardent prayers for God's Mercy, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
                                                           
                                                          Prayers for the eternal rest of Soila, 19, who took her own life, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
                                                           
                                                          Prayers for Fr. Dunstan and his elderly parents, many things in their situation that need prayers.
                                                           
                                                          Prayers for James, a heavy week of final exams and he needs to do well.
                                                           
                                                          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

                                                          [This portion seems to beg for division into two parts, so I have done
                                                          that in the reflection.]

                                                          February 9, June 10, October 10
                                                          Chapter 7: On Humility

                                                          The twelfth degree of humility
                                                          is that a monk not only have humility in his heart
                                                          but also by his very appearance make it always manifest
                                                          to those who see him.
                                                          That is to say that whether he is at the Work of God,
                                                          in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road,
                                                          in the fields or anywhere else,
                                                          and whether sitting, walking or standing,
                                                          he should always have his head bowed
                                                          and his eyes toward the ground.
                                                          Feeling the guilt of his sins at every moment,
                                                          he should consider himself already present at the dread Judgment
                                                          and constantly say in his heart
                                                          what the publican in the Gospel said
                                                          with his eyes fixed on the earth:
                                                          "Lord, I am a sinner and not worthy to lift up my eyes to heaven"
                                                          (Luke 18:13; Matt. 8:8);
                                                          and again with the Prophet:
                                                          "I am bowed down and humbled everywhere" (Ps. 37:7,9; 118:107).

                                                          REFLECTION

                                                          Alcoholics Anonymous jokes about what they call "Two-steppers," that
                                                          is, people who decide to jump right from Step 1, acknowledging their
                                                          problem, to Step 12, carrying the message to others, with nothing in
                                                          between! Wrong! Doesn't work that way...

                                                          We sometimes see a similar mistake in folks and humility.
                                                          Bingo, they go right to the twelfth degree with nothing to build
                                                          their external humility on but the images of Hollywood. Such
                                                          individuals are usually well-intentioned enough, but one look at
                                                          their demeanor will tell one that there is probably a very badly worn
                                                          tape of "The Nun's Story"!
                                                          I'm not knocking the film, I loved it, too! But it WAS Hollywood and it
                                                          is not real life! Monastic life will do a lot of things but sorry, it will
                                                          never make
                                                          you Audrey Hepburn!

                                                          People who learn that have a chance to stay, people who don't often
                                                          leave because no monastery fits the Hollywood model, though they
                                                          often keep looking for one that does!

                                                          Second Section of the Reading:

                                                          Having climbed all these steps of humility, therefore,
                                                          the monk will presently come to that perfect love of God
                                                          which casts out fear.
                                                          And all those precepts
                                                          which formerly he had not observed without fear,
                                                          he will now begin to keep by reason of that love,
                                                          without any effort,
                                                          as though naturally and by habit.
                                                          No longer will his motive be the fear of hell,
                                                          but rather the love of Christ,
                                                          good habit
                                                          and delight in the virtues
                                                          which the Lord will deign to show forth by the Holy Spirit
                                                          in His servant now cleansed from vice and sin.

                                                          This crucially important second part is why none of those Hollywood
                                                          roles quite make it AND why the first section is spared from
                                                          Jansenism. (Jansenism, you may recall, was a heresy which held that
                                                          we could NEVER be worthy, NEVER do enough penance and so forth. In
                                                          its sad extremes, it harked to a sort of Pelagian attitude, implying
                                                          that we might be able to do something if we did enough harsh stuff!
                                                          But, of course, even that would never be enough. It was a rather mean
                                                          idea of God.)

                                                          Humility is NOT affected, not presupposing, hence efforts to LOOK
                                                          humble when one is not so will fall woefully short of the mark. No
                                                          Academy Awards for this one! When they call for the envelope, it will
                                                          be empty!

                                                          Genuine humility is the most unself-conscious thing in the
                                                          world. It produces the external demeanor without any further ado,
                                                          because the person actually (and usually unwittingly!) BECOMES the
                                                          truth they are striving to live. Humility shows up in the face, in
                                                          everything, just as years of bitterness or years of love often do.

                                                          You couldn't hide humility if you wanted to, but you don't need to,
                                                          because the true humility is rarely even noticed and those who are
                                                          less humble tend to discount the really humble as nobodies. In one
                                                          sense, they are quite right! Both would agree on that!

                                                          If one never gets to the joy and love of the end of this passage,
                                                          there will be no reason not to look artificially rather glum over
                                                          sins that one probably doesn't believe at heart are that great anyhow.
                                                          This is where some folks miss the mark. They can stop at the
                                                          perpetual gloom and dread point, without realizing the contemplative
                                                          joy and love beyond that.

                                                          Monasticism is true, but the Gospel is more so. Neither Jansenism nor
                                                          perpetual gloom would play very well with Matthew, Mark, Luke or
                                                          John. That means they wouldn't play well with St. Benedict, either,
                                                          as his second portion surely guarantees. Love and joy and humility
                                                          are an inseparable trio! When fear is cast out, gloom goes right
                                                          along with it!

                                                          Love and prayers,
                                                          Jerome, OSB
                                                          www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                                          Petersham, MA
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